From today's Chicago Tribune:
Home prices gains slowed in the Chicago area and in most of the nation in
June, and for the first time since February 2008, 20 cities showed lower annual rate of improvement than the previous month,
according to a widely watched housing market barometer.
the Chicago area, home prices rose 1.4 percent in June, compared with a 1.5 percent uptick in May, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller
home price index. Year-over-year, that made for a 6.6 percent increase.While home prices nationally are back at their pre-housing market bust levels of
autumn 2004, in the Chicago area they are at their spring 2003 levels. Still, June represented the fourth consecutive month
that local home prices have topped their previous month.Nationally, June home prices in the 20 cities included in the index
were up 1 percent in June, from May, equaling a 8.1 percent increase from June 2013.
The company responsible for one of the most
widely used measures of credit health is making changes to its current model that could boost credit scores nationwide.
In an announcement on Thursday, analytics and decision
management firm FICO said its new credit model, FICO Score 9, "introduces a more nuanced way to assess consumer
collection information," resulting in greater precision for lenders measuring a borrower's credit stability. The model
will be available to lenders through the country's various reporting agencies starting in the fall.
"FICO Score 9 uses a more refined treatment of consumers
with a limited credit history and those with accounts at collection agencies, so that lenders can grow their credit and loan
portfolios more confidently," said Jim Wehmann, EVP for Scores at FICO.
The key difference in the new model is that strikes from medical collections will
have a lower impact, reflecting the relatively low level of credit risk they represent. From just that change, the company
expects the median FICO score will increase by 25 points among consumers whose only credit dents come from unpaid medical
FICO isn't alone in its push
to reassess how medical debts are reflected on a borrower's credit profile. In May, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
(CFPB) released the results of a study finding that credit scores may underestimate creditworthiness by as much
as 10 points for consumers owing on medical costs and by up to 22 points for consumers who have repaid their debt.
Often, consumers aren't even aware their debt has
been sent to collections, CFPB said.
change in the FICO Score 9 model is that it will also discount any overdue payments that have already been made, leaving only
unpaid collections as a mark.
the changes may have a significant impact on approval rates for credit cards and auto loans, the effects will be more subtle
for borrowers and lenders in the mortgage space, says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for personal finance website Bankrate.com.
"These changes are going to be a positive for
consumers, but it's not something that moves the goalposts," McBride said in a phone call. "These changes aren't
going to take a consumer with bad credit and suddenly make them appear as if they have good credit."
Rather, for consumers whose credit scores sit on the threshold
between poor, adequate, or good, the expected boost could make a difference in terms of required down payments or interest
The Score 9 model also promises
to help lenders make decisions on consumers with little to no credit history—though McBride doesn't expect to see an
immediate impact in mortgage approvals for credit-lacking millennials.
However, if those young consumers have an easier time securing lines on smaller loans, however,
that could balloon out into the mortgage space in the future.
"You [have to] knock over the dominoes," McBride said.