by The KCM Crew on December 28, 2012
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by The KCM Crew on September 19, 2012
When the economy was exploding in the early 2000s, many of us began to dream about purchasing that vacation home on the lake or securing a home in a more appropriate location for our retirement years. However, with the booming economy came skyrocketing house prices. Many of the homes we fell in love with quickly became out of reach financially. Perhaps we should take a second look at these same homes today.
With prices dropping by over 30% in some markets and with interest rates at historic lows, this may be the perfect time to do what we and our families have always dreamt of doing – buying that second home. Let’s look at the numbers.
Back in 2006 we may have seen the ‘perfect’ home but the $500,000 price tag was just out of reach. Today, we could probably get that home for $400,000 (if not less). We also would be financing it at the current mortgage rate instead of the rates available six years ago. The table below shows the difference in impact on our family’s finances:
Not every family is in the financial position to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities the current real estate market offers. But, if yours is, this may be the time for dreams to come true. Print This Post
by Editor or Florida Realtors®, 19th September 2012
ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 19, 2012 – Florida’s housing market had more closed sales, more pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in August, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. (More …) Print This Post
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by Steve Harney
What impact will the European economic crisis have on real estate here in the U.S.?
Shouldn’t people wait until after the election to find out who will be the President before buying a home?
Today, I want to tell a story about Kevin Miller who works here at Keeping Current Matters and just signed contracts on the home he and Crystal, his wife, are purchasing. Kevin got married about a year ago and recently found out that he is about to become a father. He’s a great guy who truly loves his bride and wants the best for her and their family. It is for that reason that Kevin and his wife started to look
for a home of their own.
What About Greece?
Kevin and I have discussed the purchase at times and the interesting thing is the European situation never came up – not even once! It isn’t that Kevin is naive to the situation. He probably understands it better than most as he has a degree in International Business and Economics. But, he isn’t buying a house in Greece or Spain. He is buying a home in Babylon,New York – in a wonderful neighborhood with a nice backyard that his future children will play in. Does the world economy impact his purchase? Yes it does. It is one of the major reasons he is getting a 30-year mortgage rate under 4%.
What About the Election?
Again, it never came up. We did talk about the fact that he is buying the home for a fraction of what it would have sold for just a few years ago. We did discuss the great school district. We did talk about how convenient the neighborhood is to the things he and Crystal love. Did we talk about the election? No.
Not that the election won’t have an impact. It was just announced that Congress will postpone its decision on the government’s role in mortgage financing until next Spring (aka until after the election). The new rules, which are anticipated to be more stringent than the current rules, won’t be enacted until after Kevin, Crystal and their child are comfortably living in their dream home financed by a 30-year mortgage at an historically low interest rate. Meanwhile, no one knows what the new mortgage requirements will even be next year.
Is the situation in Europe important? Of course. Is this election one of the most important in our nation’s history? Many believe so. Did either of these situations enter Kevin’s mind while he was deciding to buy a home? No.
He was too busy caring about his wife, his new child and his family’s happiness. Print This Post
By Pete Bakel
Despite economic growth of 3.0 percent annualized for the fourth quarter of 2011, incoming data suggest that economic growth slowed during the first quarter of 2012. In line with previous forecasts, Fannie Mae’s (FNMA/OTC) Economic & Strategic Research Group expects growth to slow to slightly more than 2 percent in the first quarter of the year.
The slowdown in economic growth is not indicative of a significant deterioration in the underlying strength of economic activity, but a fading inventory boost to GDP growth. For all of 2012, the Group expects growth to be modest at 2.3 percent as a number of factors combine to constrain activity, including slow real disposable income growth, which should restrain household spending activity; a very small contribution from net exports; and continued fiscal contraction by the federal government, as well as ongoing cutbacks by state and local governments acting as a drag on growth during the year.
“Consumer spending continued its upward trajectory with strong spending on autos and other durable goods, and spending on services showing the largest gain in nearly two years,” says Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “However, the pickup in consumer spending has outpaced income growth, which means that consumers are increasing their spending by borrowing from their savings. Real disposable income has been flat and that needs to change for a higher pace of economic activity to occur.”
