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Another Reason to Buy a Home: Ridiculous Rents!

Written by Jaymi Naciri on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 12:04 pm

If the fact that mortgage rates are still insanely low – dropping again last week – and new loans can make down payments as low as three percent for first-time homebuyers still aren’t enough to get you into the real estate market, here’s perhaps the most compelling reason of all to buy a house: rents are ridiculous and only getting more so everyday.

A recent article from Yahoo shows that “American renters spend an average of about 30% of their monthly incomes on rent… but throughout the country, many people spend much more than that. That’s a decent indication of a rent affordability problem in the U.S., given that housing experts consider consumers to be ‘rent-burdened’ if they pay more than 30% of their income for housing.”

This comes on the heels of other reports that show that, “On average, it’s 35% cheaper to buy than to rent, up from 33% last year. In some areas, particularly in the south, it’s over 50% cheaper to buy.”

But back to that sobering Yahoo stuff. “Housing researchers project that renters will grow at a faster rate than homeowners throughout the next decade, so even if wages and rent prices grow at the same pace, millions more Americans will be rent-burdened by 2025,” they said. “In a new report, Urban Institute researchers estimate there will be 6.5 million new renters by 2025. If rent and incomes each grew 2% annually over this time period (as the Harvard research assumes), Urban Institute estimates there will be 2.2 million more rent-burdened consumers.”

Their data “estimates 31% of renters will be severely rent-burdened by 2025, up from 28% in 2015 – that’s an additional 4 million people putting more than 30% of their incomes toward rent. Many personal finance experts recommend you spend no more than 25% of your income on rent, but if demand continues to rise faster than wages, that will be increasingly difficult.”

If you’re currently renting, and especially if you’ve been doing so for a long time, and super especially if you really, really want to stop renting and buy something, you can probably already rattle off a few dozen reasons why it stinks to rent. But in case you need a refresher, or just want to add more fodder to your list, we’ve got a few reasons of our own:

Every time your rent rises, it impacts your ability to save, pushing homeownership further and further away.

Pride of ownership – it’s a real thing.

Who writes checks anymore, anyway?

Your rent is making someone else rich. Bloomberg reports that you can profit by hundreds of dollars per month by renting your home depending on where it’s located. That’s great if you’re the owner. Not so much if you’re the one padding the owner’s bank account.

You have to live with finishes that don’t meet your expectations.

Black Daisies
You’re not building any equity by paying rent. If the rental rises in value, you won’t be the one to benefit. And, in fact, you’ll probably end up paying more for the privilege of living there.

Your house payment can’t go up like your rent can.

You’re at the mercy of your landlord, who can (and will!) decide when you should pay more.

You need permission to change the paint colors.

You can’t make changes to a crappy floorplan.

No place to put stuff. If you’re in an apartment, the storage situation is probably bleak.

Commercial Laundries
But not as bleak as having to share laundry facilities with your neighbors

Mail that never seems to end up in your slot

You have to live with the galloping dog above you.

Or the galloping kids beside you.

Or the thump-thump-thump of the rap music aficionado downstairs.

No tax write-off and nothing to show for your money.

Parking Is Horrible. If your options don’t include reserved parking and spots on the street are limited, you know just how bad it can be. But did you know that parking actually makes apartments more expensive? Buzzfeed tells us why.

Buffalo News
Having to wait – and wait and wait – for repairs to be done.

No pets! If you find a rental that allows your dog, you can count on paying a substantial deposit. And certain kinds of dogs may not be allowed regardless of how much you’re willing to pay.

Still stuck renting for the time being? Apartment Therapy broke down their least favorite things about renting and offered a few ways to deal with them.


October 16, 2015   No Comments

For Mortgage Shoppers, Simpler Forms Called Biggest Change in 40 Years

By Sarah Kleiner
The Virginian-Pilot

A few changes in the homebuying process that take effect today may have a big impact on how borrowers shop.

Homebuyers will receive fewer forms when applying for financing, and they’re designed to be more understandable, so shopping for an affordable mortgage should be easier.

Also, buyers now will have a three-day waiting period to read and double-check their closing documents before signing a contract.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency created in the wake of the late-2000s housing collapse, is rolling out the new requirements, which are referred to as “Know Before You Owe.”

