Mortgage rates fall, payments improve

(AP) Good news for the few who can afford to buy a home or are able to refinance-fixed mortgage rates fell to, at or near record lows, and mortgage payments improved in the second quarter. 

The fixed mortgage rate fell to 5.82% compared with 6.67% a year ago. It peaked at 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009. 

The drop reflects stricter lending policies at banks, said Tim Martin, who watches the housing market for TransUnion’s financial services business unit. Since banks are more cautious about ending only to customers with higher credit scores, new homeowners are less likely to default on their mortgages, he explained. “Newer vintages of mortgages are performing better and becoming a bigger portion of outstanding mortgage universe,” he said. On older mortgages, the number of borrower who lost their jobs or had mortgage payments that adjusted beyond their ability to pay are on the downswing… more

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