December 16, 2009 Newsletter

The year is about to end and many in the industry are happy to see 2009 go. While we have had a reasonable year given the marketplace, most real estate insiders believe that 2010 will be the start of the turn in real estate. All of us at Colony wish you a healthy and happy holiday season and best wishes for the New Year.

Interest rates have stayed the course over the last few months, hanging at the high 4’s to low 5% depending on the market that day and your creditworthiness. We have seen some 30 year mortgages close as low as 4.5%. The Fed today agreed to hold steady as to the rate they lend to banks so there should be rates in this range for awhile, depending on the bond market. As many of you know, the bond market and stock market run counter to each other (generally) so when the stock market starts to tank, investors flee to bonds. That strengthens the bond market and rates tend to go down. When investors move more heavily into stocks bonds suffer and rates rise. What has been unusual in the past 2 years is those maxims haven’t always been true, but right now that seems to be the pattern. So if the stock market continues to rise, expect rates to start a climb.

There was a disturbing article in the paper about a Howard County woman who nearly lost her home to unscrupulous “foreclosure rescue scam” artists. As reported in the Sun a mortgage broker and title company had solicited through the mail to save homes for people falling into foreclosure. In reality the person in distress signed their property over to the “rescue” people only to find the rent they had to pay to the rescuers, was worse than the payments they previously had. Ultimately the title company paid $100,000.00 and agreed not to practice in Howard County for three years (the title company, Heavyweight Title , is in Owings Mills), and the mortgage broker also paid in order to save the woman’s home. The lesson is if you or a friend is facing foreclosure, DO NOT respond to the solicitations from the “we can save your home” guys. Have them check with us or call1 888 995 HOPE, which is a non profit that handles assisting homeowners to keep their homes. I strongly urge that if you know anyone who is struggling with their mortgage payments they (1) contact their lender and attempt to work out a plan and (2) contact us or HOPE at the number above.

As always, we want to be your title company and law firm, handling all your real estate needs. Please call me at 410 884 1160 x 3007 or email me at tee.tillman@colonytitle.com.

HAPPY HOLIDAY