Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Simplifying The Market

The latest report from Freddie Mac shows that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.61% last week, slightly down from the week before (3.66%), and nearly 20 points lower than a year ago (3.80%).

This is great news for homebuyers who are dealing with rising prices due to a low inventory of homes for sale in many areas of the country. Freddie Mac expressed their optimism for the rates to remain low throughout the spring in a recent blog post:

“We expect mortgage interest rates to stay well under 4% as we head into the heart of the spring homebuying season. We’re predicting it to be the best one in 10 years, which should provide even greater opportunities for first-time homebuyers.”

Below is a chart of the weekly average rates in 2016, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Simplifying The Market

Rates have again fallen to historic lows yet many experts still expect them to increase in 2016. One thing we know for sure is that, according to Freddie Mac, current rates are the best they have been since last April.

Sean Becketti, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac recently explained:

“Since the start of February, mortgage rates have varied within a narrow range providing an extended period for house hunters to take advantage of historically low rates.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of buying your first home or moving up to your ultimate dream home, now is a great time to get a sensational rate on your mortgage.

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4 Reasons to Move Up to Your Dream Home This Spring

4 Reasons to Move Up to Your Dream Home This Spring | Simplifying The Market

Spring is in full force; the summer months are right around the corner. If you are debating moving up to your dream home, here are four great reasons to consider listing your current home and moving up to your dream home now, instead of waiting.

1. Buyer Demand is High & Inventory is Low

Recent numbers show that buyer demand is at the highest peak experienced in years, and inventory for sale is at a 4.5-month supply, which is still markedly lower than the 6 months needed for a historically normal market.

Demand in many markets is far exceeding the supply, and more properties in March sold in less than 30 days (42%) than in any month since last July.

Listing your home today can greatly increase exposure to buyers who are out in force and ready to act.

2. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic recently released their latest Home Price Index in which they predict that national home values will appreciate by 5.3% by this time next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting for your current home’s value to increase before selling could price you out of your new home if you aren’t careful.

3. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Still Near Record Lows

Interest rates have remained below 4% for some time now and are substantially lower than the rate previous generations paid when getting a mortgage.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will rise over the next 12 months.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth. Whether you are moving up or buying your first home, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your home.

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Have you always wanted to live in a certain neighborhood? Would a climate change be just what the doctor ordered? Would you like to be closer to your family?

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to move up to the home of your dreams this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble

Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

With home prices expected to appreciate by over 5% this year, some are beginning to worry about a new housing bubble forming. Warren Buffet addressed this issue last week in an article by Fortune Magazine. He simply explained:

“I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all.”

Later, when questioned whether real estate and/or mortgaging could present the same challenges for the economy as they did in 2008, Buffet said:

“I don’t think we will have a repeat of that.”

What factors are driving home prices up?

It is easily explained by the theory of supply and demand. There is a lack of housing inventory for sale while demand for that inventory is very strong. According to a recent survey of agents by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic was seen as either “strong” or “very strong” in 44 of the 50 states (the exceptions being: Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware).

Also, in NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales Report, it was revealed that the index was the highest it has been in a year.

What does the future bring?

As prices rise, more families will have increased equity in their homes which will enable them to put their home on the market. As more listings come to market, price increases should slow to more normal levels.

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogic, recently addressed the issue:

“Home price gains have clearly been a driving force in building positive equity for homeowners. Longer term, we anticipate a better balance of supply and demand in many markets which will help sustain healthy & affordable home values into the future.”

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Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment | Simplifying The Market

The Gallup organization recently released a survey in which Americans were asked to rank what they considered to be the “best long term investment.” Real estate ranked number one, with 35% of those surveyed saying it was a better long term investment than stocks & mutual funds, gold, savings accounts or bonds.

