Real Estate, Is it for Real?

HELOCs the next thing home credit product? Home prices, including distressed sales, rose year-over-year by 5.9% in March, according to data released Tuesday by CoreLogic.

The CoreLogic Home Price Index report found that March was the 37th consecutive month to feature year-over-year increases in home prices across the country. Month-to-month, home prices also rose by 2%, including distressed sales.

CoreLogic’s HPI Forecast estimated that prices will continue to increase month-to-month in April by 0.8% when including distressed sales and 0.7% without these properties

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Mortgage Rates slightly higher

Mortgage Rates slightly higher

Finding-a-refinance-rate-for-your-homeMortgage rates are higher today, leaving September as one of only 3 months this year with noticeable upward movement.

And today was an exception to that recent trend, but it’s tempered by the fact that yesterday’s gains were the best of the month.

The only downside is that the most prevalently-quoted conforming 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers remains 4.25% whereas it would have likely moved to 4.125% if rate went the other direction today.

These movement considerations may be small scale compared to what lies ahead.  Several big tickets events are coming up in the second half of this week and they stand a good chance to increase the level of volatility.

September:  Highest Consumer Confidence

September: Highest Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence reached its highest level since the Great Recession in September, according to the Thomson Reuters and University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

consumer-confidenceSeptember’s increase in consumer confidence is the result of optimistic outlooks on the overall economy and personal incomes.  The consumer expectations index rose 5.8 percent over the month of September, while the current conditions index fell 0.9 percent.

Additionally, a growing number of consumers expect their incomes to increase over the next year. The median income growth expectation reported in September was 1.1 percent, which is the highest expectation since late 2008. At the same time, more households anticipate income growth now than at any time since September 2008.

The renewal of income growth is particularly important for sparking consumer spending, and adding pending changes to monetary policy will make income gains prompt to boost even more consumer’s confidence.

FHFA outreaching more Homeowners

FHFA outreaching more Homeowners

In an effort to sign more eligible homeowners up for the Home Affordablefhfa Refinance Program (HARP), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)   is holding its third HARP outreach event in October, 2014.

The goal is to get the word out about HARP to borrowers who are current but underwater, and help borrowers who are either delinquent or at risk of losing their home recognize that they too have options.

  • Borrowers are eligible for a HARP loan if they meet the following requirements:
  • Their loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;
  • The loan must have been originated on or before May 21, 2009;
  • LTV ratio must be greater than 80 percent;
  • Borrower must be current on mortgage payments.

Borrowers who could benefit from HARP are referred to as “in the money” borrowers; they are “in the money” if they meet all the HARP eligibility requirements, have a remaining balance on their loan of greater than $50,000 with more than 10 years left on their term, and have an interest rate of more than 1.5 percent more than current market rates.

As of June 2014, about 3.1 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP since it was introduced by FHFA and Treasury in 2009 as part of the Making Home Affordable Program.

New homes sales see biggest monthly jump!

New homes sales see biggest monthly jump!

Sales of new single family houses in August 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, up from July’s printing of 427,000, the fastest rate in six years and the biggest monthly jump since January 1992.

firsthomeblog

The biggest gains and by far the reason for the big increase were new home sales in the West, one of the two largest housing markets, along with the South.

New home sales in the West were up 50% over July.

The South saw an 8% increase. The South is by far the largest region for new home sales, outdistancing all other regions combined.

The median sales price of new houses sold in August 2014 was $275,600; the average sales price was $347,900.

Jumbo Loans Cheaper and Easier to Get!

Jumbo Loans Cheaper and Easier to Get!

bigstock-Resort-collage-made-of-Cyprus--14454446Wealthy home buyers are paying lower average rates on high dollar loans, and in some cases, they don’t even have to worry about a large down payment or mortgage insurance.

For months, lenders of jumbo mortgages have been charging interest rates that are lower  than what average borrowers pay. Jumbo loans are mortgages that above $417,000 or $625,000 or more in high-priced markets.

Many lenders also have requiring as little as 10 percent, which is about half the normal rate, waiving the private mortgage insurance, and even lowered their credit standards for jumbo loan originations.

Luxury homes are selling faster than last year, according to data through July from Realtor.com.   The median age of listings ranged from 80 days  for homes listed at $1 million or more.

