Housing Market Trends

Mortgage Affordability Lowest in 13 Years

Record home prices and slow growing incomes are two of the driving factors affecting mortgage affordability for so many today.

A median household would need to spend 32.1 percent of its income on mortgage payments for a median-priced home, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That marks the highest percentage since November 2008, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Growing incomes and low interest rates typically boost the market for mortgages, particularly for homebuyers purchasing their first home. But record housing prices have wiped out gains in other areas.

The national median listing price rose to a record-high $385,000 in July. But American’s incomes have only grown by 3 percent, from the previous July to a median of $67,031. Incomes just can’t keep up with rising home prices.

The percentage of income needed to make mortgage incomes on a median-priced home has grown noticeably this year. At the beginning of the year, that mark was 29.1 percent. The Wall Street Journal reported since then, it has grown at least slightly every single month, reaching 32% by July.

Ironically, in recent months, it has become easier for homebuyers to get a mortgage. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac begun approving loans from borrowers with lower credit scores.

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Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between keeping your home or losing it in foreclosure. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com

Debt Collection, Debt Relief

Understanding Zombie Debt and the Statute of Limitations

Consumer debts have what is called a statute of limitations. This is the amount of time the creditor can use the court to force a consumer to pay a debt. After the statute of limitations has expired on a debt, it is no longer legally enforceable. Occasionally, however, a consumer may be contacted regarding an old debt by a collector who hopes the consumer will ‘restart the statute of limitations.’

Zombie debt is debt that the consumer thinks is “dead,” meaning it is past the statute of limitations that the debt collector is now trying to bring back to life. While the debt collector cannot take the consumer to court to collect on the debt, there are no laws saying they cannot continue to contact the consumer to collect what is owed. Many times, debt collection agencies will purchase expired debt to turn a profit. Since the cost to buy expired debt is exceptionally low, even if they collect on a handful of accounts, they are still earning a profit.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit Score

When Can I Apply for a Credit Card after Bankruptcy?

The type of bankruptcy can affect how soon someone can apply for a credit card after bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case allows the consumer’s debts to be discharged fairly quickly, within a few months, after non-exempt assets are liquidated and used to pay off the filer’s debts.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case takes longer than a Chapter 7 case since it involves a three-to-five-year long repayment plan where the consumer works with the bankruptcy trustee on paying down qualifying debts while discharging what is left at the end of the repayment period.

Debt Collection, Debt Relief

Stopping a Wage Garnishment Once It Has Started

When dealing with a collection on a debt, the last thing a consumer wants is to face a garnishment of his or her wages to satisfy the debt. Many times, once the wage garnishment process has started, consumers fear that it is too late to do anything to stop it. It can be stopped, however, with quick action and the right steps taken.

Contact an Attorney.

The laws surrounding how to properly object to a wage garnishment can be complicated, and unless the individual is savvy with the legal system, costly mistakes can be made. Even if the person’s wages have already been garnished, consulting with an attorney is still advisable. The key is to act quickly since the law only allows a short window of time for a person to object to a legal proceeding.

student loan debt, Student Loans

What Borrowers Need to Know About the New Executive Order- “Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

A new executive order signed by President Trump is expected to give additional relief to student loan borrowers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is important that all student loan borrowers be aware of what these changes entail and how they can affect their outstanding student loan balances.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, that included relief effort for numerous aspects of the economy. The CARES Act paused all federal student loan payments and stopped interest from being incurred on federal student loans. Additionally, the stimulus bill put a stop to all federal student loan collection efforts. However, this bill was passed at the beginning of the pandemic with the thought that relief would no longer be needed through the end of 2020 with the hopes that the COVID-19 crisis would eventually be subsiding. Given the fact that numbers of positive cases are growing, and states are struggling to manage the crisis, it has quickly become clear that additional relief was needed. The original relief offered through the CARES Act was set to expire on September 30, 2020.

Bankruptcy Law, COVID-19, Small Business Bankruptcy

Personal and Business Bankruptcies Increase in the Month of July

The number of individuals and businesses seeking bankruptcy protection increased last month, while the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues. Financial experts have predicted this jump for months since states began to shut down in mid-March.

According to the legal-services firm, Epiq Systems Inc., the number of businesses that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy increased by 52 percent when compared to July 2019. Additionally, the number of personal bankruptcy cases have gone up. The number of personal bankruptcy filings are expected to increase, when the Covid-19 economic stimulus relief is cut or reduced.

student loan debt, Student Loans

5 Anticipated Student Loan Changes on the Horizon

Student loan debt has become a hot topic in Congress and on the 2020 presidential campaign. The current COVID-19 crisis further highlighted the issue, which has student loan experts anticipating several potential changes when it comes to student loan debt.

Temporary Pause for Payments

One of the more immediate changes comes with the federal stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This $2.2 trillion stimulus bill offered many different benefits, one of them being a pause for all payments due on federal student loans. This temporary stop is set to last through September 30, 2020. In addition, interest will not accrue on outstanding federal student loans during this period. However, this coverage only includes loans serviced directly by the federal government and not by private providers. If borrowers have loans that were originally federal but later consolidated through a private entity, no immediate pause will occur on these debts. This fact has not stopped many states from working out arrangements with student loan servicers to include private student loans in the temporary relief. Given the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be holding on, this forbearance period could potentially extend beyond September 30, 2020. The Heroes Act has already included a provision to extend the forbearance by one year, but it is not decided yet whether the extension will occur.

Credit Card Debt

The Most Common Credit Card Fees and How to Avoid Them

Most Americans have at least one credit card, if not more, that they use on a regular basis. These credit cards can be useful when paying for monthly expenditures, so long as the balances are kept to a minimum and paid in full. Additionally, most credit cards come with fees that make it nearly impossible to pay the card down if the balance becomes too high. According to a 2019 Consumer Reports study, one-third of American credit card consumers say that they struggle with the fees that came along with their credit cards. It is important that consumers be aware of these fees and take steps necessary to avoid them if possible.

Read the Fine Print

One of the best ways to determine what fees come with a credit card is to carefully review the fine print that comes with the consumer’s credit card contract. If any fees will be charged to the card, this information will be found in that fine print.

Bankruptcy Law, Lawyers in the News

Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade Interviewed by The Miami Herald

With about one out of every nine Miami-Dade workers — and nearly one out of every six in Broward — still out of a job due to the coronavirus pandemic, a question lingers in South Florida: How long can the region stave off an even worse economic disaster?

After a rough start, Florida’s unemployment system has come online to furnish tens of thousands of local workers with as much as $875 per week in unemployment insurance — the state’s standard $275, plus an extra $600 through the emergency U.S. CARES Act passed in March. But Florida’s unemployment insurance lasts only 12 weeks. And the extra $600 from Congress is set to expire July 31. Greater Miami ranks as one of the hardest hit metros in the country, thanks to its reliance on a tourism industry that has instantly dried up.

Bankruptcy Law

The Benefits of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A bankruptcy case can mean different things to different clients. For many of our clients, it means a chance at a fresh financial start. It also means freedom from crippling debt and an unending barrage of collection calls. It is for this reason that many individuals choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to the many benefits this type of bankruptcy offers.

The benefits of filing for bankruptcy can include relief from debt collectors through the automatic stay issued at the start of the case, as well as relief of most of the filer’s debts, including medical bills, credit cards, personal loans, and other unsecured debts. By discharging these debts before they become legal judgments against the filer, he or she can avoid wage garnishment and repossession.