What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 8th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 8th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on construction spending and inflation; labor sector reports on the national unemployment rate, public and private sector employment were also released. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Rises, Retail Sales Slip

Construction spending expanded by one percent in February according to the Commerce Department spending was one percent higher month-to-month; analysts expected a negative reading of -0.10 percent. February saw a revised gain of 2.50 percent growth in construction spending.

Construction spending grew 1.10 percent year-over-year; by comparison, 2016 construction spending reached 10 percent year-over-year. High demand for homes and lower mortgage rates could compel more construction spending as the peak home-buying season starts.

Retail sales slowed in February, but January retail readings were strong. Sales dipped -0.20 percent as compared to 0.30 percent growth expected and January’s reading of 0.70 percent. Retail sales excluding automotive sales fell to a negative reading of -0.40 percent in February as compared to expected sales growth of 0.40 percent and January’s reading of 1.40 percent growth.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims

30-year fixed mortgage rates rose two basis points on average to 4.08 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged one basis point lower at 3.56 percent and rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were nine basis points lower and averaged 3.66 percent.

Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.  Would-be home buyers are expected to join active buyers as lower rates hold steady and warmer weather arrives.

First-time jobless claims fell last week with 202,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected 216,000 first-time jobless claims based on 212, 000 new jobless claims filed the prior week.

Jobs Data Varied, but Unemployment holds Steady

ADP reported 129,000 private-sector jobs added in March as compared to 197,000 jobs added in February and an expected reading of 165,000 jobs added. Loss of manufacturing jobs caused private-sector jobs growth to fall to its lowest reading in 18 months.

Government readings for public and private jobs growth was higher in March with 196,000 jobs added; this was significantly higher than February’s slim reading of 33,000 jobs added. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.80 percent, which matched expectations.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, minutes from the most recent FOMC meeting and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with These DIY Home Projects

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with These DIY Home ProjectsYour carbon footprint is the measure of your impact on the earth’s natural resources. This number describes the amount of fossil fuel it takes to support your lifestyle. In the United States, each person produces an average of 19.78 tons of carbon dioxide every year. A high carbon footprint means your daily habits are a quickening drain on our finite resources. 

Homeowners can use these DIY projects to reduce the effect of their lifestyle on the environment.

Try Solar Solutions

A residential solar system gathers photo-voltaic energy from the sun and converts it into usable electrical current. Once installed, any energy your system produces is essentially free. However, the initial investment for a residential solar system to power your entire home can be prohibitively high. There are some ways to use solar power without a large upfront investment.

  • Take advantage of state and federal incentives to lower your out-of-pocket costs.
  • Opt for individual appliances like solar water heaters or solar lighting.
  • Talk to your utility provider about existing programs that allow you to sell back your excess power for bill credits.

You could also get your neighbor involved and build a neighborhood solar bank for charging batteries and electric vehicles.

Plant A Vegetable And Herb Garden

Food transportation is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gases. Reduce your impact even further by growing some of your own food. Use containers, shelves, or construct a hanging wall garden to keep your home supplied with salad greens, tomatoes, and herbs of all kinds. Having a garden means fewer trips to the grocery store, which saves our supplies of natural gas.

Install A Clothesline

Skip the gas-powered appliances and hang your freshly washed laundry out on a clothesline to dry. When the weather is nice, your clothes will come back in with a sweet scent you can’t get anywhere else. And instead of spending the time staring at a spinning machine, you get the added benefit of fitting a little extra exercise into your day. You don’t have to completely ditch your dryer. Save it for rainy days or other unfriendly weather conditions.

Lowering your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be a big life change. Start with small steps and slowly build your property in an earth-friendly fortress.

If the projects or renovations you want to do are extensive, it may be a good time to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss a refinance or a home equity loan.

11 Simple Ways To Save Money Toward The Purchase Of Your New Home

11 Simple Ways To Save Money Toward The Purchase Of Your New HomeIf you find it difficult to make ends meet, these tips will help you save money in ways that are easy to do and create substantial savings over time.

Declutter

Get rid of stuff you do use or need by having a garage or yard sale or by putting things for sale on eBay or Craigslist.