“I think it’s really the biggest change in the last 40 years in the mortgage process,” said Holden Lewis, mortgage analyst for

In the past, homebuyers received four forms as part of the closing process, including a good faith estimate and the HUD-1. They have been consolidated into two standardized forms.

Within three days of a prospective buyer’s applying for a mortgage, lenders are required to provide a loan estimate, which is designed to clearly lay out closing costs, Lewis said.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau encourages buyers to get at least three loan estimates and compare them side by side.

“When I say consumer-friendly, my 10-year-old grandson could put the one you got and the one I got next to each other and tell the differences,” said Corrina Carter, owner of CMS Mortgage Solutions Inc. in Chesapeake.

Here’s how the loan estimate works:

– The first page breaks down the estimated monthly payment.

– The second page tallies all the estimated fees and other expenses a homebuyer will have to pay, and calculates how much cash a homebuyer has to have at the closing table.

– The third page shows how much the borrower will have paid within five years – and how much of that will have gone toward the principal.

The other new form homebuyers will receive is the closing disclosure. Lenders are required to provide three business days before the paperwork is signed.

The delay gives homebuyers a chance to look through their documents and ask questions if the final costs differ from the estimate.

“Essentially you can see if you are getting the loan that you were promised,” Lewis said. “Right now, comparing the HUD-1 to the good faith estimate, realistically, that’s not happening because the HUD-1 is hard to understand.”

Carter said borrowers likely won’t be as harried at the signing table. Historically, most home sales closed the same day buyers received their final loan documents.

“Right now, everybody feels like they have to accept” the documents, Carter said. “If there are changes that need to be made, it is usually a rush-rush job, and the buyer doesn’t have a chance to review those changes.”

Industry experts have been using the same forms to close on homes since 1974, so it will take time to get used to a new system, said Howard “Hoddy” Hanna III, chairman and CEO of Howard Hanna Holdings. Hanna’s company purchased Virginia Beach-based William E. Wood and Associates in 2014.

The new process likely will extend the amount of time it takes to close a deal beyond 15 or 30 days, which has been typical. Hanna said the waiting period might be 45 or 60 days now.

Still, Hanna said, “anything that’s great for the consumer is good for me and our people.”

For more information, visit:

October 13, 2015   No Comments

New Home Sales Surge

New Home Sales Surge | Keeping Current Matters

According to the latest report from the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, newly constructed home sales jumped 5.7% month-over-month and 21.6% year-over-year to an annual pace of 552,000.

Many buyers are looking to the new homes market to make up for the lack of existing home sales inventory. National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe explains:

“Today’s report indicates the release of pent-up housing demand as the overall economy strengthens, consumer confidence grows and mortgage interest rates remain low. The housing market should continue to move forward at a modest but more persistent pace throughout the rest of 2015.”

Regionally, the Northeast led the way with a 24.1% increase in new home sales, followed by the South (7.4%) and West (5.4%). Sales in the Midwest declined by 9.1%.

The inventory of new homes for sale currently sits at a 4.7-month supply down slightly from July (4.9) and significantly from August 2014 (5.4).

Buyers who purchased a new home were willing to spend more to get the amenities that they wanted. The median home price for new homes was $64,000 higher than existing homes in August at $292,700!

Approved applications for building permits increased 3.5% over July and 12.5% over this time last year. Permit applications are seen as a strong indicator of builder confidence in the market.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand continues to outpace inventory of homes for sale. If you are thinking of selling your house this year, now may be the time to list before builders have a chance to replenish the supply of new homes.


For more information, visit:

October 13, 2015   No Comments

4 Reasons to Buy BEFORE Winter Hits

4 Reasons to Buy BEFORE Winter Hits | Keeping Current Matters

It’s that time of year; the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get-togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don’t have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 10.5% (most pessimistic) and 25.5% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

For more information, visit:

October 13, 2015   No Comments

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional Today!

5 Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Professional Today | Keeping Current Matters

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $208,700 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?


July 23, 2015   No Comments

Sales of New U.S. Homes Rise to Highest Level in Seven Years

Purchases of new homes in the U.S. rose in May to the highest level in seven years, signaling the industry is gaining momentum heading toward the second half of the year.

Sales climbed 2.2 percent to a 546,000 annualized pace, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists and the most since February 2008, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday in Washington. Readings for February through April were revised up.

