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UK mortgage approvals hit 13-year high, as firms warn of tough times – business live | Business

A Greggs bakers store in Cardiff, south Wales, at the start of the lockdown

A Greggs bakers store in Cardiff, south Wales, at the start of the lockdown Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

A swathe of UK companies are reporting today that Covid-19 continues to hurt their businesses, more than six months after the UK first imposed restrictions to battle the pandemic.

High street baker Greggs has warned that staff faced reduced hours, and potentially job cuts, as it tries to cut its employment costs.

Greggs, famous for its steak bakes, sausage rolls and new vegan offerings, reports that like-for-like sales in September are only 76.1% of the 2019 levels (an improvement on a ‘slow’ August).

With the government’s furlough scheme wrapping up in a month (replaced by a less generous wage subsidy package), Greggs says it must make cuts:


With business activity levels

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Posted in home improvement loans

How canceled student-loan and mortgage debts could affect your taxes and the secret to selling a home quickly during a pandemic

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‘We only want to start a home that we know will get paid for when it’s completed.’ KB Home CEO Jeffrey Mezger on his approach to the home-building boom

The pandemic has made home buyers more interested in kitchen storage and adding bathrooms for family members living with them.

The Property Brothers share the little extras that make a big difference in a home

“Property Brothers” stars Drew and Jonathan Scott know that people love homes with unexpected extras — and on the latest episode of “Brother vs. Brother,” they reveal which extras matter most.

The secret to selling a house quickly during a pandemic? Good listing photos

There is no perfect time to sell a house—anyone who’s ever put a property on the market will tell you that. Sure, tradition tells us that selling in spring might be ideal. But

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Posted in home improvement loans

How to Refinance Your Mortgage: Rates & Fees

Interest rates continue to hover near historical lows, so it’s not too late to lock in a lower mortgage payment for potentially the next decade or more. But a mortgage refinance isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone. You’ll need to consider a number of variables, and it’s important to understand the terms lenders use in a refinance and how the process works.

So before you start down the mortgage refinance path, take a look at our guide on how to refinance your mortgage and learn all the ins and outs — it’ll help you decide if a refinance makes sense for you.

Refinancing is the process of paying off your existing mortgage with the funds from a new mortgage. While most people refinance to take advantage of a lower interest rate on a new loan, other reasons to refinance include switching mortgage companies, changing the terms of your loan

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How to Move to the Country With a USDA Mortgage

Illustration for article titled How to Move to the Country With a USDA Mortgage

Image: Bogdan Sonjachnyj (Shutterstock)

This year isn’t what any of us expected, and between coronavirus, lockdowns, social unrest, and natural disasters, many Americans have been inspired to relocate, with an increasing number looking to move away from big cities.

While leaving the city may have some hidden costs, if you have the privilege of remote work and the funds to relocate—you may be looking for a quieter, slower-paced lifestyle in rural America—you’re not alone. According to a recent Realtor report, there was a 15% uptick in rural home searches in May.

With rock-bottom interest rates, you may also be eager to buy a home. But if you’re struggling to save enough for a down payment, there may be an option you haven’t considered: USDA mortgages. Here’s what to know about these loans.

Illustration for article titled How to Move to the Country With a USDA Mortgage

The benefits of a USDA home loan

The U.S. Department of

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Posted in home

Home Prices Skyrocketing Because Of Low Mortgage Rates, Not Because COVID-19 Increased Demand For Large Homes

Home prices are skyrocketing in most U.S. markets despite COVID- 19, a recession and a shockingly high unemployment rate.

Many analysts are speculating that part of the boom in house prices is caused by COVID-19 – that some people are concerned about COVID-19 contagion and don’t want to live any more in tight, multi-family buildings so they’re buying single-family homes in the suburbs. Another theory along the same lines is that because working from home has skyrocketed, some people want more space so they’re buying larger single-family homes, especially if their kids are home all day, too. This seems to be happening in metro New York City but what about places that weren’t hit as hard by COVID-19 and aren’t as dense as New York City?

