Market Update: The Federal Reserve Holds Rates

The Fed BuildingImage Source: Investopedia

No news is good news for the mortgage industry right now. The Federal Reserve announced; rates are holding steady! This recent announcement comes just 2 months after the initial Fed meeting that resulted in the decision to drop rates and is anticipated to keep them low for the remainder of 2019. Weaker inflation and labor economic data has also aided in keeping rates low. With the excitement of rates remaining steady and purchase season in full swing, now would be an optimal time to purchase a new home. The Federal Reserve holding mortgage rates provides optimism surrounding refinancing to lower mortgage payments, removing or lowering mortgage insurance and pulling cash out for Spring home projects.

Baby Boomers: Looking For Dream Retirement Homes

A lot of baby Boomers are retiring and looking to buy their retirement homes. According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence has reached 76 for the 55 and older market. With the recent decline in mortgage rates, this has been particularly favorable for the demand on 55 and older housing. There could be slight challenges with the new demand of retirement homes being built for Baby Boomers. Rising construction costs and a lack of skilled labor, will present problems for builders, which could rev up cost.

For the last several weeks Mortgage Applications have been on the decline but that’s all changing. Within this past week, applications are on the rise and purchase season is picking back up. According to the Mortgage Bankers Associations, there has been a 2.7% increase compared with the previous week. Majority of new applications were from purchases. The average loan size for purchases has elevated slightly from $332,000 to $335.600.

photo-1549517045-bc93de075e53

Don’t forget before purchasing a home to take all cost into consideration, especially property tax. While property taxes range in price, they are calculated on the area you live in. According to ATTOM data solutions, property taxes have gone up on average. One of many reasons why property taxes are rising, is due to changes in the cost of government and the level funded by State taxes. Another factor in the rise of property taxes is that State and local governments are receiving less from the federal government and need to pay for all services provided by residents.

Down payments can feel like a looming cost and be the greatest financial barrier to home ownership according to research. However, there is a common misconception about the amount of money new homeowners need to put down. According to The Mortgage Report, new homeowners do not have to put much down at all. Most buyers put down only 10% in comparison to the 20% that many people think they need.

Going Digital: Zillow offers 3D home tours

New technology is on the horizon that will make it easier to attend home tours. Zillow has created a new 3D virtual tour, that is available for consumers. Potential buyers will never have to leave their home to attend open houses again. It’s a free resource that real estate professionals can use to help them serve more clients at a lower cost.

Home prices seemed to be higher toward the beginning of the year, which has increased the Housing Price Index according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The FHFA monthly HPI is based off the home sale prices from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The HPI excludes cash sales and jumbo loans. Across the nine census divisions, the East South-Central Division saw a 1.4% rise in February. However, the Middle Atlantic Division didn’t experience any growth at all, as there was an appreciation decline of 1.2%.

photo-1475855581690-80accde3ae2b

Homeowners could be tapping into a nice amount of pent-up wealth in their homes. In the last quarter of 2018, US homeowners had a collective amount of attainable equity, close to 5.7 trillion dollars. According to Corelogic, at the end of 2018, homeowners only collected nearly 10,000 in equity. Many Americans are hesitant to do cash-out refinances as rates are said to play a major role. With rates taking a nudge upwards, this has a negative effect on home-owners.

New home sales are on the rise. According to Housing Wire, home sales rise 3% above 2018 levels. The momentum of home sales growth is credited to mortgage rates staying relatively low. The Census Bureau and The Department of Housing and Urban Development analysis shows, new home sales have increased 4.5% in March from February’s revised rate of 662,000.

According to the Urban Institute, the government had made mortgage credits available in the last several months in comparison to the last 10 years. The HCAI rose at the end of 2018, which means lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and take more risks. All of which makes a good environment for loan approval.

 

Big contributor, over-deliverer.

Big contributor, over-deliverer.

Both are descriptions of someone who is successful. But you wouldn’t waste these descriptions on the mundane, and that’s the whole point isn’t it?

To be a big contributor and an over-deliverer you can’t rest on your laurels. You must always be striving to do more, to BE more. Personally, I think to be either of these you must also be the other. You become a big contributor by consistently over-delivering. By continuously going the extra mile and thinking ahead.

over deliver

Start to ask yourself: was my work today satisfactory, or did I put forth my best effort and use every bit of my talent? Am I meeting deadlines, or am I BEATING deadlines? If this is what you strive to be, you can no longer accept on time. You must be early. That’s being a big contributor. Solving problems before they arise. Triple checking your to do list. Making sure it’s never empty. That’s over-delivering.

Think of the most successful people in your life. I bet they fit these descriptions. They aren’t striving to be typical or mediocre.  They have an uncommon desire to do more, be better and always find new ways to improve. Over-achieving doesn’t happen by accident.

I don’t strive to be ordinary. Ordinary gets forgotten and over looked. I strive to be EXTRAORDINARY day in and day out.

The American Dream and the looming recession

Refinances are finally making a comeback after last year’s drought. Black Knight revealed that an estimated 3.27 million homeowners could benefit from refinancing. This is an increase year-over-year by 16% from 2018. This means a jump of candidates around 75%, with rates at a current 10-month low.

