Coaching and teaching - many through the mortgage process and others on the field

Category: Interest Rates (Page 1 of 15)

Homes Are More Affordable Now Than They Have Been in Years

The media is reporting that there is an affordability crisis and discouraging potential home buyers. Unfortunately, this narrative is completely wrong, as homes are more actually affordable now than they have been in some time.

As we all know, home prices are appreciating. When buyers hear that prices are going up, it’s normal to think a home will cost more as the trend continues.

The way the housing market is positioned today, however, low mortgage rates are actually making homes more affordable, even as prices rise.

Understanding Home Affordability

Understanding how affordability works and the main market factors that impact it may help those who are ready to buy a home narrow down their optimal window of time to make a purchase.

There are three main factors that go into determining how affordable homes are for buyers:

  • Mortgage Rates
  • Mortgage Payments as a Percentage of Income
  • Home Prices

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), produces a Housing Affordability Index, which takes these three factors into account and determines an overall affordability score for housing. According to NAR, the index:

“…measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.”

Why are homes so affordable today?

Although there are three factors that drive the overall equation, the one that’s playing the largest part in today’s home buying affordability is historically low mortgage rates. Based on this primary factor, we can see that it is more affordable to buy a home today than at any time in the last seven years.

If you’re considering purchasing your first home or moving up to the one you’ve always hoped for, it’s important to understand how affordability plays into the overall cost of your home.

With that in mind, buying while mortgage rates are as low as they are now may save you quite a bit of money over the life of your home loan.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of making a move, now is a great time to take advantage of the affordability that comes with such low mortgage rates.

Whether you’re thinking of purchasing your first home or moving into a new one and securing a significantly lower mortgage rate than you may have on your current house, please do contact me so we can determine your next steps in the process.

More Housing Bubble Fears in the Media

clear and blue bubble near green leaves

Home prices have risen over 40% since 2006. This has prompted another round of media fearmongering that a housing bubble is imminent.

As you might have recognized, the media has been talking about a housing bubble for the past several years, only to see home prices continue to be well supported.

Is Today’s Market Like The Bubble of 15 Years Ago?

Comparing today’s housing market to the market in 2006 requires us to understand some key differences to help us see the full picture. Let’s break that down.

The majority of individuals who buy homes do so based upon monthly payment. Therefore, we must consider differences in mortgage interest rates, as well as differences in household income between the market in 2006 and today.

Mortgage rates in 2006 ran about 3% higher than interest rates that are available today. This helps make the monthly payment today much lower, even in some cases where the amount borrowed is higher.

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings have increased by 55% from 2006 to today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Homes Are Actually MORE Affordable Today

Because of the rise in income, as well as the drop in interest rates, the cost to purchase a home today appears to be significantly more affordable than it was in 2006.

Additionally, today’s appreciation is due to record low home inventory levels and strong demographic demand, which wasn’t the case in 2006.

Don’t let the media scare you out of all the wonderful benefits of home ownership. Contact me today to find out more!

Choosing The Right Mortgage Loan Originator

Whether a borrower is making a home purchase or refinancing their current mortgage, choosing the right mortgage loan originator is critical to their success.

The right lender is a crucial part of the purchase process…but how do you know if the loan originator is an expert and understands your needs and financial situation?

In this article, we’ll go over several ways to identify how borrowers can identify a great home financing partner.

Purchasing a home is one of the most important transactions of our lives, so we need someone who can not only find a low interest rate, but understands the borrower’s financial situation and long-term goals.  The terms of the mortgage are going to impact the borrower’s household finances for years to come, so it’s important to find the right fit!

The right loan originator will help determine the mortgage program and term, as well as walk the borrower through that lengthy process.  Lenders should have experience in the local market and the type of transaction (primary residence, 2nd home, or investment property), as well.

Understanding the Local Market

It’s important that a borrower’s originator has knowledge of the community.  They should be able to offer personalized expertise and information unique to the area buyers are considering.

The lender should also have a good report with the borrower’s real estate agent and other real estate professionals.  This will give the buyer access to a resourceful network of inspectors, contractors, financial professionals, in their area.

With record-low mortgage rates and the increased demand for living space, coupled with the entrance of a large group of first-time home buyers, our market is expected to be tight for the foreseeable future.

Utilizing a local loan officer to help you navigate the home market, one who is focused on helping you make the best decisions for your financial situation and long-term goals, is crucial.

Access to a Variety of Mortgage Programs

There are always a number of factors that impact loan qualification – such as self-employment, student loan debt, and credit score, just to name a few. 

There truly is no one-size-fits-all mortgage, and you buyers should consider working with a loan originator that has access to multiple loan programs.