Make Your Own Coffee

Do you really want to make that billionaire richer by buying coffee for $5+ a cup? Make your own gourmet coffee that costs around 50 cents per cup for the same thing.

Bring Your Own Lunch

Making your lunch the night before to take to work the next day will give you more time to enjoy lunch. You will save the money that is wasted when driving to fast-food restaurants or going to pricey lunch places.

Grow Some Food

Everyone should have a garden, even if it is only a window garden for herbs. If you have some room for pots, you can grow tomatoes and other vegetables. If you have a back yard or a front yard you can grow tons of stuff.

Buy In Bulk And Use Coupons

For the things that you use on a regular basis, stock up when the items are on sale. Buy things at discount stores. Buy bulk things like rice and pasta at wholesale prices in co-ops. Coupon clipping is a hobby that pays for itself in savings. Just be careful not to buy things you do not really need or use.

Change Home Lighting

If you have not yet changed out all your incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs, what have you been doing? Change those bubs right away because you are burning up money on wasteful lights.

Install Smart Home Technology

Making a home run with more energy-efficiency is reduces your bills and helps the planet too. Smart home technology monitors comfort zones and turns things off when they are not needed.

Cut The Cable

An expensive monthly bill for cable TV is something many can do without. There are plenty of less expensive alternatives and tons of free content to view online.

Make A Change Jar

Every time you come home, put all the change you have in a change jar. You will be surprised how much money builds up over time and you will hardly even notice it is missing.

Walk Instead Of Drive

Do you have to drive your car everywhere? Try walking short distances instead. Not only will you save money on gas; walking may improve your health.

DIY Projects

Instead of paying others to do simple jobs around the house, do them yourself. There are plenty of do-it-yourself (DIY) guides on YouTube that show how to do just about anything. You will save the expensive labor cost for simple home repairs that can be up to $75 per hour.

Are you inspired? OK. Put some of these ideas into action. Ready, set, save!

When you’re ready, set up an appointment with your trusted home mortgage professional to find out about the best financing options for your new home purchase.

Real Estate Investing 101: Identify Your Investing Style

Real Estate Investing 101 Identify Your Investing StyleAre you just starting on your real estate investing journey? Many newcomers are surprised to learn that there’s more to making money on the real estate market than buying and selling. These are some of the most popular strategies real estate investors use to create profits. Which one is right for you?

Buy And Hold

Buy and hold investors play the market like stocks. They buy properties when prices are low, then hold them until values are high. During the holding period, some investors choose to offer their properties as rentals. Apartment buildings are also a popular option for buy and hold investors, as these properties are always in demand.

Buy and hold investors might run into problems with out-of-control cash flows. Make sure you have plenty of backup cash to keep you afloat until the next sale.

Short Term Rentals

Sharing apps like Airbnb are changing the way short term rentals are done. Instead of pumping money into sterile timeshare properties, travelers are choosing a more home-like environment during their vacations. Many real estates investors concentrate on maintaining homes in various locations and offering them as an alternative to more traditional temporary accommodations.

Vacation renters can be particularly hard on properties. Check your insurance coverage to make sure you have access to enough cash to repair or replace any damages your visitors leave behind.

Fix And Flip

Made popular by a plethora of cable television reality shows, fix and flippers purchase distressed properties at low costs. They then spend some time correcting cosmetic defects, sprucing up any signs of disrepair, and making the property ready for new residents.

A quick sale ensures maximum profit. However, those can be hard to find. If the market suddenly changes, you could find yourself stuck with mortgage payments you weren’t prepared to meet. Always have a backup plan to protect your personal assets.

Commercial Leasing

From the corner drug store to a multi-unit strip mall, commercial property presents a unique opportunity for more advanced real estate investors. It takes a lot of buying power to acquire commercial property. However, commercial leasers usually last much longer than their residential counterparts, which means a more secure and longer-lasting income stream.

Keep in mind that empty commercial buildings take longer to fill. Check your resources to ensure you can survive a long period at less-than-optimal occupancy.

Real estate investing is a diverse discipline. Choose the strategy that works best for you to enjoy a long and happy career.

