Fed’s hike of 0.25 point in short term rates

Fed’s hike of 0.25 point in short term rates

For the first time in a year and only the second time in a decade, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policy making arm of the Federal Reserve, voted on Wednesday in its eighth and final meeting of the year to raise the federal funds target rate by 25 basis points up to the 0.50 to 0.75 percent range. Analysts in the housing industry have been speculating for weeks as to what the effect of a Fed rate hike would be on mortgage interest rates and overall affordability. In the month prior to the Fed voting to raise the federal funds target rate, the average 30-year FRM rose by more than 50 basis points to a level above 4 percent for the first time in more than a year.

“While the Fed’s hike of 0.25 point in short-term interest rates may trickle down to long-term rate products like 30-year mortgages, the more immediate impact will be felt by borrowers with variable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit who can expect an increase in their payments at their next rate reset,” said Tim Manni, mortgage expert at NerdWallet. “Homebuyers shouldn’t be particularly concerned with today’s Fed move. Even with rates hovering over 4 percent, they’re still historically low.

The Fed released a new forecast Wednesday and it projects U.S. economic growth this year to be 1.9% and next year to be 2.1%, both slightly better than the Fed’s previous projection in September. The rate increase indicate that the U.S. economy no longer needs the Fed’s crutches and consumers and businesses can afford to pay more to borrow.

Advertisements

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.

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.

 

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.

HELOC’s holders are most at risk

HELOC’s holders are most at risk

Home Equity lines of credit, popular during the housing boom of the mid-2000s, are now a source of concern, as many of these loans are due to reset to higher payments. The structure of a HELOC allows for a draw period where consumers can use the funds and can often make interest-only payments. Then, after a set number of years, it enters an end of draw period, where funds can no longer be borrowed and consumer payments consist of both interest and principal.   actnow

More than 92%, or $438 billion, in HELOC balances hadn’t entered their end of draw period as of the end of 2013, according to the report issued by Black Knight Financial Services on Tuesday.

An earlier estimate from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency suggested that $171 billion in home equity lines held by the country’s biggest banks would reset between this year and the start of 2018 compared with 28 billion in the previous four years.

Getting ready for the reset, here a few tips:

  • Know when the rate is set to adjust.
  • Understand what it will mean for your cash flows, and take action immediately.
  • Consider refinancing.

Keep in mind that variable rate HELOCs will move higher in step with Federal Reserve interest rate hikes once they commence.

The payment shock on the HELOC’s reset may put a significant number of borrowers into default, and those financial stumbles could ripple through the economy. Act Now!