With that in mind, it’s critical that borrowers work with a local loan officer with access to a multitude of home loan programs that fit’s their scenario.  There are many types of loans out there, and it’s the lender’s responsibility to recommend the right product for the borrower’s needs.

A Trustworthy Lender

The borrower’s relationship with their loan officer shouldn’t end at closing. A reputable lender should be concerned with your overall purchase experience and ask for your feedback after the transaction.

The borrower should continue to rely on their lender as a resource for advice and expertise for all of their future real estate needs.

One way for a borrower to find out about the lender’s reputation is to check online reviews.  Both positive and negative ones should be readily available with a simple online search.  Check out Zillow or Social Survey to find out more about your chosen lender!

Long Term Perspective

Ultimately, the right originator should be a strong advocate and listener who will act in the borrower’s best interest throughout the process.

The right lender should ask many questions, be cooperative and willing to listen, plus really know the borrower’s financial situation and goals. Their communication must be top notch.

Purchasing a home might seem like a one-time thing, but that’s not the reality of purchasing real estate.  The right loan originator will be a partner for the long-term and shouldn’t take a one-time transactional approach.  It’s wiser to find a home financing partner for a lifetime.

It would be my pleasure to help any borrower for the long term! Please do reach out to me for more information or to discuss how I might be able to help.

Second Homes and Investment Properties – New Regulations and Rates

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are tightening the underwriting criteria for second homes and investment properties. They will also begin to limit the number of these mortgages that they will acquire.

“Recent amendments to our senior preferred stock purchase agreement with Treasury impose additional risk criteria on the loans we acquire,” the Government Sponsored Enterprise said in a letter. “One of those restrictions is a 7% limit on our acquisition of single-family mortgage loans secured by second home and investment properties.”

This means that non-owner occupied transactions (2nd homes and investment properties) will become a bit more difficult in terms of qualification and slightly more expensive, in terms of interest rates.

Lenders are now being forced to add to the cost of the loan and raise interest rates – anywhere from 50 basis points to as high as 250 bps.  That can mean an increase in rate of 1/8% to 1.25%, depending on the investor.

Finance of America, my employer, has added 50 basis points for all 2nd home and investment property purchases and refinances. This is on the low side, relative to many in the industry, as others that I’ve spoken to have added as much as 250 bps.

From Investopedia: “Basis points, otherwise known as bps, are a unit of measure used in finance to describe the percentage change in the value of financial instruments or the rate change in an index or other benchmark. One basis point is equivalent to 0.01% (1/100th of a percent) or 0.0001 in decimal form.”

Don’t hesitate to contact me for more information to see how this might impact your upcoming purchase.

March 2021 Mortgage Rate and Market Update

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

As inflation rises, it typically causes mortgage rates to move higher as well.  That’s because inflation is the arch enemy of interest rates, since it erodes the buying power of the fixed return that a mortgage holder receives.

While inflation may look tame to everyone at this time, that looks like it will change when you dig a little deeper. 

Inflation Fears

But in the coming months, the inflation levels are expected to rise significantly, as the readings for the more current months replace the extremely low numbers from 2020. 

A look at the closely watched “Consumer Price Index Core Rate” of inflation, which strips out the volatile food and energy sectors, shows a current reading of just 1.3% inflation for the past 12 months.  This has helped interest rates remain low.

It’s quite possible to see the rate of inflation rise towards 2.5%.  It’s likely that this will influence interest rates to higher levels.

For borrowers, the good news is that inflation is likely to become more tame later this year.  So now may be a great time for you to take advantage of the low-rate environment before these inflation readings start to move higher.

Secondly, our central banks have artificially depressed sovereign bond yields for years. Now, a small rise in yields can cause a move higher in interest rates, as well.

2nd Home and Investment Properties

Finally, Fannie Mae is tightening the underwriting criteria for second homes and investment properties, the government sponsored entity said Wednesday. 

“Recent amendments to our senior preferred stock purchase agreement with Treasury impose additional risk criteria on the loans we acquire,” the GSE said in a letter. “One of those restrictions is a 7% limit on our acquisition of single-family mortgage loans secured by second home and investment properties.”

This means that non-owner occupied transactions (2nd homes and investment properties) will become a bit more difficult in terms of qualification and slightly more expensive, in terms of interest rates.

Use That Equity

One other thing to consider for current homeowners – a cash-out refinance to utilize the equity in your home to eliminate all other consumer debt.  Many of my clients have saved anywhere from $500 to $1,750 per month in their overall payments.  Find out more on that here…and do reach out to me for more on this subject!

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