Stronger employment and income prospects are bolstering would-be home buyers, allowing them to take advantage of relatively cheap borrowing costs. The pickup in demand points to gains in construction of residential real estate that will contribute to gross domestic product for the rest of the year.

“Look for significant increases in housing starts — we have to catch up to these demand numbers,” said Aneta Markowska, chief U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, whose forecast for 540,000 sales was among the closest in the Bloomberg survey. “This could be the best year for housing in terms of how much it contributes to GDP since 2012.”

Stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index near a record, amid optimism that a deal on Greek aid was within reach. The S&P 500 climbed 0.2 percent to 2,127.13 at 10:17 a.m. in New York.

Survey Results

The median forecast of 71 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for the pace to accelerate to 523,000. Estimates ranged from 499,000 to 545,000. The Commerce Department revised the April reading up to a 534,000 pace from a previously estimated 517,000.

Another report Tuesday showed orders for business equipment rose in May for just the second time this year, indicating demand for American-made manufactured goods is stabilizing. Bookings for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft increased 0.4 percent last month after falling 0.3 percent in April, according to Commerce Department data.

Orders for all durable goods — items meant to last at least three years — declined 1.8 percent, reflecting a drop in the volatile aircraft category.

The Commerce Department’s report on new-home sales showed the median sales price declined 1 percent from May 2014 to $282,800, today’s report showed.

The increase in demand last month was led by an 87.5 percent surge in the Northeast, the biggest gain since July 2012. The West climbed 13.1 percent, while sales fell in the Midwest and South. The setback in the South could have been caused by the floods that inundated parts of Texas last month.

Limited Supply

The supply of homes at the current sales pace declined to 4.5 months from 4.6 months in April. There were 206,000 new houses on the market at the end of May, the same as in the prior month.

New-home sales, which account for almost 10 percent of the residential market, are tabulated when contracts are signed. That makes them a timelier barometer than transactions on existing homes.

Previously owned home purchases rose in May to their fastest pace since November 2009, National Association of Realtors data showed Monday. Closings increased 5.1 percent to a 5.35 million annualized rate as the share of sales to first-time buyers matched the strongest level since September 2012.

The housing industry has shown gradual gains in the second quarter after the world’s largest economy slumped in the first three months of the year.

Housing Starts

While housing starts declined 11.1 percent in May to a 1.04 million annualized rate, that followed a revised 1.17 million pace in April to cap the best back-to-back readings since late 2007, Commerce Department figures showed last week. Permits for future projects rose to the highest level in almost eight years.

Homebuilders are feeling better about the outlook for sales. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment gauge rose to 59 this month, the strongest since September and exceeding all projections in a Bloomberg survey, from 54 in May.

“With housing markets continuing to recover, we are experiencing high levels of demand,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Mezger said on a June 19 earnings call. “Inventory levels remain well below normal, and while there is still price appreciation occurring in most markets, it is at a more moderate and sustainable pace.”

Mortgage Rates

Relatively low borrowing costs also are still supporting would-be buyers who can qualify for credit. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4 percent in the week ended June 18, according to data from McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac. While that’s the second-highest rate this year, it’s still well below the 6.06 percent average from 2003 to 2007, when home sales boomed.

“Housing overall, given the still-low level of mortgage rates, remains quite affordable,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a June 17 press conference after the policy makers’ two-day meeting in Washington. At the same time, “anyone who doesn’t have a pristine credit rating finds it very difficult at this point to qualify for a mortgage.”

The central bankers decided at their June meeting to keep the benchmark interest rate near zero, where it’s been since 2008. Most economists surveyed by Bloomberg project the Fed will announce its first rate increase in nine years in September.

June 30, 2015   No Comments

Existing-Home Sales Bounce Back Strongly in May as First-Time Buyers Return

WASHINGTON (June 22, 2015) — Fueled partly by an increase in the share of sales to first-time buyers, existing-home sales increased in May to their highest pace in nearly six years, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Led by the Northeast, all major regions experienced sales increases in May.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in May from an upwardly revised 5.09 million in April. Sales have now increased year-over-year for eight consecutive months and are 9.2 percent above a year ago (4.90 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says May home sales rebounded strongly following April’s decline and are now at their highest pace since November 2009 (5.44 million). “Solid sales gains were seen throughout the country in May as more homeowners listed their home for sale and therefore provided greater choices for buyers,” he said. “However, overall supply still remains tight, homes are selling fast and price growth in many markets continues to teeter at or near double-digit appreciation. Without solid gains in new home construction, prices will likely stay elevated — even with higher mortgage rates above 4 percent.”

