What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 23, 2023

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 23, 2023

Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on U.S. housing markets, and Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors® reported sales of previously owned homes, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Homebuilder Sentiment Rises in December

The National Association of Home Builders reported increased homebuilder confidence in U.S. housing market conditions in December; this was the first time in 12 months that homebuilder confidence rose. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose by four points; builder confidence in home sales conditions over the next six months increased by two points. Builder confidence in prospective buyer traffic in new housing developments rose by three points.

Jerry Konter, a Georgia home builder and chairman of NAHB, said: “It appears that the low point for building sent in this cycle was registered in December, even as many builders continue to use a variety of incentives including price reductions to bolster sales.  The rise in builder sentiment also means that cycle lows for permits and starts are likely near, and a rebound for homebuilding could be underway later in 2023.”

Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist, predicted that single-family home building will increase as mortgage rates are expected to trend lower and boost housing affordability. Mr. Dietz said, “Improved housing affordability will increase housing demand as the nation grapples with a structural housing deficit of 1.5 million units.”

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 18 basis points to 6.15 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.28 percent and were 24 basis points lower on average.

First-time jobless claims fell to 190,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 215,000 initial claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 205,000 new jobless claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims increased to 1.65 million claims filed compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.63 million continuing jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on new and pending home sales, consumer sentiment, and predictions on inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published. 

An Often-Overlooked Trick Can Help You Afford A Second House

An Often-Overlooked Trick Can Help You Afford A Second HouseThe whole idea of investing is to use a portion of your money now to get more down the road. It is important for everyone to diversify their investments, and you might be thinking about buying a second house to do so. Investing in real estate is a goal that a lot of people have, but how can you get started? It was challenging enough to buy your first house, so how can you afford a second one? 

Use A Cash-Out Refinance To Buy Your Second House

One trick that many people overlook is that they can actually conduct a cash-out refinance to purchase a second house. In general, your lender will allow you to cash out up to 80 percent of the value of your home during a cash-out refinance. This can give you a tremendous amount of flexibility that you can use to purchase a second house. For example, if your house is worth $300,000, you may be able to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars in equity.

What To Consider When Using A Cash-Out Refinance

When you apply for a cash-out refinance, there is a chance that the interest rate on your new loan might change. This might mean that you end up with a higher interest rate than before. You must make sure you can afford this new interest rate. Furthermore, you will be required to pay closing expenses. You need to have enough money set aside to cover those closing expenses. Keep in mind that the term of the loan might change as well. If you were close to paying off your house, this type of refinance might reset that clock. It might take you longer to pay off your mortgage than it did before. Consider these factors carefully before conducting a cash-out refinance.

A Cash-Out Refinance Might Be Right For You

In the end, a cash-out refinance could be a great way for you to withdraw equity from your home, using it to purchase an investment property. On the other hand, you need to ensure you can still afford the new loan after you take that equity out of your home. Work with an expert who can help you find the right option to meet your needs.

 

How Do You Actually Write The Check To Buy A House?

How Do You Actually Write The Check To Buy A House?After you have found the right house to meet your needs, you need to make the down payment to complete the transaction. Can you show up at the closing table with a suitcase full of cash? Of course, that would be a bit suspect, so that is not actually how it happens. What do you need to do to actually hand over the funds to buy the house? 

The Down Payment Is Verified Beforehand

First, understand that the down payment is usually verified before you agree to the deal. Your real estate agent will work with you and the seller’s agent to ensure that you actually have the funds needed to buy the house. For example, you might need to send screenshots of your bank balance or investment portfolio as proof that you have the money. Your agent will work with you to ensure your confidential information remains so.

The Funds Are Typically Given Using A Wire Transfer

When it is time for you to complete the actual transaction, the real estate attorney will handle just about everything. The attorney will be responsible for collecting the money from the sale and ensuring that everyone gets the money they are owed. The attorney will provide you with the account information for where you need to wire the money. Prior to the closing date, you need to go to the bank and work with one of their experts to ensure the money is in your account and wired to the correct account destination.

The Real Estate Agent Will Confirm The Process Is Done

It is best not to wait until the last minute to wire the money into the account. Try to do this process ahead of time, and make sure either the attorney or your real estate agent says that the process has been completed. You do not want to run the risk of missing your closing date. If you have questions about the process, make sure you give the attorney’s office plenty of time to respond to you.

Determine Your Budget With The Help Of Your Real Estate Agent

This process is important for making sure you can afford the house you want. Work with your real estate agent to ensure you have the necessary funds for the down payment.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 17, 2023

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 17, 2023

Last week’s financial reporting was dominated by readings on inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cautioned lawmakers that the debt ceiling must be raised or eliminated.

Inflation slows in December

Month-to-month inflation slowed by -0.1 percent in December and matched analysts’ expectations. This was the first slowing of inflation since the pandemic and the highest inflation reading since inflation reached its highest level in 40 years. Inflation rose by 0.1 percent in November. Year-over-year inflation rose by 6.5 percent, which matched expectations, and fell short of the November reading of 7.1 percent inflation.

