Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Low like the Lowest ever Low

The ratio of mortgage payment to median family income is the lowest on record, according to a new report from Fiserv.

The company noted that purchase mortgage payments now account for just 13 percent of monthly median family income nationwide, which is the lowest figure since 1971, when data first started being collected.

In Las Vegas, the ratio has fallen to 11 percent from 32 percent!

Back in the first quarter of 2006, when mortgage lending moved at a frenzied pace and home prices only moved in one direction, the national number was 23 percent.

In areas where home prices exploded upwards, the number was probably beyond 50 percent, forcing many borrowers to go with teaser rates tied to option arms while simultaneously stating their income.

That explains why just a year or so later we experienced the worst housing bust ever.
Families Spending Less on the Mortgage

Nowadays, families are throwing a lot less of their income towards their housing payment each month, thanks to the near-record low mortgage rates and the reduced home prices.

Still, there are few buyers out there, evidenced by the continued weakness in purchase-money mortgage applications and faltering home prices.

The big issue continues to be consumer confidence, which has risen and fallen as new economic dramas unfold on a seemingly daily basis.

Until that business is resolved and the job market improves, it is expected that home sales (and prices) will remain flat.

Meanwhile, mortgage underwriting standards are a lot tougher than they had been during the boom, making it difficult for many to take advantage.

Then there are the millions stuck in their current properties thanks to issues like negative equity.
First-Time Homebuyers Rejoice

Unfortunately, this means many people aren’t able to benefit from this somewhat unprecedented situation, namely those with underwater mortgages.

But first-time homebuyers have the opportunity to get in on the cheap and position themselves much better than existing homeowners.

After all, if you buy now for say $200,000 and your neighbor (who isn’t going to walk away) owes $400,000 for a similar property, you’re looking pretty good.

That’s right. The current homeowner is banking on you, the new buyer, to buoy the housing market and get them back in the black. Assuming that happens you’ll experience some kick-butt appreciation.

Just be patient; it may take a while. Fiserv expects home prices to decline 3.6 percent into mid-2012 before rising 2.4 percent in the second half of 2012 through the first half of 2013.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cash Out?

The number of homeowners who refinanced with "cash out" continued to decline in the third quarter according to information released on Monday by Freddie Mac. Eighty-two percent of borrowers who refinanced their mortgages during the period either maintained about the same loan amount or lowered their mortgage balance by bringing money to the table. During the second quarter 77 percent of refinances fell into this category.

Of those who refinanced, 44 percent maintained approximately the same loan amount and 37 percent reduced the principal balance. Eighteen percent of refinancing homeowners increased their loan by more than 5 percent, Freddie Mac's definition of cash out. Over the period from 1985 to 2010 the average percentage of cash out refinances was 46 percent.

Homeowners took an estimated $5.3 billion in equity out of their homes. This was the lowest amount of equity removed from the system since the third quarter of 1995 and was substantially below the $6.3 billion cashed out in the second quarter. In the peak year for cash out refinancing volume (Q2 2006) there was $83.7 billion refinanced out of home mortgages.

Homeowners had a median rate reduction through refinancing a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of about 1.2 percentage points or a 22 percent improvement in their rate, saving them about $2,500 over the first five years of a new $200,000 loan. The median rate reduction in the second quarter was 1 percent.

Freddie Mac's figures indicate that the borrowers who refinanced in the third quarter owned homes that had lost a median of 7 percent in value over the median of 5 years that the old mortgage had been in place. As Freddie Mac's House Price Index shows about a 25 percent decline in its U.S. series between September 2006 and September 2001, appraisals that these homes had either held their value better than the average home or had benefitted from value-enhancing improvements