Through the fourth quarter of 2011, residential investment contributed to overall economic growth for the third consecutive quarter, the first time that has occurred since 2005. Recent housing data also indicate some loss of momentum in the first quarter, underscoring the uneven nature of the current housing recovery. However, confidence among consumers improved in March. The Fannie Mae March National Housing Survey shows that 33 percent of Americans expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months, up from 28 percent in February. On the downside, the Group notes a long-term risk to housing concerning federal student loan debt, which has increased dramatically over recent years and may cause a delay in students’ entering the first-time homebuyer market in the future.
On the employment front, the March employment report showed weakening momentum, as the economy created just 120,000 jobs – less than half of the average monthly gain over the prior three months and the smallest gain in five months. However, the setback in the employment report should not necessarily be interpreted too negatively. Other job-related data continue to show signs of improvement with initial jobless claims hovering near a new low of the recovery at the end of March. Despite the unemployment rate dropping to 8.2 percent, the lowest rate in more than three years, it is not indicative of improving labor market conditions, as the rate was driven by a substantial decline in the labor force. The Group expects the unemployment rate to trend down to about 7.5 percent by the end of 2013, with a monthly average gain of approximately 190,000 jobs during 2012 and slightly stronger gains during 2013.
For more information, visit http://www.fanniemae.com Print This Post
by Dean Hartman on April 26, 2012
- Gather your documents. Today, many people will have to produce 2 years’ complete tax returns, including W2′s, 1099′s, K1′s, and all the schedules, as well as a month’s worth of pay stubs.
- Be prepared to explain them. Deductions in your returns and your pay stubs may impact the income your lender will use to qualify you which, in turn, has a big impact on the loan you will get.
- Have a breakdown of base pay versus overtime for both your pay stubs and 2 years’ W2′s. Lenders treat overtime (and bonus income) differently than your base pay. Be prepared to explain any changes over the last few years because your loan officer will ask you about it.
- Start accumulating your bank statements. Lenders look back 3 months from when you sign your contract of sale.
- You will have to explain any and all large deposits (which are defined as deposits greater than your regular pay check) because lenders want to make sure you haven’t taken out any new loans that aren’t on your credit report.
- Avoid any significant cash deposits. However, if you did have a cash deposit, understand that the lender will have you source it (a bill of sale and DMV receipt for that motorcycle, for example).
- If you will be receiving a gift, consult your loan officer on how to document it (from the donor’s ability to how you deposit it).
- Ask your loan officer to run your credit and go over it with them. Believe it or not, most credit reports contain errors. Best to identify them and get working on correcting them as early as possible.
- Do what you can to pay down your balances to under 30% of available credit to help you get the best score possible.
- Do NOT close accounts or pay off collection accounts without discussing it with your loan officer. Either one of these logical moves can actually have a negative impact on your score.
When buying a home, remember the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared”. Following these suggestions will make your loan approval easier and less stressful. Print This Post
by The KCM Crew on April 23, 2012
It didn’t take long for the naysayers in real estate to jump all over the National Association of Realtors’ Existing Sales Report which was released last week. It is true that sales were down 2.6% from the previous month. However, monthly variations should not be the determining factor in deciding where the market is going. For example, in the same report, NAR explained that sales WERE UP 5.2%over last March’s numbers.
The experts should look at the key underlying data that truly determines where the market will be heading. Here is what leading economists in the housing industry are saying:
Paul Diggle, property economist, Capital Economics
“March’s decline in existing home sales probably reflects the normal month by month volatility rather than renewed underlying weakness. The increase in households’ confidence in the outlook for the housing market, coupled with a gradual improvement in the pace of the economic recovery, should drive a rise in home sales later this year….It is possible that the pattern within the quarter has been driven by the weather, with falls in the most recent two months reflecting a degree of payback after January’s gain.” (More …) Print This Post
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently reported that the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders, used as an index in some ARM contracts, was 4.08 percent based on loans closed in February.
Beginning this month, FHFA is calculating interest rates using un-weighted survey data. For January, a comparable rate based on unweighted data would have been 4.18 percent. Thus, there was a decrease of 0.10 percent from the previous month’s corresponding un-weighted rate. The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less decreased 5 basis points to 4.36 percent from January’s figure based on unweighted data.
