Sarasota Real Estate Market News

FHA tightens lending rule on April 1

WASHINGTON – March 28, 2012 – Effective April 1, 2012, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will change the way it considers ongoing credit disputes – such as collection agency claims in a buyer’s credit score – when approving FHA mortgage applications. The change does not impact any debt the homebuyer still owes – only debts in dispute.

Currently, credit disputes in a buyer’s record bump the application to an FHA underwriter. Under the new guidelines, however, no FHA loan will be approved for any dispute over $1,000. Amounts less than $1,000 shouldn’t impact loan approval unless it was ordered by a court, in which case any amount must be paid in full.

If a potential buyer has a $1,000-plus credit dispute on file, he or she must either pay the debt before FHA loan approval, or enter into a repayment agreement and make at least three months of on-time payments.

“We expect this revision will certainly kick some buyers out of the marketplace, and we’re in ongoing efforts to quantify how extreme the impact will be,” said Lisa Jackson, senior vice president of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, speaking to HousingWire.

FHA says the change will protect the program and bolster its emergency fund that has fallen below the amount mandated by Congress.

“We found that many borrowers with mortgage payment delinquencies had prior credit deficiencies, including unpaid collections and unresolved disputed accounts prior to the approval of their loan,” an FHA spokesperson said. “This change was made to eliminate this layer of risk to FHA-insured loans and help protect our insurance fund.”

The new rule can be found in HUD Mortgagee Letter 2012-3.

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

Rate on 30-year mortgage drops to record 3.89%

WASHINGTON – Jan. 13, 2012 – Fixed mortgage rates fell once again to a record low, offering a great opportunity for those who can afford to buy or refinance homes. But few are able to take advantage of the historic rates.

Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.89 percent. That’s below the previous record of 3.91 percent reached three weeks ago.

Records for mortgage rates date back to the 1950s.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage ticked down to 3.16 percent. That’s down from a record 3.21 percent three weeks ago.

Mortgage rates are lower because they track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which fell below 2 percent. They could fall even lower this year if the Fed launches another round of bond purchases, as some economists expect.

Average fixed mortgage rates hovered around 4 percent at the end of 2011. Yet many Americans either can’t take advantage of the rates or have already done so. High unemployment and scant wage gains have made it harder for many people to qualify for loans. Many don’t want to sink money into a home that they fear could lose value over the next few years.

Mortgage applications have fallen slightly on a seasonally adjusted basis over the past four weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said that until hiring picks up and unemployment drops significantly, the impact of lower mortgage rates will remain muted.

Previously occupied homes are selling just slightly ahead of 2010’s dismal pace. New-home sales in 2011 will likely be the worst year on records going back half a century.

Builders hope that the low rates could boost sales next year. Low mortgage rates were cited as a key reason the National Association of Home Builders survey of builder sentiment rose in December to its highest level in more than a year.

To calculate the average rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday of each week. The average rates don’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for the 30-year loan fell to 0.7 from 0.8; the average on the 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 0.8.

For the five-year adjustable loan, the average rate declined to 2.82 percent from 2.86 percent. The average on the one-year adjustable loan fell to 2.76 percent from 2.80 percent.

The average fee on the five-year adjustable loan rose was unchanged at 0.7; the average on the one-year adjustable-rate loan was unchanged at 0.6.
AP LogoCopyright © 2012 The Associated Press,

February 6, 2012 Posted by | News related to Financing | Leave a comment

How long will low mortgage rates last?

WASHINGTON – Jan. 4, 2012 – For nine consecutive weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been hovering at or below record lows of 4 percent, pushing housing affordability for homebuyers even higher.

But will these low rates stick around much longer?

The Federal Reserve has vowed to keep rates low through 2013 so rates likely will hang around for a few more months, at least, but whether mortgage rates will stay at the current record-lows, many experts say it’s unlikely.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to inch up to an average 4.5 percent for 2012 and increase to 5.4 percent in 2013, according to Freddie Mac economists’ forecasts.

While that forecast means rates are expected to move higher in the coming months, the rates will still be low by historical standards, economists told the Los Angeles Times. For comparison, 30-year rates averaged more than 16 percent in 1981 and 1982. What’s more, until 2000, rates typically were above 8 percent, Freddie Mac notes.

However, many homebuyers have been unable to take advantage of the low rates. Lenders’ tighter underwriting standards for loans following the housing crisis shut out some buyers who have poor credit, low downpayments or unsteady employment.