Thursday, November 3, 2011

7 ways to hear Not right now

With mortgage rates so low, just about everyone and their mother has at least inquired about refinancing.
Unfortunately, a lot of current homeowners are finding that they don’t qualify for one reason or another.
That said, let’s explore some common reasons why you may be denied that precious refinance. And don’t fret, I’ll also offer solutions.
Lack of Equity/ LTV Restraints
Perhaps the most common reason for denial nowadays is a lack home equity, which translates to a loan-to-value ratio well above what’s acceptable.
For example, a great number of homeowners took out interest-only home loans and option-arms during the housing boom because home prices were only going in one direction. Up.
But once things took a turn for the worse, many of those homeowners had little, no, or even negative equity as a result.
Even those who opted for traditional fixed-rate mortgages may have sapped their home equity by cash-out refinancing repeatedly. Regardless, many of these homeowners will find that they don’t qualify for a traditional refinance thanks to their inflated LTV.
Solution: There are a few government-backed programs, as well as lender-based programs out there at the moment that deal with high LTVs. The most popular is HARP, and soon HARP 2.0 will be released, which has no LTV ceiling. Inquire with your loan servicer or any other lender/broker for details.
Loan Amount Too Big
What if your loan amount falls into the jumbo realm, and you don’t have the special qualities, such as an excellent credit score and a low LTV to qualify? This could make it difficult to get that low rate, let alone a refinance to begin with.
Jumbo loans are a lot more restrictive and come with higher interest rates than their conforming loan brethren. So expect more scrutiny if your loan amount is bigger than most.
Solution: Make it a cash-in refinance by bringing money in at closing to get the loan amount down below the conforming limit. This could also lower your LTV and land you with a lower interest rate! Just make sure you actually want to stay in the house for the long-haul.
Credit Score Too Low
Another common refinance roadblock is a less-than-perfect credit score. And by less-than-perfect, I mean crappy. If your credit score isn’t where it should be, there’s a good chance you won’t get approved for your refinance.
Credit scores below 620 are typically considered “subprime,” and will make qualification difficult, especially at high LTVs. Basically the combination of a low credit score and high LTV is a huge risk for a mortgage lender to take, especially in today’s market.
Solution: There are still options for those with low credit scores, such as FHA loans. You just need to shop around more to find them or enlist a mortgage broker to do the legwork for you. Either way, understand that the mortgage rate you see advertised on TV won’t be the one you receive. So you may want to work on ways to actually improve your credit score before you apply.
Insufficient Income
Another refinance killer is insufficient income. If your income isn’t as high as you said it was when you first got your mortgage during the boom (stated income loan), you may be in for a surprise this time around.
And supplying your actual income to the mortgage underwriter could be a rude awakening, even with the low mortgage rates on offer. If you aren’t able to squeeze below the maximum debt-to-income ratio limit, you’ll be denied.
Solution: While making more money is likely out of the question, adding a co-borrower could help you qualify. Or paying off existing debt. You can also shop around to find a lender with more forgiving limits.
Spotty Job History
This is a biggie, considering how bad the unemployment picture has become in recent years.
If you can’t prove that you’ve been steadily employed, typically for the past two years in a row, the underwriter may deny your refinance application, even if you make plenty and have loads of assets in the bank.
Solution: If you lost your job and resumed working, an underwriter may consider your application if you can document that your income is stable, predictable, and likely to continue. You can also consider a co-borrower for help qualifying.
Absence of Assets
Another toughie is asset documentation, especially with that nagging unemployment situation mentioned above.
If you don’t have sufficient, seasoned asset reserves to show the underwriter you’ll actually be able to make your monthly mortgage payments, you may be denied that refinance.
So it’s very important to put money away early and often into a verifiable account. Your mattress isn’t verifiable…checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, etc. are.
Solution: Even if you don’t have the necessary assets, asking a friend or family member for a short-term loan could work. Just move the money into your own account several months before applying for the refinance to avoid getting the third degree from your lender.
You Listed Your Home
If you happened to list your home for sale, then quickly realized no one was interested, you may now be pondering a refinance. Unfortunately, your prospective lender probably won’t be too thrilled about it, considering the fact that you may sell again if given the chance and prepay your new loan. You may also run into problems when it comes time to appraise the property if it wasn’t selling at your asking price.
Solution: Call around and see which bank or lender doesn’t mind that the home is/was listed. Then remove the listing before you apply to ensure there aren’t any complications. And be prepared to write a letter or explanation regarding the “change of heart.”
In closing, these are just a few of the many, many ways you may be denied a refinance. This isn’t 2006. It’s 2011. And times have changed considerably.
Believe it or not, you actually need to qualify for mortgages these days. So do your homework and tie up any loose ends early on to avoid problems during the loan process.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Battle of the Terms 30 vs 10yr

It’s time for another mortgage match-up folks. Today, we’ll look at 30-year vs. 10-year mortgages to see how they stack up.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that there are two very different types of 10-year mortgages out there.

There are 10-year fixed mortgages, which have a mortgage term of 10 years. And there are 10-year adjustable-rate mortgages, which have a term of 30 years.
The first type of mortgage is pretty straightforward. It’s similar to a 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgage, just shorter.