Consumer prices fell for the sixth consecutive month in December. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.3 percent in December and matched analysts’ expectations. Slowing inflation is expected, but the  Federal Reserve has signaled its intention to continue raising its target interest rate range.

The University of Michigan projected that inflation will rise by 4.00 percent year-over-year in January as compared to December’s reading of 4.4 percent and the 40-year peak rate of  9.1 percent posted last summer.

Treasury Secretary: U.S. debt limit is looming

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the U.S. debt ceiling is approaching and encouraged lawmakers to either raise or eliminate the debt ceiling to avoid the U.S. defaulting on its obligations. Ms. Yellen wrote in a letter to U.S. lawmakers, “While Treasury is not currently able to estimate how long extraordinary measures will enable us to continue to pay the government’s obligations, it’s unlikely that cash and extraordinary measures would be exhausted before early June.”

Ms. Yellen emphasized that increasing or removing the debt ceiling would not result in additional spending, but would allow the government to continue financing existing obligations made by lawmakers and Presidents of both parties. Secretary Yellen cautioned that failure to address the debt ceiling would “cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability.”

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 15 basis points to 6.33 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 21 basis points to 5.52 percent.

205,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, which fell short of projections for 210,000 initial claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 206,000 first-time claims filed. 1.63 million continuing jobless claims were filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.70 million ongoing claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets, readings on housing starts, and building permits issued.

In a Hurry to Buy a Home? Speed Your Mortgage Approval up by Following This Checklist

In a Hurry to Buy a Home? Speed Your Mortgage Approval up by Following This ChecklistHave you finally found your dream home after months of searching, only to discover that the seller has received other offers? Few circumstances can raise your stress level as much as finding yourself in a bidding war against another buyer. However, being unprepared by not having your finances in order can make the situation even worse. Let’s take a quick look at a few ways that you can speed up your mortgage approval if you are in a hurry to buy your next home.

Pull Your Credit Report ASAP

The first step you will want to do is check your credit report so you have an idea what your mortgage lender will be seeing. You can get a free copy from the major credit reporting agencies up to once per year, so take advantage. There are scams out there, so be sure to only request a report from a government-approved credit agency.

Get All Of Your Paperwork Ready Before You Go In

You will want to gather up as much financial documentation as you can before heading in to meet with your mortgage advisor. Pay stubs, tax forms, and bank statements are all going to be required to prove that you are accurately reporting your current financial situation. You will also want to be able to provide reasons for any substantial loans or other transactions that have taken place in the past couple of years.

Share It All And Keep No Secrets

If you want your mortgage approval to come back quickly, it’s best to be truthful and hold nothing back during the application process. If you lie or try to gloss over areas that you feel are a bit negative, it can end up delaying your approval. Be straight with your advisor and don’t keep any secrets from them.

Work With A Professional Team

Last but not least, if you want the fastest possible mortgage approval you will want to work with a professional team. An experienced mortgage advisor knows the ins-and-outs of the mortgage marketplace. They know which lenders will be able to process quickly and which tend to be on the slower side. If you try to borrow a mortgage from a bank or large lender, you are tied into their process which may not be as quick as you would like.

When you’re ready to buy a home, give us a call. Our mortgage team is happy to help you secure your financing, no matter how much of a hurry you might be in. We look forward to assisting you!

House Poor: What It Means And How To Avoid It

House Poor: What It Means And How To Avoid ItThere is a good chance you have heard someone described as being house poor. What exactly does it mean? It is important to understand what it means to be house poor and how you can stay away from it.

House Poor Means Spending A Significant Chunk Of Your Income On Housing

Being house-poor means different things for different people. In general, it means spending a significant amount of your monthly income on recurring expenses related to your house. A few examples include your mortgage, the interest on your mortgage, your property taxes, and HOA expenses. Owning a house can be expensive, and it is important for you to budget carefully. In general, you could not spend more than one-third of your monthly pay on your rent or your mortgage. If you are spending significantly more than this recommendation, you might qualify as house-poor. 

How To Avoid Becoming House-Poor

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can follow if you want to avoid becoming house-poor. First, make sure you budget ahead of time. Understand exactly how much money you can spend on your home, and make every effort to stick to that number. Furthermore, before you purchase a house, make sure you get a home inspection completed. There are a lot of people who have their savings wiped out by unforeseen expenses. If you get an inspection before you buy a house, you can plan for those ahead of time. Finally, make sure you reduce your debt-to-income ratio before you buy a house. That way, you can qualify for the best home loan possible.

Do Not Spend More On Housing Than You Can Afford

In the end, it is critical for you to avoid spending more money on your house than you can afford. Remember that you should not spend more than one-third of your monthly pay on housing. If you do, your budget may be stretched thin and other areas, and you might have a difficult time covering other expenses. Do not hesitate to reach out to an expert who can help you find the right house for yourself and your family.

