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Mortgage rates rise as home prices and sales fall:The Banks and the Dems Don't Want To Help Too Many People

Thursday February 26, 2009, 12:38 pm EST
Mortgage rates rose over the past week, as home prices and sales fell and the government issues massive amounts of debt to pay for federal spending.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 5.41% for the week ended Feb. 25 from 5.34% the week prior, according to Bankrate.com. The average jumbo 30-year fixed rate slipped to 6.87% from 6.92%.


Dem spat delays mortgage relief bill in House
2/26/2009, 1:48 p.m. EST
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A dispute among House Democrats stalled legislation Thursday to let bankruptcy judges reduce the principal and interest rate on mortgages for debt-strapped homeowners.

The measure, backed by President Barack Obama, is the most controversial part of a broader housing package that had been expected to pass the House this week.
It hit a snag after a group of moderates expressed concerns in a closed-door meeting of House Democrats about how the bill would affect homeowners who are still struggling to make their mortgage payments.

The banking industry has lobbied hard against the measure, mounting a successful multimillion-dollar effort last year to kill it.

But banks want to go much further, restricting the bill only to subprime or other exotic loans.

Consumer advocates and most Democrats regard the measure as crucial to slowing the rapid rate of foreclosures. They say it's the only way to force mortgage holders — known as loan servicers — to take steps to help homeowners stay in their homes.