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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues rules to strengthen protections for high-cost mortgages

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues rules to strengthen protections for high-cost mortgages

Bureau Also Expands Time Frame for Required Escrow Accounts

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 10, 2013, Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued final rules to strengthen consumer protections for high-cost mortgages and to provide consumers with information about homeownership counseling. The Bureau also finalized a rule that requires escrow accounts be established for a minimum of five years for certain higher-priced mortgage loans.

“Addressing problems in the mortgage market is critical to helping our economy recover,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s changes will better help consumers to understand the real costs of owning a home while protecting them from harmful practices that can trap them into high-cost mortgages.”

The Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) was enacted in 1994 to address abuses in home-equity lending and refinances. Since then, HOEPA has deterred high-rate and high-fee lending in those markets. In recent years, high-cost mortgages have made up only about 0.2 percent of those types of loans.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) expanded HOEPA to cover home purchase loans and home equity lines of credit (“HELOCs”); revised HOEPA’s rate- and fee-thresholds for coverage; added a new coverage test based on a transaction’s prepayment penalties; and provided new limitations on risky loan features, as well as other new protections for high-cost mortgages. The CFPB has finalized rules to implement the Dodd-Frank Act’s amendments to HOEPA.

For loans that are high-cost mortgages, today’s final rule:

  • Bans potentially risky features: For mortgages that qualify as high-cost, the rule      generally bans balloon payments (a large, lump sum payment usually due at      the end of the loan) with some exceptions, such as for certain types of      loans made by creditors serving rural or underserved areas, and bans      penalties for paying the loan early.
  • Bans and limits certain fees and practices: The CFPB’s rule bans fees for modifying loans, caps      late fees at four percent of the payment that is past due, generally      prohibits closing costs from being rolled into the loan amount, and      restricts the charging of fees when consumers ask for a payoff statement      (a document that tells borrowers how much they need to pay off the loan).      The rule also prohibits certain bad practices, such as encouraging a      consumer to default on an existing loan to be refinanced by a high-cost      mortgage.
  • Requires housing counseling: The rule requires consumers to receive housing      counseling before taking out a high-cost mortgage.

In addition to strengthening the protections for high-cost mortgages, the Bureau today is implementing a requirement of the Dodd-Frank Act that lenders provide a list of homeownership counseling organizations to consumers shortly after they apply for a mortgage so consumers know where to get help when deciding what loan is best for them.

The Bureau is also implementing other changes made by the Dodd-Frank Act concerning escrow accounts. An escrow account is an account that a lender may set up to pay certain recurring property-related expenses on a consumer’s behalf, such as property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Escrow accounts help to ensure that consumers have enough money to pay those bills when they come because the lender breaks the expenses down into monthly installments and adds them to the monthly mortgage payment. Through an escrow account, consumers can better see the true cost of owning a home with insurance and tax costs laid out with each mortgage payment and are better assured that those costs are paid in a timely manner.

Under current regulations, creditors are required to establish escrow accounts for certain higher-priced mortgage loans for a minimum of one year. Today’s final rule implements changes from the Dodd-Frank Act that generally extend the required duration of an escrow account on such mortgage loans from a minimum of one year to a minimum of five years. To preserve access to credit, the rule exempts loans made by certain creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas, as long as certain other criteria are met.

The rules will be available later today at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/regulations

 

A consumer guide to the final HOEPA rule can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201301_cfpb_high-cost-mortgage-rule_what-it-means-for-consumers.pdf

 

A consumer guide to the final Escrows rule can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201301_cfpb_escrow-requirements-rule_what-it-means-for-consumers.pdf

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20.6 Million U.S. Homeowners Own Homes Free And Clear Of Mortgage Debt

20.6 Million U.S. Homeowners Own Homes Free And Clear Of Mortgage Debt

 

Pittsburgh, Tampa and New York Top Metros For Free-And-Clear Homeownership; Age, Credit Score and Local Home Values Help Influence Ratios Of Debt-Free Homeowners

 

SEATTLE, Jan. 10, 2013 — Almost 21 million Americans, or 29.3 percent of homeowners, own their homes outright, unencumbered by a mortgage, according to a recent Zillow® analysis of mortgage data.

 

Analyzing data through the third quarter of 2012, Zillow found that 20.6 million homeowners nationwide own their homes free and clear of mortgage debt.

