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Monthly Archives: October 2016

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 31, 2016

Last week’s economic reports included S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, along with readings on new and pending home sales. Recurring weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller: Pacific Northwest Shows Fastest Home Price Growth

According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for August, home prices in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington grew fastest year-over-year. Portland posted an August index reading of 11.70 percent and Portland followed closely with a reading of 11.40 percent. Denver, Colorado rounded out the top three cities with the fastest rates of home price growth with a year-over-year reading of 8.80 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index rose 0.30 percent year-over-year to 5.30 percent in August.

Low inventory of available homes poses challenges for housing markets, but Case-Shiller reported that the national home price index was 0.60 percent lower than its peak reading in 2006. The 20-City Home Price Index was 7.10 percent lower than the 2006 peak. This provides a positive context for healthy home price growth, but concerns linger about a repeat of the housing bubble that burst and caused home prices to crash.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the S&P Index Committee said that a new housing bubble is unlikely. Home buyers are not taking out huge mortgages as was common prior to the Great Recession; mortgage lenders have adopted stricter qualification standards to help ensure that borrowers can afford their mortgages.

New Home Sales Rise in September

Sales of new homes rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 593,000 sales in September according to the Commerce Department. Although lower than analysts’ expected reading of 600,000 sales, September’s reading surpassed August’s reading of 575,000 sales. August’s reading was downwardly revised from its original reading of 609,000, which suggests that new home prices are growing at a slower rate than expected.

High demand for homes boosted September’s reading for pending home sales, which represents homes under contract for sale that have not closed. Pending home sales increased in September with a reading of 1.50 percent growth as compared to August’s negative rate of -2.50 percent. Pending home sales provide indications of future completed sales and mortgage loan volume.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates were lower last week according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell five basis points to 3.47 percent; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.78 percent, which was one basis point lower than the prior week’s reading. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was also one basis point lower at 2.84 percent. Average discount points were 0.60, 0.50 and 0.40 percent respectively.

In spite of growth in home prices and volume of sales, consumer confidence slowed in October. October’s index reading of 98.60 as compared to an expected reading of 101.00 and September’s reading of 103.50. Analysts said that uncertainty over the upcoming presidential election contributed to October’s lower reading.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation, construction spending core inflation, and labor reports. Non-farm payrolls, ADP employment, national unemployment rates will also be released. Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates report and new jobless claims will also be released.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Mortgage Rates

 

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5 Futuristic, Connected Home Upgrades That You Can Install This Fall

5 Futuristic, Connected Home Upgrades That You Can Install This FallThe future is now! You may know that there are already many smart (Internet-connected) appliances and items that you can use to update your home for the connected age. But for your reading pleasure, here are five of them already on the market.

Energy Efficiency: The Smart Thermostat

One of the first smart home upgrades to make it big on the market is the smart thermostat, specifically the Nest Learning Thermostat. Connected to your heating system, and to your phone through Wi-Fi, this device ‘learns’ your energy use habits so it can adjust to them. It saves you money by tailoring its output to your usage, which means it is kinder on the planet as well. Smart tech for the win-win.

Intelligent Alarms: Smart Smoke Detectors

In the same vein is the smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector technology. These alarm systems assess the danger and speak to you. They report on multiple details, including what kind of danger you’re facing (fire or carbon monoxide poisoning), where it is exactly in your home, and whether it constitutes an immediate risk to you.

Turn It On!: Smart Light Bulb

A-ha! The intelligence continues. There are smart light bulbs now like the Philips’ Hue Connected Bulb which speak through your Wi-Fi. This light can be controlled remotely through your phone or computer, where you can change its color and adjust the brightness without ever touching the bulb itself.

Baby Care: The Smart Onesie

You know those moments you need to yourself, when you step out of your baby’s room to let them sleep? Well, there’s now a device to help keep track of them even then. The Mimo Baby Shirt is a smart onesie. Its organic cotton is woven with sensors that monitor elements like your child’s temperature or sleep pattern and streams that info to your device through your home’s Wi-Fi. It can be fitted with a microphone, again linked to your phone and it’s machine-washable!

The Next Mouthful: The Smart Fork

Last but not least, there’s the HapiFork. This smart utensil monitors your eating habits how fast you’re eating, the time between meals, how many bites it takes to finish the meal. These tidbits can be uploaded to your laptop or phone, and can help you track and change how you eat.

As technology continues to progress, our homes are becoming smarter and smarter. Keep up with the tech by staying abreast of new developments starting with these five. Oh, and one last smart thing? Reaching out to your local real estate agent for more information, recommendations or just to chat about the future.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2016 in Around The Home

 

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S&P Case-Shiller: Home Prices Gain in August

Home prices gained in August per the 20-City S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Analysts said that home values continue to expand in spite of challenges including low inventories of available homes and strict mortgage qualification requirements.

National Home Price Index Near 2006 Peak

According to the national Case-Shiller Home Price Index, August home prices are 0.10 percent below their 2006 peak and all metro areas in the 20-City Home Price Index posted gains. Top gains in the 20-City Home Price Index were posted by Portland, Oregon with a year-over-year gain of 11.70 percent, Seattle, Washington home prices gained 11.40 percent and Denver, Colorado home prices gained 8.80 percent year-over-year.

