Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 29, 2016

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 29, 2016

2016
11.29

Last week’s economic reports included new and pre-owned home sales, new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rates survey.

Home Sales Mixed in October

According to the National Association of Realtors®, sales of previously owned homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual level of 5.60 million sales, which exceeded expectations and October’s reading of 5.49 million sales. Analysts had expected a rate of 5.44 million sales.

October sales of preowned homes rose 2 percent over September’s reading and were 5.90 percent higher year-over-year. This was the highest reading for sales of pre-owned homes since February 2007. High demand for homes is driving housing markets in spite of obstacles including rising mortgage rates and tight mortgage approval requirements.

Sales of new homes were lower in October, which indicated continued ups and downs in the economic recovery. October’s reading of 563,000 sales on a seasonally adjusted annual basis was lower than expectations of 595,000 sales and September’s downwardly revised reading of 574,000 new homes sold.

New home sales were 17.80 percent higher year-over year and 12.60 percent higher year to date, but analysts said that housing markets continue to be constrained by a short supply of available homes. Inventories of available homes are slowly increasing, which is expected to help curtail rapidly rising home prices caused by pent-up demand.

The median price of a new home was $304,500 in October as compared to September’s median price of $314,100 and October 2015’s median price of $298,700. There were 246,000 new homes for sale in October, which was the highest quantity of new homes on the market since September of 2009.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates jumped last week in response to an increase in the 10-year Treasury note rate. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose nine basis points to 4.03 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 11 basis points higher at 3.25 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was five basis points higher at 3.12 percent. Last week’s readings were the first time in 2016 that mortgage rates exceeded four percent.

New jobless claims were also higher last week with 251,000 claims filed as compared to expectations 248,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 233,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading marked the 90th consecutive week of new jobless claims less than the benchmark of 300,000 new claims, an event that hasn’t occurred since 1970.

Whats Ahead

Economic reports scheduled this week include Case-Shiller Housing Market Indexes, pending home sales and construction spending. Readings on inflation and labor will also be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.


Comments Off on Refinancing Your Mortgage? Know These Key Terms Before You Sign Your Paperwork

Refinancing Your Mortgage? Know These Key Terms Before You Sign Your Paperwork

2016
11.25

Refinancing Your Mortgage? Know These Key Terms Before You Sign Your PaperworkWhen it comes to your mortgage, there are a lot of key terms that are important for every homebuyer to know, and this is no less true than when it comes to refinancing your most important investment. Instead of leaving what’s unknown up to chance, it’s important to be aware of exactly what you’re looking at so you can get the best mortgage product available. If you’re currently considering refinancing and don’t want to get snared by unknown terminology, here are some terms you’ll need to watch out for.

Cash-Out Refinance

This type of refinance is a transaction where the home’s mortgage amount is higher than the existing mortgage amount, and cash-out refers to the extraction of equity from the homeowner’s home. While this type of refinancing can be a means of tapping into extra cash to help you with monthly expenses, it also means that the cash you take out of your equity will be added to the balance you already owe on your home.

Rate-and-Term Refinance

This type of mortgage transaction involves the refinancing of an existing mortgage so that you can take advantage of a different interest rate. While this type of change will not alter the amount of your home loan, it will adjust the interest which means that your monthly payments may be lowered and your may have a shorter amortization period due to overall reduced costs. These types of loans can often come with lower interest rates than cash-out refinances.

Streamline Refinancing

This type of refinancing is offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it is also offered by certain financial institutions. While this type of refinancing has its own set of stipulations, it is directed at those who want to take advantage of low interest rates or get out of an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). While you may need to have a financial appraisal done in order to qualify for this option, it’s also possible that this will not be required to qualify.

There are a lot of key terms that go along with having a mortgage and refinancing it, but if you’re considering your options it’s very important to know what all of them mean so you can be sure you’re making the best decision. If you’re currently considering refinancing your home and need helpful advice, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.


Comments Off on Five Ways to Make Your Home’s ‘Curb Appeal’ Better Than Your Neighbors’

Five Ways to Make Your Home’s ‘Curb Appeal’ Better Than Your Neighbors’

2016
11.23

Five Ways to Make Your Home's 'Curb Appeal' Better Than Your Neighbors'Curb appeal, or how your home looks from the street, is an essential part of preparing to sell your house. It’s also where comparison with your neighbors’ homes is inescapable which poses a problem if you’re both on the market. Read on for five ways to boost your own curb appeal.

Open Up: Garage Doors With Impact

In most homes, the external facade is taken up largely by the garage door which means it’s a big influence on how people see your home. Embrace that. Style your garage door to suit your home, touch up the paint or trim, or even do a full overhaul with a brand-new door.

