Local & State | Midlands
Advice for homebuyers
Potential homebuyers can get help at a free “Homeownership Tent Event” 4-8 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of Home Depot, 5600 Sunset Blvd., Lexington. Real estate agents and lenders will be on hand to give advice to anyone considering purchasing a home. Information especially for first-time buyers will be available, including details on federal and state programs that require little or no money down. The event is sponsored each year in June during National Homeownership Month by the S.C. State Housing Authority and others.
Nation & World
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Mortgage applications rise
WASHINGTON -- The number of customers applying for mortgages jumped last week, a sign that the market could be reviving after dropping off sharply last month. The Mortgage Bankers Association says overall applications were up nearly 18 percent from a week earlier. Applications to refinance home loans were up 21 percent to the highest level since May 2009. That’s because buyers have been taking advantage of near-record-low mortgage rates. New mortgages taken out to purchase homes increased for the first time in six weeks, rising 7 percent. That’s an encouraging sign for the housing market, as applications had dropped off sharply when federal tax credits expired.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac off the NYSE
NEW YORK -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taking their stocks off the New York Stock Exchange after shares in both companies fell to around $1 for an extended period. The federally backed mortgage financing companies began the process of delisting after being ordered to do so by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which said that the move “does not constitute any reflection on either enterprise’s current performance or future direction.” The New York Stock Exchange does not allow stocks to continue to be traded if they are worth less than $1 for 30 days, unless there is an immediate plan for raising the price. The delisting points to the continuing difficulties the companies have encountered since being taken under federal conservatorship in September 2008 during the peak of the financial crisis. The companies, which were at the center of the mortgage meltdown, have taken nearly $150 billion in federal aid and have shown few signs of being able to pay it back.
Ford sees an electric future
NOVI, Mich. -- In a decade, Ford expects that as much as a quarter of its global volume will be electrified with hybrids dominating its electric fleet. Ford expects that, by 2020, between 10 percent and 25 percent of its volume will in some way run on advanced batteries compared with about 2 percent currently, said Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of global electrification. Of those vehicles, 70 percent of its electrified vehicles will be hybrids, another 20 percent to 25 percent plug-in hybrids and the rest will be all-electric vehicles. Gioia noted that the range is wide because there remain unanswered questions about the access to and affordability of electrified vehicles. In the near term, hybrids will prevail, she said, because the infrastructure — charging stations, technologies to strengthen and customize usage of the electric grid — are at a nascent stage. Moreover, hybrids — while more expensive than gas-only powered vehicles — will be more affordable than plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, which need larger lithium-ion batteries.
Kristy Eppley Rupon, The Los Angeles Times, The Detroit Free Press and The Associated Press contributed.