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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 27, 2017

Last week’s economic news included releases on new and pre-owned home sales and weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.

Pre-owned Home Sales Fall, Due to Dwindling Inventory

5.48 million pre-owned homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected 5.45 million sales based on January’s reading of 5.69 million sales. Lagging supplies of listed homes continue to cause home prices to rise as buyers compete for fewer available homes. First time buyers represented only 32 percent of sales as compared to the normal reading of 40 percent. First-buyers represent new demand for homes and they are important to sales of existing homes that allow current homeowners to move up to larger homes.

The available supply of pre-owned homes was 6.40 percent lower in February than for February 2016. Real estate pros reported that as of February 2017. There was a 3.80 months’ supply of available homes as compared to the normal range of six-month supply.

Regional Results for Existing Home Sales

Existing home sales declined in three out of four regions tracked by the National Association of Realtors®. Sales of previously owned homes fell by 13.80 percent in the Northeastern region; the Midwestern region posted a 7.00 percent decline in sales. The Western region reported a 3.20 percent decrease in sales. The Southern region posted a 1.30 percent increase in existing home sales.

Sales of new homes rose in February; 592,000 homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to expectations of 571,000 sales and 558,000 new home sales in January. Sales were 6.1 percent higher than for January and were 12.80 percent higher year-over-year. February’s reading was the highest in seven months

Analysts said that the national median price of a new home was $296,000 in February, this was 3.90 percent lower than January’s reading and 4.90 percent lower year-over-year.

Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 4.23 percent. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points lower at 3.4 percent. The rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 3.24 percent on average. Discount points for fixed rate mortgages averaged 0.50 percent; discount points for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 0.40 percent. Lower mortgage rates stood in contrast to the Fed’s decision to raise the federal funds rate last week.

New jobless claims jumped last week with a reading of 258,000 new claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 243,000 new claims and expectations of 240,000 new claims. While week-to-week readings for jobless claims are notoriously volatile, the four-week rolling average of new jobless claims was higher by 5000 new claims at 246,000 new claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic news includes Case-Shiller Housing Market Index and pending home sales. Also scheduled are readings on inflation and consumer confidence.  Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Spring Is Real Estate’s ‘Rush Hour’ — Here’s How to Prepare

Spring Is Real Estate's 'Rush Hour' -- Here's How to Tell If You're PreparedThe most popular time of year to buy a home is in the spring. This means that if you’re preparing yourself for getting into the real estate market, you may be experiencing a time crunch. If you’re ready to put your home up for sale in time to take advantage of the season, here are few things you’ll want to think about.

Have You Cleaned Up And De-cluttered?

Spring is not only an optimal time to put your home up for sale, it’s also an ideal time for spring-cleaning! Instead of leaving all of the de-cluttering to the time when you know you’ll be moving, prepare now by discarding anything that you don’t want to move. This will not only make your packing more streamlined, it will also make the basic cleaning duties like vacuuming and dusting a little easier to carry out.

Are You Prepared To Move?

A home can sit on the market for a few weeks or months, and it can also sell on the first day. You’ll want to have a game plan for moving beforehand. Determine a plan for yourself and your family so that you can start looking for a home to invest in or at least rental property. You don’t want to lose out on a good offer by not being prepared. Make sure you know where you’re going before getting into the market.

Do You Know The Market Conditions?

Spring is certainly the most popular time to buy, but if your home isn’t priced right, it may linger longer than you’d expect. If you’re selling on your own, you may want to take a look at the MLS listings to determine what similar homes are selling for. It can also be a great idea to utilize the services of a local real estate agent. They will have background knowledge of the market and be able to do the tough negotiating for you.

With spring being the best time to sell, it’s important to de-clutter your house ahead of time and be aware of the market conditions you’ll be dealing with.

Three Major Mortgage Mistakes To Avoid When Buying a Home

Buying a New Home? Three Major Mortgage Missteps That You'll Want to AvoidBuying a home is one of the biggest financial investments you’ll make in your life. It’s important to make sure that you’re doing what will be right for you down the road. If you’re trying to avoid buyer’s remorse and are wondering what major missteps to avoid when diving into the market, here are a few things you may want to watch out for.

Buying Too Much Home

It’s often the case that a homebuyer will get so excited about a home they see that they need to have it. But putting all of your money into one investment can be difficult to sustain over time. Instead of deciding to budget and buckle down on your expenditures, ensure that your monthly budget still leaves room in the event of other expenses or financial setbacks. This will ensure that your home stays as something you can enjoy that won’t become a burden.

