Big Win for Future Homebuyers!

front entranceOnce again the voices of the REALTORS® were heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill, and we scored a big win for future homeowners! Thanks to the more than 139,000 REALTORS®, or 15% of our members, across the nation, the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016, or H.R. 3700, passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent, and was signed into law by President Obama on July 29, 2016.  This legislation:

  • Solves a number of concerns regarding FHA’s condo rules:
    • Reduces the FHA condo owner occupancy ratio to 35%, unless FHA takes alternative action within 90 days.
    • Directs FHA to streamline the condo re-certification process.
    • Provides more flexibility for mixed use buildings.
    • Mirrors the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) rules regarding private transfer fees for FHA condo lending.
  • Provides permanent authority for direct endorsement for approved lenders to approve Rural Housing Service (RHS) loans.
  • Makes reforms to federally assisted housing programs to streamline the programs.

On behalf of the NAR Leadership Team, we would like to thank you and your colleagues for this amazing grassroots effort and for all your support for this national Call for Action.  Our state and local association partners did a great job in leading the efforts to get the U.S. Senate to act on this critical legislation.   This victory was made possible by the collective efforts of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, and our state and local association partners. When REALTORS® speak in a single unified voice, Congress listens.

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80,000 Foreclosures prevented!

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicated in its report on foreclosure prevention  for Q2 2014 released on September 24, that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac  prevented nearly 80,000 foreclosures nationwide in the second quarter, raising the total number of foreclosures prevented since the start of the conservatorship in September 2008 to 3.3 million.

fThe measures taken by the two GSEs to prevent foreclosures have helped about 2.7 million borrowers remain in their homes in the last six years, with approximately 1.7 million of those borrowers receiving permanent loan modifications. The number of foreclosures prevented is down 10 percent from Q1, when GSE measures stopped almost 89,000 foreclosures.

FHFA reports as well that about 37 percent of those who received permanent loan modifications were able to reduce their monthly payments by more than 30 percent in second quarter.

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.

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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.

Mortgage Rates and Terms Beware!

Mortgage Rates and Terms Beware!

Mortgage rates haven’t moved much this year, and the good news is they’ve been stuck at historically low levels. However, mortgage rates are expected to move higher as we head through the fall. While various groups report national mortgage rate averages each week, the rates you get can vary dramatically from that average, depending on what product you choose and how you shop.

One of the biggest mistakes home buyers make is to take a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage when they don’t really need it. The 30-year fixed is the most expensive of all mortgage products because the rate is the highest and you’re paying for the longest time.imprevistos

It is better to consider a product that matches how long you expect to be in your home, and make some changes later. Points are an upfront payment of interest in exchange for a lower rate. This boosts your closing costs and makes the rate appear to be artificially low.

Also, a great rate can turn into a bad one if your rate lock expires and you have to pay for an extension. Get your financials ready and provide them when asked, the sooner the better so it won’t interfere with the possibility of losing your rate lock. Documentation requirements can be arduous these days, and financial institutions are not going to waive them.

Beware of hidden fees and loan level pricing adjustments. Be sure to review a full breakdown of closing costs before committing to a lender. You can shop by rate or shop by fees, but you can’t shop for both at the same time.

Be aware about the Zero-closing cost mortgages that are sometimes available for as little as 12.5 basis points (0.125 percent) added to your mortgage rate. Your payment might raise $30-50 per month, but you’ll eliminate $4,000 in closing costs or more.

And finally, don’t let multiple lenders run your credit score. This can actually damage your score.