Posts by Paul Mullings
Paul Mullings is senior vice president in charge of strategic business initiatives for Freddie Mac's Single-Family Business. He directs the development and execution of business strategies, manages strategic stakeholder relationships, and oversees the implementation of strategic business programs, including achievement of housing goals. Mullings is a member of Freddie Mac’s operating committee. He joined the company in 2005 from JPMorgan Chase where he was senior vice president, manager Mortgage Finance, and Fair Lending executive at Chase Home Finance, one of the nation's largest residential mortgage lenders.
Have you HARPed? A large number of eligible homeowners – who could save thousands of dollars a year on their mortgage payments – have yet to refinance through the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). And the clock is gradually running out.
Now that we’re officially in the New Year, I want to share some of the expectations I and other Freddie Mac executives have for 2013.
Per Freddie Mac's latest forecast, as the housing recovery spreads and stabilizes, we're likely to see less refinancing and more purchase mortgages for homebuying. That’s because so much of the nation’s refi demand already has been met thanks to historically low mortgage rates and the Home Affordable Refinance Program’s success.
Mortgage rates are at 50-year lows – the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent at the close of 2011 – making homeownership more affordable than ever for families with a stable income and good credit. But before you begin house hunting in earnest, it's important that you get the facts about buying a home in today's market. Because whether you're shopping for your first home or your third, there are some "rules of the road" you'll need to understand.
Here are four steps you should take as soon as you start thinking seriously about buying a home:
"You can observe a lot just by watching." – Yogi Berra
One thing I observed recently was how few people seem to know the nation is experiencing a refinance surge. Pick up the paper or turn on the TV and you would think nobody can refinance a mortgage, when more than 10 million already have since 2009, saving billions of dollars in monthly payments.
You're thinking about buying a home, but you're worried by the reports of how tough it is to qualify for a mortgage these days and how big a down payment is required. Yes, credit standards are higher now than they were a few years ago. But they actually are about the same as in the mid-1990s. Factor in today's historically low interest rates and current home prices, and affordable mortgages are within reach for many qualified borrowers who may have been hesitant to enter the market.
Although owning a home is not for everyone, and renting might be a better option for some, here are several facts to keep in mind if you choose to pursue homeownership.