 

Among the nation’s 30 largest metro areas included in the study, Pittsburgh (38.6 percent), Tampa (33.2 percent), New York (29.7 percent), Cleveland (29.4 percent) and Miami (28.9 percent) had the highest percentage of free-and-clear homeowners. Washington, D.C. (15.5 percent), Atlanta (17.7 percent), Las Vegas (18.3 percent), Denver (18.5 percent) and Charlotte (20 percent) had the lowest percentage.

 

A number of elements influence the percentage of free-and-clear homeowners in a given area, including median home values. Zillow found that areas with lower home values generally have higher outright homeownership rates, as smaller loan amounts are easier to pay back more quickly.

 

Demographic factors including the age and credit rating of primary borrowers also influence free-and-clear homeownership rates. Zillow found that 65- to 74-year-olds are most likely to be free-and-clear (20.5 percent), followed by 74- to 84-year-olds (17.9 percent). This is attributed to the fact that the longer someone owns a home, the longer they have to pay off their mortgage. Interestingly, when examining free-and-clear ownership rates as a percentage of homeowners in various age groups, Zillow found 34.5 percent of 20- to 24-year-old homeowners are free of mortgages.

 

Among homeowners who own their homes outright, 44 percent have a high VantageScore – representing their credit rating – between 800 and 900. Only 15.5 percent of homeowners with the highest credit rating of 900-990 are free-and-clear.

 

“So far we have used our unique data on how much homeowners owe on their homes primarily to identify underwater and delinquent groups of homeowners,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries . “But looking at those homeowners who are free-and-clear is important, too. Homeowners unencumbered by a mortgage may be more flexible than indebted homeowners, and therefore more apt or willing to list their homes or enter the market for a new property. By determining where these homeowners are located, we can also gain insight into potential inventory and demand in those areas, as well.”

 

Zillow’s analysis incorporates mortgage data from TransUnion®, a global leader in credit and information management. All personally identifying information is removed from the data by TransUnion before delivery to Zillow. Overall, the data covers more than 800 metro areas, 2,100 counties and 21,900 ZIP codes nationwide. To calculate the free-and-clear homeownership rate, we compute the number of overall homeowners and number of homeowners with no outstanding mortgage debt by location and demographics. We exclude investor and rental homes.

METRO

FREE-&-CLEAR
HOMEOWNERSHIP RATE

METRO

FREE-&-CLEAR
HOMEOWNERSHIP RATE

New York

29.7%

San Diego

21.5%

Los Angeles

20.7%

Tampa

33.2%

Chicago

23.8%

St. Louis

27.2%

Dallas-Fort Worth

24.5%

Baltimore

22.5%

Philadelphia

27.6%

Denver

18.5%

Washington, DC

15.5%

Pittsburgh

38.6%

Miami-Fort   Lauderdale

28.9%

Portland

21.8%

Atlanta

17.7%

Sacramento

21.5%

Boston

24.6%

Orlando

24.6%

San Francisco

21.8%

Cincinnati

23.7%

Detroit

28.8%

Cleveland

29.4%

Riverside, Calif.

20.6%

Las Vegas

18.3%

Phoenix

22.9%

San Jose, Calif.

22.1%

Seattle

21.0%

Columbus, Ohio

21.7%

Minneapolis-St   Paul

20.6%

Charlotte, NC

20.0%

For more data on free-and-clear homeownership, including data at the state, metro and county levels broken down by homeowners’ age and credit rating, please see the full research brief or contact press@zillow.com.

 

About Zillow:
Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) is the leading real estate information marketplace, providing vital information about homes, real estate listings and mortgages through its website and mobile applications, enabling homeowners, buyers, sellers and renters to connect with real estate and mortgage professionals best suited to meet their needs. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. Dr. Humphries and his team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 350 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow, Inc. operates Zillow.com®, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, Zillow Rentals, Zillow Mobile, Postlets®, Diverse Solutions®, Buyfolio™, Mortech™ and HotPads™. The company is headquartered in Seattle.

 

Zillow.com, Zillow, Postlets and Diverse Solutions are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc. Buyfolio, Mortech and HotPads are trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

 

TransUnion is a registered trademark of Trans Union , LLC.

 

SOURCE Zillow

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