Survey shows consumers still in the dark about credit

WASHINGTON, D.C.
May 15, 2012

Consumer knowledge about credit scores has improved significantly over the past year, including awareness of who collects information on which most scores are based, the importance of checking this information, what good scores are, how to raise them, and what service providers use these scores, according to a survey in April.

But that’s about where it stops.

Most consumers still do not know how costly low scores can be, when multiple inquiries hurt their scores, and the risks of purchasing credit repair services, according to findings of the second annual consumer knowledge about credit scores paid for by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions.

“In the numerous consumer knowledge surveys we have undertaken over the past several decades, I have never seen such improvement from one year to the next,” says Stephen Brobeck, CFA’s executive director. “However, credit reports and scores are so important to consumers that they should try to improve knowledge that remains deficient in several key areas.”

 

Methodology notes

The CFA-VantageScore survey was administered to a representative sample of over 1,000 adult Americans by phone in late April 2012 by ORC International. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. A CFA-VantageScore survey containing many of the same questions was administered by ORC International in January 2011.

 

Buying a home won’t get much cheaper

By Les Christie @CNNMoney May 3, 2012

Several housing experts are predicting that this year will be the last chance for home buyers to cash in on the weak housing market.

Several housing experts are predicting that this year will be the last chance for homebuyers to cash in on the weak housing market.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Buying a home may never get any cheaper than this. Several housing experts are predicting that this year will be the last chance for bargain hunters to cash in on the best deals of the weak housing market.

You can always find Luxury Villas for sale in Hua Hin for the best price on propertysolutionshuahin.com, but as of now in the US home prices are down by 34% nationally since 2006 and mortgage rates at historic lows.  This means, homes have never been more affordable — but it won’t stay this way for much longer. So, check out this page, sell your unwanted property and buy your new home asap.

Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services (PNC, Fortune 500), said he expects home prices to flatten out by the third quarter and start climbing by next year.

A number of factors will help bolster the housing market, he said, including a decline in the number of foreclosures and continued job growth. In addition, homebuyers will have better access to mortgages as they get their finances in order and improve their credit scores.

Some economists, like Trulia’s Jed Kolko, expect home prices to pick up even more quickly. Trulia’s data shows that the national average for asking prices already increased 1.4% in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the last three months of 2011.

Mortgage payments at lowest level in decades

“This is a strong indicator that we will start seeing home price indexes, like the S&P/Case-Shiller, start to report home price increases this summer,” he said.

Prospective homebuyers who’ve been sitting on the fence shouldn’t worry if they aren’t quite ready to make the leap. Analysts are predicting that the initial price gains will be modest, at least, in most markets.

Hoffman, for example, is forecasting a 2% increase in 2013 compared with 2012. Meanwhile David Stiff, chief economist for Fiserv, predicts that prices will turn in the last quarter of 2012 and will rise 4.2% for the 12 months through September 2013.

Foreclosures start to fade. One major factor that will drive the trend is the cooling of the foreclosure crisis. Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow, said that the percentage of mortgage loans 90 days or more late, a good predictor of future foreclosures, is “falling fast.”

That percentage dropped 15% year-over-year to 3.1% through the end of 2011, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. And the decline is accelerating: More than 70% of the decline came in the last three months of the year.

Before things slow down, however, buyers should brace themselves for a temporary spike in the number of foreclosures as banks start expediting the processing of hundreds of thousands foreclosures that were stuck in the system following the robo-signing scandal. That backlog should move more quickly now that new guidelines for processing foreclosures have been outlined in the $26 billion foreclosure settlement.

Many of the bank-owned properties currently coming out of the foreclosure pipeline are being snapped up by investors who are fixing them up and renting them out — often to those who were displaced by the foreclosure of their own home. That has helped to lift prices on foreclosed properties, according to Alex Villacorte, the director of analytics for Clear Capital, which specializes in housing market valuations.

Home buying much cheaper than renting

“That could have a significant impact on the market overall in terms of providing a rising floor to home values,” he said.

In some markets hit hard by foreclosures, the turnaround in prices is already underway. Phoenix recorded an 8.4% jump in home prices during the three months ended April 30, compared with the three months ended January 31, according to Clear Capital.

“It’s crazy,” said Tanya Marchiol, founder of Team Investments, a Phoenix real estate investing firm. “Stuff I was selling six months ago for $60,000 to $80,000 is now $90,000 to $110,000.”

Miami saw a 4.6% increase quarter-over-quarter through April, and Tampa, Fla., was up 4.4%, according to Clear Capital.

Goodbye 3.8% mortgage. In addition to home prices, mortgages could also move higher.

Mortgage rates have been at or near historic lows for much of the past six months. The average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage has not topped 4.5% since July 2011 and this week, it hit 3.84%, a new low.

