What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 10, 2017

Last week’s economic reports suggested that demand for homes is rising despite a jump in mortgage rates and rising home prices fueled by low inventories of homes for sale. Demand for homes rose by 1.40 percent as interest rates jumped after the 10-year Treasury rate rose by 10 basis points.

Construction spending was unchanged in May as compared to a -0.70 percent reading in April. Although builders express high confidence in housing market conditions, construction spending continued to lag behind spending levels based on builder confidence readings.

Home buyers received good news as major credit bureaus removed two key components from consumer credit reports. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac raised the debt/to income ratio for home loans from 45 percent to 50 percent of gross income. This move was made to help would-be home buyers swamped with education debt. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said that raising the debt to income ratio would not increase lender risk significantly.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates rose last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose eight basis points to 3.96 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.22 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.21 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and held steady at 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Jobless claims rose last week to 248,000 new claims from the prior week’s reading of 244,000 new claims, but this increase does not appear to be related to layoffs. Non-Farm Payrolls for June increased to 222,000 jobs added as compared to 180,000 jobs expected and May’s reading of 152,000 jobs added. Non-Farm Payrolls include public and private-sector jobs.

ADP Payrolls, which reports private-sector job growth, dipped in June to 158,000 jobs added as compared to 230,000 private-sector jobs added in June. Employers have repeatedly cited difficulty in finding skilled candidates for job openings, which makes it less likely that they’ll lay off employees who have needed skills. The national unemployment rate edged up in June with a reading of 4.40 percent against expectations of 4.30 percent and May’s reading of 4.30 percent.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, readings on inflation and core inflation and retail sales. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released along with a reading on consumer sentiment.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 3, 2016

Last week’s economic releases included reports on new and pending home sales, S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and regularly scheduled weekly reporting on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims. Readings on consumer sentiment and confidence were also released.

New and Pending Home Sales Lower as Peak Sales Season Winds Down

August readings for new and pending home sales were lower than for July; analysts said that slim supplies of available homes and rising home prices contributed to slower home sales. Peak home sales typically occur during spring and summer. Homebuyers with school-aged children prefer to be settled into a new home when school starts in August and September.

According to the Commerce Department, new home sales achieved their second highest reading since the Great Recession. Although lower than July’s reading, August sales of new homes reached 609,000 on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a reading of 600,000 new home sales based on July’s reading of 659.000 new homes sold. August’s reading was 20.60 percent higher year-over-year. High demand for homes appears to be kicking home builders into higher gear as they strive to ease slim inventories of available homes.

The impact of short inventories of available homes was reflected in August’s reading for pending home sales. Home sales awaiting closing fell in August from July’s reading of +1.20 percent in July to 2.40 percent in August. The National Association of Realtors® said that home sales are declining due to very limited inventories of available homes. Rapidly rising home prices and strict mortgage qualification requirements also contributed to slipping sales. After home buyers sign a purchase contract, they are at the mercy of changing mortgage rates their ability to qualify for a mortgage. Pending home sales supply an indication of future closings and mortgage loans.

According to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for July, home price growth dipped from June’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 percent to 5.00 percent. Slim inventories of homes for sale and high demand were again cited as primary reasons for slower home price growth. While demand is high, slim supplies of available homes can cause would-be buyers to postpone their home search until more homes are on the market.

Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates fell across the board last week according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of rates. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell six basis points to 3.42 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 2.72 percent. 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages had an average rate of 1.81 percent, which was one basis point lower than the previous week’s reading Discount points were also lower and averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims rose last week to 254,000 claims, but new claims were lower than the expected reading of 259,000 new claims which was based on the prior week’s reading of 251,000 new jobless claims. New jobless claims have stayed below 270,000 new claims for three months for the first time since 1973.

In prepared testimony before the Financial Services Committee, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen discussed problems facing two major banks and said the Fed’s goal was managing its regulatory stance to support financial stability.

September’s Consumer Confidence Index reading rose to 104.1, which exceeded analysts’ estimated reading of 99.3 and August’s reading of 101.1.