Homeowners Pay Less for  Mortgage than Renters for Rent

Homeowners Pay Less for Mortgage than Renters for Rent

Paying a mortgage is cheaper than paying rent. But owning a home costs more.  The never ending debate…Is better to buy or rent?  This could be answered only after considering all of the expenses that contribute to homeownership.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says it’s cheaper to own. It has become less expensive to own. From 2009 to 2012, fueled by falling interest rates, ForRentForSalehomeownership has become more affordable, while renters saw costs go in the opposite direction, according to the BLS.

A recent report by Zillow found that current U.S. home buyers can expect to pay 15.3% of their incomes to a mortgage on the typical home – down considerably from the 22.1% of income homeowners had to budget in the pre-bubble years but renters pay today over 29.5% of their income to rent, compared to 24.9% in the pre-bubble period.

The main reason for the budget disparity is the income gap between owners and renters. At the end of the second quarter, the Census Bureau reported the median annual income in the U.S. was $53,216. But among homeowners, median salaries were $65,514 per year, while the typical renter’s income was just $31,888.

Realidad o Ficción: Alivio Tributario sobre la Cancelación de la Deuda Hipotecaria.

Realidad o Ficción: Alivio Tributario sobre la Cancelación de la Deuda Hipotecaria.

Con el Congreso  ahora de regreso  a sus labores, la pregunta financiera más preocupante que se hacen  miles de propietarios de casas es,  ¿Van a ayudar a los consumidores que están sumergidos en sus hipotecas y que han aceptado una reducción del principal de los prestamistas a través de una Modificación , Venta Corta o Escrituras en lugar de Ejecución Hipotecaria?20131125_fact copy1

Actualmente bajo la Ley de Impuesto Federal, cuando los propietarios de casas aceptan reducciones en los balances de sus hipotecas, estas cantidades perdonadas por la entidad financiera son reportadas al gobierno,  y   consideradas como ingreso ordinario en sus impuestos.

La Ley de Alivio Tributario sobre el Perdón de la Deuda hipotecaria del 2007,  fue específicamente creada para ayudar a los propietarios afectados por la crisis económica, eliminando el pago de impuestos sobre el perdón de la deuda.  Sin embargo esta ley expiró  el pasado  31 de Diciembre de 2013.

Si el Congreso no extiende la ley retroactivamente miles de propietarios que continúan en esta lucha van a ser afectados y endeudados con excesivos cargos fiscales difíciles de sostener.   ¡Por favor señores congresistas, esperamos  con bastante optimismo esta extensión!

Porque HOY es el mejor momento para comprar una casa?

No hay mejor momento para comprar una casa que HOY! Todas las ventajas están a favor del comprador. Comprar una Casa HOY es más barato que alquilar en la mayoría de los mercados.  Más personas quieren ser propietarios de casa. Family Savings

Una encuesta realizada  recientemente por Fannie Mae muestra que la mayoría de inquilinos que representaron a un 90% de los encuestados prefieren ser dueños de su casa propia que continuar rentando.

Las tasas de interés han bajado en todos los tipos de préstamo hipotecarios, incluyendo los préstamos FHA, USDA, VA y convencionales que son los préstamos respaldados por Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac, y las tasas a 30 años están en sus mejores niveles en este 2014.

Si  estás preparado financieramente, tiene sentido que te prepares en todo lo que necesitas para conseguir una aprobación para una hipoteca; verifica tu reporte de crédito; investiga cuál es tu puntaje FICO; ten a la mano tus talones de pago y estados de cuenta bancarios; busca las mejores tasas hipotecarias, selecciona a un prestamista con el que te sientas  más ca gusto y que determine cuáles van a ser tus pagos mensuales, y comiences a buscar la Casa de tus Sueños…Te esperamos!

Bouncing back from foreclosure!

After losing their homes in the foreclosure crisis, boomerang buyers are back!   Since the housing bubble burst, 4.8 million borrowers have lost their homes to foreclosure, and another 2.2 million gave them up in short sales, according to Realty Trac.

Manicured Yard

How quickly someone can bounce back from a foreclosure or a short sale depends on the reasons for the past financial problems and on the person’s current credit score. A would-be borrower who had good credit history before a job loss, for instance, is more likely to qualify for a new mortgage than one who had bad credit and continues to demonstrate poor financial habits.

The FHA introduced a Back to Work loan program in 2013 to address the needs of individuals and families who lost their homes because of the housing crisis and recession. The program requires housing counseling before a new loan can be approved.

The borrowers need to be able to document the reason for the foreclosure or short sale and show that they’ve been responsible with their credit after they lost their home. A drop in credit score is okay as long as they can show they had good credit before the crisis.