Tag Archives: percent

NAR: 2012 home sales will be strongest in past 5 years

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is predicting existing-home sales will jump 7 to 10 percent in 2012 to the highest level in five years, based on an “uneven but higher sales pattern” so far this year.

Pending home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent from January to February, which was up 9.2 percent from the same time a year ago, NAR said in releasing its latest Pending Home Sales Index.

NAR also reported a similar trend for existing-home sales, which were down 0.9 percent from January to February, but up 8.8 percent from a year ago.

The pending sales data released today provides a glimpse into more recent trends, because it tracks homes that were under contract in February — deals that will in most cases be finalized within one or two months.

NAR said 31 percent of REALTORS® experienced contract failures in February, in some cases because buyers’ mortgage applications were rejected or because appraisals came in below the negotiated price.

In the Northeast, NAR’s index slipped a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent from January but was up 18.4 percent from a year ago.

The Midwest saw a month-over-month gain of 6.5 percent and a 19 percent gain from a year ago.

Pending home sales fell 3 percent in the South from January to February, but were up 7.8 percent from a year ago.

In the West, the index declined 2.6 percent from January to February and was 1.8 percent below the index rating in February 2011.

In its latest economic forecast, NAR predicts existing-home sales will total 4.65 million in 2012, up 9.1 percent from last year. That forecast assumes that the U.S. economy will grow at a 2.3 percent annual rate and add 2.7 million jobs this year.

What’s in a mortgage payment?

What’s in a mortgage payment? This infographic breaks down a mortgage payment into P.I.T.I. – principal, interest, taxes, insurance. When you’re buying a house, keep informed about how much that home will cost you, based on how much you put down and whether or not you will need to pay mortgage insurance.

mortgage paymentsThis mortgage payment-related infographic is from mlsmaps.com.

Thirty-Year Fixed-Rate Matches All-Time Low

Fixed mortgage rates started the year at or near their all-time record lows, according to market data published by Freddie Mac Thursday.

The GSE reports the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 3.91 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending January 5, 2012. That’s down from 3.95 percent the previous week and matches the record low set just two weeks earlier.

This marks the fifth consecutive week the 30-year rate has come in below the 4.00 percent mark. To put things into perspective, last year at this time, it was averaging 4.77 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.23 percent (0.8 point) in Freddie Mac’s survey this week, down from 3.24 percent the week prior.

The current average rate on a home loan with a 15-year fixed term is just two basis points above its all-time low of 3.21 percent, which was hit in two weeks during the month of December. A year ago, the average 15-year rate was at 4.13 percent.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, attributed the declines seen among fixed rates to recent data reports which indicate the housing market and manufacturing industry are showing signs of improvement.

“Pending existing home sales in November jumped 7.3 percent, nearly five times greater than the market consensus forecast, to its strongest pace since April 2010,” Nothaft noted.

“In addition,” he said, “construction spending rose 1.2 percent in November, supported by the residential sector which exhibited its fourth consecutive monthly increase. Similarly, manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months.”

Freddie Mac’s report shows the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) came in at 2.86 percent (0.7 point) this week, down from 2.88 percent. This time last year, the 5-year ARM was averaging 3.75 percent.

The GSE’s survey puts the 1-year ARM at 2.80 percent (0.6 point). It was the only loan product included in the GSE’s study to head higher, up from 2.78 percent last week. Flip the calendar back 12 months, and the 1-year ARM was averaging 3.24 percent.

This article is from DSNews.com: “Thirty-Year Fixed-Rate Matches All-Time Low.”

Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5%

The nation’s unemployment rate continues to trend down. It slipped to 8.5 percent during the month of December as the economy added 200,000 new jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday morning.

The reported rate is down from 8.6 percent in November. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised downward from +120,000 to +100,000. October’s data was revised upward from +100,000 to +112,000.

December’s results were better than expected, with the consensus forecast among analysts looking for the rate to inch up to 8.7 percent and net job growth over the month to tally 150,000.

December marks the sixth consecutive month of 100,000-plus job gains and the first such stretch employers have been able to string together since 2006.

The number of long-term unemployed – those jobless for 27 weeks or more – was little changed in December at 5.6 million and accounted for 42.5 percent of the unemployed.

The unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage point since August, according to the Labor Department. At 8.5 percent, the rate ended 2011 at its lowest level in nearly three years.

Over the 2011 calendar year, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.6 million, up sharply from the 940,000 jobs added in 2010.

Employment in the private sector rose by 212,000 in December and by 1.9 million over the year.

Government employment changed little over the month but fell by 280,000 over the year.