What this means, if you happen to be brave enough to go with the loan program, is that your mortgage payment will be quite high.
After all, if you only get 10 years to pay off your entire mortgage balance, you’ll need to come up with some sizable payments to get it down to zero in a hurry.

However, doing so will save you a ton in interest.
The “other” 10-year mortgage you’ll see out there is the 10/1 ARM, which is fixed for the first 10 years, and adjustable for the remaining 20.
This makes it a hybrid ARM because of its fixed/adjustable nature. It also means the loan payments have the ability to adjust both higher and lower once those 10 years are up.

So, are either programs a better choice than the classic 30-year fixed? Let’s see.
10-Year Fixed Mortgages
If you’re really, really serious about paying off your mortgage fast, this option could be for you.

Just note that your mortgage payment will be huge relative to other, more traditional options.

For example, on a $250,000 loan amount, a 10-year fixed with an interest rate of 3% would come with a monthly mortgage payment of $2414.02.
Compare that to a monthly payment of $1787.21 on a 15-year fixed at 3.5%, and a payment of $1193.54 on a 30-year fixed at 4%.
While the payment on the 10-year fixed is significantly higher, you’d only pay roughly $40,000 in interest over those 10 years.
On the 15-year, you’d pay about $72,000, and on the 30-year, you’d pay nearly $180,000 in interest.

That reason right there is why someone would opt for the shorter term. A lower mortgage rate and much less interest paid.

But it only makes sense if you really want to pay off your mortgage fast, and have the means to do it without breaking the bank.

Tip: The difference in rate between a 15-year fixed and 10-year fixed may be marginal or even insignificant, so taking the longer term could provide you with some much needed breathing room.

10-Year ARMs
Here’s where things get misleading. Many mortgage companies advertise 10-year ARMs as if they’re fixed mortgages.

They basically use that initial 10-year fixed period to their advantage when putting together marketing materials.
And mortgage lenders can make 10-year ARMs appear really attractive by touting the low mortgage rates that accompany them.

After all, an ARM will always be priced lower than a 30-year fixed mortgage.
Per Bankrate, the 10-year ARM averaged 3.76 percent last week, while the popular 30-year fixed hit a record low 4.32 percent.
So you can see why a customer may think the 10-year ARM is the better choice.
But the fact of the matter is that these loans are still adjustable-rate mortgages in fixed-rate clothing.
Put simply, if you’re not comfortable with a loan program that may adjust, steer clear.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mortgage Rates Lowest Ever, Woo.

About a month ago, I discussed whether mortgage rates could drop any lower. At that time, the en vogue 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.32 percent, per Freddie Mac data.
Today, expectedly, it hit a fresh all-time low, falling to 4.12 percent. Freddie attributed it to “market concerns over Eurozone sovereign debt default and a weak U.S. employment report for August.”

In other words, more bad economic news we all knew was coming came through the door, putting downward pressure on bond yields, which go hand in hand with mortgage rates.
This was no surprise, given the ongoing negative sentiment that simply won’t go away. The good news is that all the stock market swings are making someone rich, but probably not you or I.

It almost seems orchestrated now, the upswing, the downswing, and repeat. Meanwhile, mortgage rates go up, go down, hover in place, and repeat.
Of course, rates have been trending lower and lower because economic news got progressively worse after a brief bright spot.
But I still believe there probably isn’t much more rates can do in the improvement category. Why?

Well, the 10-year bond yield, which essentially dictates their direction, has a historic floor of around 2%, which happens to be its current level, more or less.
It hit a low of 1.93% earlier this week, but has since risen back above 2%. It’s rock-bottom, at least historically, so chances are it doesn’t get any better.
And, as I mentioned in the previous article, most banks and corporations are much better positioned now than they were when the mortgage crisis first struck.

While things are certainly bad, there’s not really too much new drama. There are a lot of lingering problems that will take a long time to sort out, but probably nothing that would surprise any of us at this point.
That said, mortgage rates on the popular 30-year may flirt with the 3% range, but likely won’t do much more than that.
Does Anybody Care?

Regardless, nobody seems to be interested in the low mortgage rates anyways.
Purchase-money mortgage applications continue to falter, at a time when affordability for first-time homebuyers is at unprecedented levels.
That’s due to a lack of confidence, a lack of employment, and so on. And perhaps a view that buying a home now is like catching a falling knife.
Move-up buyers are screwed because they’ve got no home equity to use as a down payment, let alone to offload their current home, and those looking to refinance are stifled by the same problem, assuming the government doesn’t step in soon.

