Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 12, 2004 · Page 29
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 29

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Ukiah, California
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Friday, March 12, 2004
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Page 29
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ON THE MARKET FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2004—13 Equity financing to get out of debt is gaining support By JAMES M. WOODARD Copley News Service Some homeowners are reluctant to raise cash by tapping the equity in their homes. They seem to think there's a negative stigma attached to drawing cash from their equity - except in dire emergencies - because it is a sure way to amass wealth. However, more and more homeowners are using part of their growing equity to improve their financial situation. They refinance their existing mortgage with a cash-out loan - one with a larger balance than the original mortgage - or they obtain a home equity loan. The loans' are secured by increased value of the borrowers' homes. Some believe that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan supported the use of equity funds at a credit union conference meeting in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 25 when he said that the financial health of U.S. households is generally in "good shape." "Over the past two years, significant increases in the value of real estate assets have, for some households, mitigated stock market losses and supported consumption," Greenspan said. He noted that consumer debt has reached a record $2 trillion and per- sonal bankruptcies have been on a record pace in recent years. Consumer spending accounts for roughly two- thirds of all economic activity in the United States. Many people who find themselves strapped for cash find tapping their home equity to be an effective solution. Factors making it attractive are mortgage interest rates at or near 45- year lows and sharply rising home values. On the other hand, it is comforting to see that equity continue to grow. The benefits of using home equity as a saving vehicle, or even paying off a mortgage, was underlined by the Consumer Federation of America. "Paying off the mortgage on a home has been, and will continue to be, the best and easiest way for households to build personal wealth," said Stephen Brobeck, CFA's executive director. The report on homeownership is based on data collected by the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances. According to the Fed, 97 percent of homeowners hold at least some home equity and the median homeowner had accumulated $70,000. For all homeowners, equity represents 42 percent of their net wealth, the CFA study revealed. But for lower-income and minority households, this percentage was much higher. In fact, for lower-income families, home equity represents 80 percent of net wealth. Q: What new features are included in today's homes? A: Technology is sparking changes in homes now on the drawing board. For example, the owners of new homes will soon be able to control their doorbells, door locks and outside lights with the touch of a button on their cell phones. These and other advances on the drawing board for new homes are predicted by University of Florida researchers. Also foreseen are homes featuring built-in sensors to measure daily activity, microwave ovens that will read radio-frequency ID tags to automatically cook foods, smart strips on mattresses that will monitor breathing and pulse rates, toilets that will rinse and dry users to eliminate the need for toilet paper and medicine cabinets that will warn against possible dangerous drug interactions. It is possible today to build a home that can monitor the occupants' habits so well as to know when to turn on the heater, shower, interior lights and the coffee-maker. Kitchens can be built that can schedule healthy meals using built-in scales to take into account occupants' weight gain, inventory the contents of the refrigerator and have much-needed items ordered and delivered. Q: How can I access my credit score? A: Until a few months ago, it was difficult to learn one's "credit score." It seemed as if there were a veil of secrecy obscuring the scoring system. Today, many lenders and other firms are eager to provide scores as a customer service. Some firms accom- pany the score with suggestions for improving ari individual's credit score, which can help borrowers to qualify for a better loan with better terms. For example, Providian Financial Corp. offers customers unlimited free access to their credit scores. They can sign up for free automatic e-mail alerts to warn them my time their scores move by more than 10 points. As an added benefit, that service provides an effective defense against identity-theft credit crimes. Q: Are luxury home sales slumping? A: As baby boomers mature, the market for luxury homes is becoming more active. The trend is nationwide, but California leads all states in the sale of high-priced homes. In fact, California has six times more luxury home sales than any other state, according to a study by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. In 2003, luxury home sales for Coldwell Banker in California topped $12.6 billion, with the single most expensive