Certainly the lower mortgage interest rates are a huge part of the current home price

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Home equity surges as demand soars and mortgage rates hover near lows

After a brief stall in home sales at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, homebuyers came rushing back in — so fast that prices never even took a hit. In fact, the gains in prices accelerated quickly, causing home equity to soar even more.  

Home equity for homeowners with a mortgage rose 6.6% annually in the second quarter, according to CoreLogic. Collectively, that adds up to a gain of $620 billion, or $9,800 per home.

Home values have continued to rise and are now up 5.1% annually, according to Zillow. Price gains accelerated in 48 of the 50 largest metropolitan housing markets across the country.

The reason is twofold: Demand is outpacing supply by a lot, and mortgage rates are sitting near record lows. The latter gives buyers more purchasing power.

The total supply of homes for sale was just over 29% lower annually for the week ending Sept. 12,

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11 programs that help first-time homebuyers get a mortgage

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • To qualify for a conventional mortgage, you typically need a 620 credit score, 36% debt-to-income ratio, and 10% down payment.
  • But there are programs that help first-time homebuyers get mortgages even if they don’t meet conventional loan standards.
  • You may be eligible for a government-backed mortgage, a conventional loan backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or a program specific to your state.
  • You can also get a special loan if your home requires significant repairs after moving in.
  • Have the Personal Finance Insider newsletter sent straight to your inbox.

Buying your home may feel like an insurmountable challenge, because you have to meet multiple requirements to qualify. Conventional mortgages typically mandate at

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Mortgage bailout numbers improve slowly, but real test is ahead

Jb Reed | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The number of borrowers in government Covid-19-related mortgage bailout programs is shrinking, but those in private-label or bank bailouts is rising.

This suggests that there is still pain ahead in the mortgage market, as some borrowers are simply not recovering enough financially to afford their home loans.

The total number of mortgages in active forbearance programs, where borrowers delay their monthly payments for at least three months, declined by 26,000 last week or 0.7%, according to Black Knight, a mortgage technology and data firm. This marks four consecutive weeks of improvement, but the pace has been slowing for the past few weeks.

As of Sept. 15, just under 3.7 million homeowners remain in these plans, representing 7% of all active mortgages. Together, these loans represent $781 billion in unpaid principal. The number of forbearance plans are now down more than 22% from the

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Can Digital Mortgage Platforms Reduce Discrimination in Lending?

Trevor McIntosh, 35, and Brennan Johnson, 31, secured a mortgage for their Wheat Ridge, Colo., home through Better.com in 2018. “We’re both millennials and we need to immediately go online for anything,” said Mr. Johnson, a data analyst. “It seemed more modern and progressive, especially with the tech behind it.”

Previously, the couple had negative home buying experiences. One homeowner, they said, outright refused to sell to them. A loan officer also dropped a bunch of surprise fees just before closing. The couple wasn’t sure whether prejudice — unconscious or otherwise — was to blame, but they couldn’t rule it out. “Trevor and I have experienced discrimination in a variety of forms in the past, and it becomes ingrained in your psyche when interacting with any institution,” said Mr. Johnson. “So starting with digital, it seemed like fewer obstacles, at least the ones we were afraid of, like human bias.”

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Posted in home improvement loans

Quicken Loans: Mortgage Rates Review 2020



a large lawn in front of a building: Quicken-Loans-Mortgage-Review


© Money; Getty Images
Quicken-Loans-Mortgage-Review

Quicken Loans: Pros and Cons

PROS

Generally speaking, there are three main areas where Quicken excels: variety of mortgage products, customer satisfaction, and online service. Quicken is also first in the country in mortgage originations by volume, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Quicken’s wide variety of loan products include conventional fixed-rate mortgages, government-backed VA, FHA, and USDA loans, and refinancing. In terms of customer sentiment, J.D. Power has ranked Quicken highest in mortgage origination satisfaction for 10 consecutive years. Finally, Quicken’s simple mortgage application process can be completed with any of their representatives over the phone or through its Rocket Mortgage online service.

CONS

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Quicken will fall short for potential borrowers who prefer face-to-face interactions. The company does not have physical branches, so customers will need to complete mortgage processes online or over the phone. Further, although Quicken Loans does offer

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