Finally, mortgage lenders could actually be holding rates a bit higher than they need to be (Chase) to keep demand in line with their reduced staff and risk appetite.
So even if they could go lower, they may not. Either way, I don’t think it’s mortgage rates that are holding us back, it’s housing. It’s just not that attractive anymore.

If you’re wondering whether to lock in your mortgage rate or float it, note that the Fed is considering buying more long-term Treasuries to lower mortgage rates. But this is only expected to lower rates by 0.1 or 0.2 percent.
Again, I see 3.99% pretty much being the bottom for the 30-year fixed. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rate vs Price

Today we’ll take a look at the impact of both home prices and mortgage rates on your decision to buy a piece of property.

Obviously, both are very important not only in terms of whether you should buy (from an investment standpoint), but also how much house you can afford.

Mortgage Rates Still Low

At the moment, mortgage rates are very close to historic lows, with the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.55 percent last week, according to data from Freddie Mac.

But while rates are low, home sales are still pretty flat, thanks in part to high unemployment, a lack of consumer confidence, and perhaps inflated home prices.
Yep, even though home prices are well off their housing bubble peaks, many feel they’re still inflated.

This is made clear without the use of home price indices, fancy calculators and algorithms…just take a look at some listings and you’ll think home sellers are nuts for asking so much.
Problem is most of them are asking for prices below their mortgage balance (short sale) and still aren’t getting any bites.

Home Prices Inflated
You can’t really blame them, as most bought during the boom at ridiculously inflated prices or bought pre-boom, and subsequently refinanced to tap into all that wonderful home equity.

Getting back on point, home values have lost about a decade’s worth of appreciation, and are currently coupled with near-record low mortgage rates.

Home prices are predicted to be pretty flat over the next several years, but mortgage rates are expected to rise.

So should you buy now while rates are low and prices have foreseeable downward pressure, thanks to all that distressed/shadow inventory and lack of confidence?
Or should you wait it out and let home prices hit bottom first?

(How to get a mortgage?)
Well, first things first, it’s nearly impossible to buy at the bottom. Anyone will tell you this, whether it’s a home or a stock or anything else.
Predicating the absolute bottom, or even close to it, can be a tall order.
Home prices are also regional and local, so it’s not like home prices have fallen by the same amount throughout the country.

And not all home prices in the nation can be designated as cheap, average, or expensive – they vary tremendously.
At the same time, it’d be hard to argue that mortgage rates nationwide aren’t super low and only expected to rise.

That said, let’s look at a scenario where mortgage rates rise and home prices slump.

Sales price: $400,000
Loan amount: $320,000 (20% down = $80,000)
Mortgage rate: 4.50%
Mortgage payment: $1621.39
Total paid: $583,700.40

Now say home prices fall 10 percent over the next year or two, while mortgage rates rise from 4.50 percent to 6.00 percent, which isn’t necessarily unlikely.

Sales price: $360,000
Loan amount: $288,000 (20% down = $72,000)
Mortgage rate: 6.00%
Mortgage payment: $1726.71
Total paid: $621,615.60

So as we can see, buying the home at the current higher price with the lower mortgage rate results in both a lower monthly mortgage payment and significantly less interest paid throughout the loan.

That could also make qualifying easier with regard to the debt-to-income ratio requirement.

However, the down payment is $8,000 higher on the more expensive house, which could prove a barrier to homeownership if assets are low.

But we’re still looking at savings of roughly $30,000 with the larger, yet lower-rate mortgage.

Hopefully this illustrates the importance of low mortgage rates. Of course, there are a ton of variables that can come into play.
Most people move or refinance within seven years or so, making the interest savings unclear.

There’s also the thought that once interest rates rise, they’ll put more downward pressure on home prices, meaning property values today are artificially inflated based on the low rates, which has somewhat increased demand.
And who knows, maybe rates will stay relatively low and home prices will fall even more than expected over the next few years.

Monday, August 1, 2011

“Second mortgage vs. home equity loan.”

It’s time for another installment of “mortgage match-ups.”

Today’s match-up: “Second mortgage vs. home equity loan.”
This is an epic battle of the junior liens, which while subordinate to their first mortgage brethren, can still hold their own in a fight.
But in this duel, we’re probably doing more to “clear things up” than we are comparing two loan programs.

