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Existing-Home Sales Continue to Rise

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According to an article published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the sale of existing homes nationwide has increased 6 percent since April 2015.  Additionally, the median home price for existing homes is up 6.3 percent since last April.   Although the total housing inventory is showing some upward movement, it is still lower than it was a year ago.FotoFlexer_Photo

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, indicated “The temporary relief from mortgage rates currently near three-year lows has helped preserve housing affordability this spring, but there’s growing concern a number of buyers will be unable to find homes at affordable prices if wages don’t rise and price growth doesn’t slow.”

The supply of entry and mid-priced homes is still low and the market for these homes will likely be the most competitive in the coming summer months.  However, proposed changes to FHA condo rules could eliminate some of the obstacles that stifle condo sales.  These changes would allow more first time home buyers an opportunity to purchase a condo and enter the real estate market.

For more information, read the entire article.

 

Photo Credit: Marcel Suliman

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Mortgage Rates Drop in Response to Weak Economic Data

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25736182840_05cc495a5f_oOver the past few weeks, mortgage rate averages had increased slightly.  However, the rates actually dipped lower last week and could continue to drop further this week.   This decrease is a direct result of the release of economic data which pushed investors to purchase bonds.  Consequently, mortgage rates averages dipped in line with the long-term bond yields.

Specifically, the 30-year mortgage rate average dropped to a low 3.61 percent, hovering near the lowest rates of 2016.  Similarly, the 15-year rate average drifted down to 2.86 percent.  Freddie Mac chief economist , Sean Becketti, summarized the mortgage rate trends for the year, “…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.”

An article released by the Washington Post by Kathy Orton, also noted credit availability has loosened as a result of programs from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae which allow for a low down payment.  Read the entire article.

 

Image Credit:  Life’s A Beach Real Estate

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Will 2016 Be One of the Best Real Estate Markets this Decade?

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This year’s real estate market has the potential to be the best we have seen in ten years.  Experts from Freddie Mac have predicted that “total home sales, housing starts, and house prices will reach their highest levels since 2006…”

Several economic conditions are influencing the 2016 real estate market and are detailed in a recent article, “Is Housing Poised to Return to Pre-Crisis Glory?” published on DSNews.com by Brian Honea.  Specifically, mortgage rates continue to remain low and are predicted to stay below 4 percent for the remainder of the year.  Additionally, housing may become more affordable as the rate of home appreciation slows to a steady rate just below 5 percent. Lastly, the potential for very favorable labor conditions, such as increases in job growth and the potential for wage increases, are important factors which will also influence housing market.

For more details, read the article.

Photo Credit:  tdini1

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Refinancing a Home or Getting a Mortgage May Be Easier

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approved-160120_1280It’s easier than it has been in several years to qualify for a mortgage, thanks to eased credit score requirements.  According to a recent article in the Spring Real Estate Guide in the Money publication, there has been a 15% increase since 2014 in the number of refinance applications approved.

Impacting the approval rate is the fact that the average FICO credit score required for a 30-year mortgage has dropped 10 points.   In fact, borrowers with an average score of 695 might be able to qualify for a mortgage, which hasn’t been the case for years.

Additionally, those with a higher than average credit score (750-800) might find themselves qualifying for rates in line with borrowers with “excellent” credit (800 or above); the gap in the rate difference might now be close to zero.

More accessible mortgages, coupled with near record low mortgage rates make this an excellent time to secure a mortgage or refinance.

To learn more, read the entire article.

 

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What’s In Store for Mortgage Rates and the Spring Market?

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Despite the Federal Reserve rate increase late last year, the 30 Year Mortgage rate has continued to decrease.  It has been predicted, in fact, rates could “head lower into record territory”.  Nonetheless, Fannie Mae has just reported its worst monthly home purchase sentiment in 18 months.

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A recent article on CNBC.com’s Realty Check outlines some of the reasons home sales have been on the decline so far this spring.  For example, many buyers and sellers do not believe that this is the best time to purchase or sell a home.  Consumers are concerned about the economy and job security; to add, mortgage credit availability has tightened.

The release of key domestic economic data this week could have an impact on the direction of the mortgage rates.

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