Your Property Could Be Sold in 8 Seconds…But First…

There is so much to be excited about and write about his week, I have had a hard time making a decision. But as usual I focus on what is actually happening in my little Real Estate world. The market is still very much a buyers market so the push is on for our sellers to put their best foot forward so I thought we would concentrate on a few things that a seller can do to help their Realtor sell their home. I will only briefly remind you that price is imperative from the very beginning… not after it has been on the market for two months but from day one!!!!!!!

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Your Mortgage Insurance Questions Answered?

What is mortgage insurance?

It’s a financial guaranty that insures lenders against loss in the event a borrower defaults on a mortgage. If the borrower defaults and the lender takes title to the property, the mortgage insurer (MGIC, for example) reduces or eliminates the loss to the lender. In effect, the mortgage insurer shares the risk of lending the money to the borrower. (Mortgage insurance should not be confused with mortgage life insurance, which provides coverage in the event of a borrower’s death, or homeowner’s insurance, which protects the homeowner from loss due to damage from fire, flood or other disaster.) Continue reading “Your Mortgage Insurance Questions Answered?”

Housing Reports Solid – Rates Fall

After a week off for Thanksgiving I have plenty of good news to report since my last update. Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that, for the month of October, existing home sales surged 10.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.1 million units – far exceeding the 5.7 million units most economists expected. Also last week, the S&P Case/Schiller Home Price Index showed that home prices nationwide rose 3.1% in the third quarter, matching a 3.1% increase in the second quarter and marking the second consecutive quarter prices have risen. In a similar report of local interest – the Florida Association of Realtors reported that Panama City Beach condo prices actually rose 3% in October over 2008, the first increase this year, and sales of condos were up 88% in October ’09 over ’08.

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Rates Remain Low / Housing Starts Tumble

Mortgage rates continue to hover near record lows with the rate on the benchmark thirty year flirting with 4.875% this week. The rate on the fifteen year fixed rate has dipped below 4.50% coming in at 4.375%. Thirty year rates on most government loan programs including FHA. VA and Rural Development have eased to 5%. Rates were helped this week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech on Monday in which he cited “economic headwinds” as rationale for keeping rates low for the foreseeable future. Low interest rates helped keep the value of the dollar low against other major currencies and driven the price of gold to record highs in recent weeks as investors look for a safe alternative to the U.S. currency.
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First Time Homebuyer's Tax Credit EXTENDED

Last Friday, President Obama signed a bi-partisan extension to the first-time home buyer tax credit program last week giving prospective buyers through June 30th, 2010 to close on a home and receive the $8,000 credit. In addition, the law contained an expansion of the former program to include homeowners who have occupied their current residence for five years who want to trade up to another home. These repeat buyers can now receive a credit up to $6,500. The income limits on the program for buyers to receive the full amount of the credit were also raised to $125,000 annually for an individual and $225,000 for a couple.
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Pending Home Sales Rise

The National Association of Realtors reported on Monday that the September Pending Home Sales Index jumped 6.1% t0 110.1 after a 6.4% rise in August. The big rise far surpassed analysts’ expectations who anticipated a more modest rise of 1.2%. Most economists contributed the large increase to the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 first-time homebuyers rushing to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit set to expire on November 30th. To that end, many analysts are anticipating a drop in pending home sales after November 30th. The NAR report helped offset a Commerce Department report last Thursday that showed new home sales fell unexpectedly on September after rising for five straight months. Commerce said new home sales fell 3.6% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000. It was the first decline since March. Ironically, the drop was also attributed in part to the expiring first-time buyer credit. Go figure.
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Rates Rise – Home Prices Still Rising

We are definitely seeing a return to volatility in mortgage rates as a see-sawing stock market has made for fickle demand for bonds. While sitting near record lows for several weeks rates bounced back up by late last week and were approaching 5.375% on the conforming thirty-year, fixed-rate on Monday before settling back to 5.25% on Tuesday. Some of the pressure on rates can be attributed to the huge government bond auction this week that will push the nation’s overall debt to near its debt ceiling of just over $12 trillion. The $123 billion in government securities creates additional supply yet, so far, it appears there is still adequate demand to absorb the new debt which has allowed rates to ease somewhat. I believe we will continue to see this return to volatility in both bonds and equities as investors become less convinced that this year’s rally in stocks will continue.
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Housing Starts Miss Forecast

Mortgage rates remain low again this week helped out by reemerging doubts about the stock rally and economy as a whole. The benchmark thirty-year, fixed-rate stands just above 5% with no points and the fifteen year is just below 4.50%. While paying a point was buying a full ½% discount to the rate in the first quarter of the year, that premium has narrowed significantly and a point today is only buying a 1/4% rate improvement.

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New Rules Hamper Housing Market

I will be the first to agree that the mortgage industry was extremely under-regulated for years and feel that lack of oversight, among other things, was largely responsible for the collapse of the housing market and subsequent financial crisis we now find ourselves in. But two of the most significant changes we’ve seen in years, both designed to protect consumers and reign in unscrupulous lenders, have done more to hamper the housing recovery than provide better consumer protections.

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Home Prices Still Rising

Mortgage rates remain at near eight month lows as strong demand in the bond market drove the yield on the ten year Treasury note below 3.20% before rising slightly to 3.25% today on a renewed rally in stocks. The rate on the benchmark thirty-year is hovering right at 5% with no points and the fifteen-year stands at 4.375. Thirty-year rates actually were pushing 6% back in the spring so this is quite an improvement and rather unexpected. The general consensus has been that as the economy pulls out of recession and as signs of economic growth become more evident, rates would rise as inflationary pressures mounted, but this has not materialized.

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