Are second mortgages and home equity loans the same?
You see, when it comes down to it, most second mortgages are home equity loans. And vice versa.
So if you hear someone talking about one or the other, they could be talking about the same thing.

This is further complicated by the fact that most home equity loans are HELOCs, or home equity lines of credit.
Confused yet?

You should be, considering the ambiguity of it all…let’s break it down.
Second Mortgages, HELOCs, Home Equity Loans
A second mortgage is any home loan that is subordinated behind (comes after) a first mortgage.

This could be a HELOC or a home equity loan.
A HELOC, as previously mentioned, is a line of credit. In other words, you get a home loan with a certain line of credit, or draw amount, which you can use kind of like a credit card.

HELOCs are tied to the variable prime rate, and thus are adjustable-rate mortgages.
After the draw period, the amount drawn upon must be paid back during the repayment period.

*Note that while a HELOC is often used as a second mortgage, it can also be a stand-alone first mortgage, taken out by the homeowner when their mortgage is free and clear, or to refinance an existing lien.
Finally there’s the home equity loan, which can refer to both a HELOC or a closed-end second mortgage.

A “closed-end second mortgage” is a home loan that operates similarly to a first mortgage in that it’s a fixed amount, not a line of credit.
Additionally, it can be a fixed-rate mortgage or an ARM. These are typically taken out as an alternative to a HELOC, especially as purchase-money second mortgages.

For example, a borrower can avoid paying mortgage insurance by taking out a first mortgage at 80 percent loan-to-value and a concurrent second mortgage for the remaining 20 percent.

Unfortunately, many banks and mortgage lenders use the phrase “home equity loan” and “HELOC” interchangeably, adding to the confusion.
To ensure you actually get what you want/need, ask the loan officer or mortgage broker to explain the terms of each loan product clearly.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

OCWEN a Win?

Loan servicer Ocwen Financial Corporation has launched a new loan modification program aimed at helping borrowers with underwater mortgages.
The new initiative, known as the “Shared Appreciation Modification” (SAM) program, writes down an underwater borrower’s principal balance to 95 percent loan-to-value, thereby creating home equity.
Then, over three years, the written-down portion is forgiven in one-third increments, so long as the homeowner stays current on mortgage payments.
Later, when the house is either sold or refinanced, the borrower must share 25 percent of the appreciation with the investor of the loan.
Ocwen believes this approach won’t reward borrower delinquency, which is always a concern when offering a loan modification.
“Like all modifications, SAMs help homeowners avoid foreclosure. But they also restore equity,” said Ocwen CEO Ronald Faris.
“That’s a significant benefit to the customer and, we believe, the economy and housing market. Psychologically, it’s important too. Our analytics tell us that an underwater mortgage is one-and-a-half to two-times more likely to default than one with at least some positive equity.”
The SAM program was initially launched on a pilot basis back in August 2010, sporting a 79 percent borrower acceptance rate and just a 2.63 percent re-default rate.
Ocwen now has clearance to make it available to qualified customers who are experiencing negative equity in 33 states.
While it seems like a good approach to an ongoing problem, there are probably still scores of borrowers who are beyond the point of no return.
But it does seem to be a bit more strategic than the Making Home Affordable program, which has fallen well short of goal.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Pro's of the aRM...

While everyone always seems to focus on mortgage payments adjusting higher, there are a number of reasons why a mortgage payment may decrease.
No really, there are, so let’s take a look shall we.

Mortgage Payments Decrease on ARMs

If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage, there’s a possibility the interest rate can adjust both up and down.

You may have seen that now infamous interest rate reset chart, the one that shows billions of dollars worth of mortgages resetting from their fixed-rate period into their adjustable period.

Well, the damage may not be as bad as it appears because many of the mortgage indexes tied to these loans are rock bottom.

As a result, some homeowners who stayed in these seemingly “exploding ARMs” may actually see their mortgage payment fall.

When You Pay Down Your Mortgage

If you decide to pay off a large chunk of your mortgage, you can ask the mortgage lender to recast your loan (if they allow it).

This essentially re-amortizes the mortgage so the new, smaller balance is broken down over the existing months left on the loan.
Your mortgage payment is adjusted lower to reflect the smaller principal balance, but your mortgage rate doesn’t change.

