If you’ve been shopping around for a home to buy, it can be difficult to know what price range to stay in. Unfortunately, you cannot look just at the sales price as the total amount you will be paying over the years; you must also calculate in the loan and interest rate on the mortgage to figure out the monthly and yearly amount you will be paying. Want a quick way to figure that all out? You can use this easy calculator below; just click on the picture to be directed to it.
The long-awaited housing recovery is beginning to blossom, according to industry experts taking a look at recent existing-home sales.
While admitting home sales “are still very low,” Paul Dales, chief economist at Capital Economics, says “it is clear that housing recovery is now well underway.”
The evidence: home sales have been on the rise for the past three months, posting a 5 percent increase in December.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), concurs with Dales’ assessment, saying “The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market in recovery.”
Yun suggests consumers are gaining confidence from “record low mortgage interest rates, job growth and bargain home prices.”
In addition to the 5 percent increase in December, NAR reported a 1.7 percent annual increase in existing-home sales in 2011, a total of 4.26 million homes for the year.
Distressed homes made up 32 percent of sales in December, according to NAR’s existing home sales report for the month.
Foreclosed home sales closed at about 22 percent below market rate in December, a discount 2 percent higher than that recorded a year earlier.
Investor demand remains steady with 21 percent of homes sold in December going to investors after this category of buyers took 19 percent of purchases in November and 20 percent one year ago.
Cash sales – commonly linked to investors – made up 31 percent of December’s existing-home sales. This rate was 28 percent in November and 29 percent a year ago.
Purchases by first-time home buyers declined in December – both from the previous month and the previous year. First-time home buyers accounted for 31 percent of purchases in December, down from 35 percent in November and 33 percent in December 2010.
Housing inventory is on the decline and fell to its lowest level since March 2005 last month, according to NAR. Approximately 2.3 million homes are available for sale currently.
“The inventory supply suggests many markets will continue to see prices stabilize or grow moderately in the near future,” Yun said.
However, listed inventory is only part of the equation, and according to CoreLogic’s latest numbers, shadow inventory stands at about 1.6 million.
Regardless, Dales believes sales will rise this year. “Housing still won’t contribute much to GDP growth over the next few years, but at least it will no longer subtract from it,” Dales says.
Now, the final data is in. And it shows that 2011 had the lowest average interest rates in the 41 years that mortgage giant Freddie Mac has been tracking loan rates.
Specifically, the U.S. average was 4.45% on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, Freddie Mac reported. That beats the previous low of 4.69% set in 2010.
The past two years are the only ones in Freddie Mac’s records in which the annual average rates were below 5% for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan. In 1981, 30-year mortgage rates averaged nearly 17%. As recently as 2008, rates were averaging above 6%.
Interest rates fell below 4% for the first time in Freddie Mac’s data in October – and stayed at or below 4% for the last nine weeks of the year. Thirty-year rates set six records last year, falling to an all-time low of 3.91% on Dec. 22.
Other types of mortgages were in record territory as well. According to Freddie Mac:
- Fifteen-year, fixed-rate mortgages set eight records in 2011, falling to an all-time low of 3.21% on Dec. 15.
- Five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages set nine records in 2011, falling to an all-time low of 2.85% on Dec. 22.
- One-year, adjustable-rate mortgages set 14 records in 2011, falling to an all-time low of 2.77% on Dec. 22.
The record low mortgage rates failed to spark a revival in the housing market, with fewer buyers able to qualify for a loan or able to afford to purchase a home. Overall, local and U.S. home sales remain well below average levels.
This article is from the Orange County Register; read it here: “2011 had lowest mortgage rates on record.”
Where’s the real estate market going in 2012? Well, according to CoreLogic–nowhere. Is flat growth really in housing’s future? Read the following article and decide for yourself.
Two prominent home-price indices continued to show declines in September and October, with one outlook indicating no more than flat growth in the next two years.
A home-price index report from loan data aggregator Lender Processing Services showed the national average sales price for single-family homes fell 4.4 percent year over year and 1.2 percent month to month in September, to $202,000.
LPS’ Home Price Index, launched in July, tracks monthly sales in more than 13,500 ZIP codes. Within each ZIP code, the index shows historical price changes for five home-price levels, including entry-level, middle-market and high-end homes.
Prices declined on a monthly basis in all ZIP codes covered by LPS. The top 20 percent of homes (selling for more than $317,000) saw a slightly smaller monthly decline, 1.2 percent, than the lowest 20 percent (selling for less than $102,000), which saw a 1.4 percent drop.
