As housing prices are starting to gain traction, we still have progress that needs to be made. Right now the big influence on pricing is still location. Markets that have fewer foreclosures, smaller inventories at the banks and low unemployment are see growth in this area. As more of America goes back to work the positive impact will continue to be felt. When people feel more confident, they start spending money. When you combined this with affordable mortgages this contributes to the housing recovery our economy needs.
After dealing with the banking market issues, our industry is certain to have new regulatory controls put in place. Right now those issues are still up in the air. We can expect the Dodd-Frank legislation to have a direct impact on the mortgage industry. Issues may include accountability from both the buyer and the seller, the definition of a qualified mortgage and conflict of interest of various parties.
Looking at the issues the mortgage industry has seen, you can be certain the market is I for major changes. You can expect better technology that’s makes qualifying a loan easier and the loans that are qualified are better loans. As new regulations are put in place we will see more education to our industry, better informed lenders originate better loans.
Moving forward we will see new players emerge in the mortgage sector. This creates competition in the market allowing customer’s flexibility. As new technology emerges, originators will have better access to different programs. This gives the ability to build a loan specific for the needs of the consumer. Improved technology will create a higher level of service and a more accurate package to be assembled.
More and more credit card companies are moving to requiring a minimum payment of 2% of your total outstanding balance. Consumer Action, a consumer advocacy group out of San Francisco, found that the number of card companies with a 2% minimum payment reached 53%, up from 43% just a year ago.
Some creditors have even gone so far as to call this a “consumer friendly” move claiming it will assist consumers faced with today’s economic woes. In reality, a lower minimum payment causes you to take longer to pay off your debt to the creditor while winding up paying them more money in interest payments.
For example, let’s say you have a credit card debt of $2500.00 @18% annual percentage rate (APR). Your monthly minimum payment based on a 2.5% pay back rate would be $62.50 per month. Oh and by the way, here’s what the credit card company really doesn’t want you to know – it will take you 20 YEARS to pay off your $2500.00 balance paying the minimum monthly due. And you will have paid the credit card company $3,365.51 in interest!
Now lets look at the same example using the rate of 2% minimum monthly payment. Your monthly payment drops to just $50.00 a month. You might be tempted to think “wow, I’ve got an extra $12.50 a month to play with, yippeee!”. Not so fast! That lower minimum payment now means it will take you 34.5 YEARS to pay off your balance of $2500.00 and you’ll wind up paying $6,430.93 in interest!
Consumer Action also reports that many credit card companies are imposing higher late payment fees and “more than a third of card issuers said they will raise existing cardholders’ rates because of poor credit histories — with other creditors — even if the consumer has made regular, timely payments with that issuer”.