Balance Out: The Appeal Of Symmetry

Not only is a symmetrical design visually appealing, it’s also quick and easy to do. If your home doesn’t allow for large symmetrical designs because of its structure — if it has a garage on one side, for example — focus in on specific elements. Consider the front door, maybe, where fixtures are easier and cheaper to update.

Sit Back: Inviting Outdoor Seating

A great way to attract buyers is to think like them and what search-weary buyer doesn’t enjoy a moment to relax? Arrange an aesthetically pleasing seating area outside your home. It will become a welcoming space that can offer buyers the chance to sit down and dream about owning your home. A clear and attractive walkway is also very inviting, so be sure to spruce yours up or install a whole new one to, literally, lead buyers to your door.

Admire The Art: Accent With Outdoor Pieces

Put a little of your home’s personality out front to attract the interest of like-minded buyers. Weather-resistant art pieces are a great way to accent your lawn or entrance. Consider the welcoming sound of wind chimes, or a sculpture or two. Even birdbaths can provide simple but effective artistic highlights.

Look Critically: Get Outside Eyes

When you’re close to your home, it can be hard to view it as a buyer would in other words, critically. This is an essential step, though, in creating effective curb appeal. So, consider getting another person involved. Someone who can look at your home objectively and provide a clear assessment of your home’s strengths and weaknesses.


Comments Off on First-time Home Buyers: Here’s a Quick and Easy Guide to Your First Mortgage

First-time Home Buyers: Here’s a Quick and Easy Guide to Your First Mortgage

2016
11.22

First-time Home Buyers: Here's a Quick and Easy Guide to Your First MortgageDelving into the real estate market for the first time can be a very intimidating thing with all of the mortgage and housing options available. Whether it’s market conditions or the amount you should be spending, there are a number of factors you’ll need to be aware of. If you’re just starting out and not sure where to begin, here are some points to consider that will set you on the right path.

Is It The Right Time To Buy?

Many people try to time the market, but the right time to buy a home is when it works for you. If you have a solid down payment and you’re truly prepared for home ownership, it’s probably the right time to start looking. While a good home and low interest rates can certainly push you in this direction, if it’s not quite the right time, hold off until it’s right for you.

What’s Your Payment Plan?

It’s easy for a first-time buyer to be taken in by their dream home, but it’s important to be clear on all the costs associated with home ownership like property tax, insurance, maintenance and other fees that will bump up the monthly payment. If you can formulate a budget that includes all of your monthly costs and is feasible in the long term, you’re good to go.

What Documentation Is Required?

Having your personal documentation in order and available will be one of the most important steps in your application, but there are a number of things you’ll need. Beyond recent paystubs, tax returns and bank statements, you’ll also need your credit report, so take a look over it to ensure that it’s correct and displays your financial history in a positive light.

Starting the Search

You may be ready to move as soon as you start looking, but buying your first home can be a rather lengthy process. Instead of being sucked in by too much house or taking the first home that appeals to you, ensure that you have a good sense of the size, neighborhood and style of house you want so you can get out there and find the home that works for you.

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to buying your first home, but by being ready to invest and having your finances in order you’ll be well on your way. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.


Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 21, 2016

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 21, 2016

2016
11.21

Last week’s economic reports included readings on the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department releases on Housing Starts and Building Permits issued and weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates.

 

Builder Sentiment Holds Steady, Demand for Homes Pushes Builders

November’s reading for the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index held steady with a reading of 65. Any reading above 50 indicates that a majority of home builders surveyed has a positive view of current and future housing market conditions. Tight supplies of available homes, steep competition for homes in desirable metro areas and rising home prices pressure home builders to produce more homes, but builder sentiment and housing starts are not always aligned, but data released by the Commerce Department indicates that builders are ramping up construction.

The Commerce Department reported that October’s reading of 1.323 housing starts exceeded September’s reading of 1.054 million starts and also surpassed the expected reading of 1.170 million starts. This suggests that builders are ramping up construction to quench ongoing demand for homes. October’s reading was 25.50 percent higher than September’s reading, which was the highest number of housing starts posted since 2007. Starts for multi-family homes of five units or more jumped 75 percent and starts for single family homes of four units or less increased by 11 percent.

Building permits issued in October rose to 1.229 million as compared to September’s reading of 1.225 million permits issued. Approaching winter weather and holidays typically cause slowing of construction.

 

Mortgage Rates Rise after Election

Last week’s survey of mortgage rates was mostly completed by the time presidential election results were released; this week’s readings showed higher rates for all types of mortgages. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage increased from 3.57 percent to 3.94 percent; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose from 2.88 to 3.14 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was also higher at 3.07 percent as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.88 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Low mortgage rates have helped home buyers qualify for financing they need to buy homes; if rates continue to trend upward, demand for homes is likely to ease.