All metro areas included in the 20-City Index posted year-over-year gains in excess of one percent. New York City had the lowest year-over-year price gain with a year-over-year reading of 1.70 percent in August. Washington, D.C. home prices rose 2.30 percent year-over-year. Home prices in the Cleveland, Ohio metro area increased by 2.90 percent year-over-year.

New Housing Bubble Unlikely

With home price gains close to peak prices seen before the housing bubble burst, concerns may arise over the potential for a new housing bubble to occur in coming months. Analysts say this is unlikely as home buyers are not taking out extreme levels of mortgage debt seen at the onset of the Great Recession. David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Index Committee, said “There is no reason to fear another massive collapse is around the corner. The run-up to the financial crisis was marked with both rising home prices and rapid growth in mortgage debt.”

Possible Fed Rate Hike Won’t Cause Mortgage Rates to Explode

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the Fed’s target federal funds rate in December. This action will lead to interest rate increases for consumer credit and mortgages, but not at levels that would make mortgage loans suddenly unaffordable. While gradual increases in federal interest rates would cause mortgage rates to rise over time, market conditions and related factors could potentially cause home prices to slow or even dip in some areas. Regional influences including employment and demand for homes are examples of factors contributing to home price growth or decline in specific areas.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2016 in Home Values

 

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Master the Autumn Home Buying Season With Our Guide to Finding Local Real Estate Bargains

Master the Autumn Home Buying Season With Our Guide to Finding Local Real Estate BargainsMost people have a good idea of the neighborhood they want to purchase a new home in. The problem is finding a great deal in the area, especially if it’s a neighborhood that’s very popular.

Thinking outside the box and avoiding the standard real estate listings can result in some bargain properties for sale that most people are completely unaware of.

Contemplate Investing In Foreclosed Homes

When the housing market boomed, many people tried to take advantage by investing in a second home that they couldn’t necessarily afford. This resulted in a huge market full of homes that were foreclosed on when mortgage payments could no longer be made.

This happens frequently whenever the housing market goes through a strong period and these houses and condos are owned by the bank and can be purchased at a great price.

Look At FSBO (For Sale By Owner) Homes

FSBO properties, homes that are being sold privately by the owner, are one of the best bets to find a great bargain. These homeowners have made the decision to try and sell their home without the use of a real estate agent in an attempt to save some money on the sale.

Local real estate agents will be aware of any homes in their neighborhood that are being sold privately and will be able to point you in the right direction. FSBO homes have the best chance of getting a good deal because offers can be made directly to the owner and the earliest offer may just be the most lucrative for them.

When All Else Fails, Take A Drive

Anybody who knows the area they want to invest in can be proactive and beat the market by simply taking a drive up and down the streets and looking at houses. Some owners haven’t taken the time to bother listing a home that they would love to get rid of.

These are either rental properties or family homes that have been willed and left neglected. They can be easily identified by the care that’s been given to the property. An overgrown lawn and overflowing mailbox is a sure sign the owner may be interested in a talk about selling.

After all, there’s nothing to lose.

Staying away from real estate listings to find a home can be tough. Thankfully, most local real estate agents will be tracking these houses so they can help their clients think outside the box. Contact your trusted real estate professional in your area for a better idea of how to make offers on these bargain properties.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Home Buyer Tips

 

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Forget Mortgage Apps: 5 Reasons Why You’ll Want to Use a Human Mortgage Broker

Forget Mortgage Apps: 5 Reasons Why You'll Want to Use a Human Mortgage BrokerA mortgage broker can be a helpful tool in finding the right opportunity for you, but it can be tempting to deal with mortgage apps that may be able to consolidate all the information you need in one place. While many modern apps can be quite convenient, there are a few reasons you may want to use a knowledgeable mortgage professional to ensure the credibility of your most important purchase.

Up-To-Date On Credible Lenders

A mortgage app can certainly provide many mortgage insights, but it’s not necessarily an able replacement for a broker who has dealt with many different lenders and knows the ins and outs. While an app can point you in the right direction, a broker will be able to keep you informed of all the little details.

Access To Better Rates

There are no guarantees that working with a broker will get you a better deal, but because brokers work in conjunction with a variety of different lenders, they can often get lower rates or special deals which you may not be able to find on your own.

Saving On Fees

In addition to assisting you with finding the best rates, a broker may also be able to minimize fees like the application and/or appraisal fees so that you can knock some of the costs off your mortgage. Since brokers have an established relationship with lenders, this is something you can use to your advantage.

All The Available Options

It can be overwhelming to go through all of the available lenders, and even a detailed app may not be able to provide this information. However, instead of the most popular current options, a mortgage broker will have lending information available from all kinds of institutions so you can choose what will work best.

Making The Process Run Smooth

An app may seem like a time-saver with all the information at your fingertips, but having a broker to look through things for you can provide a lot of comfort and clarity. While you do have the option of diving in on your own, having an expert to help you over the hurdles can go a long way.

