What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 22nd, 2018

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 22nd, 2018Last week’s economic reports included readings on home builder confidence,sales of pre-owned homes and housing starts.  The Commerce Department also issued a report on building permits issued; weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Homebuilder Confidence Rises One Point

The National Association of Home Builders reported a reading of 68 for October,which surpassed August’s reading of 67. Any reading over 50 indicates most home builders are confident about housing market conditions. Builders cited ongoing headwinds including higher prices for materials,shortages of lots and labor and rising mortgage rates. Builders sought ways to provide more affordable housing options as they faced higher costs.

Regional readings of builder confidence readings,which are tracked on a three-month rolling average,were missed. The northeastern region gained three points for a reading of 57; the southern region gained one point for an index reading of 70. The midwestern region lost two points for a reading of 57. The western region was unchanged from September’s reading of 74.

Sales of Pre-owned Homes Slip toward 3 Year Low

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in September;5.15 million sales were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to August’s reading of 5.33 million sales. Analysts expected a reading of 6.27 million sales for September. Faced with high home prices and slim inventories of available homes,would-be buyers sidelined their searches for homes. Housing starts were 3.40 percent lower month-to-month and hit their lowest rate since November 2015.

According to the Commerce Department,housing starts also fell in September to 1.201 million starts on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. August’s reading was 1.268 million starts. Year-over-year,housing starts were 3.70 percent higher.,but fewer housing starts were bad news for housing markets as demand continued to exceed supplies of available homes. Building permits issued also fell in September to 1.242 million permits issued as compared to August’s reading of 1.249 million permits issued.

Mortgage Rates,New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages were five basis points lower at 4.85 percent; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged three basis points lower at 4.26 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 4.10 percent.

First-time jobless claims also fell last week to 210,000 new claims filed,which matched expectations but was lower than the prior week’s reading of 215,000 new claims filed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings on new and pending home sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Winterizing Your Yard: 3 Landscape Tips

Winterizing Your Yard: 3 Landscape TipsIn some parts of the country, it has already started snowing! But, even if you live in an area with a moderate climate, your lawn and garden are about to take a “winter break.” 

Here are 3 tips to assure that your yard will not only survive the winter, but flourish during the dormant season. They’ll assure that your landscape will greet spring full of life and beauty.

Fertilize The Lawn As Recommended

Most types of grass and landscape plants have a kind of built in “alarm clock” that helps them prepare for the changing seasons and the onset of winter. Many lawns, though, benefit greatly from a a fall “feeding” in order to supply proper nutrients to help roots survive during the cold and be ready to start growing again above ground in the spring.

Applying the proper fertilizer this fall is a simple and cost-effective way to get a jump on next year’s beautiful lawn. When and whether you fertilize will depend on your specific type of grass and your location.

Baby Your Plants

Autumn is the time you’ll want to pamper your plants — from rose bushes to winter squash, kale or potatoes — and different plants require varied treatments to protect them from the cold and frost. If you’re not a master gardener yourself, your local nursery should be able to offer advice. The top three things to remember are that plants need to be well-hydrated in order to prevent stress, that they might need extra nutrition (fertilizer) during the cold season, and that most plants like an extra blanket (in the form of additional mulch) during the winter.

Again, specific solutions will depend on the types of plants in your garden, but a little extra effort this fall will help even your traditional flower garden bloom even more beautifully come spring!

Extend The Growing Season

If you have a backyard vegetable garden or a raised bed full of herbs and spices, and you live in an area with mild to moderate winters, you might be able to extend the growing season indefinitely by covering your beds or tenting the garden. Learn how to protect your plants from freezing by using a frost blanket or rotating row covers. It’s not really that difficult, and the difference of only a few degrees can make a big difference. 

Although frost blankets can top plants directly, you can make them even more effective if you build a simple framework — something like a miniature greenhouse — to give your plants a winter home that allows air to circulate.