“Each year, prices have risen in the spring, but revert in autumn to a downward trend that has not only erased the gains, but has led to an average 3.7 percent annual drop in prices to date. The partial data available for October suggests a further approximate decline of 1.1 percent.”
A report released by property data firm CoreLogic bears out the monthly decline in October. For the third straight month, nationwide single-family home prices fell on both a monthly and yearly basis, dropping 1.3 percent from September and 3.9 percent from October 2010. Excluding distressed sales (short sales and real estate owned home sales, also known as REOs), October’s index fell 0.5 percent from a year ago.
“Home prices continue to decline in response to the weak demand for housing. While many housing statistics are basically moving sideways, prices continue to correct for a supply and demand imbalance. Looking forward, our forecasts indicate flat growth through 2013,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a statement.
The index was down 32 percent in October from an April 2006 peak. Excluding distressed sales, the drop was 22.4 percent. CoreLogic’s index is based on 30 years of data for repeat sales transactions, and “price, time between sales, property type, loan type and distressed sales.”
Among the 10 most populous metropolitan areas in the country, six saw index declines in October. Only Washington, D.C., and New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., saw index increases above 1 percent. When distressed sales were excluded, six experienced index increases.
Most states, 34, experienced year-over-year index drops in October. Ten states and Washington, D.C., saw index rises of more than 1 percent. West Virginia led the way with a 4.8 percent annual rise.
At the other end of the spectrum, Nevada was the only state to see a double-digit index drop in October, down 12.1 percent. When distressed sales were excluded, 28 states and Washington, D.C., saw flat or rising home prices. South Carolina posted the biggest increase, up 4.6 percent.
Read more concerning CoreLogic’s real estate prediction here: Research and Trends.
Shoppers, I bet many of you scoured the Sunday ads and bounced to several stores for deals over Thanksgiving weekend.
What if you applied that same effort and vigilance to shopping for a new home loan or refinance? That same attention to detail could translate into hundreds to thousands of dollars in savings over time.
“People think nothing about going to many different stores to buy a toaster or oven or dishwasher,” said Norma Garcia, attorney at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. “They just don’t shop for (home) loans the same way they shop for other products, but they ought to.”
Consumers likely are more comfortable comparison-shopping for microwaves than mortgages because the home-loan process can be cumbersome, with reams of paperwork, unfamiliar jargon, and of course, the rush to close and move to a new place.
The U.S. government is working to make the process easier. Since May, officials have been trying to simplify and combine two required forms that show would-be borrowers their final loan terms and costs before closing. The “Know Before You Owe” campaign, spurred by sweeping financial reforms in 2010, has produced two drafts of the merged documents that are still in testing phase…
FORMS TO KNOW
This gives you an approximation of what you may owe at closing. It lists the basics including loan amount, interest rate and potential penalty costs. The form also shows you different loan scenarios to illustrate whether it would make sense, for instance, to buy points upfront to reduce your interest rate. (One point typically equals 1 percent of the loan’s value, or $1,000 for each $100,000 borrowed.) Click here to see the whole form…
FORMS TO KNOW
You get this at the closing table. The form lists every single expense and credit involved in the transaction. Click here to see the whole form…
You also get this at closing. The document breaks down how much you will owe in a different way. Perhaps the most important detail is the annual percentage rate, which rolls in all of your costs and is defined by HUD as the “true cost” of a loan. Click here to see the whole form…
TO-DO LIST BEFORE CLOSING
• If there’s a line item you don’t understand in any of the forms, ask about it.
• Scan for hidden costs. Third parties get proceeds from loans in the form of fees and commissions, said Norma Garcia, attorney at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine.
• Know who’s going to service your loan. The holder of your loan can sell the loan to anyone, but they have to disclose the percentage of loans that are sold. “If you choose to go with that lender, just know that may not be the person you’re dealing with down the line,” Garcia said.
• If you sense your lender isn’t being upfront or answering your questions, find someone else. It may take interviewing two to three people to find the right lender.
• Get a second opinion on your loan documents from HUD-approved counselors at little or no charge. But be sure to do this before closing. For San Diego, you can call the Housing Opportunities Collaborative at (619) 283-2200 or (800) 462-0503. Someone will direct you to the right agency.
• Don’t sign anything unless you understand it.