Here is the breakdown:

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment | Simplifying The Market

The survey revealed that real estate was the number one choice among each of the following groups:

  • Men
  • Women
  • People between the ages of 18-29
  • People between the ages of 30-49
  • People between the ages of 50-64
  • People 65 and older
  • People with annual earnings of less than $30,000
  • People with annual earnings between $30,000 and $74,999
  • People with annual earnings of over $75,000
  • People with a college degree
  • People without a college degree

Even stock investors ranked real estate number one. According to the report:

“With housing prices showing a steadier path upward in recent months, even stock investors are about as likely…to choose real estate (37%) as stocks (32%) as the best long-term investment.”

This Friday, I will be posting an infographic showing additional findings revealed in the report.

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Billionaire: Buy a Home… And if You Can, Buy a Second Home!

Billionaire: Buy a Home… And if You Can, Buy a Second Home! | Simplifying The Market

Three years ago, John Paulson gave a keynote address at the CNBC/Institutional Investor Conference. In his speech, he told those in attendance that he believes housing will continue its strong recovery for the next 4 to 7 years, saying that:

“The housing market has bottomed. It’s not too late to get involved. I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make. Affordability is still at an all-time high.”

When asked how the average person could take advantage of the current real estate market at the time, Paulson said:

“Buy a home and, if you can, buy a second home.”

Two years ago, Paulson reiterated his statement, saying:

“I still think, from an individual perspective, the best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you’re the owner-occupier of.”

Who is John Paulson and why should you listen to him?

Paulson is the person who, back in 2005 & 2006, made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell.

What do others think of Paulson?

According to Forbes, John Paulson is:

“A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is:

“A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were.” 

So… Is what he said still true?

The core reasons behind Paulson’s statements still ring true today, but why does he believe homeownership is such a great investment?

Paulson broke down the math of homeownership as an investment:

1. “Today financing costs are extraordinarily low.”

The latest numbers from Freddie Mac show us that you can still get a 30-year mortgage at historically low rates of under 4%.

2. “And if you put down, let’s say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent,” as many experts predict, “then you would be up 50 percent on your investment.”

How many are seeing a 50% return on a cash investment right now?

Paulson goes on to compare the long term financial benefits of owning versus renting:

3. “And you’ve locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed.”

Bottom Line

Whenever a billionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This billionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

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One More Time… You Do Not Need 20% Down To Buy NOW

One More Time… You Do Not Need 20% Down To Buy NOW | Simplifying The Market

A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is actually necessary to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The study pointed out two major misconceptions that we want to address today. 

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 36% think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO Scores

The survey also reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in March had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with a 685 score. The average across all loans closed in March was 722. The graph below shows how the average FICO Score required has come down over the last 12 months and has stayed around 722 for the last six months.

FICO Score Distribution | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, sit down with a professional who can help you understand your true options.

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Thinking of Selling? The Market Needs Your Listing!!

Thinking of Selling? The Market Needs Your Listing!! | Simplifying The Market

The housing market is really heating up and buyer demand is dramatically increasing as we enter the spring season. However, one challenge to the current market is a major shortage of inventory. Below are a few comments made in the last month by industry experts.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of NAR

“Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau.”

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist of Realtor.com

“Low inventories and tight credit will limit the gains we will see in 2016. However, given the level of pent-up demand evident in web activity and stated buyer intentions for 2016, we should see this spring materialize as the busiest season of sales since 2006.”

Rick Sharga, Ten-X’s EVP

“Inventory is too low to support much higher sales. There’s virtually no inventory available at the entry level, and single family housing starts and permits continue to languish at levels far below where they should be at this point of the recovery.”

David Crowe, Chief Economist of the National Assoc. of Home Builders

“Many sellers may not have an absolute decision as to whether to buy an existing home or a new home. So the low inventory of existing homes is locking them in place.”

Freddie Mac

“Challenges remain, with low housing supply and declining affordability being a key concern in many markets.”

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Buying a Home is 36% Less Expensive Than Renting Nationwide!

Buying a Home is 36% Less Expensive Than Renting Nationwide! | Simplifying The Market

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 5% less expensive in Orange County (CA) all the way up to 46% in Houston (TX), and 36% Nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • Some markets may tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to discuss the best course of action to get you into your dream home!

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