There are so many apps out there that can make life a lot easier, but mortgage apps may not be the place to start when it comes to your mortgage process. If you’re currently considering your options, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Home Mortgage Tips

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 24, 2016

Last week’s economic releases included the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index along with reports on housing starts, building permits and sales of previously owned homes. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

NAHB: Builder Sentiment Dips amid High Demand for Homes

Home builder confidence in current housing market conditions dipped from September’s index reading of 65 to 63. September’s reading was the highest since the peak of the housing bubble. Any reading above 50 indicates a majority of builders surveyed are confident about housing market conditions. Building new homes is essential to relieving intense demand for homes against short supplies of homes for sale. Builders cited obstacles including low supplies of land for development and workforce shortages, but expressed confidence in overall economic conditions that affect construction and sales of new homes.

Housing Starts Fall, Building Permits Rise

According to the Commerce Department, the reading for housing starts was nine percent lower in September than for August. 1.047 million starts were reported in September on a seasonally adjusted annual basis; August’s reading showed 1.150 million starts. Monthly readings tend to fluctuate due to weather, labor and materials supplies. Single family starts provided good news with a higher annual rate of 783,000 starts; this was 8.10 percent higher than August’s reading.

More building permits were issued in September than for August. Overall, 1.225 million permits issued on an annual basis. August’s reading showed 1.152 million permits issued. Building permits for single-family homes rose to 783, 000 on an annual basis, an increase of 8.10 percent over August. September’s increase in single-family permits indicates that builders are shifting their efforts toward single-family construction instead of multi-family construction. This signifies confidence in homeownership and suggests stronger housing markets as renters become homebuyers.

Sales of PreviouslyOwned Homes Increase

The National Association of Realtors® reported that previously owned homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 5.47 million sales in September as compared to a rate of 5.33 million sales in August. Pre-owned home sales rebounded after slowing in July and August. Home prices rose 5.60 percent year-over-year to an average of $234,200; this was the 55th consecutive month that home prices rose.

Sales of pre-owned home sales rose in all four regions rose year-over-year from 0.90 percent in the South to 5.80 percent in the Northeast. First-time buyers accounted for 34 percent of sales, which was the highest participation rate in four years.

Mortgage Rates Higher

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. 30-year fixed rates were five basis points higher at 3.52 percent. 15-year fixed rates were three basis points higher at 2.79 percent. 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates rose three basis points to 2.85 percent. Discount points rose from 0.50 to 0.60 percent for fixed rate mortgages and were unchanged at -.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were higher than expected at 260,000 claims; analysts expected 248,000 new claims to be filed based on the prior week’s reading of 247,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading was the highest in six weeks, but analysts said that layoffs remain very low.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes Case-Shiller home price data, readings on new and pending home sales along with reports on consumer confidence. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released on their regular weekly scheduled.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2016 in Mortgage Rates

 

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Don’t Trash This: 7 Common Home Items That You Can Repurpose and Give New Life

Don't Trash This: 7 Common Home Items That You Can Repurpose and Give New LifeThere are untold benefits to reusing old household items instead of tossing them. Not only are you reducing your ecological footprint, but you can also save lots of money by recycling what you’ve already bought. Read on for some common items that are easily repurposed.

Finish The Milk, But Don’t Toss The Jug

Go for plastic milk jugs instead of cartons and easily repurpose them as, for example, watering cans. Simply, and carefully, use a nail and a hammer to poke several holes in the lid. Go for the 2-litre jugs if you only have one or two indoor plants, and the 4-litre if you have more.

Mason Jars, Beer Bottles And Applesauce, Oh My!

Glass containers are brilliant as storage, in the kitchen or elsewhere why not use a jar as a toothbrush or writing utensil holder? Beer bottles or other narrow-necked containers become flower vases. Jars with tight screw lids and a narrowing neck, like applesauce jars, can become a travel-sized water or juice bottle. And all of these containers can be covered in fabric or paint, to make them functional and beautiful.

Broken Dresser? Don’t Chuck The Drawers

So your dresser broke? That’s okay. Drawers never go out of style. Use old ones as under-the-bed storage, or stack and secure them with the bottom against the wall for a DIY shelving unit. You can also fill them with soil and use them as planters in your garden or yard.

A New Take On Hand-Me-Down Clothes

Clothing is one of the most ubiquitous household items which is perfect, because it’s also one of the most versatile. Cut up an old dress or collared shirt and, with a quick run through the sewing machine, you have a new baby dress or bib. If you use a scarf to wrap a present (for more info, look at “furoshiki” techniques), you’re giving an extra gift to your friend, and the planet.

Use Up The Floss And Break A Dish

Next time you’re travelling, finish up the floss first and use the container to store cash. This recycles the container and it disguises the money in case of burglars. And if you break a dish, don’t worry you can smooth the edges of the broken pieces and use them as mosaic tiles, or a garden border, or jewelry.

It’s simple. To start saving money, and the planet, use these easy ideas, or reach out to your local real estate agent for more tips and tricks on how to reuse old household items in funky, handy ways.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2016 in Around The Home

 

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