Read the whole article by SignOnSanDiego.com here: “How to Bargain Shop for Mortgages“.
Sales of previously owned homes got an unexpected boost last month while the number of homes on the market continued to decline, according to data released Monday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The trade group recorded a 1.4 percent month-over-month increase in existing-home sales in October, pushing the annual rate of sales to 4.97 million. NAR’s latest reading is 13.5 percent above the 4.38 million-unit sales pace in October 2010.
That’s down from an 8.3-month supply in September. NAR says the housing supply has been trending gradually down since setting a record of 4.58 million in July 2008.
Distressed homes – foreclosed REOs and short sales – slipped to 28 percent of October’s transactions, down from 30 percent in September. They were 34 percent in October 2010.
NAR says 17 percent of last month’s existing-home sales were foreclosures and 11 percent were short sales.
Market analysts were expecting up to a 3 percent drop in overall existing-home sales between September and October. Forecasts ranged between an annual rate of 4.76 million and 4.80 million.
According to NAR, October home sales should have risen higher than the 1.4 percent the trade group recorded.
According to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, contract failures reported by Realtors jumped to 33 percent in October from 18 percent in September. Only 8 percent of contracts fell through in October of last year.
“A higher rate of contract failures has held back a sales recovery,” Yun said. “Home sales have been stuck in a narrow range despite several improving factors that generally lead to higher home sales such as job creation, rising rents, and high affordability conditions. Many people who are attempting to buy homes are thwarted in the process.”
NAR’s report shows the national median existing-home price was $162,500 in October, which is 4.7 percent below October 2010.
“In some areas we’re hearing about shortages of foreclosure inventory in the lower price ranges with multiple bidding on the more desirable properties,” Yun said. “Realtors in such areas are calling for a faster process of getting foreclosure inventory into the market because they have ready buyers.”
Yun adds that extending credit to responsible investors would help to absorb distressed inventory at an even faster pace, which he says “would go a long way toward restoring market balance.”
NAR’s data indicates investors purchased 18 percent of homes in October, while first-time buyers accounted for 34 percent of transactions. All-cash sales made up 29 percent of last month’s purchases.
This article is by DSNews.com.
Under the SAVE (Sensible Accounting to Value Energy) Act, estimated energy-consumption expenses for a house would be included as a mandatory new underwriting factor.
When you apply for a mortgage to buy a house, how often does the lender ask detailed questions about monthly energy costs or tell the appraiser to factor in the energy-efficiency features of the house when coming up with a value?
Hardly ever. That’s because the big three mortgage players — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, which together account for more than 90% of all loan volume — typically don’t consider energy costs in underwriting. Yet utility bills can be larger annual cash drains than property taxes or insurance — key factors in standard underwriting — and can seriously affect a family’s ability to afford a house.
A new bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill could change all this dramatically and for the first time put energy costs and savings squarely into standard mortgage underwriting equations. A bill introduced Oct. 20 would force the three mortgage giants to take account of energy costs in every loan they insure, guarantee or buy. It would also require them to instruct appraisers to adjust their property valuations upward when accurate data on energy efficiency savings are available.
Titled the SAVE (Sensible Accounting to Value Energy) Act, the bill is jointly sponsored by Sens. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, and Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Georgia. Here’s how it would work: Along with the traditional principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) calculations, estimated energy-consumption expenses for the house would be included as a mandatory new underwriting factor.
For most houses that have not undergone independent energy audits, loan officers would be required to pull data either from previous utility bills — in the case of refinancings — or from a Department of Energy survey database to arrive at an estimated cost. This would then be factored into the debt-to-income ratios that lenders already use to determine whether a borrower can afford the monthly costs of the mortgage. Allowable ratios probably would be adjusted to account for the new energy/utilities component.
For houses with significant energy-efficiency improvements already built in and documented with a professional audit such as a home energy rating system study, lenders would instruct appraisers to calculate the net present value of monthly energy savings — i.e., what that stream of future savings is worth today in terms of market price — and adjust the final appraised value accordingly. This higher valuation, in turn, could be used to justify a higher mortgage amount.
Read the rest of this article is by the Los Angeles Times: “Factoring energy efficiency into a home’s value“.
Celebrate arts and the cultural influences of the Americas, Africa, and Asia at the sixth annual Arts & Culture Fest in San Diego this Saturday. Three stages of entertainment will present the influences of these three parts of the world, along with an international market and food area, art contests, wine tastings, music, and more.