New jobless claims reached a 43-year low last week. 235,000 claims were filed as compared to expectations of 255,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 254,000 new jobless claims. Low layoff rates point to stronger economic conditions; job stability can encourage first-time home buyers to enter the market and existing home owners to buy larger homes.

 

What’s Ahead

Readings on new and pre-owned home sales, the Federal Reserve’s post meeting FOMC statement and reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released this week.


Comments Off on Five Unique Renovations That Can Make Small Living Spaces Feel Bigger

Five Unique Renovations That Can Make Small Living Spaces Feel Bigger

2016
11.18

Five Unique Renovations That Can Make Small Living Spaces Feel BiggerJust because you live in a small space doesn’t mean your home needs to feel cramped. There are several renovations that are popular among interior designers to make a space feel larger. Incorporate them into your own home to give it a more open, spacious feel.

1. Crystal Clear

Glass is an absolutely phenomenal way to make a small space feel larger as it removes visual barriers to show off additional square footage, making it seem as though it’s part of the room. Whether you choose a glass railing for a staircases or room divider or incorporate a glass shower into a small bathroom, glass can help your home feel more spacious.

2. Make The Most Of Mirrors

Similar to glass, mirrors can make a small space feel big as they add an illusion of depth to a room. Try installing a large mirror on a wall in lieu of paintings or other decor if you’d like to make a room seem larger than it is.

3. Goodbye Island

If it’s your kitchen that’s feeling cramped, consider removing the island. Islands can add value to a home, but if your kitchen is small enough that it shouldn’t have been there in the first place then getting rid of it will create a much more functional space. Consider whether you’d still have ample counter space and storage without your island, and if the answer is yes it may be time to say goodbye to your island.

4. Tear Down The Walls

Creating an open concept floor plan is a fantastic renovation for a small home as it removes barriers between several small spaces to create one larger open space. Do you really need a wall between your kitchen and dining room? How about between your dining room and living room? If there’s a wall that simply isn’t necessary, it may be time to tear it down.

5. Keep It Light

A very quick and easy renovation to help open up a small space is to paint the walls in a light color as it will reflect more light than a darker shade, making the room feel airy rather than cozy. If you’re considering re-doing the floors, choosing a lighter color can further contribute to the feeling of a larger space.

Small spaces don’t have to cramp your style. In fact, they offer unique design opportunities and can make wonderful living spaces.


Comments Off on Home Builder Sentiment Unchanged in November

Home Builder Sentiment Unchanged in November

2016
11.17

According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for November, builder sentiment was unchanged at a reading of 63. Readings above 50 indicate that a majority of builders are confident about housing market conditions. Readings for three sub-indexes used to calculate the Housing Market Index Readings for builder confidence in current market conditions and market conditions within the next six months were posted at 69. The reading for buyer foot traffic in housing developments was 47. Buyer traffic has not reached the benchmark reading of 50 since the peak of the housing bubble approximately 10 years ago.

NAHB Chair Ed Brady noted that survey information provided by most participating builders was gathered prior to the presidential election. Mr. Brady also noted that Housing Market Index readings have exceeded 60 for the past three months, which indicates slow but steady growth in housing markets.

 

Analysts: Builder Sentiment and Building Activity Inconsistent

While positive builder sentiment readings seem to contribute to stronger housing markets, analysts pointed out that housing starts are not consistent with high builder sentiment levels. Reasons for fewer home starts than the Housing Market Index suggests include approaching winter weather and ongoing shortages of labor and buildable lots.

Real estate pros count on building more homes (and building them faster) as the only solution to tight supplies of available homes and rising demand. These conditions create highly competitive markets that present obstacles to moderate income and first time home buyers. NAHB said that rising incomes, expanding labor markets and relatively low mortgage rates are fueling demand for homes. While mortgage rates have remained near historic lows, home prices have risen quickly in high-demand areas. This creates affordability challenges for home buyers, who also face strict home loan approval requirements.

 

3 Month Rolling Averages Show Regional Confidence Readings

NAHB reported its three-month rolling averages according to four regions included in Housing Market Index readings. The Northeast reading was 45; the Midwest region’s confidence reading was 58 and the Southern region reported a reading of 66. The West, which includes high-demand metro areas such as Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California, had a November builder confidence reading of 77.


Comments Off on Staging Tips: 5 Interior Paint Colors That Will Help You Sell Your Home Faster

Staging Tips: 5 Interior Paint Colors That Will Help You Sell Your Home Faster

2016
11.16

Staging Tips: 5 Interior Paint Colors That Will Help You Sell Your Home FasterIt’s important to remember that when a home is put up for sale it should appeal to as many people as possible. Sometimes those flashy paint colors the owners grew up with will not charm new buyers.

Here are five ideas for paint colors that will help any home sell quickly.