What’s Next

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending and several labor-related releases including ADP Payrolls, Non-Farm Payrolls and the National Unemployment Rates. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims are set for release as usual.

Eliminate These 5 Barriers To Saving For Your Down Payment This Month!

Saving Up: 5 Barriers to Saving Money That You Can Eliminate in Just One MonthWith all the expenses that go into monthly living and the temptations that come along with life, saving money for the down payment on your new home can be quite a struggle for many people. If you’re having a hard time saving and are wondering what you can do to ensure a higher bank balance next month, here are a few things that may pose a risk to getting the home of your dreams.

Forgetting To Take Lunch

One of the things most likely to defeat your bank balance is the daily office trip to the deli or diner. Instead of opting for an easy but expensive $10.00 lunch, take a few minutes at the end of each day to put together a sandwich or salad so you don’t have to spend extra funds on your lunch break.

Relying On Cable Television

With all the available options for streaming services, many people are switching out their packages for something a lot more economical. Cable can easily add up to $100.00 a month to your expenses, but a streaming service may only be a fraction of the cost and will provide savings you’ll soon notice.

Splurging On Morning Coffee

Grabbing the familiar cup of joe on the way to the office is certainly a way to ease yourself into the day, but one coffee can add up to a huge expense by the end of the month. If this is a vice you crave, try taking your own coffee to work and opt for a treat once a week if you really can’t resist.

Impulse Buys At The Grocery Store

Food certainly counts as a necessity, but there are many things that end up in the grocery cart at the end of a shopping trip that aren’t really staple items. If your cart is filling up with chips and chocolate, you might want to stick to your list or review your cart before the final purchase.

Avoiding Your Budget

Unless you’re taking to a spreadsheet to balance out your expenses and earnings, you may not see any significant savings at the end of each month. Budgeting will give you a better idea of what you can and can’t afford consistently, so make sure you’re writing everything down.

The idea of cutting back on spending is rarely a popular one, but there are things you can do every day that will make for a better bank balance at the end of the month. If you’re looking for more tips on buying your own home, contact your trusted mortgage professional today!

Understanding Title Insurance and How It Impacts Your Mortgage Loan

Understanding Title Insurance and How It Impacts Your Mortgage LoanWhen you buy a home, you will be given a title to your new property. A title is a legal document that proves you own the property, and in most cases the title excludes other parties from making an ownership claim.

However, not all titles give you free and clear ownership of the property. Title insurance protects you and your lender from title disputes and other ownership issues that may arise. Here are just a few ways that title insurance can impact your mortgage.

How Title Insurance Protects A Lender

There are certain situations in which someone might put a lien on your property. New owners might see liens if the previous owner failed to pay the mortgage, if a contractor did work without the new owner’s consent or if the previous owner owes unpaid property taxes.

If these liens were not disclosed prior to the sale, a buyer could face a situation where a third party is making a claim to the property. Should the title by voided in court, the insurance policy would repay the lender the outstanding balance on the mortgage. The policy is valid until the mortgage loan is paid off.

When a homeowner refinances, it may be necessary to purchase a new title loan policy, as the new loan will technically pay off the old loan.

How Title Insurance Protects A Buyer

Title loan policies do not just protect the lender. In many cases, the lender will require the buyer’s title insurance to include an owner policy. This policy confirms that the buyer owns the title and that the title is free from defects.

The policy is in effect for as long as the buyer or his or her descendants own the house. Should a homeowner have his or her title challenged, the policy will cover all losses up to the amount of the original purchase price of the home.

How Much Does Title Insurance Cost?

The cost of title insurance can vary between locations. Sometimes, the purchase contract will stipulate that the seller is responsible for buying title insurance.

If this is the case, the buyer may pay nothing. However, it is common to pay on a sliding scale. Title insurance is usually a few hundred dollars for houses selling for under $500,000.

Title insurance is a great way to protect your investment in your home. It insures you against ownership disputes and liens, which means your house is truly yours. For more information about title insurance, contact a qualified mortgage professional in your area.

