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Miami, Florida, United States

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

DAILY BRIEFING

ECONOMY

Moving quickly to stem the worst financial crisis in decades, the U.S. government took steps Friday to protect money market mutual funds against losses and temporarily banned short-selling of company stocks. In the works: A massive rescue plan to buy up toxic assets held by troubled banks and other financial institutions at the heart of the nation's financial crisis.

MORTGAGE RATES

Rates on 30-year mortgages dropped sharply again this week to 5.78 percent, the lowest level in seven months, as rates continue to decline following the government's takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

HOME LOANS

In a study challenging the perception that older Americans have been left out of the current real estate crisis because they have built enough home equity to avoid foreclosure, AARP found that homeowners age 50 and over represented about 28 percent of all delinquencies and foreclosures. However, the study also showed that the majority of homeowners age 50-plus are keeping up with their mortgage payments.

MORTGAGE FRAUD

Florida prosecutors filed suit this week against 10 companies and 15 people they say were involved in a $37 million real estate straw mortgage scheme. The scheme, which involved applying for mortgages to purchase homes with inflated prices, also resulted in 50 homes falling into foreclosure, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

HOME SELLERS

Traditional home sellers can face stiff competition from foreclosures in the current market. But homeowners can take action to make their properties more attractive to buyers - like apply fresh paint, clean and declutter - especially since many purchasers aren't interested in bank-owned properties, which can be in poor condition

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