While this could increase household cash flow, you may be better suited to pay off your mortgage early by making your old payment despite the lower balance.
Refinance to a Lower Rate

Here’s a no-brainer. If you want a lower mortgage payment, look into a rate and term

Because mortgage rates are still very low, your mortgage payment will probably decrease if you refinance now.
(When to refinance a mortgage?)

Shop Your Insurance, Look Into a Tax Reassessment
Finally, be sure to shop your homeowner’s insurance, as it is typically included in your mortgage payment.

If you can snag a lower premium, your mortgage payment will decrease as a result.
Also look into a tax reassessment of your home.
Property values have been on the decline, so you may be able to save some money on property taxes by asking your county recorder’s office to reassess your property.
Remember, a mortgage payment is typically expressed as PITI, which stands for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.
So address each component to save money on your housing costs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Underwater #'s

For the second month in a row, more than half of respondents think they’re upside down on their home.

The numbers aren’t as bad as June, when an all-time low of 45 percent indicated they were “right-side up,” but it’s still only the third time the number has dipped below 50 percent.

(What is an underwater mortgage?)
For comparison sake, 61 percent believed their home was worth more than their mortgage back in late 2008.

Government Workers More Upbeat
Interestingly, 71 percent of government workers believe their home is worth more than their mortgage, compared to just 50 percent of private sector employees and 42 percent of retirees.

With regard to mortgage payments, just seven percent said they’ve missed one or been late in the past six months.

And only eight percent of homeowners say it’s “at least somewhat likely” they’ll miss a payment in the next six months.
So that’s the good news – borrowers will continue to make on-time payments with the belief they’ll eventually gain home equity and get out of this mess.
The national telephone survey of 676 Homeowners was conducted between July 17-18.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zillow: Post-Bubble Homebuyers Guilty of Overpricing Homes

Those who purchased their homes post-housing bubble are guilty of overpricing their homes, according to a new survey from Zillow.

The company noted that current home sellers who purchased their homes in 2007 or later are overpricing their properties by an average of 14.1 percent.
Conversely, those who purchased pre-bubble, from 2002-2006, have only priced their homes 9.3 percent above current market value.

Meanwhile, those who purchased before 2002 have listed their homes by an average of 11.6 percent above market value.

“Post-bubble buyers seem to believe they escaped the worst of the housing recession, as evidenced by how they price their homes today,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries,” in a release.

“But 2006 was just the beginning of the housing recession, and it is continuing in earnest to this day. That means that even people who bought after the bubble burst need to break out the pencil and paper and do serious research into what has happened in their market since they first bought their home, whether it was four years ago or six months ago.”

Humphries added that listing homes above the current market value causes them to stagnate, leading to a more bloated inventory, which further drives homes prices down.

The takeaway is that home prices remain very fragile, and haven’t done much more than fall or move sideways since the crash.

Even those who didn’t see their home price drift lower probably don’t have the required home equity to sell, factoring in agent commissions.
I guess this all begs the question, when is it going to be the right time to buy?

NY Closing Cost Scary?

Mortgage rates may be at or near record lows, but closing costs aren’t.
Mortgage closing costs rose for a second straight year, according to a survey released today by Bankrate.
The company said the average loan origination and title insurance fees on a $200,000 mortgage total $4,070, up 8.8 percent from a year ago.
And the average bank/mortgage lender charges roughly $1,614 in loan origination fees, up 10.3 percent from last year.

Loan origination fees include services such as underwriting and loan processing fees, along with loan officer or mortgage broker compensation for closing the loan.
Keep in mind that the person closing your loan can also get paid on the back-end, via yield spread premium, or at least a new form of it now that it’s been outlawed.
(How does a mortgage broker get paid?)

New York Most Expensive for Closing Costs

New York topped the survey again for the second straight year, with average closing costs of $6,183, followed by Texas at $4,944 and Utah at $4,906.
Mortgage closing costs were cheapest in Arkansas, with an average of just $3,378.

The survey is based on good faith estimates for a $200,000 purchase-money mortgage on a single-family home with a 20 percent down payment (80% loan-to-value).
It excludes taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowners association fees, prepaid interest and other prepaid items.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Effort to refinance underwater GSE mortgages gains steam

A bill from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), which would allow borrowers who are current but underwater on their Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage to refinance into a lower-rate loan, gained more industry support but also stirred more concern from investors.