How To Build The Ultimate Tree House For Your Children In Just Seven Steps

How to Build the Ultimate Tree House for Your Children in Just Seven StepsBuilding a tree house is a time honored tradition for many families. One of the benefits of having a yard is the ability to build a tree fort for your children.

If you’re planning to build a fun fort for your kids, here are seven steps to help you create the ultimate tree house.

The Ultimate Plan For The Perfect Playhouse

The best projects are often the most thought out. Sit down with your children and lay the plans for their tree house. Let them contribute their thoughts and ideas so they feel a part of the planning process.

Although you won’t need an engineering degree to build a quality tree fort, it’s important to calculate all the measurements and specifications of the build.

A Solid Foundation For Your Tree House

Prepare the location for your future tree house by trimming away any precarious branches or boughs on the tree you plan to build on. Ensure that your tree house will be well supported, and reinforce any questionable spots.

If your tree fort is being built from the ground up, make sure you’re working with a level foundation.

Have The Right Tools For The Job

Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need to construct your tree house. Power tools and construction equipment can be borrowed from friends and neighbors or rented from your local hardware store.

When the time comes to gather your building supplies, be creative and consider re-purposed supplies. These materials are less expensive and add character and charm. You can find recycled and salvaged items at various recycled construction supply companies and through online classifieds like Craigslist.

Construct Your Tree House With Confidence

When you’re constructing your tree house, make sure it’s structurally sound. Watch tutorials online – you’d be amazed at the things you can learn from watching YouTube videos!

Make sure to measure twice and cut once. Using the proper cutting tool for each cut will help you achieve cleaner, more precise cuts. Also make sure to obtain any permits that may be required for the project.

A Personalized Theme Encourages Creativity

Choose a theme that relates to your child. If they love fairies, use that as the inspiration for your design. Pirate forts and superhero lairs are perfect places to spark imaginative play and creativity.

Incorporate cannons, cupboards and ropes with pulleys to create a unique and fun space for your children to play.

A Colorful Paint Job Brightens The House

When the walls are up and the building is done, it will be time to choose paint colors. Bright colors are a great way to brighten and liven up an outdoor space.

You could even consider creating a mural. Choose something that fits with the theme. This is something that you and your child can do together, or that you can do on your own as an added surprise.

Perfecting Your Child’s Play Space

Once your tree house is built, it’s time to get it ready for play. Decorate the space with fun decor and functional items. Throw pillows and rugs can add color and personality to a child’s play space. Window coverings can be made from scrap fabric or bed sheets.

Creating a tree fort for your child is a memorable experience and a labor or love. A unique space that sparks imagination and nurtures creativity is a wonderful gift to give a child.

How Pre-Qualifying Helps You Find the Right Home

How Pre-Qualifying Helps You Find the Right HomeToo often, home buyers are disappointed when they find their dream home only to discover they are not able to get a mortgage to purchase the property. There are methods that potential buyers can use to ensure this does not happen to them. One of these options is to ensure you obtain a pre-qualification from your lender.

It is important to understand the difference between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification. While both are helpful, they do not carry the same weight.

What Are The Differences Between These Options?

A pre-qualification allows a borrower to determine how much money they may be able to borrow. For most borrowers, this allows them to start the house-hunting process with a mortgage amount in mind. Borrowers should understand, while the loan amount can be calculated, changes in interest rate as well as the borrowers credit are not evaluated in this process. In general, the lender will request specific information from the borrower including income and expenses as well as ask about their credit. None of this information is verified by the lender before sending a pre-qualification letter.

On the other hand, a pre-approval requires the borrower to provide a number of documents to the lender, typically the same documents borrowers need to apply for a loan. Oftentimes, this leads borrowers to speculate as to whether a pre-qualification is useful.

Why Pre-Qualification Helps

There are many valid reasons why potential homebuyers should ask about pre-qualifying for their mortgage. Some of these include:

  • Home prices – if a borrower is eligible for a mortgage of $200,000 they will know they will have to seek homes in a specific price range. If a borrower is only able to put down 10 percent, they know the maximum home price they can afford is $220,000.
  • Down payments – in most cases, borrowers who can afford to put down a large down payment will have more options available to them. In some cases, understanding how much mortgage a borrower may qualify for beforehand allows them to save additional money for a down payment.
  • Estimates of dollars needed – another advantage to pre-qualifying is borrowers can get an idea of what additional closing costs they may need to qualify for a mortgage. This can be very helpful for a first time home buyer.