For additional information, check with a local greenhouse or nursery, or just experiment with different ideas. No matter what you plan to do, the time to begin is now!

If you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact you trusted mortgage professional to find out about your best financing options.

 

Tech Jobs Driving House Flipping Projects

Tech Jobs Driving House Flipping ProjectsReality TV shows about house flipping make it look easy. But behind every lucrative renovation project, there are factors that impact profitability such as buying price, labor costs, unforeseen setbacks and perhaps most importantly, location.

There is no escaping the old real estate adage of “location, location, location.” Home-flipping entrepreneurs must take into account whether polishing up a blighted building is in a viable resale neighborhood. One of the location factors some house flippers are following is the trend in tech jobs.

Because the tech industry does not necessarily rely on interstate highways, commercial hubs or seaports, computer-oriented businesses are taking advantage of once vibrant manufacturing areas that have fallen on hard times. Property values in these areas seem to be trending behind some of the nation’s hotspots despite having many desirable community living aspects such as parks, walking trails, waterfronts, restaurants, and a vibrant arts scene.

Rust Belt Resurgence

Following the decline in industrial work in areas throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois and others, once highly sought after cities and towns saw mass population declines. The lack of good-paying jobs left large numbers of wonderful homes and commercial buildings under-occupied.

Tech companies have been putting some economic lifeblood back into these communities in recent years. House flippers have been hot on their heels to renovate properties as high-paying workers migrate into the communities. Some of the numbers coming out of cities such as Pittsburgh and Buffalo have been impressive.

In Pittsburgh alone, house-flipping profits exceeded 162 percent in the second quarter, and Buffalo topped 100 percent. Considering the national average for this sector stands at about 44 percent, chasing tech outfits appears to be rewarding. Pennsylvania is reportedly now the second best place for home-flipping profits at 132.7 percent statewide.

Tech Trends Nationwide

The former mill and mining areas of the Rust Belt are among the top trending regions for flipping homes as Internet-based companies set up shop. There are also smaller pockets of tech-driven opportunities for contractors and real estate professionals to turn profits.

In New England, small cities such as Providence, RI, are seeing an upsurge in old mills being converted into online and tech business spaces. In Massachusetts, technology jobs have been on the rise in the region north of Boston. Former manufacturing hubs are seeing properties move as high-paying jobs increase. The opportunities for home flippers are growing.

Nashville, Tennessee, is reportedly outpacing tech-heavy Seattle in terms of employment growth. The professional networking website LinkedIn reported that 85 in 10,000 members relocated to Nashville through September. Approximately 118 in 10,000 moved to Austin and 96 to Denver. It appears the country is in the midst of tech-industry migration.

This trend is likely to continue, and house-flipping entrepreneurs are likely to have robust opportunities in these emerging housing markets across the country.

Contact your trusted mortgage professional to learn about your current finance options.

4 Things You Should Know About Easements, Right Of Ways

4 Things You Should Know About Easements, Right Of WaysRobert Frost once wrote that “Good fences make good neighbors.” The poet was not referring to people bonding over the task of mending fences. Rather, defined boundaries are an important facet of neighborly relationships.

Without clearly defined property lines and rights, otherwise good people too often become embroiled in land disputes. That’s why a basic knowledge about easements and right of ways can help property owners maintain a working friendship with people whose land abuts yours.

These are four of the important elements about easements and right of ways you should know.

1: Types Of Easements

An easement allows another person the right to access a property for a specific purpose. There are two basic types. Negative easements prevent an owner from using their property in a certain fashion. This might preclude building another floor on a home that would block a water view. A positive easement might allow someone access to land for the purpose of clearing timber or driving over it. The right to passage over a property remains the most common.

2: How Right Of Ways Differ

A right of way is, in fact, a type of easement. The general difference is that it is often accompanied by a defined road or pathway that one party uses to cross over. Hunters often establish right of ways with property owners and landlocked homes generally have driveways running over another person’s land.

