Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Warmer Weather Brings In The Buyers, Is There Inventory?

After three consecutive months of decline, the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index remained nearly unchanged in February. Year-over-year home prices rose by 12.90 percent in February as compared to 13.20 percent in January.

20 Percent Below Their 2006 Pre-recession Peak

Analysts note that in spite of recent slowdowns in home prices, the year-over-year rates of home price growth remain close to peak price growth attained in 2006. National home prices remain approximately 20 percent below their 2006 pre-recession peak.
13 cities posted lower rates of price gains in February. The Case-Shiller 10 and 20 city indices showed year-over-year price gains of 13.10 and 12.90 percent respectively. Only five cities posted year-over-year gains in price appreciation.

Las Vegas, Nevada continues to lead home price growth but its year-over-year rate of home price growth slowed from January’s reading of 24.9 percent to February’s reading of 23.10 percent. Washington, D.C. posted its eighth consecutive month of home price gains with a year-over-year reading of 9.10 percent, its highest rate of price increases since May 2006.
Dallas, Texas posted a year-over-year rate of 10.10 percent and a month-to-month increase of 0.20 percent, which continues the city’s record home price growth.

Home Price Gains Expected To Slow In Coming Months

Analysts said that more homes are expected to come on the market and also noted that the rapid increase in home prices for some areas likely sidelined some buyers. As inventories of homes increase, home prices are expected to rise at more modest rates. Job markets continue to experience ups and downs and incomes are relatively flat.
These factors can cause would-be homeowners to take a “wait-and-see” stance. Price increases in other sectors can also impact home prices, as buyers adjust their home purchase plans to what they can afford to spend.

Pending Home Sales Rise In March

The NAR reported that its pending home sales index rose by 3.40 percent in March as compared to a decrease of -0.80 percent for February. The March reading showed the first increase in pending home sales in nine months, and was the highest reading since November.
Warmer weather allowed more buyers shop for homes, but remains 7.90 percent lower than in March 2013. Higher home prices and low inventories of available homes were cited as reasons for the lower reading.
Pending home sales by region showed mixed results, and suggested the impact of severe winter weather on potential home buyers.

Northeast: +1.40 percent
Midwest:    -0.80 percent
South:       +5.60 percent
West:        +5.70 percent

Based on a slow start during the first quarter of 2014, the NAR forecasts 2014 sales of existing homes at 4.9 million as compared to 5.1 million existing homes sold in 2013.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It Pays Off To Refinance Your Mortgage

To refinance a mortgage means to pay off your existing loan and replace it with a new one.  It Pays Off To Refinance Your Mortgage
There are many reasons why homeowners opt to refinance, from obtaining a lower interest rate, to shortening the term of the loan, to switching mortgage loan types, to tapping into home equity.
Each has its considerations.
Lower Your Mortgage Rate
Among the best reasons to refinance is to get access to lower mortgage rates. There is no “rule of thumb” that says how far rates should drop for a refinance to be sensible. Compare your closing costs to your monthly savings, and determine whether the math makes sense for your situation.
Shorten Your Loan Term
Refinancing your 30-year fixed rate mortgage to a 20-year fixed rate or a 15-year fixed rate is a sensible way to reduce your long-term mortgage costs, and to own your home sooner. As a bonus, with mortgage rates currently near all-time lows, an increase to your monthly payment from a shorter loan term may be negligible.
Convert ARM To Fixed Rate Mortgage
Homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages may want the comfort of a fixed-rate payment. Mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages are often higher than for comparable ARMs so be prepared to pay more to your lender each month.
Access Equity For Projects, Debts, Or Other Reasons
Called a “cash out” refinance, homeowners can sometimes use home equity to retire debts, pay for renovations, or use for other purposes including education costs and retirement. Lenders place restrictions on loans of this type. A refinanced home loan can help you reach specific financial goals or just put extra cash in your pocket each month – just make sure that there’s a clear benefit to you.
Paying large closing costs for small monthly savings or negligible long-term benefit should be avoided. Many lenders offer low- or no-closing costs options for refinancing. Be sure to ask about it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 21, 2014