If you are in the market for a new investment property, sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

3 Pros And Cons Of Renting Or Owning A Home

3 Pros And Cons Of Renting Or Owning A HomeHome ownership is highly valued in our culture. However, buying a home isn’t the best decision for everyone. Examine the differences between owning and renting your home to help you decide if now is the time to buy.

Effect On Flexibility

Renters enjoy more freedom than homeowners. After the leasing period ends, renters are free to walk away and find a new place to live. Homeowners, on the other hand, are at the mercy of the market. Depending on the conditions, owners might have a hard time selling their property quickly. It also takes a lot more paperwork to sell a home than it does to end a lease.

Those who don’t have plans to stay settled for at least a few years might be better off renting their homes. If circumstances suddenly change, they have more options than heavily-invested homeowners.

Financial Concerns

Home equity is a huge perk of ownership. A home equity line of credit gives homeowners a source of quick cash for emergencies or to take advantage of investment opportunities. These loans come with friendly options that make them ideal funding for a variety of situations. 

It’s a myth that renting is more expensive than owning without taking home value appreciation into account. When monthly expenses are compared side-by-side, owners invest more of their income into their living space than renters.

Beyond monthly mortgage payments, homeowners are responsible for insurance, property taxes, and utilities like garbage and water that are generally included in rental prices. In addition, homeowners bear the full cost of maintenance and repairs.

Owning a home can be a safeguard against harsh financial circumstances and give the opportunity for the appreciation of home value. However, for those who are currently cash-strapped, renting may be the more wallet-friendly choice.

Your Lifestyle

When things go wrong, renters can rely on their landlord or management company to coordinate and facilitate repairs. Homeowners, however, are solely responsible for handling the condition of their property. Besides the financial costs, it can take hours of research and dirty work to preserve your residential property.

If you enjoy handiwork, the chores associated with home ownership aren’t such a big deal. For the more technically challenged, however, taking care of a home could become a hassle.

Be honest about your abilities, interests, and resources before you commit to a home purchase.

If you are considering a new home purchase, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to find out about your financing options and to get pre-approved.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 1st, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 1st, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller on home price growth, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The Conference Board issued its monthly reading on consumer confidence. Pending home sales and weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Price Growth Slows in January

S&P Case-Shiller Indices reported the slowest rate of home price growth in six years. January readings suggested that home price growth slowed due to easing demand. Affordability concerns sidelined buyers; participation of first-time home buyers remained lower than average.

Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index charted its third month-to-month decline in home price growth; the National Home Price Index fell to 4.30 percent during the three months ending in January as compared to 4.60 percent growth for the three month period ending in October 2018.

Las Vegas, Nevada led the 20-City Home Price Index with year-over-year home price growth of 10.50 percent. Phoenix, Arizona held second place with 7.50 percent home price growth. Third place was tied by Minneapolis, Minnesota, Charlotte, North Caroline and Tampa, Florida with 5.10 percent growth. This tie suggested that home prices were leveling out, and west coast cities were notably absent from the top three spots after home prices rocketed to historic levels in recent years.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued

Commerce Department readings for housing starts and building permits issued were lower in February. Housing starts posted on a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.162 million starts. Analysts expected 1.201 million starts based on February’s reading of 1.273 million housing starts. Single-family housing starts fell 17 percent in March.

Regional readings for housing starts were mixed: The Northeast reading was 30 percent lower; the Southern region posted 7 percent fewer starts in February and housing starts in the West fell 19 percent. The Midwest posted a positive year-over-year growth rate of 27 percent for housing starts.

Fewer building permits were issued in February with 1.295 million permits issued as compared to February’s reading of 1.317 million permits issued. While some of the slowdowns in housing starts and building permits were likely related to winter weather, real estate and mortgage lending pros continued to count on home builders to provide more homes to ease housing shortages in many cities and metro areas.

Pending home sales were lower in February; the National Association of Realtors® said pending sales were 1.00 percent lower in February, and those pending sales had declined nearly 5.00 percent year-over-year. Pending sales represent home sales for which purchase offers have been signed, but not completed.

Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said a shortage of available homes in the West coupled with rapidly rising home prices contributed to lower pending sales numbers.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Average mortgage rates fell to their lowest readings in ten years last week. Freddie Mac reported that rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 22 basis points lower at 4.06 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell 14 basis points to 3.57 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.75 percent and were 9 basis points lower.

Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Lower mortgage rates are expected to prevail as the Fed announced its decision not to raise the target federal funds rate range in 2019.

Consumer confidence fell to an index reading of 124.1 in February as compared to 131.4 in January. Analysts expected an index reading of 133, which indicates that consumers have less confidence in current economic conditions.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on retail sales, construction spending and labor sector reports on jobs and national unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released.

3 Ways to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Home Renovation Project

3 Ways to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Home Renovation ProjectThe right home renovation strategy can increase property values and improve the comfort and utility of your space. However, your actions could have a harsh impact on our natural resources.

Here are several ways you can reduce your renovation’s effect on the environment.

Use Sustainable Products

Choose Earth-friendly materials for a greener build.

  • Try reclaimed flooring. Ask permission at construction sites or search internet exchange boards to find unwanted extras. With a little artistic imagination, you can turn those cast-offs into a unique visual display.
  • Re-purpose existing material. Turn old doors into unique furniture pieces like tables and privacy shades to spruce up your new space.
  • Pick low-VOC paints to eliminate harsh chemicals in your immediate environment.

The best way to lower your impact on the Earth is to carefully choose which products you use in your project.

Evaluate Your Trash

Think about what you’re putting in the dumpster. Instead of taking up space in a landfill, many items can be redistributed and put to better use.

  • Donate household items that are no longer needed in your new space to your favorite charity.
  • Contact your local Habitat for Humanity office to help your community by donating your unused construction materials.
  • Contact your local school district. Some teachers take community donations to use in their classrooms.

Your trash could be someone else’s treasure. Don’t toss out something that others might need.

Take Care Of Your Immediate Area

Your environment includes the area in which you live. Use these tips to keep your property pristine during and after construction.

  • Rent a dumpster to make clean up easier. Pick up tools, trash, and other items at the end of each work session.
  • Use plastic tarps to protect landscaping and plant life from flying debris or chemical sprays.
  • Dispose of chemicals properly. Never pour paints, solvents, or other chemicals into your plumbing system or down a municipal drain.

Protect your neighborhood by taking careful actions during your build.

A home renovation is a fresh start for your property. Make it even more enjoyable by adding these Earth-friendly strategies to your construction plan.

If you’re planning on completing a home renovation, it might be the right time to access some of your home equity. Contact your trusted mortgage professional to learn about the best financing options available.

Case-Shiller Home Price Growth Slower in January

Case-Shiller Home Price Growth Slower in JanuaryHome price indices issued by S&P Case-Shiller showed further slowing in home price growth in January. The national home price index showed 4.30 percent home price growth for the three months ended in January. Analysts expected home prices to grow 4.20 percent for the same period in cities surveyed by Case-Shiller. More cities reported declines in home prices than those that posted gains in home prices.

The top cities posting year-over-year home price gains in the 20-City Home Price Index were Las Vegas, Nevada with 10.50 percent growth; Phoenix, Arizona posted a year-over-year home price gain of 7.50 percent. Three cities tied for third place with Charlotte, North Carolina, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tampa, Florida posting year-over-year home price growth rates of 5.10 percent.

Home Price Growth Stalls Throughout U.S.

Noteworthy in January’s readings were the West Coast’s loss of dominance in home price growth rates and the retreat of double-digit yearly growth rates for home prices. Las Vegas, Nevada posted the only double-digit price gain year-over-year, but it suffered steep declines in home values during the recession. The 20-City HPI for January showed month-to-month home price growth slowed in 14 cities, was unchanged in one city and five cities posted gains in home price growth rates.

David M. Blitzer, managing director and chair of the S&P Case-Shiller Index Committee, said that the home prices had not grown so slowly since April 2015. Rapidly rising home prices sidelined many buyers who could not afford to keep up with home prices that rose faster than inflation and wages. Analysts said that housing markets were leaning in favor of home buyers as home price growth slowed. Mr. Blitzer said that it “remains to be seen if recent low mortgage rates and smaller price gains can sustain improved home sales.”