3: How Easements Are Created

There are several ways an easement may be legally created. The first is generally called a “permissive easement.” This basically means you give permission to another party to use your land in a specific fashion. Again, driving over it to reach their property is the most common.

A key element of a permissive easement is that, in most states, it cannot become permanent without the property owner’s express authorization. In other words, allowing someone to drive over your land does not give them the right to continue forever. You can decide at any time to revoke permission.

Another way that easements are formed is by adverse possession. This tends to lead to hostilities between neighbors because one party asks the courts for a legal right to use your land based on prior usage. The lawsuit generally offers little or no compensation. It’s basically a land grab.

The more amicable way to create an easement is by granting an abutter the right to use your land. This generally entails creating a land-use agreement in which the property owner receives reasonable compensation.

4: Easements May Have Time Limits

An easement does not necessarily last forever. Some are granted with a defined expiration date. Others are recorded with the deed and are passed on from owner to owner. When buying a home, a title search should be performed that provides detail about existing easements and right of ways. This is an important part of purchasing a property because land disputes can be financially and emotionally taxing.

If you have concerns about any type of easement on a potential property, be sure to discuss it with your trusted home loan professional.

What To Know About Specialty Mortgages

What To Know About Specialty MortgagesRecent medical school graduates, saddled by high student loan debt, sometimes have a hard time qualifying for a first mortgage. Now, however, a growing number of lenders will consider future earnings potential of high earners in the medical profession as a way to offset high debt ratios. But specialty mortgages for young physicians aren’t the only unique loans available today.

Nationwide, there are a number of unique programs designed to help first-time buyers qualify for a mortgage loan. While some target specific professions, others are open to a wider range of applicants. They are definitely worth exploring if you’re interested in buying a home, but are not able to qualify for a standard home loan.

Here are some of the better known, widely-available options:

Good Neighbor Next Door

A HUD-sponsored program, this not-so-well-known option is available to firefighters and law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and teachers. The loans provide a discount of up to 50 percent of the asking price in select zones in the country known as revitalization areas. One stipulation is that the borrower must agree to live in the home for at least three years.

VA Loans — Zero Down

For anyone who has served in the military, and certain authorized civilian employees of the government, the zero down VA loan is one of the best specialty mortgages available.

Home Path

Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac programs offered to low and moderate-income families also provide guidance and home-ownership information that can be invaluable for first-time borrowers. The education programs are specifically designed to address the common misconceptions about buying as well as providing education about property maintenance and financial responsibility.

Energy-Efficient Mortgage (EEM)

This specialty mortgage allows homebuyers to add green features to a home without making a larger down payment or paying a higher interest rate. The cost of energy-efficient improvements is simply rolled into the primary FHA or VA mortgage. It can be a cost-effective, simple way to add desirable improvements as well as value to a home.

FHA Rehabilitation Program

If a fixer-upper seems like the way to go for your specific situation, the FHA 203(k) program offers a loan option that might be a good fit. Basically, this mortgage is based on the value of the home after improvements are completed, and carries a down payment requirement as low as three percent. The funds needed for rehabilitation are included in the primary loan.

Native American Direct Loan

Essentially a VA loan for Native American veterans, this mortgage program is for homes on federal trust lands; it is a zero down 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a low interest rate.

State And Municipal Programs

Many states and cities have grants or specialty programs available. It is always worth checking with local jurisdictions to what is offered that you might qualify for.

Interest Only Or Extended Term

Two other types of mortgage that are available to serve special needs borrowers are interest only loans and mortgages with terms up to 40 years.

If you think these might be of interest, be sure to ask for specifics from your trusted mortgage broker or lender.

 

 

 

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 15th, 2018

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 15th, 2018Last week’s economic reports included releases on inflation, consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Inflation and Consumer Sentiment Dip

The Commerce Department reported slower growth in inflation for September. The Consumer Price Index for September showed a growth rate of 0.10 percent. Analysts projected a reading of 0.20 percent growth, which was based on August’s reading of 0.20 percent.