Currently, more than 8 million Fannie or Freddie loans carry an interest rate of more than 6%. Boxer introduced the Helping Responsible Homeowners Act of 2011, S. 170, earlier this year. It would eliminate the negative equity restrictions and the upfront fees Fannie and Freddie charge when evaluating current homeowners. The bill would target roughly 2 million borrowers for a refinance into today's lower interest rate loan.

"They have been so solid in their mortgage payments every month even though the value of their home is going down," Boxer said in a conference call Tuesday. "This bill would remove the barriers that kept them trapped."
But under current tax law, a loan with a loan-to-value ratio over 125% would not be allowed to be packaged into a mortgage-backed security.
An aide for Boxer said there are vehicles that could be created and that it was also possible for Fannie and Freddie to move these loans into their portfolio – portfolios that under current conservatorship agreements should be on the decline.

The bill carries the support of Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and several industry trade groups including the National Association of Realtors, Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics and Bill Gross, the founder of investment firm PIMCO.
"The policy efforts implemented throughout the financial crisis have fallen short," Zandi said. "There have been many efforts and they've been helpful and they've clearly not been adequate.

The cost from this bill should be very small. I think this is a very efficient and effective way to help address one of the biggest roadblocks to a recovery and do it very quickly when the economy needs it."

One of the biggest hindrances to one of those initiatives that have under whelmed so far, the Federal Housing Administration Short Refinance program, is that Fannie and Freddie do not participate under guidance from their regulator the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Wall Street investors expressed nervousness on Tuesday about the proposal, claiming such a move could shake-up an already fragile MBS market. But Boxer claims the cost to Fannie and Freddie to refinance these loans would be offset by the millions of underwater borrowers who could walk away otherwise.
"We don't think this is going to disrupt anything. In fact, we think this will stabilize the markets," Boxer said. "What would roil the market is if these millions of borrowers walk away from their loan."

Monday, July 11, 2011

PMI to pay underwater borrowers to stay

Private mortgage insurer PMI Group (PMI: 1.415 -6.29%) will offer cash incentives to some homeowners in negative equity to help prevent mortgage defaults.

PMI subsidiary, Homeowner Reward is working with Loan Value Group, to administer the pilot program, called Responsible Homeowner Reward.

The program launched Monday and will start in select real estate markets where falling house prices left borrowers owing significantly more on their mortgage than what the property is worth.

Participation in RH Reward is voluntary and there is no cost to the homeowner, according to PMI. The cash will come after a lengthy period of keeping the mortgage current, generally from 36 to 60 months. According to PMI, the reward will be between 10 to 30% of the unpaid principal balance.

The Loan Value Group works "to positively influence consumer behavior on behalf of residential mortgage owners and servicers," according to its website.
LVG programs already delivered more than $100 million in cash incentives to distressed homeowners. However, those programs focus on turnkey solutions such as cash for keys, with an aim to avoid principal forgiveness. The Homeowner Reward program is taking a different path.

"We continue to seek creative and effective loss mitigation strategies," said Chris Hovey, PMI vice president of servicing operations and loss management. "PMI is especially supportive of homeownership retention efforts in states that are facing unprecedented housing challenges."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why can't I get the rate I saw on the Banner?

Mortgage rate Q&A: “Why are mortgage rates different?”

Why is the sky blue? Why are clouds white? Why won’t your neighbor trim their tree branches?

These are all good questions, and ones that often puzzle even the savviest human beings.

First things first, take a look at how mortgage rates are determined to better understand how banks and mortgage lenders come up with interest rates to begin with.
From there, you’ll need to consider why mortgage rates are different for consumer A vs. consumer B.

No One Size Fits All for Mortgage Rates
Mortgages are complicated business, and there certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

Every loan scenario is different, and must be priced accordingly to factor in mortgage default risk (risk-based pricing).

Mortgage Rates Vary Based on the Loan Criteria

Mortgage rates don’t exist in a bubble – the parts affect the whole.

Banks and lenders start with a base interest rate (par rate) and then either raise it or lower it (rarely) based on the loan criteria.

There are loan pricing adjustments for all types of stuff, including:
• Loan amount
• Documentation (full, limited, or stated)
• Credit score
• Occupancy
• Loan Purpose (purchase or refinance)
• Debt-to-Income Ratio
• Property Type
• Loan-to-value / Combined loan-to-value

The more you’ve “got going on,” the higher your mortgage rate will be. And vice versa.