The national unemployment rate averaged 8.9 percent in 2011, compared to 9.6 percent in 2010.

This article is from DSNews.com: “Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5%“.

Six must-haves for mortgage approval

Interest rates are hovering around historical lows, and low interest rates increase affordability, making it easier for buyers to qualify. Yet stories of buyers waiting months to gain loan approval and home purchase transactions not closing on time due to lender’s strict underwriting are all too common.

Some buyers are turned down for illogical reasons. For instance, if you have investments — even if they’re performing well — an underwriter might deny the mortgage because your portfolio doesn’t fall into the underwriter’s risk assessment model.
checklist
One couple was turned down because the husband had worked at his current job for less than a year — even though he was making more money at the new job than he was before.

These buyers were well-qualified. The wife had worked several years for one employer and was able to qualify for the loan on her own. So, the transaction closed, although two months late.

Generally, it’s more difficult to qualify now than it was a year ago. Most conventional lenders require a 20-25 percent down payment. For the lowest interest rates, your credit scores need to be in the 700 range. You need to have verifiable income and cash reserves in addition to your down payment and closing costs.

You could run into underwriting problems if you’re self-employed, as W-2 income is much easier to verify. Other hurdles are lapses in employment and owning a lot of property. Some lenders won’t lend to buyers who have more than three or four residential properties.

If you’re buying a new home before selling your current home, you’ll need to have 30 percent equity in your current home. This needs to be verified by the lender’s appraiser. Also, the lender will want to see a copy of the cashed check from the tenant for the first month’s rent to verify rental income if needed to qualify.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: As soon as you’re serious about buying a home, find the best mortgage broker or loan agent you can to assist you. Don’t make your selection based on interest rates alone. A good track record counts for a lot.

Closing the deal should be your primary goal. If you have to pay 0.25 percent more to assure your transaction closes on time and that you’re not turned down at the last minute, it’s worth it.

Be candid with your loan professional about anything in your financial picture that might impact loan qualification. A good loan agent or broker will be able to assess your financial situation and anticipate what you’ll need to do to satisfy the underwriter.

Be aware that appraisal issues can impact your loan approval. For example, if a previous owner added square footage without a building permit, the additional square footage probably won’t be included as livable square feet.

If the appraisal comes in for less than the purchase price, the lender might not lend you enough to close the deal. Include an appraisal contingency in your contract.

There are more jumbo financing options available now. Adjustable-rate mortgages that are fixed for 10 years and then revert to an adjustable have a starting rate about 0.25 percent less than a 30-year fixed jumbo. A five-year fixed starts about 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent lower, but is riskier.

THE CLOSING: Because of the risk factor, the lender may want you to have a large cash reserve. Your retirement account counts toward this.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.

No rise in US real estate prices before 2014?

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.

“Home prices in September were consistent with the seasonal pattern that has been occurring since 2009,” said Kyle Lundstedt, LPS Applied Analytics’ managing director, in a statement.Real estate prediction for 2012

“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.

Foreclosure Activity Counts

Foreclosure Activity Counts – U.S. | RealtyTrac

New Modification Law & Avoiding Foreclosure

A new law that will be implemented on November 15, 2011 is yet another slap in the face to the American Homeowner regarding modifications.

Making Home AffordableThe basic eligibility requirements for an enhanced HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) loan are as follows:

  • Existing mortgage loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. To check whether a borrower has a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, go to MakingHomeAffordable.gov’s page on “Look up your loan“.
  • Existing mortgage loan must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009.
  • Existing mortgage loan cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously (except for Fannie Mae loans refinanced between March and May 2009).
  • Current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be more than 80%.
  • Existing mortgage loan must be current, with no late payments in the past six months, and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

More information is available from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on the agency’s website: www.fhfa.gov.

The reason why HARP is not good, is the same basic reason that HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) and the traditional modification is as follows:

It is strictly voluntary with all lenders; even though they say they participate.  Of course, there are factors with the seller or borrower that have an affect on being put in a modification plan that eliminate many from it.  This problem could be avoided if the banks would just lower the loan amount to the fair market value and a greater percent of people would have been able to keep their homes.  Even a future shared equity with the lender would have been acceptable if the property was sold for a profit in the future. Few banks are offering this program as well.

In conclusion, it is obviously important that we talk ASAP to go over your situation. I have several associates waiting to help: accountants, attorneys, and credit repair company.  If you’re moving on, getting back on track with your credit, staying in your home with an extended time without payments due in order to recoup finances, and most importantly receiving thousands from your bank at closing are all opportunities within your grasp!  I am just a phone call away!

John | (619) 890-3648

Namaste!