This was the sixth consecutive month-to-month increase in the inflation rate. Year-over-year, inflation has grown 2.30 percent as compared to the prior year-over-year rate of 2.70 percent.

Analysts said that rising rents and homeownership costs drove consumer prices higher, but consumer prices in other sectors eased.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, was unchanged at 0.10 percent growth month-to-month. Analysts expected CPI to increase to 0.20 percent.

According to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for October, Consumer confidence slipped to an index reading of 99.00 as compared to September’s reading of 100.1 and expectations for an October reading of 100.6.

October’s reading exceeded the average reading of 98.50 for 2018.Analysts attributed October’s lower reading to consumer concerns over their finances as inflation rises and income remains relatively unchanged.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose 19 basis points to 4.90 percent. 15-year fixed rate mortgage rates were 14 basis points higher and averaged 4.29 percent.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 4.07 percent and rose by six basis points. Last week’s average mortgage rates were the highest rates seen since April 14, 2011.

First-time jobless claims rose by 7,000 new claims filed to 214,000 new claims. Analysts expected a reading of 205,000 new claims filed based on the prior week’s reading of 207,000 first-time claims filed.

Last week’s reading was attributed to effects of Hurricane Florence, but economists said that the reading was close to low readings seen in the late 1960s.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on sales of pre-owned homes, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. The Fed’s FOMC meeting minutes will also be released, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

U.S. Wage Increases Could Help Home Buyers

U.S. Wage Increases Could Help Home BuyersThe struggle to achieve the American homeownership dream often feels like it happens in a vacuum. Everyday people work hard, save money and polish up their credit to get a low mortgage rate.

But there are powerful forces at work that are far beyond each person’s control. And until recently, the gap between American wage growth and rising home prices was widening. According to data coming out of the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment recently hit a 49-year low and wages are enjoying the greatest uptick in nearly a decade. That is good news for prospective home buyers.

American Wages On The Rise

The 2018 economic news has seemed like one long greatest hits album. Historic-low unemployment for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans has spurred confidence among these groups and the national unemployment has been steadily under 4-percent. The stock markets are booming, and the GDP growth has been impressive.

But there has been some frustration over stubborn wages that haven’t kept pace with other metrics. A report following stagnant salaries in February pointed to no slow down between rising home prices and wallowing pay rates. The growth rate was reportedly a modest 0.1 percent gain in February and that put Americans behind the curve in terms of buying homes.

But numbers coming out of the second quarter jobs report point to a 10-year high wage increase. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported wages are rising as employers compete to fill positions and the 12-month increase stands at 2.9 percent through August.

These are key numbers that may put a smile on potential home buyers’ faces.

  • Wages rose 0.5 percent in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Through August, wages rose 2.9 percent over the previous 12-month period.
  • Private industry compensation increased by 2.9 percent.
  • Government compensation increased by 2.3 percent, down from 2.6 in 2017.
  • Sales jobs gained by 3.5 percent.
  • Transportation jobs increased by 3.4 percent.

Experts are also claiming that setbacks from hurricanes likely blocked wage growth from topping the 2.9 high in 2009.

Where The Housing Market Stands

There’s little doubt that the surging economy put a higher number of Americans in position to purchase homes. However, inventory has remained well behind demand and that created a seller’s market with rising listing prices. But home prices are coming within reach for more people in 2018 and possibly 2019 market.

Since bottoming out in 2102, today’s home prices reportedly stand at about 6 percent higher than they were at their 2006 peak. That is not necessarily an indication that another housing bubble exists. Rather, the uptick in home prices is a natural reaction to an inventory shortage and economic growth.

The optimistic news for prospective home buyers is that wage growth appears to be gaining on home costs. As the gap closes, it’s likely that more and more people will be financially able to secure the American Dream of owning a home.