Federal Reserve policymakers recently announced that the Fed would hold steady on its target federal funds rate range of 2.25 to 2.50 percent; this fueled a drop in mortgage rates. Analysts said that rates could continue to fall. Slower home price growth and lower mortgage rates are expected to encourage would-be home buyers back into the market.

If you are interested in purchasing a new property or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

Are Multi-Unit Properties the Right Move for You?

Are Multi-Unit Properties the Right Move for YouReal estate isn’t a one-size-fits-all pursuit. Buying and renting multi-unit properties is one of the ways investors build residual income while increasing their property portfolios. However, multi-unit rentals come with some unique challenges. Are you ready to manage a multi-unit rental property?

Ask yourself these questions to help you decide which path best fits your resources, goals, and interests.

Do You Plan To Live On The Property?

Living in one of your rental units offers a myriad of benefits. First, you get to keep a close eye on building conditions and the actions of your renters. Next, you’ll be able to respond quickly to an emergency. Last, you won’t have to pay extra for your own living quarters. You won’t have this option with single-occupancy properties.

Will You Work With A Property Management Company?

If you are more of a hands-off investor, a property management company makes owning properties simple. Their staff will collect the rents, respond to requests for maintenance and repairs, and take care of all the paperwork that comes along with rental units.

All you need to do is collect your portion of the payments and keep up with your bank loans. You can still work with a property management company if you opt for single-family properties. However, it may not be the most cost-effective solution in that situation.

Are Market Conditions In Your Area Changing Quickly?

When rental prices go up, it can be difficult for investors to take advantage. Long-term occupants may balk at the idea of paying more for the same property. With multi-unit buildings, you can raise prices as tenants vacate. In this way, you can keep your current occupants happy without sacrificing potential profits.

Are You Looking For More Ways To Increase Your Income?

Multi-unit properties are a unique opportunity for enterprising investors. Rent out space under stairways or in common areas to vending machine companies. Your residents get convenient snacks and you earn a little extra cash each month. A coin-operated laundry room is another addition that adds value for your residents while increasing your own payouts.

Managing a multi-unit building means more paperwork, maintenance, and marketing. However, the potential profits might be worth it. Take some time to review your own goals and abilities before committing to a purchase.

Be sure to consult with your trusted real estate and mortgage professionals to find out more information about purchasing multi-unit rentals.

What Causes Mortgage Interest Rates To Fluctuate?

What Causes Mortgage Interest Rates To FluctuateThe mortgage interest rate represents the cost of borrowing money to purchase a property. Mortgage interest rates are not fixed; that is, they fluctuate from one period of time to the next.

Many different factors play into what your mortgage interest rate will finally turn out to be. Some of these factors have to deal with the economy and government decisions. Other factors have to do with your personal financial situation.

Finally, mortgage interest rates can differ between lending institutions, which is why you may get different mortgage interest rate quotes from different places.

Economic Factors That Cause Mortgage Interest Rates To Fluctuate

Mortgage interest rates are somewhat connected to the stock market. When the stock market indexes go up, mortgage rates tend to rise as well. The Consumer Price Index is a measure of inflation rates. When inflation rises, you can expect to see mortgage interest rates go up, too. Other economic factors that affect mortgage interest rates include Data from the Gross Domestic Product, Consumer Confidence, and Home Sales reports.

Government Decisions That Lead To Mortgage Interest Rate Changes

The federal government keeps close tabs on the economy. Government officials are always making adjustments in order to keep the economy strong. Periodically, the government will raise or lower key interest rates in order to adjust bank lending economics. When the government raises or lowers the Federal Funds interest rate, it is always announced in the media.

Personal Financials And Your Mortgage Interest Rate

Finally, your personal financial situation influences what kind of mortgage interest rate your lender offers. A higher credit score will generally get you a lower mortgage interest rate. This is another reason why it’s always a good idea to review and improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage.

When you are ready to apply for a mortgage, meet with a trusted home mortgage professional. Because mortgage interest rates fluctuate often, you could find that the interest rate gets higher in the short time in which you’re still shopping for your home. Once you do find an attractive program for your personal situation, be sure that you are ready to take the necessary steps to lock in that rate.