How Do Homes Impact Health?

  1. Indoor air pollution is 4 – 5 times worse than outdoor air and sometimes even greater.
  2. We spend 90% of our time indoors.
  3. 15% of homeowners may be allergic to elements in their own homes.
  4. Prevalence of asthma has double since 1976.

Indoor air pollution has been described by EPA and Congress as America’s number one environmental health problem. Air pollutants can and do cause allergies, sick building syndrome, bacterial infections and spread viruses to name a few. The American College of Allergists state that 50% of all illnesses are caused by polluted indoor air.  NEXT: How does our air inside the house get polluted?

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Housing affordability Keeps on Going!

Homeownership closer than ever!

Housing affordability is up nationwide due to low-interest rates and home prices as National Homeownership Month begins in June, according to a recent release from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

In addition to lower prices and interest rates, low-down payment programs offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is also helping creditworthy borrowers who cannot afford a large down payment   for a mortgage. These programs offer down payments as low as 3 percent for eligible first-time homebuyers.

Homeownership is the key of building wealth, since it is often a primary source of net worth and a step toward accumulating long-term personal financial assets.   It is not only limited to financial freedom but also building stronger communities and personal achievement.

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Existing home sales slightly rebound

Existing home sales slightly rebound

Why this is a great time to sell your home?

 This is a great time to sell your home!

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February from 4.82 million in January. Sales are 4.7% higher than a year ago and above year-over-year totals for the fifth consecutive month.

Mortgage Rates plummeted today after Fed’s announcement

While the average improvement of 0.10% might not look like much at face value, it’s the biggest Finding-a-refinance-rate-for-your-homeone-day drop we’ve had in 2015, and in a league with very few other players historically.

With today’s improvement, the most prevalently-quoted conventional 30yr fixed loan for top tier borrowers falls back to 3.75%.   Some lenders will remain at 3.875% today, but many feel that  those lenders held back from passing on the full effect of the market movement not an uncommon occurrence after a volatile swing like today’s.

Negative Equity continues being a Serious Concern Despite Year Over Year Decline!

Negative Equity continues being a Serious Concern Despite Year Over Year Decline!

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While the percentage of homes in the United States with negative equity has declined substantially since the fourth quarter of 2013, they experienced a slight increase quarter-over-quarter in Q4 2014, according to CoreLogic‘s Q4 2014 Equity Report released last Tuesday.

CoreLogic reported that 10.8 percent of all residential homes were underwater in Q4, this is about 5.4 million properties approximately, which was down from 13.3 percent  in the same quarter a year earlier. The Q4 total was up slightly from the 10.3 percent that was reported for Q3 2014 – an increase of 3.3 percent.

Despite the year-over-year decline in the percentage of underwater residential properties, negative equity remains a serious issue, according to Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. For the full year of 2014, 1.2 million borrowers regained equity – but nearly five and a half million properties remained in negative equity as of the end of the year after approximately 172,000 homes slipped into negative equity from the third quarter to the fourth quarter in 2014.

Approximately 10 million of the nearly 50 million residential properties with a mortgage in the United States, which is about 20 percent of these properties have less than 20 percent equity, a condition known as under-equitied.

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Mortgage rates fell!

Mortgage rates fell!

imagesCAE30UQZEconomic data affects rates by motivating investors to seek out or avoid risk. Higher demand means higher prices and lower rates.  Investors are looking for clarity on the Fed’s plans regarding raising rates, among other things.

From here on out, volatility becomes an increasing risk heading into the Fed’s Announcement next Wednesday. It can either work for or against us, but the point is that if it does work against us, the potential damage is bigger than normal.

Keep Your Money Where It Is, if you’re planning on buying a home!

Keep Your Money Where It Is, if you’re planning on buying a home!

spend_less_money_save_moreIt’s not wise to make any huge purchases or move your money around three to six months before buying a home. You don’t want to take any big chances with your credit profile. Lenders need to see that you’re reliable and they want a complete paper trail so that they can get you the best loan possible.

If you open new credit cards, amass too much debt or buy a lot of big ticket items, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan.

Opening Doors for Homebuyers!

Opening Doors for Homebuyers!

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is the first of six financial regulators to release the final version of the long-awaited qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule. The National Association of Realtors applauds this action because it will make possible to incorporate rules that include a broad definition for Qualified Mortgage standards implemented earlier this year.

Got your House?

Got your House?

Under the QRM rule, loans are generally considered qualified if the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio is 43 percent, among other things and there is not onerous down payment requirement, as regulators had originally proposed.

The NAR strongly opposed earlier versions of the rule that included 20 and 30 percent down payment requirements, which would have denied millions of Americans access to the lowest-cost and safest mortgages

For lenders, having these two rules in alignment provides the clarity they’ve long been asking for, widening and deepening loan eligibility and availability, which has been one of the main stumbling blocks to increased home sales.

Homebuyers will have now more credit availability reflecting an increase in home purchases, and refis. Way to go!

Sales of Existing Homes Increase, however not enough

Sales of Existing Homes Increase, however not enough

Sales of previously owned homes rose in September to the highest level in a year, adding to signs that residential real estate will be a plus for the economy.

National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington that closings on home sales advanced 2.4 % to 5.17 annual rate, and purchases rose 1.9% from the same month last year before adjusting for seasonal patterns.

Why this is a great time to sell your home?

Why this is a great time to sell your home?

On the way, easier lending standards and faster wage gains would attract even more buyers, including those making their first entrance to homeownership.

Sales of existing single-family homes increased 2% to an annual rate of 4.56 million in September from the prior month, also the fastest pace in a year. Purchases of multifamily properties including condominiums rose 5.2% to a 610,000 pace.

Of all purchases, cash transactions accounted for about 24%, down from 33% 12 months earlier, Investors, 63% of whom paid cash 14% of the market last month, in September 2013, they accounted for 19%. And First-time buyers accounted for 29% of the market for a third month in September. Distressed sales, accounted for 10% of the total

We are aware that residential real estate market has definitely gotten better; however it has not fully recovered. There is a lot more to be done!

Homeownership at Best!

Homeownership at Best!

Federal Housing Finance Agency has been working towards a plan to open what many we see as underwriting standards that are too restrictive.

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, their regulator and lenders are close to an agreement that could greatly expand mortgage credit while helping lenders protect themselves from charges of making bad loans, according to people familiar with the matter.

Homeownership getting better!

Homeownership Gets Better!

If the agreement is completed, lenders may be more willing to lend to borrowers with lower credit scores and smaller down payments.

Now that lenders are starting to remove some of the credit overlays, it is time to improve the growth of homeownership in the country

We expect FHFA to report the steps to further move and clarify lender liability and support the return of the 97% LTV product at the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recouped tens of billions of dollars in penalties from lenders in recent years over claims that the lenders made underwriting mistakes on loans they sold to the mortgage giants.

However, Lenders have blamed those penalties for tight credit conditions and for prompting them to make loans only to borrowers with near-pristine credit.

We hope these initiatives will have a meaningful impact on the mortgage market, and we can see positive changes in the direction of the mortgages industry after years of tightening credit issues.

Next Tuesday will see the existing home sales report for September, on Thursday the FHFA purchase-only house price index for August, and Friday the new home sales report.