If you are in the market for a new home, contact your trusted home mortgage professional to start the pre-approval process.

Fall Outdoor Lighting Tips

Fall Outdoor Lighting TipsMany people associate the fall months with cooler temperatures and changing colors. But another defining characteristic of fall is that the days become shorter. Yes, there’s limited daylight, as the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Noting this, it’s important to take any exterior lighting into consideration if you’re listing your home this fall. It’s important because you want your home to have a welcoming vibe to it, but with the potential for showings to occur in limited daylight, some modifications and new light installations may be necessary in order for it to stand out. What’s more is that exterior lighting can serve as a theft deterrent.

Here’s a closer look at some fall outdoor lighting tips to enhance the appeal of your home this fall:

Go Solar

Solar lighting is an effective, sustainable way to highlight the landscape of your yard, and illuminate paths and walkways. Just make sure that you’re placing solar lights in areas that receive lots of sunlight during the day so that they have plenty of energy after the sun goes down.

Border Patios, Decks

If your backyard features a patio, deck or gathering space away from the home, don’t miss an opportunity to border it with lights to better highlight said features. If your deck or patio has railing, consider stringing lights throughout it.

Here’s another neat idea: If you have a patio umbrella, consider purchasing lights that fit within it. You should be able to purchase an umbrella solar light set from your local hardware store, which does wonders in providing accent lighting for this area. Even if the umbrella isn’t staying with the house, it can still make for a nice touch.

Don’t Shine Lights On Windows

Any lights that shine on windows will only hinder your home’s appearance. That’s because they’re likely to create a glare. Make sure that any lighting that you incorporate is well balanced and only goes to help the home’s overall appearance. On a similar note, make sure that any lighting doesn’t clash with each other.

Consider Uplighting

Uplighting, or shining lights so that they are hitting your home at an upward angle, is a creative way to make your home appear larger. Additionally, uplighting can help accentuate unique architectural features. Be sure to uplight from each side of the house for the best overall look.

Light For Safety

Finally, you should also be arranging lights in a way that promotes safety on your property. For instance, if there are any steps or inclines, make sure that the areas are well lit to avoid the potential for injury.

Be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional if you are considering buying a new home or refinancing your current property.

Foreclosure Rates Expected To Dip Below 12-Year Low

Foreclosure Rates Expected To Dip Below 12-Year LowThe record-setting pace of the U.S. economy continues to positively impact the housing market and home foreclosures now stand at an astonishing 12-year low.

Coming off a GDP growth rate of 4.1 percent and a historic bull stock market run, everyday Americans appear to be benefiting from one of, if not the strongest economies in decades. According to data compiled by CoreLogic, mortgage delinquency rates continue to improve and are already at the lowest levels in 12 years.

Building on last year’s national trend, foreclosures and mortgages more than 30 days past due declined to 4.2 percent in May. Other analytics show that mortgages at some stage in the foreclosure process also dipped by.02 percent from May 2017 to 2018. With a low 5-percent national foreclosure rate, the industry enjoys its best forecast since September 2006.

Some Housing Markets Lag Behind

While the country appears to be immersed in an economic revival, areas impacted by severe weather and hurricanes have not quite shaken off their impact.

“Serious delinquency rates continue to remain lower than a year earlier except in Florida and Texas, the hardest-hit states during last year’s hurricane season, CoreLogic president and CEO Frank Martell reportedly said.

There are also regions unaffected by hurricanes that are also lagging behind the strengthening conditions, according to research by ATTOM Data Solutions.

  • Foreclosures increased in eight states and the District of Columbia through the first half of 2018.
  • The District of Columbia suffered the worst foreclosure rate in the nation with a 60-percent increase over 2017.
  • Foreclosures increased in only 28 of 217 metropolitan housing markets studied. Oklahoma City topped the list with a 22-percent uptick.
  • Through June 2018, New Jersey endured the highest state foreclosure rate, with.99 percent of all properties in foreclosure.