I’ve already covered a few related topics, including why mortgage rates rates are higher for condos and investment properties.Mortgage rates are also higher on jumbo loans and refinance transactions, especially those involving cash-out.

Advertised Mortgage Rates Are Best Case Scenario

You know those mortgage rates you see on TV? Those assume you’ve got an owner-occupied single family home, a perfect credit score, a huge down payment, and a conforming loan amount. Not to mention a newborn golden retriever.

Most people don’t have all those things, and as a result, they’ll see different mortgage rates. And by “different,” I mean higher.
How much higher depends on all the factors listed above. So take the advertised rates you see with a huge grain of salt.
Shop Around!

All the more reason to shop around. Compare mortgage rates online and speak with a mortgage broker.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Housing Inventory Issues?

If you thought housing inventory was under control, you might want to read this.
The latest LPS Mortgage Monitor Report released today revealed that mortgages 90+ days delinquent and loans in foreclosure outnumbered foreclosure sales by a staggering 50 to 1 in May.
In other words, there’s an endless housing supply and not nearly enough demand to keep up with it, even with all the measures being taken to slow it all down.
Severely delinquent loans and foreclosure inventory totaled 4,084,557 at the end of May, while foreclosure sales were just 78,676 at month end.
It gets worse.
Foreclosure sales have been slowing – declines of 96 percent in DC, 80 percent in Maryland, 79 percent in New York, and 75 percent were seen in May.
And inventories of foreclosures in judicial states have increased twice as much as those in non-judicial states over the past year.
33% of Borrowers in Foreclosure Haven’t Paid in Two Years
This is good news for those facing foreclosure, as 33 percent of homeowners haven’t made a mortgage payment in over two years.
That’s a lot of free rent.
Oh, and negative equity continues to be a major concern, with nearly 30 percent of current loans underwater (hello short sale).
LPS noted that significantly underwater mortgages are defaulting up to 10 times more than loans with some home equity.
The only sliver of good news is new problem loans, defined as loans that were current six months ago and now 60 or more days delinquent, are now more than 50 percent below peak levels seen in 2009.

Friday, June 17, 2011

“Why use a mortgage broker?”

“Why use a mortgage broker?”

If you’re in the market for a new mortgage, whether it be a purchase money mortgage or a refinance, you may be wondering how to go about it all.

Assuming you’ve heard the phrase “mortgage broker” thrown around, you may also be curious why anyone would use a mortgage broker.

Lower Rates

Mortgage brokers have access to wholesale mortgage rates, which are priced below those offered by retail banks.

They’re able to offer lower mortgage rates because they don’t need to pay a sales team to sell those rates, as mortgage brokers run their own businesses and earn money off commission (yield spread premium).

That said, you may be able to get a better deal if you work with a mortgage broker as opposed to walking into your local bank branch.

Rate Shopping

Not only that, but mortgage brokers have the ability to “shop your rate” with multiple mortgage lenders simultaneously, meaning more options for you and less legwork.

Customer Service

Finally, a mortgage broker may be able to provide better customer service than a giant, faceless corporation.

Many mortgage brokers are mom-and-pop shops, so it’s easy to get someone on the phone or speak in person.

They also tend to hustle a bit more with their commission on the line.

Concerns about Refinancing
Just as with the creation of any other new loan there are fees associated with refinancing your home mortgage. Depending upon how long you have been paying on your current loan, the interest vs. principle pay down will be a consideration. With a refinance, which means taking on a new loan, the bulk of your payment will once again go towards interest.

You also have to consider how much longer you will remain in your home. If you are going to save $1,400 a year by refinancing, but you have to spend $4,200 to get it done, then you will have to own that home for more than three years to realize any savings on that level.

Regardless of any of these concerns, if your situation is correct, you can save a ton of money by refinancing your current home mortgage loan. Do the research and do in now by comparing mortgage rates with us, time is of the essence and it may not be in your favor, but why?

If you want to see if Refinancing makes financial sense please reply via email with the following information

1. Current Interest Rate

2. Current Loan Balance

3. Idea of Home Value from Assessment or Recent Appraisal

4. Current Monthly Payment

5. Yearly Taxes

6. Yearly Homeowners Insurance

7. Idea of Credit Score or Rating Fair-550-620 Good 620-680 Excellent 680 and above.

By sending an email back with the above information, I can then forward you an accurate idea of what your new payment would be if you decided to refinance. Not 1 phone call unless you prefer to discuss further.