Not Saving Up Enough

Many people want to invest in the market right away and get into a home, but it can often be worth the wait to save up so that you have at least 20% for a down payment. Putting 20% down on a house means that you won’t have to pay the added costs for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Not only can this lead to smaller mortgage payments on a monthly basis, it also means that you’ll be able to pay off your mortgage loan that much more quickly.

Forgetting All The Associated Costs

It’s easy to be wooed by the cost of the monthly payment and think that it’s less expensive than you thought. But it’s important not to forget about all the other costs that go into owning a home. In addition to the closing costs of home ownership, there will also be property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and the maintenance fees required for home upkeep. If the monthly mortgage payment is already pushing it, costs like these can make your overall mortgage costs unmanageable.

There are many mistakes that can be made when it comes to purchasing a home. But by being aware of all of the costs of home ownership and taking the time to save up, you’ll be well on your way to owning a home that’s affordable and sustainable. If you’re getting prepared to delve into the real estate market, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Feeling ‘Priced Out’ of the Market? Here’s How You Can Still Buy a Great New Home

Feeling 'Priced Out' of Your Local Market? Here's How You Can Still Buy a Great New HomeIf you’re trying to buy a new home, few things are more frustrating than a hot real estate market. When home prices are climbing fast it can feel like you’ll never be able to save enough for your down payment. Here are a few ways that you can get in – even if you’re feeling priced out.

Start Smaller And Upgrade Later

If you’re a single professional or a young couple, it might be wise to start with a smaller starter home. While a townhouse or condo might not feel as large as a detached house, they are more affordable options. Starting small allows you to build equity in your home. This, plus your increased earning power as you work for longer, can open up more home options later.

Another benefit of starting small is that you’ll already have a home. If the local real estate market experiences a quick change, you won’t need to scramble. You can plan to buy a larger home – that ‘perfect’ house – when the time is right.

Bring In Family As Investors

Do you have family members who might be willing to provide a loan or financing? If so, start the conversation with them to see if they are willing to co-invest in your new home.

There are many ways to bring in family as investors when you buy. They can provide a straight loan of funds to increase your down payment. Or if they want to be less involved, they can co-sign your mortgage, which will allow you to borrow a larger amount. In many areas, a family member or investor can also be a legal co-owner of the house or the property it sits on.

Make Use Of Experienced Professionals

Finally, don’t forget to ask the local experts for more advice. Real estate agents and mortgage brokers are in-tune with the local market. They spend each day helping buyers like you understand the options available. If you’re short on ideas, a real estate professional is a great place to start.

It can be tough to stay positive when you’re feeling priced out of the local real estate market. But with a little ingenuity and planning, you can get out of the rental market and into a great new home.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 27, 2017

Last week’s readings on new and existing home sales provided further evidence of strengthening housing markets. Both categories of home sales exceeded December’s readings. Consumer sentiment was lower in February than for January and average rates were mixed with fixed rates higher and the rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages lower. Consumer sentiment lower in February.

New and Previouslyowned Home Sales Higher in January

Home sales volume rose in January regardless of obstacles including higher mortgage rates and rising home prices. The National Association of Realtors® reported more sales of pre-owned homes in January. 5.69 million homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in January, which surpassed expectations of 5.57 million sales and December’s reading of 5.51 million sales of previously-owned homes.

New home sales also rose in January. 555,000 new home sales were reported, which fell short of 586,000 new home sales expected. 535,000 new homes were sold in December.

Mortgage Rates Mixed

Mortgage rates have traditionally been tied to the performance of 10-year Treasury notes, but this connection may be weakening due to uncertainty about current economic influences. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year mortgage rose one basis point to 4.16 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose two basis points to 3.37 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped two basis points 3.16 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New Jobless claims also rose last week; 244,000 new claims were filed as compared to expectations of 237,000 new claims and the prior week’s revised reading of 238,000 new claims. The weekly reading for new jobless claims remained below the benchmark of 3000 new claims. The less volatile four-week rolling average of new claims filed reached its lowest level since July 1973 and fell by 4,000 new claims to 241,000 new claims filed. Layoffs remain low, so week-to-week variances in new jobless claim filed do not necessarily indicate faltering job markets.