Pre-qualifying for a loan can save a home buyer from being disappointed. There are few things that are more upsetting than finding a home you love only to discover you are not eligible for the loan you need in order to purchase that home.

If you’re contemplating a pre-qualification, call your trusted mortgage professional today for more information.

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Approval?

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Approval?When you are purchasing a home, your broker may recommend you obtain a mortgage pre-approval before you find the home of your dreams.

There are some benefits to being pre-approved before you find a home, but oftentimes, people confuse pre-qualifications with pre-approvals.

So the question many buyers have is what exactly is a mortgage pre-approval?

In a nutshell, it’s when the lender provides you (the buyer) with a letter stating that your mortgage will be granted up to a specific dollar amount.

What Do I Need For Pre-Approval?

In order to obtain a pre-approval for your home purchase, you will have to provide your lender all of the same information you would need to show for qualifying for a mortgage.

This means providing tax returns, bank statements and other documents that prove your net worth, how much you have saved for your down payment and your current obligations.

What Conditions Are Attached To A Pre-Approval?

Generally speaking, a pre-approval does have some caveats attached to it. Typically, you can expect to see some of the following clauses in a pre-approval letter:

  • Interest Rate Changes – a pre-approval is done based on current interest rates. When rates increase, your borrowing power may decrease.
  • Property Passes Inspection – your lender will require the property you ultimately purchase to come in with a proper appraisal and meet all inspection requirements.
  • Credit Check Requirements – regardless of whether it’s been a week or six months since you were pre-approved, your lender will require a new credit report. Changes in your credit report could negate the pre-approval.
  • Changes In Jobs/Assets – after a pre-approval is received, a change in your employment status or any assets may result in the pre-approval becoming worthless.

Getting pre-approved for a home mortgage may allow you more negotiation power with sellers and may help streamline the entire loan process.

It is important however to keep in mind there are still things that may have a negative impact on actually getting the loan.

It is important to make sure you keep in contact with the lender, especially if interest rates increase or your employment status changes after you are pre-approved.

Overpay On Your Mortgage Or Add To Your Savings, This Is The Question

Overpay On Your Mortgage Or Add To Your Savings, This Is The QuestionSo you find yourself with a little bit of extra money – perhaps due to a raise, an inheritance or an unexpected windfall?

Should you put all of your money toward paying down the mortgage on your home? Or would you be better off placing your extra cash into a savings account?

Deciding whether to pay down your mortgage or add to your savings is a complex choice and it depends on a number of factors in your personal financial situation.

Here are some of the things that you will need to consider when making the decision:

How Much Are Your Savings Earning?

Take a look at the savings accounts where you are keeping your money and assess the interest that your savings are earning. Is your money earning more in savings than you would save by paying down your mortgage earlier?

Does Your Mortgage Have Overpayment Penalties?

Some mortgage lenders will charge you a fee if you try to repay your mortgage earlier than the agreed upon term. Check with your lender to find out and calculate whether the extra costs will outweigh the benefits you get from overpaying your mortgage. If they do, put your windfall in savings instead.

What are Your Other Debts?

It doesn’t make sense to be overpaying on your mortgage if you have a lot of credit card debt that is charging you an enormous amount in interest. Prioritize your high-interest debt first before you think about overpaying on your mortgage.

Do You Have An Emergency Fund?

You should always have an emergency fund in cash that will protect you from having to use expensive credit card debt if an unexpected payment comes up such as a burst pipe or a flat tire on your car or if you lose your job.

A good rule is to have the equivalent of three to six months of savings in a bank account just in case you need it. This is a first priority and only when you have this emergency fund established should you consider overpaying on your mortgage.

