Low Rates & Increasing Home Prices

low interest rates

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Mortgage Bankers Association is forecasting that we will see a three-year-high in mortgage originations since 2016. In 2016 the industry saw $2 trillion and in 2019 MBA is predicting that we will land around $1.9 trillion.

Since the FED cut rates not once, but twice this year we have seen an increase in refinances. MBA is predicting that 35% of that $1.9 trillion will be attributed to those refinancing; which reflects Fannie Mae’s projection of refinances also being at a three-year-high.

If you are someone who follows along and have been on the fence about refinancing keep in mind that your credit score will affect the rate you get locked in to. The industry has been seeing a wide range of interest rates for credit scores of 620 through 639; anywhere around 1.33% in difference. However, if you can, you can buy down your interest rate.

Not sure what buying an interest rate means? Click here to talk to someone today!

In other news, we have been seeing an increase in home prices. Before, you cringe right now this news is good. With rates remaining low you still have the ability to get more house than you may have planned for and we are seeing an increase in inventory. Right now Detroit is sitting in the top six areas at 4.1% in year-over-year strength.

Ways to Save on Your Monthly Payments

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The mortgage industry has been experiencing an amazing year so far. The Federal Reserve (FED) has continued to cut rates. Need proof? Last week the FED dropped rates another quarter percent, we are currently hovering at a 2-2.25% rate.

What does that mean for you?

Well if you are looking to purchase you have the ability to buy more home for your money; however, if you are looking to refinance you are looking at saving money over the life of your loan, on top of potentially being able to lower your term.

Refinancing is one of the various ways you can utilize to help save money overall; however, if you find yourself needing alternative options and are looking to be proactive in your home financing needs, here are a few out-of-box ideas.

  1. Buy a Cheaper House – this is self-explanatory, learning to live below your means is a valuable lesson to learn and helps you budget more efficiently.
  2. Choose a Bi-Weekly Payment Option – Most loan servicers provide this option. When you choose to go this route, you end up making 26 payments a year; which adds up to you paying 1 extra payment towards your principle each year.
  3. Choose an ARM – this option is great if you don’t plan on living in your home very long. What’s the point of fixing yourself in a 30-year term if this isn’t your forever home?
  4. Extend Your Repayment Term – Example if you are in a 15-year term you can switch to a 30-year; this doesn’t change the amount of your loan but will overall lower your payments because you are extending the term.
  5. Make a Larger Down Payment – This option would make your parents feel like you are listening to them. You grew up with them harping you to save for a 20% down payment and there is a good reason why: it helps keep your monthly mortgage payment LOW.
  6. Get Rid of Your PMI – this option takes some time if your purchasing and your sellers don’t want to pay this off while negotiating. To be able to get rid of your PMI you must gain at least 20% equity in your home; once you achieve that you can request that your lender drop PMI.
  7. Pay for Points – when you pay for points you are paying for a lower interest rate. There may be more you pay for upfront in closing costs; however, over the term of your loan you aren’t acquiring unnecessary interest.

3% or 20% – What’s Best For Me?

Down Payment

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It is no secret that times have changed since our grandparents and even our parents have purchased homes. So much so, that with new programs and requirements, brokers/lenders have stated, you aren’t required to have the 20% down payment that you heard about growing up.

But now you are thinking… how much should I save for a down payment?

Here’s the good news it doesn’t have to be difficult, and you can do what works best for you and your family. To put it in perspective, if we were still required to put down 20% on a home loan, based on Mr. Cooper’s math, it would take renters nearly seven years to save for a 200K home on an average salary of 56K a year. Seven years!

However, there is a benefit to putting 20% down.

1.     Right away, there is more equity in your home.

2.     Lower monthly payment.

3.     Lower rates.

4.     You aren’t that high of a risk to your lender.

5.     You won’t need mortgage insurance.

6.     Future buying power.

Click here to calculate your ideal mortgage down payment.

 

Mortgage Rates Are At A Three-year Low

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Picture source: Google

This week mortgage interest rates have hit historical marks by reaching three-year lows. This significant marker of low rates comes just two months after The Federal Reserve announced rates have fallen and are not anticipated to rise again for the remainder of 2019. Low rates in conjunction with a surplus of home sales, the housing market is expected to continue to improve and show favorable conditions. Not only are the lower rates good news for potential homebuyers that are looking to enter into the market, but also continues to open opportunities to homeowners that are looking to refinance.

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.

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%.

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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.

 

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

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. 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%.

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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.

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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.