Whats Next

This week’s economic news includes readings on pending home sales, Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices, pending home sales and inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

5 Things You Should Do Now Before Selling Your Home

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Selling Your First HomeIt’s often so exciting to think of buying a new home that homeowners forget about the sale. But there are a lot of details involved in putting a home on the market. Whether you’re just considering selling or you’re ready to put your home up, here are some things you might not know about the process.

Marketing Strategy Is Important

The days of putting a sign on the front yard and waiting for buyers are gone. It’s important to have a strategy that will successfully highlight your house. Whether you decide to make a website, use social media or invest in a professional photographer, ensure you’re prepared to put your home out there.

The Right Price Is Everything

You have the ability to change your asking price at any time, but it’s best to hit the market with a price that is both reasonable and competitive. This will not only prevent your home from lingering on the market, it will make it more likely you’ll get the offer you’re looking for.

Fixing It Up Is Important

You might want to avoid minor fix-ups before selling your home, but maintenance issues can impact the offers you’ll receive. Instead of leaving these for the next homeowner, put time aside to do paint touch-ups, repair doors or insulate the windows so the small things don’t affect your offer.

Prepare To Pack

It’s great to receive an offer on your home, but packing up can be one of the most stressful aspects of moving. Instead of leaving this to the last minute, do some preliminary ‘spring cleaning’ to discard the stuff you won’t use and pack up the stuff you won’t soon need. This will make moving out a little smoother.

Be Ready For An Open House

It can be a pain to stage your home and leave on short notice to accommodate an interested homebuyer, but a good open house is one of your best bets for selling your home. This means your house should be clean and clutter free all the time so only a few last-minute fix-ups will be required.

There are a lot of things involved in selling your first home, but by completing the little fix ups and choosing the right price, you’ll be well on your way to an interested buyer.

Benchmark Mortgage

3 Things You Should Never Say When Negotiating On A Home

Buyer's Remorse: 3 Things You Should Never Say When You're Negotiating to Buy a HomeThe prospect of finding the home you’ve always dreamed of can be such an exciting time that it’s easy to forget all about the process of negotiating. However, it’s important to keep a few things to yourself when it comes to the art of making the deal. If you’re currently searching for the right place and preparing to sign on the dotted line, here are a few phrases it’s best to avoid.

Declaring It Your Dream Home

There’s nothing wrong with finding the ideal home and getting enthusiastic about the prospect of owning it. But it’s very important not to say too much to the homeowner or the homeowner’s agent. While it’s certainly welcome to be a polite home viewer and mention some of the features you like, giving away too much will inform the homeowner of just how much leverage they have with you. This can mean they may request a higher price since they know how interested you are.

What You’re Willing To Pay

It might seem up front and honest to declare the price range that you’re willing to spend on a home. But if a homeowner knows what your limitations are, they’ll likely push you past them. While you may be willing to pay more for a home you truly love, it’s important that you’re investing a reasonable amount into the home and not paying much over market value. Instead of being too forward, keep your offer to yourself until it’s on the table.

Critiquing Their Price Point

If you’re truly interested in a home, it can be pretty difficult to realize that it’s not within your price range. However, it’s unnecessary to mention this to the buyer as it’s entirely possible that the price is comparable to other homes of a similar style in the neighborhood. After all, there’s always a chance that the home will stay on the market and drop down in value, and this may be the point at which you can get your foot in the door.

When it comes to buying a home, the process of negotiating can be fraught with stress for many people. However, it’s important to keep your price range and your impressions to yourself so that you can get the best deal possible.

Benchmark Mortgage

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 13, 2017

Last week’s scheduled economic readings were limited and included new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey. In other news, all types of mortgage applications rose by 2.30 percent this week as compared to the prior week.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Home Loan Applications Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates for fixed rate and 5/1 adjustable mortgages; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped two basis points to 4.17 percent. Average rates for 15-year mortgages also dropped two basis points to 3.39 percent. 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates averaged 3.21 percent, which was also two basis points lower than the previous week. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for the three types of mortgages tracked in Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, this small drop in mortgage rates caused all types of mortgage applications to rise by 2.30 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Refinance applications rose two percent from the prior week, but remain 40 percent lower year-over-year. The dearth of refinancing applications was caused by two factors including many refinances were completed recently when rates were lower and homeowners currently discouraged by higher mortgage rates.

Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Last week’s initial jobless claims fell to 234,000 as compared to expectations of 249,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 246,000 new claims. This was the lowest reading since 1973 and when compared to the benchmark of 300,000 new claims, shows that the economy continues to strengthen. Last week’s reading was the second lowest since recovery from the recession got underway in 2009 and represented the 101st consecutive week that new jobless claims were lower than the 300,000 new claims benchmark. According to Labor Department data, this week’s reading sustained the longest-running consecutive period of new jobless claims below the benchmark level.

The four-week average of new jobless claims is viewed by analysts as less volatile than the week-to-week reading, but it showed similar results last week as it fell by 3750 new claims to 244,250 initial claims and reached the lowest level of new claims filed in 44 years.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings on inflation and core inflation, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued.

How to ‘Stress Test’ Your Finances For Peace of Mind

Worried About Future Mortgage Rate Increases? Here's How to 'Stress Test' Your Finances When it comes to real estate, there are always going to be upswings in the market that will have an impact on your mortgage payment and overall financial health. However, with a fluctuating market here to stay, you may be wondering how you can guard your biggest investment and your finances against rate increases. If you’re concerned about rates on the rise, here are a few tips to test out you’re fiscal well-being.

Calculate Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

It’s beneficial to determine your DTI ratio prior to purchasing a home. But since debt and housing costs are always fluctuating, calculating this number again can be a wakeup call. By adding up your monthly expenditures (including any debt), and dividing that number by your pre-tax income, you’ll be able to determine your DTI percentage. While it’s ideal to have a percentage of less than 28%, if your expenditures have risen above this number, it may be time to take a look at your monthly budget and see what you can cut out.

Do You Have Emergency Savings?

Many people make a habit of putting money into their retirement funds each paycheck, but it’s equally important to have emergency savings you can access in the event of car repairs, home maintenance issues or an unforeseen medical problem. While it’s often suggested that a person should have a minimum of 3 months of expenses at their disposal, saving more than this can make you better prepared in the event that a rate increase requires you to dive into other funds.

Review Your Budget

It’s easy enough to have a monthly budget, but the hard part for most people is sticking to it on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve veered off the trail a little bit in this regard, sit down to review your expenditures and determine what your financial outlook would be if you experienced an interest rate bump next month. In the event that there’s very little cushion and no money for savings, it may be worth your time to craft a new budget that gives you a bit more wiggle room.

Many people are uncertain about what the short-term economy will bring for their mortgage rates, but by reviewing your budget and maintaining emergency savings, you can be better prepared for the future.

If you’re currently considering purchasing a home,  contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

The 2017 Mortgage Rate Outlook: Here’s What the Experts Are Saying

The 2017 Mortgage Rate Outlook: Here's What the Experts Are SayingThe post-election period is often one of uncertainty. And the time since the 2016 election has been no different with regards to market force and the financial world. With a new administration taking office, there are many questions regarding how Donald Trump’s presidency will impact the market and your mortgage. If you’re wondering what the predictions are for the coming year, here are a few things the experts are considering.

An Increase In Rates

Due to an expected hike in rates by the Federal Reserve, it’s unlikely that potential homebuyers will be able to get the low interest rates of previous years. While higher rates are likely, the proposed tax plan and budget of Donald Trump may lead to increased inflation and could also have an impact on rates down the road. The low rates of previous years certainly made homeownership a more feasible option, but it’s still a good time to get into a home before they rise even more.

Less Red Tape

The money invested into regulations is something that Donald Trump was highly critical of in the run up to the election. This may mean many opportunities for home ownership that did not exist before. While a poor credit history can make or break a mortgage application, in a time of loosening regulations there will likely be more available mortgage products for those who have a less than stellar financial situation.

Privatizing Loan Programs

There is the possibility that government-sponsored home loan organizations like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will come under new ownership. While this may provide an opportunity for potential homeowners, because the risk will be taken on by private owners – and not the government – this may lead to higher rates. As Jordan Levin of the California Association of Realtors says, “I can say with a pretty good level of confidence that it will increase the cost of borrowing because there’s going to be more risk from those pools being borne by the private sector and they’re going to want to be compensated for that additional risk that they’re bearing.”

While the economic policy of the coming years has yet to take shape, mortgage rates are on the rise and the regulations surrounding home ownership are likely to loosen. If you’re currently waiting out the 2017 market and are considering your options for home ownership, contact us for more information.