Last week’s economic news supported the general outlook for moderate economic growth. Housing related news included the National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for April and Housing Starts for March.
NAHB: Builder Confidence Holds Steady Amid Concerns
The NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI for April ticked upward by one point to a reading of 47 against the March revised reading of 46. Home builders surveyed expressed concerns about high home prices, a lack of available lots for development and a labor shortage. Some desirable markets have been held back due to low inventories of available and/or affordable homes.
Builders surveyed for the HMI were asked to rate three components used in compiling the monthly index; these include current market conditions, market conditions expected over the next six months, and buyer foot traffic in newly built homes. April’s readings were 51, 57 and 32 respectively.
Readings for current market conditions and buyer foot traffic were unchanged from March, but builder confidence for market conditions in the next six months rose by four points.
Any reading above 50 indicates that more builders are confident about market conditions for newly-built
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 21, 2014single-family homes than not.
Housing Starts Pick Up After Winter Storms, But Fall Short Of Expectations
March Housing Starts rose by 2.80 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000 starts as compared to expectations of 990,000 and February’s reading of 920,000 housing starts, which was revised from 907,000 starts.
The March reading represented a 5.90 percent decrease from March 2013, and is consistent with concerns expressed by home builders surveyed for the NAHB HMI for April.
Building permits issued for March were also lower by 2.40 percent at a rate of 990,000 permits issued. This slippage was largely due to the falling rate of building permits issued for apartment construction.
Higher home prices and mortgage rates along with inconsistent (but improving) labor markets were cited as reasons for builder pessimism, but analysts said that projects delayed by severe weather are expected to pick up in the coming months.
Mortgage Rates Fall, Discount Points Hold Steady
Last week’s average mortgage rates fell across the board according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 4.27 percent. 15-year mortgages had an average rate of 3.33 percent as compared to the prior week’s reading of 3.38 percent. 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.03 percent, down from 3.09 percent the previous week. Discount points were unchanged at 0.70, 0.60 and 0.50 percent respectively.
Fed Chair Upbeat In New York Speech
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen struck a positive note in a speech given before the Economic Club of New York last Wednesday. She indicated that the Fed and many economists expect a return to full employment and stable prices by the end of 2016. Analysts characterized Yellen’s speech as upbeat on economic recovery and inflation, while “dovish” on monetary policy.
Ms. Yellen reiterated the Fed’s intention to monitor current and developing economic situations before making changes to its current monetary policy. She acknowledged that “twists and turns” in the economy could occur, and that Fed policy would shift as needed to address changes.
The Fed also released its Beige Book Report last Wednesday. This report indicated that the economy is recovering in most areas of the U.S.
This Week
This week’s scheduled economic news includes Leading Economic Indicators, Existing Home Sales for March, FHFA House Price Report for February and New Home Sales for March. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment report for April rounds out this week’s news.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Ultimate Guide To Winning At Auction! Don’t Let Your Dream Home Slip Away

While the traditional method of trawling for sale listings, making bids, and negotiating with the seller has been a popular rite of passage for many home buyers, buying a house at auction is swiftly becoming a favored way The Ultimate Guide to Winning at Auction! Don't Let Your Dream Home Slip Awayto purchase property.
Buying a home through auction can be tricky, so it’s best to do your research and keep your cool on auction day, lest you find yourself stuck with a less-than-ideal place to live for a price you didn’t expect to pay. If you’re in the market to buy through auction for the first time, here are some things you need to know.
How To Find Houses Up for Auction
Real estate agents will often use the same methods to sell a house by auction as they do in a traditional sale: adverts in newspapers and online, posters in their office windows, and signs outside the property.
Depending on the reason for the sale, a home auction may be held at a local courthouse, an auction house, or, in some cases, online.
Viewing A House Before Auction
It’s always best to try before you buy, so make sure you are able to view the house prior to the auction. Some real estate agents will insist on exterior views of the home only, but, if you’re a new buyer, this may not be enough.
Seasoned home buyers can often pick a house by looking at the exterior and reading a description; buyers new to the game should bank on seeing inside first.
Checking The Price Of An Auction
Look into the price that is offered for the home you seek to buy; sometimes, if a house is in foreclosure, the starting price of the home may be the balance of the mortgage, or a lower price to get people to begin bidding. Lenders, such as banks, are not permitted to make a profit from selling a foreclosure and may often sell homes at a loss; look out for these bargains when checking house prices in your local area.
Bidding At An Auction
On auction day, make sure you enter the auction knowing the general value of the house and the maximum amount you are willing to pay; having these parameters set out will help prevent you from getting swept up in the auction process and bidding more than what you have or what the house is worth.
On the day, bring a cashier’s check—auction holders ask winners to pay for auction fees, bidding fees, and a deposit on the purchase. If you are successful on auction day, you will then have to close the deal with the seller just like any other property purchase.
If you need financing, you may wish to be pre-cleared by your lending company before the auction. Also, be aware that your winning bid may not be accepted. Many homes have a reserve price, and if the reserve is not met, the house will not be sold on the day.
If you are interested in buying a home through auction, go into the process knowing that auctions can be riskier than buying a home via traditional means. Also remember that just because a house is up for auction doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a good price. Some houses sell for a lot of money, and others sell cheaply but have hidden costs, such as urgent maintenance.
When you’re ready to find your new home by auction and finance it, call your local trusted mortgage professional for information.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 14, 2014