Freddie Mac had predicted that home-purchase applications would comprise two-thirds of all mortgage applications by the end of 2011. But the Mortgage Bankers Associations says that about 80 percent of the mortgage applications instead came from homeowners who wanted to refinance.

Source: “Low Mortgage Rates Likely to Continue Through 2012, Experts Say,” Los Angeles Times (Jan. 3, 2012)

February 6, 2012 Posted by | News related to Financing | Leave a comment

Fixed mortgage rates hover near lows for 6th week

WASHINGTON – Dec. 9, 2011 – The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage hovered above its record low for a sixth straight week. But the super-low rates aren’t providing a lift to the struggling housing market.

Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on the 30-year home loan ticked down to 3.99 percent from 4 percent the previous week. It dropped to a record low of 3.94 nine weeks ago, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage was edged down to 3.27 percent from 3.30 percent. Nine weeks ago, it too hit a record low of 3.26 percent.

Rates have been below 5 percent for all but two weeks this year. Yet this year could be the worst for home sales in 14 years.

Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on 10-year Treasury note. The yield rose this week after investors, encouraged by central banks’ joint effort to ease lending standards, shifted their money into stocks. Treasury yields rise when buying activity decreases.

Low mortgage rates haven’t translated into more home sales. Sales of previously occupied homes are just slightly ahead of last year’s dismal sales figures – the worst in 13 years. New-home sales appear headed to their worst year on records that date back half a century.

Mortgage applications rose nearly 13 percent last week but that’s up from extremely low levels, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

High unemployment and scant wage gains have made it harder for many people to qualify for loans. Many Americans don’t want to sink money into a home that could lose value over the next three to four years.

The low rates have caused a modest boom in refinancing last week. But since the average rate on the 30-year fixed loan has been below 5 percent for all but two weeks in the past year, most homeowners who can afford to refinance already have.

Some lenders say they are seeing an increase in applications through the Obama administration’s refinancing program, which was broadened in October to allow up to 1 million more homeowners lower their monthly mortgage payments. But the Mortgage Bankers Association said such government-assisted loans account for only a small portion of refinancing applications.

The average rates don’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for the 30-year loan was unchanged at 0.7 and the fee on the 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 0.8.

The average rate on the five-year adjustable loan rose to 2.93 percent from 2.90 percent. The average rate on the one-year adjustable loan also increased slightly to 2.80 percent from 2.78 percent.

The average fee on the five-year loan fell to 0.5 from 0.6 and the fee on the one-year adjustable loan was unchanged at 0.6.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday of each week.
AP Logo Copyright 2011 The Associated Press, Derek Kravitz (AP Real Estate Writer). All rights reserved.

December 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

2012 mortgage delinquencies seen dropping sharply

NEW YORK – Dec. 8, 2011 – If the U.S. economy does not suffer more setbacks, the rate of mortgage holders behind on their payments should decline significantly by the end of next year, according to credit reporting agency TransUnion.

Mortgage delinquency rates – the ratio of borrowers 60 or more days behind on their payments – will likely tick up to about 6 percent through the first three months of 2012, TransUnion said in its annual delinquency forecast issued Wednesday.

But by the end of next year, it could drop to 5 percent, TransUnion said. That’s well off the peak of 6.89 percent seen in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Chicago-based TransUnion’s forecast takes into consideration several factors, including expectations that consumer confidence and the economy will improve next year.

Also, banks are expected to get a good portion of pending foreclosures off their books next year, said Charlie Wise, TransUnion director of research and consulting.

Banks are still working through a backlog of foreclosures created by issues including the robo-signing scandal, in which bank officials signed mortgage documents without verifying the information they contained. The issue surfaced last year in areas with large numbers of foreclosures, and banks had to backtrack and review foreclosures across the country to make sure their paperwork was in order.

That slowed down the process, Wise said, and left mortgages listed as delinquent for longer than they otherwise might have been, temporarily boosting delinquency rates.

Economic uncertainty has also contributed. In the third quarter of 2011, mortgage delinquencies saw their first uptick in six quarters, largely fueled by concerns over the economy as lawmakers were debating the U.S. debt ceiling and Europe’s debt crisis was unfolding.

Helping to cut the mortgage delinquency rate are a slowly improving job market and a stabilizing housing market.

While the drop will be significant, the rate will remain well above the pre-recession average of 1.5 to 2 percent.

