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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015 Comments off

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week August 31 2015Last week’s economic news included several reports related to housing. The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for June rose to 4.50 percent as compared to May’s reading of 4.40 percent. Denver, Colorado was the only city to post double-digit year-over-year growth. FHFA also released its House Price Index for June. Home prices for properties associated with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose at a year-over-year rate of 5.60 percent in June as compared to May’s reading of 5.70 percent.

New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Rise in July

Commerce Department data revealed that new home sales increased in July to a year-over-year reading of 507,000 against expectations of 510,000 new home sales and June’s revised reading of 481,000 new homes sold. The original reading for June was 482,000 new homes sold. New home sales provided a strong indicator of recovering housing markets as July’s reading was 25 percent higher than it was one year ago.

Pending home sales moved into positive territory in July after June’s reading of -1.80 percent. Pending home sales for July grew by 0.50 percent. Pending home sales are an indicator of future closings, so this is good news as the peak buying and selling season wanes.

The national median home price rose to $285,900 in July, which was two percent higher year-over-year.

Mortgage Rates, New Unemployment Claims Fall

Mortgage rates fell across the board last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by none basis points to 3.8r percent; the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage also fell by nine basis points to 3.06 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 2.90 percent. Discount points for fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at an average of 0.60 percent and fell from an average of 0.50 percent to 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Weekly jobless claims were also lower last week with 271,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 271,000 new claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 277,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading was the 25th consecutive week of new jobless claims readings under the benchmark of 300,000 new claims filed; this is the longest stretch for new jobless claims under the 300,000 new claims benchmark in more than fifteen years.

New jobless claims rose by 1000 new claims to a seasonally adjusted average of 272,500 according to the four-week average. Analysts note that the four week average smooths out volatility that can occur with week-to-week readings.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, ADP and the federal Non-farm Payrolls reports. The national unemployment rate will be released along with regularly scheduled reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

How to Design a Modern, Luxurious Home Inside of an Older Piece of Real Estate

August 28, 2015 Comments off

How to Design a Modern, Luxurious Home Inside of an Older Piece of Real Estate Newer properties may be infused with built-in designer touches that give them an instant sense of luxury, but older homes may lack many of these built-in features. Whether buying or renovating an older property, many people are interested in learning how to instill modern luxury in older property. The good news is that this is easier than it sounds, and it can be accomplished by following a few simple tips.

Make Thoughtful Upgrades

It may not be cost-effective or reasonable to upgrade the entire space with an extensive renovation, but making a few thoughtful upgrades can yield fabulous results. The light fixtures, faucets and hardware in the space should receive attention first, and homeowners should choose a modern finish that goes well with the rest of the home. If funds permit, consider upgrading the counter tops, sinks and bathtubs to further add luxury and modern style to the style.

Choose The Right Fabrics

When decorating the home, it is important to choose fabrics that speak to the luxury that is desired in the space. While some affordable materials have a luxurious look, it may be necessary to invest in premium materials like leather or upgraded upholstery in some areas to achieve the desired results. Think about the use of color, and layer fabrics for a truly upscale, finished look in the space.

Take Advantage Of Antique Charm

Most older homes have a special antique charm, and homeowners may have better results when working with this charm rather than trying to remove it from the space. Antiques can be incorporated with modern pieces to create a historic, classic or even rustic look to a home. Consider which aspects of the existing décor to highlight, such as gorgeous wood floors or an antique banister, and celebrate these areas while also including modern fabrics and other decorative touches to create the luxurious, modern look that is desired.

Decorating an older home can be challenging for many reasons, but it is possible to instill a sense of modern luxury into the space without a complete renovation. Some smaller remodeling efforts may be needed for the best results, and they can be incorporated with these tips to provide a lovely look that homeowners can truly fall in love with. Those who are thinking about fully renovating their older home may want to speak with their trusted mortgage professional for more information about refinancing their mortgage.

Buying a New Home? Three Tips on How to Get the Best Mortgage Rate

August 27, 2015 Comments off

Buying a New Home in 2015? Three Tips on How to Get the Best Mortgage RateBuying a new home is one of the biggest steps that a person can take. Prior to taking out a home loan, you want to ensure that you get the best interest rate for your mortgage. The lower your rate is, the less you’ll pay over the long run. In today’s blog post we’ll share three key tips that will help you get the best possible mortgage rate.

Tip 1: Look For Special Programs

The Federal Housing Administration, better known as the FHA, offers a program designed for those looking at buying homes. This program lets applicants apply for loans and get access to better interest rates. The FHA guarantees that loan and agrees to pay off the funds if the borrower defaults.

The USDA can also help those interested in purchasing homes in rural areas. This can include farmland, ranches and homes located in smaller towns across the country. The USDA developed this program as a way to increase the population in certain areas.

Other programs are available through HUD, especially for those who never owned a home before. HUD is intended to help new homeowners buy homes in underdeveloped and up-and-coming areas. There are also special programs open for those who work as teachers, firefighters and in other positions that help the community at large.

Tip 2: Request Quotes

Not requesting quotes is one of the biggest mistakes that new shoppers make. Did you know that your interest rate can drop by a few percentage points or more just by comparison shopping? Lenders use different criteria when determining who can borrow money and the amount charged, and comparing those quotes can help you get the best fit for your situation.

Tip 3: Improve Your Credit Before Applying

Speaking of credit, one of the biggest factors that determines your interest rate is your credit score. A credit score of 700 or higher will get you a better interest rate than if you had a score of 650 or less. Improving your score before applying is one of the best ways to get a good rate.

Paying down your debt is an easy way to improve your score, but you can also pay your bills on time to get a better score. To learn more about new home financing, improving your credit score and interest rates available to you, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional.

Case-Shiller: Home Prices Continue to Outpace Inflation

August 26, 2015 Comments off

You Ask, We Answer: How the New FICO Score System Might Impact a Typical Mortgage BorrowerDenver, Colorado continues to woo homebuyers as home prices rose by 10.20 percent as of June according to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index. The Mile-High City was the only city included in the index that posted double-digit year-over-year growth in June. San Francisco, California posted a 9.50 percent year-over-year gain in home prices and Dallas, Texas rounds out the top three cities posting highest year-over-year home price growth with a reading of 8.20 percent.

Denver’s home prices were impacted by the city’s rapidly expanding economy and demand for homes coupled with a slim supply of homes for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors®, there is approximately one month’s inventory of homes available in Denver as compared to the national average of five months. 

Cities experiencing the least year-over-year growth in home prices according to the 20-City Home Price Index were Chicago, Illinois with a year-over-year growth rate of 1.40 percent, Washington D.C. with a year-over-year reading of 1.60 percent in home price growth and New York, New York with a reading of 2.80 percent growth in home prices year-over-year.

The 20-City Index indicated national home prices grew by five percent year-over-year in June, with a month-to-month increase of one percent from May to June.

Detroit Leads Gains in Month-to-Month Home Prices 

Detroit, Michigan led month-over-month home price growth with a May to June reading of 1.80 percent. Cleveland, Ohio and Portland Oregon posted month-to-month gains of 1.50 percent followed by Atlanta, Georgia and Denver Colorado; each city posted month-to-month home price gains of 1.30 percent. 

As economic conditions continue to improve, prospective homebuyers face obstacles including tight mortgage approval standards and home prices growing at approximately twice the rate of inflation.

FHFA: Home Prices Dip in June

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices associated with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slipped to a year-over year growth rate of 5.60 percent in June as compared to May’s reading of 5.70 percent. The agency also reported that home prices rose by 1.20 percent during the second quarter of 2015; this was the sixteenth consecutive quarterly increase in home prices.

FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis noted that home prices continued to exceed inflation and were rising in spite of higher mortgage rates.

In general, analysts regard longer term readings as more reliable than month-to-month readings that reflect more volatility based on day-to-day influences.

A Few Common Misconceptions About Mortgage Pre-Qualification

August 25, 2015 Comments off

Mythbusting: Correcting A Few Common Misconceptions About Mortgage Pre-qualificationIf you’re shopping around for mortgages, you’ve probably heard about pre-qualification processes – or maybe even received a pre-qualification offer in the mail. Lots of prospective homeowners hold misconceptions about what exactly pre-qualification is and how it works, and it leads them to opt into poor mortgage deals.

But by understanding how pre-qualification works, you’ll be able to find the right mortgage for you – at the best possible rate. So what is mortgage pre-qualification, and what isn’t it? Here are three common pre-qualification myths that you may have heard.

Myth: Mortgage Pre-qualification Commits You To A Specific Lender

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that being pre-qualified for a mortgage commits them to a specific lender. In truth, being pre-qualified only creates an opportunity for a lender to work with you.

The pre-qualification process doesn’t involve any loan contracts and doesn’t require you to pay the lender. Few homeowners know this, but you’re actually not at all committed to any particular lender until you sign the closing documents.

Pre-qualification is also generally a free process, although some lenders will ask you to pay the $20 fee it costs them to check your credit report. Typically no lender will ask you to pay more than $20 during pre-qualification.

Myth: Rate Shopping Hurts Your Credit Score

Another common myth is that shopping around for the best rate will hurt your credit score as a result of having multiple credit checks done. Some lenders may tell you this is true in order to discourage you from checking out other lenders. But according to FICO, mortgage inquiries aren’t handled the same way that other credit inquiries are.

Mortgage pre-qualification may seem like something you don’t want during a house hunt, but in truth, it’s really just a small gesture lenders make in order to make the mortgage process faster and simpler. If you’ve been pre-qualified for a mortgage, you will still need to go through the standard application process before you’re approved. To learn more about the mortgage application process, or to apply for your new mortgage today, contact your trusted mortgage professional.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015 Comments off

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week August 24 2015Last week’s economic events included a number of readings on housing related topics. The National Association of Home Builders released its report on builder confidence in housing markets, Housing starts reached their highest level since the great recession, and existing home sales exceeded expectations and the prior month’s reading. The Federal Reserve released minutes for its most recent FOMC meeting, which indicated that while a majority of FOMC members are leaning toward raising the Fed’s target federal funds rate, concerns over certain aspects of the economy continue to keep the Fed from citing a date for raising its target interest rate.

Home Builder Confidence Nears Highest Reading in 10 Years

The National Association of Home Builders reported its highest level of builder confidence in housing market conditions since November of 2005. August’s reading was 61 as compared to an expected reading of 59 and July’s reading of 60. Any reading over 50 indicates that housing market conditions are good. NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said that August’s readings were consistent with builder expectations of gradual improvement in overall housing market conditions. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose by one point to a reading of 61; confidence in buyer foot traffic in new housing developments rose 2 points to 45 and the reading for expected home sales conditions over the next six months was unchanged at a reading of 70.

Builder confidence as shown by the three-month rolling average indicated that builder confidence increased by three points for a reading of 63 for the West; the Midwest also posted a gain of three points for a reading of 58. The South posted a two point gain in builder confidence for a reading of 63. In the Northeast, builder confidence held steady at 46.

Existing Home Sales Hit New Post-Recession High in July

According to the National Association of Realtors®, sales of pre-owned homes reached a new post-recession record in July. Sales of previously owned homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million sales as compared to expectations of 5.48 million sales and June’s reading of 5.48 million sales. Sales of existing homes have risen for three consecutive months and are 10.30 percent higher year-over-year. Higher home prices are helping homeowners move up to larger homes, but analysts said that first-time buyers are still struggling to buy due to strict mortgage requirements and high demand for homes.

Commerce Department: Housing Starts Higher, Building Permits Lower

The Commerce Department reported that June housing starts increased from 1.20 million in May to 1.21 million in June; this is a month-to-month increase of 0.20 percent. Economists had expected a dip in housing starts to a rate of 1.185 million on an annual basis. Single family housing starts rose by 12.90 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 782,000 starts.

Building permits slipped in July by 16.30 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million permits issued. Permits for single family homes, which account for nearly 75 percent of permits issued, fell by 1.90 percent to an annual rate of 679,000 permits issued. Demand for multi-family homes such as condos and apartments is rising as would-be home buyers sit on the sidelines and many millennials prefer to rent. In spite of these factors the rate of building permits issued rose by 7.50 percent year-over-year.

Building permits issued rose by 7.70 percent in the South, and rose by 20 percent in the Midwest. In the West, permits issued declined by 3.10 percent in July, while the Northeast posted a decline of 27.50 percent in building permits issued. This was not a surprise as builders rushed to take out permits before a tax credit expired in June.

Mortgage Rates Mixed

Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates fell for fixed rate mortgages and ticked upward for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by one basis point to 3.93 percent. 15-year fixed mortgage rates fell by two basis points to 3.15 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by one basis point to 2.94 percent. Discount points were unchanged across the board at 0.60 percent for 30 and 15-year fixed rates and 0.50 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic news includes the Case-Shiller 10 and 20 city home price index reports, FHFA’s house price report for home sales connected with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and pending home sales. Core inflation numbers will also be released; this is significant as the Fed has set 2.0 percent annual inflation as one of its indicators for raising the Federal funds rate. Freddie Mac’s survey of average mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims will be released on Thursday, and this week wraps up with the consumer sentiment report on Friday.

3 Handy Tips That Will Prevent Serious Stress when Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

August 21, 2015 Comments off

3 Handy Tips That Will Prevent Serious Stress when Buying and Selling a Home at the Same TimeIf you’re in the process of simultaneously buying and selling a home, you may be in for the most stressful experience of your life. One UK-based real estate survey of over two thousand people found that buying and selling a house is more stressful than divorce, bankruptcy, a death in the family, becoming a parent for the first time, and even planning a wedding!

It’s not easy, but staying calm will help you to plan for your upcoming home purchase and sale and make the process easier. So how can you avoid the stress? Here are three strategies that will keep you calm, no matter what may happen.

Have A Thorough Plan In Place…

Much of the stress that you’ll experience will probably be the result of poor planning. You may feel stressed if you don’t have enough time to move or if you have to pay mortgages on two homes because your old home isn’t selling fast enough.

Before you get too far into the buying and selling process, talk with your trusted mortgage professional and ensure you have a solid financial plan in place for how you’ll manage buying and selling at the same time. Leave a time and expense buffer for unexpected complications – even if nothing goes wrong, it’s still nice to know you have some room to work with.

…But Be Ready To Improvise If Things Go Sideways

There are a number of ways that buying and selling at the same time might result in complications. Poor timing might mean you need to move out before you have a home to move into, or it might mean you don’t have the money for your new home if your old home hasn’t sold. Be prepared to rent a hotel room, take out a short-term loan, or move your belongings into storage if the sale doesn’t go according to plan.

Talk Out Your Problems With Loved Ones

In times of stress, it’s helpful to turn to friends and family for a helping hand. Studies have shown that having a strong social support network can mitigate the effects of stress, and even the Mayo Clinic suggests reaching out to loved ones when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for emotional support, and whenever you have an opportunity to socialize, take it – you’ll find it easier to handle stress after a fun night out with friends.

Buying and selling a home at the same time is bound to be stressful, but working with an experienced mortgage professional and having a good financial plan in place can minimize the agony. Call your trusted mortgage professional to learn how you can successfully manage your finances while buying and selling a home at the same time.

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