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Costco Offers Mortgages To Homebuyers

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Costco wants to be your one-stop shop for everything you need in life, from groceries and cell phones to diamond rings and mortgages.

That's right: Costco wants to help you buy a home.

In partnership with First Choice Bank and 10 other lenders, Costco is now offering mortgages, CNN Money reports.

After issuing more than 10,000 mortgages over the past year while testing the program, Costco now plans to market the mortgages more aggressively to its 66 million members, according to CNN Money.

This may prove to be good timing for Costco, as home prices hit new lows in cities such as Phoenix, Atlanta and New York.

It is now cheaper to buy a home than to rent one in nearly every city in the United States, according to the real estate website Trulia. Renting cost 15 percent more than owning a home at the end of 2011, according to analysis by Deutsche Bank cited by The Wall Street Journal.

Cities are so desperate to sell homes that Milwaukee is hosting a "home ownership fair" on Saturday to encourage people to buy foreclosed homes for as little as $5,000, according to the Associated Press.

But after banks halted foreclosures in 2010 to take care of their paperwork in the aftermath of the robo-signing scandal, foreclosures are starting to pick up again. The number of homes that received first-time foreclosure notices rose 7 percent in March, according to RealtyTrac.

Lauren Kutschka, Costco's manager of financial services, told CNN Money that Costco is also looking into offering auto and student loans.

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