“We have a long way to go to get back,” said Steven Chaouki, a TransUnion vice president.

The situation with credit cards is much stronger. Card delinquencies – payments late by 90 days or more – dropped to their lowest levels in 17 years during the spring, then saw a slight increase in the third quarter, but still remained near historic lows.

TransUnion expects further edging up in the current quarter and the first three months of 2012, but then late payments on bank-issued cards should fall again.

One reason card delinquencies are expected to remain so low is that credit is much tighter than it was before the recession. TransUnion data showed that nearly a quarter million new card accounts were opened by people with less-than-stellar credit scores during the third quarter, which contributed to the slight increase in late payments during the summer months. But banks are mainly still going after consumers with top-tier credit histories.

“Lenders are willing to lend, but are still pursuing the best customers,” said Chaouki.

TransUnion predicts by the end of 2012, just 0.69 percent of cards will be considered delinquent, down from a predicted 0.74 percent in the current quarter. The rate has wobbled in the last few years, peaking at 1.36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, then dropping and bouncing back up to 1.32 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

The figures reflect a shift in which debt payments consumers consider most important, largely because home prices fell so far.

Chaouki said the conventional wisdom before the Great Recession was that homeowners would put their mortgages first because of concern about their reputation and the emotional attachment involved in owning a home. But what has become clear as housing prices have continued to fall, he said, is that bill payment is far more practical.

“People were protecting their home equity,” he said. Credit cards were relatively easy to come by in years past, he said, so when money got tight, it was an easy decision to default on cards and maintain house payments. Now it’s common to owe more on a mortgage than a house is actually worth, but credit cards are harder to get. So consumers are being practical and protecting what is more valuable to them.

He said he expects the equation will shift again if housing prices rebound and people go back to building home equity.
AP LogoCopyright © 2011 The Associated Press, Eileen A.J. Connelly, AP personal finance writer. All rights reserved.

December 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Financing, News related to Short Sales and Foreclosures | Leave a comment

Bankrate: Jumbo mortgage rates hit new record low

NEW YORK – Dec. 8, 2011 – The jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to a new record low of 4.68 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The average jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.4 discount and origination points.

According to Bankrate’s weekly survey, the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage inched lower to 4.24 percent while the 15-year fixed mortgage held steady at 3.48 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were mostly lower, with the average 5-year ARM sliding to 3.18 percent and the 10-year ARM inching down to 3.8 percent.

Mortgage rates are low, but based on the ultra-low levels of benchmark interest rates such as 10-year Treasury notes, mortgage rates could be even lower.

Since August, the European debt crisis has pushed the spread between risk-free U.S. government bonds and those of other bonds, such as mortgage-backed bonds, to the highest levels since the spring of 2009. At that time, financial tensions were at a fever pitch, particularly surrounding the health of the U.S. banking system. This time, it’s Europe’s banking system in the crosshairs, but the result is much the same – a higher-than-typical cost of borrowing when compared to the rock-bottom government rates.

Bankrate’s national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

December 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

Rate on 30-year mortgage ticks up to 4%

WASHINGTON – Nov. 18, 2011 – The average rate on the 30-year mortgage hovered above the record low for a third straight week. But cheap mortgage rates have done little to boost home sales or refinancing.

Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan ticked up to 4 percent from 3.99 percent. Six weeks ago, it dropped to a record low of 3.94 percent, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.31 percent from 3.30 percent. Six weeks ago, it hit a record low of 3.26 percent.

Rates have been below 5 percent for all but two weeks this year. Yet this year could be the worst for home sales in 14 years.

Mortgage applications fell 10 percent this week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

High unemployment and scant wage gains have made it harder for many people to qualify for loans. Many Americans don’t want to sink money into a home that could lose value over the next three to four years. And most homeowners who can afford to refinance already have.

The low rates have caused a modest boom in refinancing, but that benefit might be wearing off. Most people who can afford to refinance have already locked in rates below 5 percent. Refinancing fell 12.2 percent last week, according to the mortgage bankers group.

The average rates don’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fees for the 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages were unchanged at 0.7.

The average rate on the five-year adjustable loan fell to 2.97 percent from 2.98 percent. The average rate on the one-year adjustable loan increased to 2.98 percent from 2.95 percent.

The average fees on the five-year and one-year adjustable loans were both unchanged at 0.6.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday of each week.
AP LogoCopyright © 2011 The Associated Press, Derek Kravitz, AP economics writer. All rights reserved.

