The home-buying season is characterized by low mortgage rates and a slim inventory, which has the National Association of Realtors warning buyers to expect stiff competition. Buyers in some markets will even encounter bidding wars. Another real estate trend shaping up impacts homeowners who are 90 days to two years behind in their mortgage payments, as they will have access to a streamlined modification program for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans beginning in July, provided they owe at least 80 percent of the home’s value. These borrowers will benefit from lower interest rates, an extended loan term of 40 years, and no need to provide financial documentation. Beginning June 2, meanwhile, borrowers seeking FHA mortgages with less than 10 percent down will pay for mortgage insurance until their loans are refinanced or paid off; those who put 10 percent or more down will pay for mortgage insurance for at least 11 years. The 2013 spring housing market also is seeing a return to cash-out refinances and home equity loans. | Read More