Total housing inventory2 at the end of May increased 3.2 percent to 2.29 million existing homes available for sale, and is 1.8 percent higher than a year ago (2.25 million). Unsold inventory is at a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.2 months in April.

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in May was $228,700, which is 7.9 percent above May 2014. This marks the 39th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

The percent share of first-time buyers rose to 32 percent in May, up from 30 percent in April and matching the highest share since September 2012. A year ago, first-time buyers represented 27 percent of all buyers.

“The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low downpayment programs,” said Yun. “More first-time buyers are expected to enter the market in coming months, but the overall share climbing higher will depend on how fast rates and prices rise.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage climbed in May to 3.84 percent from 3.67 percent in April but remained below 4.00 percent for the sixth straight month.

NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., says Realtors® overwhelmingly support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposal of a two-month delay for the implementation of the new Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure, or TRID, regulation. “NAR has long advocated the need to avoid implementing the new regulation during the peak buying season,” he said. “With interest rates on the rise, many families wanting to buy are looking to lock-in at current rates and move into their new home before the school year starts. Holding off on TRID implementation through the summer helps these buyers avoid any disruption or delays in closings that could develop once the regulation goes into effect.”

With demand continuing to far exceed supply, properties typically stayed on the market for 40 days in May, up from April (39 days) but the third shortest time since NAR began tracking in May 2011. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 131 days in May, while foreclosures sold in 56 days and non-distressed homes took 38 days. Forty-five percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month.

All-cash sales were 24 percent of transactions in May for the third straight month and are down considerably from a year ago (32 percent). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes in May, unchanged from last month and down from 16 percent in May 2014. Sixty-seven percent of investors paid cash in May.

Distressed sales4 — foreclosures and short sales — remained at 10 percent for the third consecutive month in May and are below the 11 percent share a year ago. Seven percent of May sales were foreclosures and 3 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15 percent below market value in May (20 percent in April), while short sales were also discounted 16 percent (14 percent in April).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales jumped 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.73 million in May from 4.48 million in April, and are and now 9.7 percent above the 4.31 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $230,300 in May, up 8.6 percent from May 2014.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000 units in May from 610,000 units in April, and are 5.1 percent higher than May 2014 (590,000 units). The median existing condo price was $216,400 in May, which is 1.9 percent higher than a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

May existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 11.3 percent to an annual rate of 690,000, and are now 11.3 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $269,000, which is 4.8 percent higher than May 2014.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million in May, and are 12.4 percent above May 2014. The median price in the Midwest was $181,900, up 9.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.18 million in May, and are 6.9 percent above May 2014. The median price in the South was $198,300, up 8.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West climbed 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.21 million in May, and are 9.0 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $324,000, which is 10.2 percent above May 2014.

Media Contact: Adam DeSanctis


June 22, 2015   No Comments

How Will Mortgage Rate Hikes Impact Home Sales?

How Will Mortgage Rate Hikes Impact Home Sales? | Keeping Current Matters

When mortgage interest rates begin to climb, experts immediately begin to discuss home affordability indexes. They calculate how an increase in rates will slow home purchases as more and more potential buyers are priced out of the market. Today, with home prices also increasing, many believe that home sales may slow down rather dramatically.

This may prove to be true in the long term. However, in the short term, increasing mortgage rates may have the opposite effect. Many buyers who have been sitting on the fence may realize that delaying their purchase no longer makes sense.

Last week, in a CNBC article, Matt Weaver of Florida-based PMAC Lending explained the impact an increase in rates will have:

“These increases really help the home-buying market. It really gets buyers to really understand that ‘wait a minute, rates are at an all-time low, let’s react now, let’s react before they go higher’.”

As an example, we can look to 2013 when interest rates spiked up by a full percentage point over a two month period. The result is that many buyers rushed to the market on the fear that rates would continue to climb. It didn’t necessarily increase the number of sales that year dramatically.

However, it did seem to move some sales up in the year as evidenced by the chart below:

Home Sales & Impact of Mortgage Rate Spike | Keeping Current Matters

We can see that the sales cycle did not follow a more normal cycle (2014) with more sales being pushed into July and August and slightly less sales in September and August.