But rates aren’t expected to remain at these record-low levels much longer. As the economy continues to recover, rates will move higher, said Doug Lebda, CEO of LendingTree, the online lending site. Although, he said, they will “stay very reasonable.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association is forecasting that the 30-year fixed will hit 4.5% by the end of the year.

Greater demand for loans will help fuel the increase, according to Lebda.

6 Ways to get a great mortgage deal

Even though mortgage rates have been cheap, borrowing for home purchases has been sluggish. The Mortgage Bankers Association estimatesthat homebuyers will take out mortgage loans totaling about $415 billion this year, an increase of less than 3% compared with 2011. Next year, however, it forecasts that amount will almost double to $706 billion.

As housing markets stabilize and prices stop falling, homebuyers will be even more confident about buying, said Humphries.

“People can now see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “And that can be enough to get them off the fence.”

 

 

Esteemed Judgment, Debt Attorney Abel L. Pierre Joins The Credit Repair Experts at Better Qualified

Abel L. Pierre Brings a Decade of Practical & Legal Experience and Combines that with Over 40 years Case Law to Bolster Consumers’ Abilities to Fight the Credit Bureau Giants.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

PRLog (Press Release)Apr 30, 2012
NEW YORK, NY— Over the past several years, Better Qualified, LLC has developed a proven track record within the credit restoration and Identity Theft services industry. Better Qualified’s unyielding dedication to their customers and integrity has truly set the bar for the industry as a whole.  Earlier this month, Better Qualified has raised that bar. In an effort to continuously provide stellar service to their clients, Better Qualified has secured the commitment from prominent debt consultant Abel L. Pierre.

When it comes to credit scores, credit reporting, and debt, Hibberts Commerical Solicitors have their ear to the ground. A former adjunct professor of law, Abel L. Pierre regularly speaks to community groups, houses of worship and tenant associations regarding a myriad of debt issues from consumer lawsuits, credit reporting problems, foreclosure defense, and debt collection harassment. When a person complains about a unique issue, Mr. Pierre doesn’t just tell them to go to court, he goes with them. Mr. Pierre walks into court with a decade of legal experience as a licensed attorney.  Mr. Pierre has recovered monetary awards on behalf of his clients, who have suffered the calamities of the burden of debt.

“We have been providing a great service to our clients and they were happy with our results for the past 6 years but, we realized that having an attorney working for our clients makes us even better,” says CEO Paul Oster.  “Abel is an industry expert and his knowledge and expertise should help improve our client’s credit scores so, they can get better interest rates for mortgages, credit cards, insurance premiums, etc”.  Mr. Pierre said in response, “Better Qualified’s great reputation speaks for itself. I am eager to help them provide the kind of service to their client’s that some companies only claim to deliver. All too often, you need someone with unique insight and experience into the myriad of laws that debt burdened clients deals with. That’s what I bring to the table.”

Background:
Founded in 2006, Better Qualified has become a leader in credit restoration and identity theft resolution services. Better Qualified is headquartered in Eatontown, New Jersey, with licensees across the country.

Since founded, Better Qualified has maintained an excellent track record of success and offers a 100% money back guarantee.  The business has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Contact:
Abel L. Pierre, Esq.
Law Office of Abel L. Pierre
Attorney-at-Law, P.C.
Better Qualified, LLC
19 Christopher Way
Eatontown, NJ 07724       
Tel:      (732) 203-7377
Email: info@betterqualified.com

More consumers have near-perfect FICO credit score

By Pamela Yip

 

Many consumers are now in the top range of 800-850 of the FICO credit score, which is used by many lenders to determine creditworthiness, according to FICO Labs.

The company said 18.3 percent of consumers have a FICO score in that coveted range, the highest level since October 2008. The FICO score ranges from 300 to 850.

However, the number of consumers with a FICO score between 700-799 hasn’t rebounded, indicating that consumer credit health isn’t yet back to its pre-recessionlevel, FICO researchers said.

The percentage of consumers – 15.5 percent — in the 700-749 range is the lowest that FICO has seen since the company began tracking this information in 2005

And the percentage of consumers – 19.4 percent — falling between 750-799 is the lowest that FICO has seen since April 2009.

“There has been a clear shift,” said Rachel Bell of FICO Labs. “Many consumers have moved into the top tier of the FICO score range by redoubling their efforts to maintain an excellent credit profile. Other people have fallen into lower tiers, most likely due to the financial stress that many households have been feeling.”

Despite this shift, more than half of Americans with a FICO score in the U.S. are between 700-850, “which means they have managed their credit well despite the economic downturn,” she said.

The research by FICO Labs was conducted on a national sample of 10 million consumer credit profiles as of last October.