While little housing-related news was released, last week’s economic news showed signs of a brighter What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week 4-14-14economic picture.
Labor statistics were stronger, with job openings up and new jobless claims filed lower than expected.
Mortgage rates fell, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index was higher than expected.
More Jobs Available, Fewer New Jobless Claims
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that February job openings rose to 4.20 million, which exceeded January’s reading of 3.9 million jobs. New jobless claims were lower than expected with 300,000 new jobless claims filed against expectations of 316,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s reading of 332,000 new jobless claims filed.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve released minutes of its meeting held March 18 and 19. The minutes noted that payroll jobs expanded, but the unemployment rate remained elevated, and inflation was below the committee’s goal of 2.00 percent. Indicators of longer-run inflation expectations were seen as stable.
Severe winter weather was viewed as a cause for slowing economic activity. FOMC noted that it would be difficult to determine the effects of winter weather on the economy as opposed to slower economic growth caused by unemployment or other negative factors.
Housing Starts and Building Permits were lower, but FOMC noted the impact of winter weather on these reports. FOMC asserted its intention to continue reducing its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion per month as economic conditions permit.
The FOMC emphasized its commitment to continuous review of financial and economic news as it makes month-to-month decisions concerning asset purchases.
Mortgage Rates Fall, Consumer Sentiment Rises
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 4.41 to 4.34 percent. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage dropped from 3.47 to 3.38 percent, and the rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell by three basis points from 3.12 percent to 3.09 percent.
Discount points were unchanged at 0.70, 0.60 and 0.50 percent respectively. Lower mortgage rates may encourage more buyers into the market as the spring and summer buying season gets under way.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for April rose to 82.60 percent against the March reading of 80.00 percent and the projected reading of 80.80 percent. If expectations prove correct, this week’s economic reports are expected to bring more good news.
Whats Coming Up This Week
This week’s scheduled economic news includes Retail Sales for March, which are expected to show a gain, the Consumer Price Index which is expected to hold steady, and the Home Builder Index, which is expected to rise.
Projections for Housing Starts are also higher. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to give a speech in New York on Wednesday, and the Fed Beige Book report will also be released. This week’s economic reports will wrap up Friday with Leading Economic Indicators.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Happenings In A Reverse Mortgage

When you’re looking for ways to supplement your retirement income, there are a number of different options The Happenings In A Reverse Mortgageto consider. A reverse mortgage is becoming a more popular and more common way to provide income when your retirement savings don’t leave enough to live on.
But with all the information out there, how do you know what happens in a reverse mortgage and whether it’s a good option for you?
What Is A Reverse Mortgage?
A reverse mortgage essentially reverses the typical actions of a mortgage. Instead of making payments on your home, you receive payments against your home’s equity. The amount you are loaned is dependent on your age, your home’s value, the interest rate and any restrictions placed by state or local laws.
Then when your home ownership changes through sale, death or moves out permanently, the loan comes due and is paid for out of the sale of your home. If you borrow more than the value of your home, you or your heirs will not have to make up the difference.
If your home’s value increases and it sells for more than the total of the loan, you or your heirs receive the difference.
There are a number of requirements that must be met that were implemented in late 2013. These include a the home being your primary residence, reaching a minimum age of 62, an increasing progressive percentage of your home’s value that can be borrowed against based on your current age and limitations on exactly how much value you can borrow against in the first year of the loan.
Let’s Break It Down
As an example, a 62-year-old could borrow 52.6% of their home’s value and receive a disbursement of 60% of that percentage. So if their home had 500,000 in value, they could borrow $263,000 and take out $157,800 the first year. By comparison, a 90-year-old could borrow 66%, so the same home would let them borrow $330,000 and they could take out $198,000 the first year.
Disbursements typically are awarded in three ways: as a lump sum at closing, as periodic payments over the life of the loan or as a line of credit with a checkbook. It is also common for a combination of these three ways be used for disbursement.

4 Of The Best Questions To Ask Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

1) Do I Have Enough Equity To Get A Mortgage?
To get a conventional loan, you will usually need to have at least 20 percent equity. This means that your
The Best Questions To Ask Before Refinancing Your Mortgage
house will have to be worth at least $250,000 to get a $200,000 loan. If you have less equity, you could end up having to pay for private mortgage insurance, which can easily add $100 or more to your monthly payment.
2) How’s My Credit?
Most lenders will look at your credit score as a part of determining whether or not to make you a loan. With conventional lenders, your rate will depend on your score and the higher it is, the lower your payment will be. Other lenders, like the FHA and VA programs have an all or nothing rule.
If you qualify, your rate won’t be based on your credit, but if your score is too low, you won’t be able to get any loan. Generally, 620 credit scores are the lowest that will qualify you for any loan.
3) What Do I Want To Accomplish?
Mortgages typically offer a choice as to their term. While the 30-year loan is the most popular, shorter term mortgages save you money since you pay less interest over their lives. They also get you out of debt sooner, at least as regards your house.
The drawback is that they carry higher payments since you pay off more principal every month. This can make them less affordable for some borrowers.
4) How’s My Current Loan?
If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you may want to switch to a fixed rate mortgage simply for the additional security it offers you. On the other hand, if you are planning to move relatively soon, your current mortgage could be a better deal whether it’s fixed- or adjustable-rate.
When trying to decide what to do, compare the cost of refinancing with what it would cost you in additional interest to hold on to your existing loan. While the breakdown is different for every borrower, generally, you’ll need to keep your current house and loan for anywhere from three to six years to break even on the costs of refinancing.
Deciding what to do with your mortgage can be complicated. Working with a qualified loan broker that can consider every angle with you can help you to make a better decision.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Millenials Have Great Homebuying Tools Available To Them