Keep It Neutral For A Reason

The first thing everybody hears when they try and sell their home is to paint in neutral colors. There is a good reason for this. Every person who walks through the front door should be able to picture living in the home and not think about the people who had lived there before. Neutral colors provide a blank canvas for buyers to paint their future on

Creams Photograph Better Than Almost Any Shade

Neutral colors are not just the standard beiges everyone is used to. Rooms painted in creams tend to look better in pictures, which helps out tremendously when listing the house online. Since most people’s first impression of a home is the online photographs, this technique helps a house stand out from the very beginning.

Using Gray To Expand The Space

Making rooms appear larger is one technique to help sell a home quicker. A light gray can help make large, clean rooms appear even larger to visitors. This works on rooms that are clutter free and do not have much furniture in them. As an added technique, try painting the moldings the same color of gray so that the walls appear higher.

Accent Natural Surroundings With Earth Tones

Anybody who owns a house that has a lot of brick, stone or wood should take a moment to browse through some earth tones to accent the room. These colors, while still neutral, are found in nature and accent the natural surroundings of the room. Sienna and umber are two popular choices.

Give A Splash Of Green In A Sunny Room

When the rest of the home is in neutral tone, it provides the opportunity to spring a room to life with a dash of color. A light green is perfect for an indoor patio or den that overlooks a garden. This is one way to give a natural and earthy feel to a room that has plenty of sunlight.

Before painting, talk to your local real estate agent to walk through your home with you and give you some pointers on which colors they think will work and which ones may be problematic.


Comments Off on Applying for a Mortgage? 3 Easy Ways to Make the Process Easier — and Reduce Your Stress

Applying for a Mortgage? 3 Easy Ways to Make the Process Easier — and Reduce Your Stress

2016
11.15

Applying for a Mortgage? 3 Easy Ways to Make the Process Easier -- and Reduce Your StressThere are more than enough details involved in getting a mortgage and moving into your own home that you’ll want to know how to make the process as seamless as possible beforehand. However, there’s a chance you might not be aware of the things you can do to make it a little easier on yourself. If you’re currently looking for a home and are wondering how to streamline the approval process, here are some things to do before applying to minimize mortgage-related stress.

Get Electronic Documentation

In order to get approved for your mortgage application, you’ll need to provide documentation that will likely include bank statements, federal tax returns and recent paystubs, but providing or acquiring all of these documents in paper form can require a lot of drudgery. Instead of paper, get your documentation together and ensure it’s in electronic form so it can be easily accessed or sent from anywhere. This means you’ll have it on hand as soon as it’s needed.

Choose A House You Can Afford

As a potential homebuyer on the market, it’s easy to be swayed by your dream home, but if your dream home doesn’t come with an acceptable price tag, it’s important to move on to the next best opportunity. It can be very easy to be invested enough in a particular home that you can convince yourself you’ll budget for it, but the market can shift and this can push your monthly payment from difficult to not-doable. Choosing a home at an affordable cost will not only improve your chances of approval, it will also minimize your stress after the move-in date.

Have Your Down Payment Ready

It may be all well and good to know that your down payment money is in the bank, but it’s important that it’s in the appropriate account at least 3 months prior to your application submission so you can ensure you’ll be seen as financially sound. While it’s great to have money held in investments and RRSPs, it’s important that this down payment money is kept in an easily accessible account where it can be withdrawn without any time delays or financial losses.

There are many different steps and small details associated with obtaining a mortgage, but by having your electronic documentation and down payment ready, you’ll be well on your way to an approval. If you’re currently on the market for a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.


Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 14, 2016

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 14, 2016

2016
11.14

Last week’s economic news included readings on job openings, consumer sentiment and the Federal Reserve’s monthly survey of senior loan officers. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released. Freddie Mac noted that last week’s primary mortgage market survey did not include post-election readings as the survey information was gathered prior to election results.

Loan Officers Survey: High Demand for Home Loans, Commercial Lenders Raise Standards

As demand for mortgage financing and homes increase, the Federal Reserve reported last week that banks are tightening the screws on commercial lending requirements. This could present challenges to home builders; they’ve been consistently pressured to build more homes at a faster pace. Less availability of commercial financing may impact home builders and their suppliers. The survey indicated that demand for home and consumer loans also increased.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates rose across the board on average. Freddie Mac reported the rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.57 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage increased four basis points to 2.88 percent, which equaled the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage. Average discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims fell to 254,000, which was lower than the expected reading of 260,000 new claims. Last week’s reading was also lower than 265,000 new claims filed the prior week. Job openings held steady at 5.50 million in September.

According to the University of Michigan’s monthly consumer sentiment index, November’s reading rose 91.60 in November as compared to an expected index reading of 88.00 and October’s reading of 87.20. This reading falls in line with strengthening labor markets. Improving economic conditions can influence consumers who want to buy homes.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s economic reports include releases from the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued and weekly releases on new jobless claims and mortgage rates.