According to ATTOM, Atlantic City, Trenton, Philadelphia and Chicago topped the list of total foreclosures during the first half of 2018.

2019 Foreclosure Predictions

History makes an excellent teacher and the wildfires destroying California communities are expected to negatively impact home ownership.

“While the strong economy has nudged serious delinquency rates to their lowest level in 12 years, areas hit by natural disasters have had increases,” CoreLogic chief economist Frank Nothaft reportedly said. “The tragic wildfires in the West will likely lead to a spike in delinquencies in hard-hit neighborhoods.”

“As an example, the wildfire in Santa Rosa last year destroyed or severely damaged more than 5,000 homes,” Nothaft reportedly said. “Delinquency rates rose in the aftermath, and in the ensuing months we observed home-price growth accelerate and sales decline. We will likely see the same scenario unfold in fire-ravaged communities this year.”

While America’s collective hearts go out to the families displaced by the California wildfires, the positive economic trends are expected to continue in much of the country.

CoreLogic’s Nothaft predicts foreclosure and delinquency rates to decline even further. Heading into 2019, positive numbers could upstage the current 12-year low and reach levels not seen in upwards of 15 years.

Contact your trusted home mortgage professional to find out about the current trends and rates in your area.

True Facts About 4 Real Estate Reality TV Myths

True Facts About 4 Real Estate Reality TV MythsMany of us are guilty of plopping on the sofa and binge-watching reality TV home flipping shows. The allure of buying and selling homes for big profits with no boss looking over our shoulders has major lifestyle appeal.

Shows like “Love it or List it,” “House Hunters,” “Flip or Flop” and others make it look incredibly simple. Even when they face adversity such as rotted wood or bad pipes, the way the reality TV stars overcome adversity is more of an inspiration than a deterrent. And plenty of everyday people do manage to succeed in the house-flipping industry.

But many of the myths these ratings-driven shows perpetuate could use a little busting.

Consider these four common house-flipping myths and the true facts behind them.

1: Three Viewings And A Closing

Reality TV shows tend to show viewers the industry professional looking at no more than three homes before making a flipping decision. That may play into the limited time slot they have but it’s far removed from reality.

True Facts: It’s not uncommon for potential home buyers to fall head over heels for the first property they view. After all, buyers often already like the neighborhood, school system, and home style. But the National Association of Realtors reports that the average person looks at about 10 properties before making a decision. Home flippers are additionally tasked with developing a return on investment plan. Three and done is not reality, it’s just TV.

2: Homes Linger On The Market

TV shows follow home flippers who seem to have all the time in the world before making an offer.

True Facts: Most of the purchase and sale process is simply staged for television. The homes have been pre-purchased before filming. Today, we are experiencing a seller’s market, meaning there are more buyers than inventory. Homes move quickly.

3: Open Houses Are A Sure Thing

On real estate reality TV shows, the fully renovated home is amazingly staged and sells during the first open house. Multiple offers are often floated.

True Facts: Only in a perfect world or on TV does this happen. Matching properties with potential buyers requires hard work from real estate agents. They must align purchase limits, pre-approved house shoppers, family size, school systems, location, and other expectations. Most homes are sold by real estate professionals setting up appointments and making multiple showings.

4: Homeowners Make Fast-Sell Decisions

On real estate reality TV, homeowners seem to take just moments to decide whether to love it or list it. This certainly doesn’t mirror the process of ordinary homeowners.

True Facts: Homeowners sell their properties for a wide range of reasons. These may include downsizing, retirement, relocation or an expanding family among many considerations. The vast majority of people mulling over a sale also take a long look at their next home options. It’s completely unrealistic to think someone made such a major life decision in five minutes or less.

Reality real estate TV shows are wonderfully entertaining to watch. So is science fiction. Enjoy your binge-watching and speak to real-life mortgage and real estate professionals before making any major decisions.