These rates are calculated from the FHFA’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey of purchase-money mortgages. These results reflect loans closed during the February 23-29 period. Typically, the interest rate is determined 30 to 45 days before the loan is closed. Thus, the reported rates depict market conditions prevailing in mid- to late-January.
The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans (fixed- and adjustable-rate) was 4.05 percent in February, down 9 basis points from 4.14 percent, based on un-weighted data, in January. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 4.17 percent in February, down 10 basis points from 4.27 percent, based on un-weighted data, in January. This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size.
Initial fees and charges were 0.93 percent of the loan balance in February, up 0.04 percent from 0.89, based on un-weighted data, in January. Thirty-one percent of the purchase money mortgage loans originated in February were “no-point” mortgages, down three percent from the un-weighted share in January. The average term was 28.8 years in February, up 0.1 years from an un-weighted 28.7 years in January. The average loan-to-price ratio in February was 75.3 percent, down 0.4 percent from 75.7 percent, un-weighted, in January. The average loan amount was $244,300 in February, up $7,300 from an unweighted $237,000 in January.
For more information, visit http://www.fhfa.gov Print This Post
by The KCM Crew on February 13, 2012
Last week, the Federal government and 49 state governments (Oklahoma being the exception) agreed to a $25 billion settlement regarding robo-signing and the challenges it created in the foreclosure process. We want to give a synopsis of the settlement and some perspective on what effect it will have on the housing market in 2012.
The $25 billion in funds will be dispersed as follows:
$17 Billion National Commitment to Foreclosure Relief Efforts
The servicers collectively agree to commit a minimum of $17 billion directly to borrowers through foreclosure relief effort options, including principal reduction for qualifying borrowers, short sales, anti-blight measures, and enhanced homeowner transition programs.
$3 Billion National Commitment to Underwater Mortgage Refinancing Program
The servicers collectively agree to commit $3 billion to refinance “underwater” homes (when a homeowner owes more on a mortgage than a home’s current market value). To qualify, borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments on a mortgage owned by one of the five banks.
$5 Billion Payment to States and Federal Government
The servicers’ $4.25 billion payment to the states includes $1.5 billion for payments to borrowers who lost their home to foreclosure by one of the five servicers…$750 million of the state-federal payment will go to the federal government to resolve federal claims.
For further details on the settlement you can go to the official website.
Will the Settlement Have a Major Impact on a Housing Recovery?
Probably not. Though it is a step in the right direction, it may be too little too late. Here are some opinions on the settlement:
“Like many previous plans to stem foreclosures, this agreement will help at the edges. The problem is too big for it to have a large impact, however…This agreement will help the housing market move ahead in 2012 in a small way. But it is hardly a game changer.”
“While there is no doubt some benefit to formalizing and organizing the process of foreclosure and better monitoring of the process, the fact is that the settlement changes little.”
“While it is good that the settlement has been finalized and will offer principal reductions and refinancing schemes to borrowers, the bigger picture is that the settlement is not large enough to dramatically alter the outlook for the housing market or the wider economy.”
What about Foreclosures Moving Forward?
The settlement did bring clarity to one major issue – foreclosures. Banks have been holding off the foreclosure process on millions of homes over the last 18 months as they waited for the particulars of the settlement. They now know how they can move forward without penalty. The result will be an increase in foreclosures coming to the housing market.
“It will speed up processing, and perhaps mean that foreclosures that have been waiting around since robo-signing came to light in 2010 will now gain legitimacy.”
“It does appear the number of completed foreclosures will increase following this settlement – especially in some judicial states with large backlogs – so there will probably be more REOs (lender Real Estate Owned) for sale.”
“The $25 billion settlement with banks over foreclosure abuses may result in a wave of home seizures…Lenders slowed the pace of foreclosures as they negotiated with attorneys general in all 50 states for more than a year over allegations of faulty and fraudulent paperwork used to repossess homes. With yesterday’s agreement, banks are likely to resume property seizures.”
“Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, said the settlement helps the housing market in the long run because it allows banks to proceed with millions of foreclosures that have been stalled. Many lenders have refrained from foreclosing on homes as they awaited the settlement.”