Consumer Sentiment: Moving Forward!

Consumer Sentiment: Moving Forward!

Consumer confidence declined in September, rebounded in October and jumped more than two points in a preliminary November estimate, beating economic forecasts and hitting a more than seven-year high.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment registered 89.4 in a mid-month reading, the best showing since July 2007. Economists had forecast the measure would hit 87.5, with some predicting as high as 89.

What factor have contributed to this improvement? The declining of oil prices and an improving job market were probably the main factors that led to this surge in consumer sentiment. A more favorable business conditions perhaps also helped the consumers’ view of the present situation. This solid increase suggests consumers have largely dismissed concerns about slowing global growth and have ignored the sharp swings in financial markets earlier this month

US consumers expect better economic growth and rising incomes in the coming months and overall positive growth in our economy, leading to a stronger dollar and making other investments more attractive. Consumers regained confidence and are more optimistic now about their future earnings potential, and with the holiday season getting closer and closer, we may see ever higher numbers in consumer’s confidence.

What about the Housing Market? Considering that the Federal Financing Housing Agency has recently opened more doors for eligibility criteria in the purchase of  homes, we expect to continue with good news about the economic outlook in general.

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Boost Your Home’s Selling Price!

Boost Your Home’s Selling Price!

If you’re looking to sell your home for top dollar, in addition to “Location, Location, Location” there are some other suggestions you may benefit from, to get top dollar for your home!    child and father painting wall together

As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” While curb appeal gets buyers in the door, sellers who want to move their homes quickly need to take other steps.

The strategy varies by neighborhood and market conditions, but staging a house to appeal to the maximum number of buyers can make difference in how fast the home sells.

If you have a limited budget, here are some tips that can make your house to sell for a top dollar:

  • Add color to you landscape by either replacing flower beds or potted flowers, along with fresh sod.
  • Replacing light fixtures and plumbing fixtures will give your home a modern touch for a minimal investment.
  • Consider removing popcorn ceilings; however you need to be careful because popcorn ceilings of pre-1979 homes are likely to contain asbestos, and you need someone licensed to remove it.
  • Remove window treatments, unless they are current and high-end. That cuts the risk of turning off would-be buyers who don’t share your taste, and uncovered windows that will let more light into the rooms.
  • If you’re using your dining or a bedroom as an office for example, turn it back to their original use.
  • Replace dirty or worn carpet, you’re better off removing the carpet if there are hardwood floors underneath.
  • Unclutter your house by packing away items that you will not use on an every day basis. You want the new family to envision themselves living in the home.
  • A deep cleaning before you put your home on the market is a must, so everything shines.
  • Repaint all rooms in neutral colors. A fresh coat of paint also makes the house look newer and more modern.

With a few simple, low-cost tweaks, you can significantly enhance your house’s curb appeal. Focus on low cost improvements. Since every dollar counts, devote your time in renovations that’ll bring you a return.

Fannie Mae sets new rates effective October 14

Fannie Mae sets new rates effective October 14

Fannie Mae is set to raise the benchmark interest rate for its Standard Modification program. Fannie Mae will raise its required interest rate for standard modifications from 4.375% to 4.5%.  The rate was lowered from 4.5% to 4.375% on Sept. 15, but will now rise again in one week. Fannie Mae announced the change on Tuesday in an email sent to its servicers.

When the program began in Jan. 2012, Fannie’s benchmark interest rate was 4.625%. Fannie lowered the interest rate to 4.25% in Sept. 2012, before dropping it to 4% on Dec. 1, 2012.

“Fannie Mae Standard Modification interest rate is not determined on a preset schedule,” Fannie said in the note to its servicers. “The interest rate is subject to periodic adjustments based on an evaluation of prevailing market conditions.”

Fannie also noted that any loan modification requests that were approved at the previous rate are not eligible to be resubmitted for approval under the new modification rule

Borrowers may now have a chance to build equity fast

Borrowers may now have a chance to build equity fast

Don't Get Left OutTwo major banks have agreed to originate a new 15-year mortgage under pilot programs aimed at low- and moderate-income borrowers.

In addition, the creators of the so-called Wealth Building Home Loan,   allows home buyers to build equity at a much faster clip than they would with a standard 30-year loan. Typically, the monthly payment on a 15-year loan is higher than that on a 30-year loan. But the loan amortizes much more quickly, meaning you build wealth — or equity — faster.

According to the latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, an owner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter. The survey found that the average owner’s net worth is $194,500, whereas a renter’s is $5,400.

 

NOW is the time…Rates don’t wait!

If you have higher mortgage payments, now is the time to change it!  In recent years we have seen many changes in our national economy. We have seen cuts in interest rates given by the Federal Reserve cuts not seen for many years. imagesCA68GG1H

One situation that influenced home foreclosures for many homeowners were the high interest rates they were granted. These mortgage loans  were presented for a large number of months as a fixed payments and later converted into variable rates, causing a drastic financial instability in many homeowners facing now a new higher mortgage payment.

The HARP Refinance Program gives the Homeowners that have not been behind in the last 12 months, and can prove income under the new conditions and repayment capacity; the opportunity to refinance with low current interest rates. This means that you can refinance even if the actual mortgage balance is higher than the value of your property on the market today.  The HARP and FHA programs are the only programs that allow you to refinance under these terms.

Compare and discuss your options and determine if refinancing NOW is financially right for you. The essence of refinancing is to find the best fit and financial balance  for you and your family. Remember, an informed decision is the best guarantee!

Home sales show encouraging stats

Home sales show encouraging stats

Existing home sales, excluding distressed sales, are the most encouraging stats at the moment. These, according to Trulia and the National Association of Realtors, were 80 percent back to normal in August.

home-salesTrulia’s Bubble Watch also showed that prices were 3.4 percent undervalued in the third quarter, which is a marked improvement over the 13.5 percent undervaluation at the worst of the housing bust. That means prices are three-fourths of the way back to normal.

Delinquency and foreclosure rates also were much improved. According to Trulia and Black Knight, the national delinquency and foreclosure rate was 74 percent back to normal in August, the same as one quarter ago and up from 56 percent one year ago. The decline in defaults and foreclosures has helped stabilize the financial system and hard-hit neighborhoods.

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.

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.