home selling in Malibu for $22.6 million. The national average price for luxury homes sold by Coldwell Banker affiliates in 2003 was $1.69 million. Sales of these homes last year increased by 24 percent over sales in 2002, Coldwell Banker reported. Send inquiries to James M. Woodard, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 921120190. Questions may be used in future columns; personal responses should not be expected. Collect Continued from Page 12 included such old favorites as Mother Goose, nursery songs, a book of prayers and an alphabet book, as well as "The Poky Little Puppy" and "The Animals of Farmer Jones." They proved enormously popular with both parents and children, and in the first five months a million and a half copies were printed. During World War II, with its consequent paper shortage, the size and number of pages of some of the books were reduced slightly and a blue binding was used. After the war, the series continued to thrive. More educational subjects were included, including "The Giant Golden Book Encyclopedia." "Walt Disney's Little Golden Books" came on the scene in 1944, and by the 10th anniversary of the series in 1952, more than 182 million Little Golden Books had been sold more than half the titles had sold more than a million copies each worldwide. Some had gimmicky enhancements - six Band- Aids were glued to the title page of "Doctor Dan, the Bandage Man," and "Little Lulu and her Magic Tricks" came with a small packet of Kleenex. An activity series in the 1950s included everything from stencils to learning wheels and paper dolls. The prices of the books gradually inched up from 25 cents to about a dollar - still a bargain. A not-so-little new book, the 5th edition of "Little Golden Books, a Collector's See COLLECT, Page 14 MORTGAGE RATE SURVEY * UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL | INSTITUTION PHONE Bankof America , 463-3895 Citicorp Savings 981-3180 RsdwoodCrUn 545-4000 Wells Fargo BOO 869-3557 Westamerioa Bk 406-5471 World Savings 546-8370* 30 YEAH 1 IXKD CONt OMMING RATE PTS FEE APR RG 5.900 a.500 100 6,170 30 5.375 1.875 250 5.592 60 5.7SO 0,000 476 S.770 45 5.500 1.000 na 5.655 60 7,360 S.OOO 475 7.486 30 's500 I'OOO 175 na 30 3O YEAR ADJUSIABl E CONI OHMING ADJ MAR 3.0OO 2.350 2.750 2.750 3.625 0.000 3.75O na LC PTS FEE APR RG N AP 9.000 1.782 100 3.69' SO N 6 8.750 0.875 250 3.78" 60 N 12 8.OCO 0.000 475 3.64* 45 N )8 9.750 1.000 na 4.33 60 na 60 6.375 2.760 13.975 1.000 475 7.44« 46 N 12 n/o 0.000 0.000 0.000 000 0.00 00 0 00 MORTGAGE RATES : 15 YEAR FIXED .-_,-. CONFORMING Bank of America 468-3621 Oftloorp Savings oai f$i 8Q Redwood Cr Un 545-4000 Weils Fargo 800- ,, , , a 6p-3i Westamerlca Bank 468-5471 vy«W Saving^, ^ ,^jB^9^ PHONE Bank of America 468-3627 Oltfporp Savings • 991^|$Q, ; Redwood Cr Un 545-4000 $t*& f f^^i Jf«nl^ < -#&*&&*$> "PIP 5.200 2.500 $100 5.590 30 4,625 1,875 $260 4,986 6O 5.000 O.O'OO $475 5.032 45 4.636 1.000 ' na ,4,682 60 6.750 1.000 $475 6.960 30 .4.78Q t,000 ' $17$ 8,037 80 HOME EQUITY LOAN $5K $IOK $25K $50K ~ ,i m Wells Fargo Bank 800-869-3557 W^ft[»|p(|^^^nk^ w 4^^J * RATE: Interest rate charged for borrowlr charges.. FEES: Loan processing charg Treasury (*) ; 6 month CD ( A ) ; Libor (') with lees & points calculated In. AP: Adj trom date of loan application that Instltutl Homo Equity : revolving line of credit, MasterCard annual A.P.R. Fe« : annu AT ANV TIME WITHOUT NOTICE - NO ENDORSE PROGRAMS. NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ERRORS, t<& 8.54 8.54 7.04 7.04 ; <W^4,7& 4,79 4,7(5 4.75 4.75 4.25 4.25 1 tm . ( '«n x r »i» o» 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 W*v* 9W f )W ^•'W g on an owner occupied first trust deed, S 3S..ADJ:lntroduclory rate on 30 year adjus on loans. MAR: Margin over the Index. uslment period 1 -monthly 6-sem)-annual on will hold stated rate. N: Loan Is negative secured by 2nd T.D. Personal Un: Perso ll charge for Issuing the credit card. RATE MENTS ARE EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED CREDIT Uf OMISSIONS, OR DELETIONS. E-m«ll: Monoyllne Ph 714 / 44 1-2292 Fax 714 / 44 1-2293 Form and con ten l are proprietary to Money line News JUMBO PTS FEE 5.450 2.500 $100 4.875 1.625 $850 5.125 O.OOO $475 4,875 . 1.000 na 7.375 1 8,900 ' 1 Auto Loans 10K I5K 2OK UOK 9.26 8.19 7 na ne 14 7.14 na na 3.89 3.99 3.99 3.99 5.48 5,49 ^ 4? 6.49 3.99 3.99 3.99 3.99 f J9.26 8.7|l 9 3% LTV. PTS: Poin table rate mortgage -C: Life lime cap. 12-annual. HG: R amorltlzed; N - NC nal Unsecured Instf a ARE SUPPLIED BY PA 4IONS MAY REQUIRE M Newsservice®* worldn 7J> ^8.SQ _ s total of brok s lied to 11th APR: The inle ate Guarantee ), Y - YES . Nl illment loan lo RTICIPATINQ INS1 F.MOEHSHIP FOR et.all.nol SO .000 $475 ,800 $176 Personal on $5K na 11,40 8.90 nn na 2Q,S,0 sr, discount and District Cost ol F rest rate expres a the period of I O; Not Offered h 24 months. Cr ITUTIONS AND ARE PARTICIPATION IN URGE: Moncylln* Service, reproduction by written consent only. Dal* : Ma •"•I 5.840 3C 6.1 S3 60 5.158 45 5.09S 60 7.589 30 na 30 Credit Card Anmuil Foe na $OO 19,40 $00 9.90 $00 10,90 $00 na $00 16.40 ,$OP oan origination unds {-); the 1 Year jed in annual terms ma I/A: Not available Bdlt Card : VISA or SUBJECT TO CHANGE DEPOSIT AND/OH LOAN N*w« Etorvlc* iroh 8th, 2004

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