December 9, 2011 Posted by | News related to Financing | Leave a comment

Homeowners’ monthly mortgage down about 40%

WASHINGTON – Nov. 14, 2011 – Improving housing affordability mixed with low mortgage rates means that homeowners are paying a lot less for their monthly mortgage payment than they did just a few years ago. In fact, they’re paying nearly 40 percent less on their monthly mortgage payment than homeowners paid in 2006.

According to Fiserv, the monthly mortgage payment for a median-priced single-family home today is $700 – a drop of close to 40 percent from 2006, when it was $1,140.

“Housing affordability has improved dramatically because of declines in both prices and mortgage interest rates,” David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv, said in a statement. “Nationally, purchase mortgage payments now account for only 13 percent of monthly median family income, the lowest percentage on record (since 1971), and compared to 23 percent in the first quarter of 2006.”

Source: “Monthly Mortgage Payment Almost 40% Cheaper Than 2006,” HousingWire (Nov. 9, 2011) and Fiserv

December 9, 2011 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

Rate on 30-year mortgage below 4% for second time

WASHINGTON – Nov. 11, 2011 – The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell below 4 percent for just the second time in history.

Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on the 30-year fixed loan fell to 3.99 percent, down from 4 percent last week. Five weeks ago, it dropped to a record low of 3.94 percent, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell last week to 3.30 percent from 3.31 percent. Five weeks ago, it too hit a record low of 3.26 percent.

Mortgage rates track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which fell this week as investors shifted money into safer Treasurys amid fears Europe’s debt crisis could worsen.

Low mortgage rates have done little to boost home sales. Rates have been below 5 percent for all but two weeks this year. Yet home sales are on pace to be the lowest in 14 years.

Refinancing activity jumped more than 12 percent last week from the previous week, to the highest level in a month, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But refinancing is down 13.5 percent from a year ago and the four-week moving average for purchase and refinancing mortgage applications is down slightly, suggesting the low rates are failing to entice many Americans.

High unemployment and declining wages have made it harder for many people to qualify for loans. Many Americans don’t want to sink money into a home that could lose value over the next three to four years. And most homeowners who can afford to refinance already have.

The low rates have caused a modest boom in refinancing, but that benefit might be wearing off. Most people who can afford to refinance have already locked in rates below 5 percent.

Just five years ago they were closer to 6.5 percent. Ten years ago, they were above 8 percent.

The average rates don’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 0.7. The average fee on the 15-year fixed loan rose from 0.7 to 0.8.

The average rate on the five-year adjustable loan rose to 2.98 percent from 2.96 percent, which had been a record low. The average rate on the one-year adjustable loan increased to 2.95 percent from 2.88 percent. It fell last month to 2.81 percent, the lowest on records dating to 1984.

The average fees on the five-year and one-year adjustable loans were both unchanged at 0.6.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday of each week.
AP LogoCopyright © 2011 The Associated Press, Derek Kravitz, AP economics writer. All rights reserved.

December 9, 2011 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

Survey: 5 homebuying myths

SEATTLE – Oct. 31, 2011 – Overall, today’s homebuyers tend to be fairly knowledgeable about the real estate market, but there are still a few points of confusion in the process, especially for buyers just entering the market. Here are the five main areas of confusion found in a survey by Zillow:

• Appreciation: About 42 percent of homebuyers believe home values will appreciate by 7 percent a year. Reality: Historically, home values in a normal market appreciate by 2 to 5 percent in a year.

• Appraisals: 56 percent of the buyers said the purpose of the appraisal was to determine if a home was in good condition. Reality: That’s the purpose of a home inspection; an appraisal estimates fair market value.

• Homeowner’s insurance: 37 percent of homebuyers think that buying homeowner’s insurance is optional. Reality: Lenders require homebuyers to purchase homeowner’s insurance if they carry a mortgage.

• Ownership: 47 percent of homebuyers said a prospective buyer owns a home after the purchase contract is signed by the seller – when the two parties reach agreement. Reality: The purchase and sales agreement is the beginning of the closing phase, but it can be a long process until they finally take ownership.

• Mortgage insurance: 41 percent of buyers think they must purchase private mortgage insurance, regardless of the amount of their downpayment. Reality: Buyers only need to purchase PMI if their downpayment is less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price.

Source: Zillow Inc.

December 9, 2011 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment