Mortgage rates rose this week at the fastest pace of the year, with Freddie Mac's survey showing lenders were offering 30-year fixed-rate loans at an average of 4.23 percent, up from 4.12 percent last week.

Housing starts tumbled in August, led by a falloff in apartment and condo construction, new figures showed.

For the last 24 years, mortgage interest rates have been in the single-digits, supporting a widespread presumption in the mortgage industry that this is the normal state of affairs. Yet the rate was 10 percent or higher during most of the 11 year period 1979-1990. Given this history and the current outlook for the economy and monetary policy, it is prudent to consider the consequences of a return to double-digits, and to take whatever measures are available to soften their impact.The need for preventative measures is particularly acute in the reverse mortgage market.

When Baltimore-area real estate professionals Alex Kopicki and Jeff Jacobson started a development firm roughly three years ago, they figured they knew what they were doing, so they were surprised by one of their biggest problems out of the gate.

Newly listed in Beverly Hills, Calif.: A move-in-ready home with a Dom Perignon-stocked 2,500-bottle wine room, an 18-seat tiered theater with a 14-foot screen and a $200,000 candy bar.

Q: We have equity in our home and agreed to sell it using an "as-is" contract. It allows the buyer 15 days to get an inspection and cancel if they're not satisfied with the condition of the property. The inspection found about $3,000 worth of normal wear and tear, but now the buyer is threatening to cancel if we don't lower the price. What should we do?

Home builders have a little more spring in their step this fall.

Maybe the kids today aren't so different after all.

A Hawaiian retreat built for Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has come to market at $5.9 million.

Q: Several years ago, my brother and I bought a foreclosed house from the bank. He and I split the money, but only my name went on the deed. We downloaded a form off the Internet, creating a limited liability company and quit-claim deeding the property to our company. We just found out that the bank missed a lien during the foreclosure. We made a claim against our title insurance policy that was denied. What gives?

West Coast timber giant Weyerhaeuser's move to Seattle means that its suburban campus, a groundbreaking piece of 20th-century corporate architecture located about 20 miles outside the city, is now up for grabs.

A no-cost mortgage is one on which all lender fees are waived, and (subject to the possible exceptions described below) other fees are paid by the lender. The quid pro quo is a relatively high interest rate, which makes the NCM costly for borrowers who expect to have their mortgage a long time. But if the borrower has limited cash, avoiding an upfront cash drain may be much more compelling than the higher interest cost spread over many years.



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