Bottom Line

If you are waiting to put your house on the market, think twice. Now may be the perfect time to sell as buyer competition will continue to heat up as more purchasers jump into the market. You may also save a pretty penny on the monthly mortgage payment of your next home by selling now before rates shoot up.


June 18, 2015   No Comments

Homeownership Rate Sinks to Lowest Level Since 1993



The percentage of U.S. residents who own their homes is at the lowest point it has been for more than 20 years, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau. In the first quarter of 2015, 63.8% of people owned their housing units, down from 64.8% at the start of 2014 (these figures are seasonally adjusted).

The Census data includes decades of quarterly, seasonally adjusted homeownership rates, and those rates have not fallen below 64% since 1993. The rate was 64% in the fourth quarter of 2014. The margin of error for quarterly homeownership rates is 0.3%, meaning the change from the end of last year to the start of this year wasn’t statistically significant. The year-over-year change is.

Homeownership peaked in the second quarter of 2004 at 69.4% and has generally declined since. Looking just at first-quarter data, the homeownership rate has steadily fallen from a high of 69.2% in 2005. Among consumers younger than 35, homeownership is far less common than it was six years ago, when nearly 40% of that age group were homeowners. As of last quarter, not quite 35% of them are (not seasonally adjusted). The greatest decline in homeownership over the last year came in the 35- to 44-years-old category: It fell from 60.7% in quarter one 2014 to 58.4% this year.

There are many reasons homeownership rates have fallen. Though foreclosure rates have fallen in recent years, they still remain historically high. Former homeowners who went through foreclosure likely haven’t yet been able to return to the real estate market, which partially accounts for the higher number of renters.

On top of that, mortgages aren’t easy to get. Lending standards have eased a bit since the recession, but even consumers with decent credit are still finding it difficult to secure home loans. Given that climate, the most control consumers have over attaining their dream of owning a home is to get their credit in good shape (you can see where you stand by getting a free credit report summary on Coupled with a solid financial standing and an affordable market, a credit history of on-time payments and well-managed debt can improve consumers’ chances of loan approval.

This article was written by Christine DiGangi and originally published on


May 14, 2015   No Comments

Weekly Mortgage Applications Fall 3.5% as Rates Rise

A for sale sign is shown in front of a home in Miami.

[Getty Images]

Home loan borrowers moved to the sidelines amid a sharp rise in interest rates last week.

Total mortgage application volume fell 3.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending May 8th from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Volume is still 14 percent higher than a year earlier, but that annual comparison has been shrinking for several weeks.

Applications to refinance, which are the most rate-sensitive, fell 6 percent week-to-week and have dropped 16 percent in the past four weeks; they are still 15 percent higher than a year earlier as interest rates were slightly higher in May of 2014. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 51 percent of total applications, its lowest level since May 2014.

That comes as the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 4.00 percent, its highest level since March 2015, from 3.93 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans, according to the MBA survey.

“Just a few short weeks ago, the average rate was 3.625 percent. That makes this the most abrupt move higher in roughly two years, with the last notable example being the mid-2013 ‘taper tantrum,'” noted Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily, referring to the sharp rise in rates after the Federal Reserve first broached the idea it would “taper” its purchases of mortgage-backed bonds.

Applications to purchase a home were basically flat last week, down 0.2 percent from the previous week, a troubling sign in the height of the spring housing market. They were, however, 12 percent higher than a year earlier. Most don’t blame higher rates for the unexpectedly sluggish spring market.

“I do not feel that this [rising rates] will have a significant impact on our housing market, especially since the government’s recent reduction in FHA’s mortgage insurance premiums have made the program more affordable and easier for homebuyers to come into the market,” said Matt Weaver, VP of Sales for PMAC Lending Services.

The weakness in mortgage applications to purchase a home may have less to do with higher interest rates and more to do with very few listings for sale. Real estate agents across the nation are reporting stiff competition for the limited supply, leading to more bidding wars. This may push home prices higher at an unhealthy pace.

Interest rates moved even higher Tuesday, amid a selloff in the bond market. Mortgage rates loosely follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury, which rose to its highest level in six months. Rising rates can have the effect of pushing some potential buyers off the fence, worried that they will miss out on what are still historically low rates. That, however, is a short-term phenomenon. Higher rates reduce purchasing power, plain and simple.



May 14, 2015   No Comments