Various areas throughout the country give low-income families a chance at the American Dream. Being a homeowner gives people a chance to benefit from their communities, as well as gain wealth from their home equity. With metros becoming more expensive and having a lack of affordable starter homes, low-income residents aren’t typically able to share in the prosperity of home ownership

Untitled

Photo Source: Unknown via Pinterest

. To escape the high costs of homes, buyers are looking to relocate to inland markets.

With perks such as no down payment, it’s no surprise that VA loans have become increasingly more popular for first-time home-buyers. Benefits such as no mortgage insurance and strong loan servicing protections accompany this loan as well. Both prime and non-prime home-buyers using VA loans are reporting less early delinquency rates.

With a confident forecast of 2% economic growth for the next year, JP Morgan Chase chief economist Anthony Chan is dismissing concerns over a looming recession. During the Chicago Agent Magazine’s Accelerate Summit at the Chicago Merchandise Mart last Tuesday, he predicted that while it won’t be as exponential as last year, the economy will still see growth.

Purchase season, who has the power?

Realtor.com just provided data that reveals Millennials are finally ready to dominate the market. In January 2017, Gen X finally gave up its spot at the top for the most new mortgages. Millennials have held this position strong as their share of the mortgage market continues to rise. At the end of 2018 they were responsible for 45% of all new mortgages. However, while they are taking on larger mortgage payments, their down payments are significantly lower. The average for Millennials was only 8.8% while Gen X boasted an 11.9%.

Capture2

Photo Source: Unknown via Pinterest

Roofstock is a real estate platform for buying and selling single-family rental homes. The company just announced that is it introducing a new program that will allow consumers to invest in a share of a single-family rental home without having to act as the landlord. With this new program investors can reap the reward of property ownership without the risk. Roofstock itself will be responsible for the financing, the insurance, property management, asset management, and the leasing. Profits from investment will be price appreciation, along with tax benefits and potential dividends. Investments can start as low as $5000.

According to LendingTree, 86.5% of mortgages borrowers now have a rate under 5% regarding a 30-year fixed. The most common rate offered was a 4.625%, which accounted for 19.2% of borrowers. This is notably below 2018. In 2018 87.3% of purchase mortgages were given a rate under 5%.

Over the past week purchase applications have rose 2% after four consecutive declines. This is also increased 2.5% from last year. With interest rates remaining low, there is certainly incentive for not only purchasing, but for refinancing as well. The refinance index just moved forward 6% from the previous week, while the purchase index moved forward 7%. This is a solid 3% higher than where the index was in 2018.

Lackluster Home Sales and Baby Boomers

In an analysis of 54 metropolitan areas, RE/MAX National Housing Report has conveyed the largest inventory increase in a decade. Although home sales themselves have scaled back by 11% on an annual basis, the increase in inventory has averaged 6% year-over-year. This greatly improves the market as there was a multi-year scarcity of homes for sale. Compared to just last year, January which is typically a slower month for home sales, had an improvement of .5 overall.

Baby Boomers continue to retire in waves without adequate savings to support themselves and their family during their golden years. It is becoming extraordinarily clear that the country is on the brink of a retirement crisis. As health care costs continue to skyrocket and pensions dwindle, Social Security is simply insufficient for the longevity of this generation. This all sounds doom and gloom, until it’s pointed out that many Americans are literally sitting in a pile of cash; their homes. Capitalizing on the equity of one’s home can solve many later in life money issues.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced its plan for awarding $10 million in “sweat equity” grants to nonprofit organizations. The funding is sourced from HUD’s Self-Help Home-ownership Opportunity Program. The actual money in combination with the labor from both volunteers and home-buyers will lower the overall cost of home-ownership. A minimum of 50 hours is required for a single ownership household, and the hours are doubled for a household of two. Community service is another requirement for eligibility. During the initial round of grants awarded more than half of the capital, around $5.3 million is going to Habitat for Humanity.

Capture

Photo Source: Unknown via Pinterest

While inventory is at a decade high, the affordability of homes for sale on the market is at a decade low. With only 56.6% of homes being affordable for the country’s median income, the National Association of Home Builders is calling on policymakers to make some changes. The Chief Economist of the NAHB, Robert Dietz indicates that wage growth is under performing while home appreciation continues to rise.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent American Community Survey reported homeowners are currently spending more money per month than renters in all 50 states. This data was compiled tracking the median housing costs from 2013-2017. Costs such as mortgage payments, home insurance, property taxes and maintenance are making it far more expensive to own a home. However, experts say while renting saves money month to month it will not pay off in the end. Investing in a home can increase the home’s equity and look to put cash back in your pocket.  A mortgage is a major expense, but once it is dropped off the monthly spending homeowners can expect a significant increase in their savings.

Cash-Out Refinancing Made Easier for Furloughed Workers During a Government Shutdown?