These are just a few of the important factors that you should consider when deciding whether to overpay the mortgage on your home or place the money in savings. For more information, contact your trusted mortgage professional.

Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac, How They Impact Real Estate

Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac, How They Impact Real EstateFannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, so it’s a good time to do a refresher on who they are and what role they play in the real estate market.

Who Are Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac?

Fannie Mae is the Federal National Mortgage Association. Freddie Mac is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. They were originally created to raise homeownership levels and increase the availability of affordable housing.

Fannie and Freddie don’t sell mortgages directly to homeowners. They buy mortgages from lenders, so the lenders can use the money to issue new home mortgages.

In 2008, due to mismanagement resulting in billions of dollars of losses, Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the government.

How Do Fannie And Freddie Impact Real Estate?

  • They contributed to the financial crisis and real estate downturn, by loosening underwriting standards, buying and guaranteeing risky loans and increasing purchases of mortgage-backed securities.
  • They are key players in the government’s Making Home Affordable foreclosure-prevention program. If your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be able to refinance your loan and take advantage of lower interest rates.
  • They influence mortgage interest rates and the availability of home loans. Freddie, Fannie and the Federal Housing Administration together now guarantee about 90 percent of all new mortgages, far above their historic level.

What’s Going To Happen To Fannie And Freddie?

Fannie and Freddie’s future is uncertain. An amendment to the bailout legislation passed in 2012 which will require both to wind down by 2018. But this will not happen soon, if at all.

Congress must agree on a plan, which could take years, and then the market’s dependence on the companies and the financial backing they provide must be reduced.

As of the end of 2013, Fannie and Freddie will have repaid nearly all of the $187 billion dollar bailout loan back to taxpayers. In 2013, Fannie and Freddie made more than $100 billion and are involved in more than half of all new mortgages.

If you have further questions on this topic, please contact myself or your trusted mortgage professional. I’m happy to help.

Pros And Cons Of Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Pros And Cons Of Adjustable Rate MortgagesWhen you are in the market for a new home, you may be faced with numerous options for financing your home. One of the choices you will have to make is whether to apply for a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage.

In some cases, an adjustable rate mortgage may be your best option, but keep in mind, they are not the answer for everyone. Adjustable rate mortgages can be risky for some borrowers and it’s important to understand both the pros and cons.

When To Consider An Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Perhaps one of the best things about ARMs is they typically have a lower starting interest rate than fixed rate mortgages. For some borrowers, this means it is easier for them to qualify for a loan. 

ARMs Are Beneficial For Borrowers Who:

  • Anticipate an income increase – for borrowers who are anticipating their income to increase over the next year or two, an ARM may be the right option.
  • Will be reducing their debt – those borrowers who have automobile loans or student loans that will be paid off in the next few years may benefit from an ARM which would allow them to qualify for a larger mortgage today anticipating their ability to convert to a fixed-rate mortgage.
  • Are purchasing a starter home – when you anticipate living in a home for five years or less, an adjustable rate mortgage may help you save money for a bigger home.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage May Contain Hazards

There are a number of different types of adjustable rate mortgages and they are each tied to specific interest rate indexes. While an ARM may offer borrowers some flexibility in terms of income and debt ratios, the downsides cannot be ignored. Some of the cons of using an ARM to finance your mortgage include:

  • Increasing rates – borrowers should carefully review their loan documents to see how frequently their interest rates may increase. Some loans adjust annually while other may not increase for three to five years after the mortgage is signed. For borrowers, this means they can anticipate an increase in their monthly payments.
  • Prepayment clauses – oftentimes, lenders include a prepayment penalty with ARM loans which can be devastating for borrowers. Before agreeing to an ARM, make sure you read the documents very carefully to determine how long you need to hold the loan
  • Home Values – one of the biggest challenges borrowers face with an ARM is what happens if the property value decreases: Refinancing a home into a fixed-rate mortgage may be impossible if this occurs.

Borrowers who are searching for the right mortgage should discuss all options with their loan officer. There are specific instances when an ARM may be the best option and there are other times, such as if you plan to stay in your home for more than five years, where a fixed-rate mortgage may be your best option.