The economy seems to be finally turning, and home loan interest rates are still historically low. Real estate Millenials Have Great Homebuying Tools Available To Themvalues are starting to climb as well, all of which makes for a growing opportunity for new homeowners to get into the market before it gets too expensive again.
Millennials Don’t Seem To Be On Board
They represent the next generation of homebuyers, but a number of barriers can seem to be smack in the way, discouraging many. Yet there are ways around these issues.
According to the Boston Globe, only 32 percent of Millennials are homeowners in 2014, either with a house or a condominium. A number of factors contribute to this situation, and the big issue is finding a viable career. The general unemployment rate for young people is at 16 percent nationwide, almost double the regular average for all ages combined.
Add in the fact that many have large student loans eating up what income is earned in loan payments, and that doesn’t leave much for saving into a down payment or a mortgage payment. In fact, one out of three college graduates right now has moved back in with the parents.
The career-chase situation is not a new one. The previous bunch, Generation X, experienced the same thing in the early 1990s with just as high an unemployment rate. The big takeaway from their experience is that the dip and labor famine is temporary. Most Generation X folks now are well-employed and living in regular, affordable homes across the country.
Further, Some Very Helpful Tools Are Still Available For New Buyers:
  • Any homebuyer with military status can take advantage of Veterans Administration loans with far better rates than the normal market, making mortgage payments cheaper.
  • Those buying in rural areas can take advantage of rural homebuyer’s assistance programs provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help people move to small towns and similar communities.
  • The Housing and Urban Development Agency provides HUD loans that make it very affordable for those with limited income to purchase HUD-owned homes as first-time buyers and get into real estate.
  • And the current market still has plenty of quality used homes from prior foreclosures that are marked well below their real value to move these units in sales.
Of course, the big response from Millenials is how do I earn more to even get started. Like Generation X folks before them, Millenials can’t wait for a job to be made available on a platter. While looking, many smart folks have started their own businesses on the Internet. If a current job is enough to cover current bills, a second income can be entirely dedicated to saving, which can generate thousands of dollars quickly. Even a part-time second job that creates $1,000 a month produces $12,000 a year and in two years enough for a sizable down payment.
Don’t give up, but definitely try smarter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Importnant Legal Tips for Homeowners

Being a homeowner is exciting. It can be financially rewarding, too. Unfortunately, it can also put you in a Important Legal Tips For Homeonwnerstough legal position. Between the complexities of owning a house, having to deal with lenders and the risk that comes from owning something valuable, keeping yourself legally protected is a good idea.
Here Are Some Risks — And Some Ways To Handle Them.
  • HOAs. If you own a condo, townhome or other property in an association, the homeowner association is extremely powerful. Not paying their dues, violating their rules, or doing just about anything else to end up on the wrong side of them could leave you subject to fines or even foreclosure.
  • Neighbors. Whether or not good fences make for good neighbors, bad neighbors make for legal problems. Before dealing with your neighbors, research your community’s laws to see what options you have to deal with their unlicensed backyard dog breeding facility, teenager that steals your oranges or their tree that keeps breaking your window. It’s good to know what your responsibilities are as a neighbor, as well.
  • Legal Paperwork. Part of having a house is having paperwork. Keeping it in a safe place where you can get to it when you need it is always a good idea.
  • Being A Landlord. If you’re thinking about moving out and turning your house into a rental, take the time to see if you can really do it. Your mortgage, your homeowner association bylaws and your community’s laws can all either prevent you from renting out your house or can impose conditions or extra costs.
  • Financial Scams. When you own a house, you’re at risk of being the victim of mortgage scams. If you also have strong credit, you could also be a target for identity thieves that want to steal your good name to steal money.
  • Insurance. Your insurance does more than pay if something happens to your property. It can also give you liability protection that pays off if you harm someone at or away from your home. Given that you could lose your house in a suit, this protection is particularly valuable.
Being a homeowner requires more than just mowing the lawn and painting on occasion. You will also want to pay careful attention to your legal exposure and manage it. A little bit of care could save you a lot of money and trouble down the line.