10.01.2018

Cash-out refinancing will be easier for furloughed workers, in the event of another government shutdown in February. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Better Mortgage have all announced plans to help furloughed workers who own a home more easily qualify for a cash-out refinance. The three have done so by modifying proof of income rules and removing the verification of employment. However, the borrower must have enough cash or assets to cover at least two months of mortgage payments, including taxes and insurance. Why might these workers want to refinance? Think fresh cash towards bills, expenses, and any other costs they’ve incurred.

Multifamily real estate just had its best year since 2000! Any way you look at it, 2018 was the best year for multifamily real estate this century: Renters paid more for housing than they ever have before, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had banner years, and commercial and multifamily debt hit an all-time high, all while delinquencies remained at historic lows.

Is student loan debt reducing the number of homeowners? Three analysts from the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Research and Statistics have now drawn a correlation between their 9-percentage point decline in homeownership and student loan debt.

Loan Insights, Rent Burdens, & More.

12.17.2018

Photo Source: Unknown.

CoreLogic’s Loan Performance Insights report for September 2018 was released last week, showing the nation’s labor market and increased home prices overall has had a positive impact on serious delinquent loans and foreclosure rates—the overall delinquency rate is down 0.6 percent since September 2017. The 30-day delinquencies showed an increase of 0.4 percent but is being entirely attributed to Hurricane Florence.

Will more homeowners tap into their home equity in 2019. While increases in home prices might keep some homebuyers from making a move, it’s also resulting in record levels of home equity, and more homeowners are projected to have more opportunity to tap into that equity. Consumers in need of paying off higher interest rate credit card debt or in need of home improvements are prime candidates. This also allows for homeowners who might otherwise upgrade to a bigger home save money by tapping into that home equity and invest in home additions or upgrades.

Builder Confidence dropped four points to 56 according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. Buyer Traffic was the only piece below 50, the threshold. Current Sales and Future Sales, however, both remained in the 60s. A reading above 50 signals growth. We should note Builder Confidence dropped significantly in areas with high home prices—the current deterrent of buyers is not mortgage rates thanks to recent declines. The demand is still there but consumers are hesitating due to “rising home costs.”

While the overall level of homelessness across the nation has fallen despite housing costs continuing to increase, the rent burden is becoming so extreme it’s risking thousands of Americans becoming homeless. Many areas are already pass the 32 percent tipping point, where over 32 percent of a household’s income is going to rent. Monroe Country in Florida is almost double, “with a median market rate rent consuming 62.9 percent of the area’s median household income.” That’s insane.

Ann Arbor, MI might rank as the No. 1 best small college town in the nation but it was ranked third overall for best college towns and cities, regardless of size—Austin, TX scored the hot seat. Ann Arbor is noted for its low unemployment rate of only 3 percent but the college town is also known for its social environment and academic and economic opportunities. The city is booming with part-time jobs for college students.

The Federal Reserve meets this week and there’s an 80% expectation they will hike rates another quarter point. Wednesday we find out their decision after their two-day meeting but more importantly, we’re hoping for any indications of what 2019 will look like for rate hikes.

Housing Balance.

insider1130

Pending Home Sales fell 2.6 percent in October, a disappointing read and a miss. The National Association of Realtors is attributing this decline to the rise in mortgage rates, which really began in October, reducing the pool of eligible homebuyers. Last week we saw a dip in mortgage rates and compared to 18 years ago, rates are still favorable. Back in October 2000, mortgage rates averaged almost 8 percent for a 30-year fixed. What does all this mean? Short-term, experts are having difficulty finding consensus on the housing outlook. Mortgage rates are expected to rise modestly but they don’t know what that translates to for borrowers and homebuyers as it seems many hesitate. Long-term, there’s confidence homebuyers will accept the new norm for mortgage interest rates and continue to buy based on lifestyle and need. The benefit to sales cooling: the inventory of homes for sale is recovering.

Is 2019 the year for balance? That’s what Zillow is predicting as home values begin to slow down and are expected to continue the trend through next year, with mortgage rates expected to keep rising. 2019 should bring a more balanced market among buyers, sellers, and renters. Housing competition will remain strong in the most desirable areas.

The Federal Reserve Minutes from their meeting earlier this month were released yesterday afternoon, showing most Fed members still believe we need 3 more rate hikes, with a December quarter-point rate hike still on deck and expectations for the next one to not be until at least March 2019. While rate hikes are a sign of a healthy economy there is also risk of hiking too early, making December’s possibility of one still debatable.

Earlier this week, we mentioned home renovations are becoming more popular. Here’s some top common-sense tips we have found since:

  • “My dad told me, ‘You can do anything yourself, except foundation, electrical, or plumbing.'” —Kirsten Selvage, homeowner in Ontario, Canada.
  • “It’s cheaper to do it right than it is to do it over.” —Jim Molinelli, architect in Columbia, MD.
  • Renovate with the next buyer in mind but do so long before you sell in order to enjoy the improvements yourself.
  • Over schedule to not feel stressed by lack of time in case any mishaps come up.

Initial Jobless Claims for last week were reported at 234K. While compared to recent months and weeks this is higher than normal, it remains far below that 300K mark highlighting a good, healthy labor market. The ADP and BLS Job Reports are both scheduled for release next week and expectations are 190K and 170K job creations, respectively.