 

The Most Commonly Forgotten Item On The Home Budget List

The Most Commonly Forgotten Item On The Home Budget ListIf you are in the process of purchasing a home, it is critical for you to make sure that you budget appropriately. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who commonly overlook closing expenses. Even though it is important for you to have enough money for your down payment, you need to make sure you cover closing costs as well. What is included in closing costs, and how much money do you need to budget?

The Recommended Amount

Even though it is tempting to focus on the cost of your house, it is also critical to think about closing expenses. Usually, closing expenses are approximately two percent of the value of your home. For example, if you are planning on purchasing a house for $250,000, your closing expenses will probably be about $5,000; however, there is also a chance that your closing costs could be more or less than that. You should work with a professional who can help you estimate your closing expenses. 

Examples Of Items Included In Closing Costs

As you go through the process of buying your house, there are a lot of moving parts that have to come together to complete the transaction. There are several examples of items that could be included in your closing expenses. For example, you may have to pay an origination fee attached to your loan, and you will have to cover attorney’s fees for the closing attorney as well. You will need to purchase title insurance and conduct a title search, and you might also have to pay for the home inspection and home appraisal. If there is an HOA in the area in which you are buying your house, you may have to pay those when you close on your house as well. You should get a breakdown of these expenses ahead of time.

Ensure You Have Money For Closing Costs

You have worked hard to find the perfect house. You must make sure you have enough money to cover not only the down payment but also your closing expenses. If you have questions about how much money you will have to pay for closing costs, reach out to a professional who can help you. 

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 9, 2023

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 9, 2023Last week’s economic reporting included readings on minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting and its customary post-meeting press conference, labor-sector data on public and private-sector jobs, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

FOMC Meeting: Policymakers seek a balance between high inflation and rising rates

The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held on December 13 and 14 reflect committee members’ concern over controlling rapidly growing inflation while avoiding a recession. While committee members said that they made “significant progress” in raising rates to cut inflation, members said they needed to avoid raising rates too fast and creating a recession. Policymakers asked for “flexibility” from investors and consumers.

The Fed’s monetary policy actions depend on economic developments; if high inflation persists, policymakers will likely continue raising the Fed’s target interest rate range. If inflation eases, so will the Fed’s pace of raising its target interest rate range. The Fed re-asserted its goal of achieving two percent inflationary growth. The meeting minutes emphasized that the Committee’s decision to slow the pace of interest rate growth did not indicate any changes to the Fed’s goal of two percent inflation.

Mortgage rates rise, jobless claims fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by six basis points to 6.48 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was five basis points higher at 5.73 percent.

204,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, which fell short of the expected reading of 223,000 initial claims filed and the previous week’s reading, also of 223,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims fell to 1.69 million claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.72 million ongoing claims filed.

The national unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in December as compared to 3.6 percent n November and the expected unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on month-to-month and year-over-year inflation and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Pet Safety Checklist

Pet Safety ChecklistMany people view their furry friends as members of the family. If you have pets at home, you need to make sure they are well taken care of. That means taking a closer look at an important pet safety checklist. What are a few of the most important items you need to include on this checklist if you want to make sure your dogs and cats are safe?

Regular Checkups Are Critical

First, you need to make sure that you take your pets to the veterinarian at least once per year. Just as you go to the doctor once per year, your pets need to go to the doctor once per year as well. Regular check-ups are important because the veterinarian could identify issues that you might not otherwise have noticed. In addition, this gives a veterinarian an opportunity to make sure your pets’ vaccinations are up-to-date.

Spay Or Neuter Your Pets

Unless you plan on having kittens or puppies, you also need to make sure that your dogs and cats are spayed and neutered. There are already far too many animals in animal shelters, so if you are not planning on breeding dogs and cats, you do not want to add to the population unnecessarily. There might be opportunities for you to get this operation financed, which could make it more affordable.

Lock Up Unsafe Items

Keep an eye on your home environment as well. Keep a close eye on how much human food you give your dog or cat. There are certain items that are simply not healthy for dogs and cats, and some items could be poisonous. You should also make sure that any cleaning supplies are locked behind a cabinet door. That way, your pets do not ingest anything that could poison them.

Protect Your Furry Friends

These are a few critical steps that you need to take to make sure your dogs and cats are safe. If you are interested in learning more about the steps you can take to protect your furry friends, consider reaching out to a veterinarian who can help you.

Owning vs Renting: Why High Rents Are Worse Than a Mortgage over the Long Term

Owning vs Renting: Why High Rents Are Worse Than a Mortgage over the Long TermIf you’re at the stage in life where home ownership is nearly within your reach, you’re probably wondering whether you should start looking for a home or whether you should just keep renting. Renting is easier, people say, and it gives you more mobility. But over the long term, all that rent money can really add up – and it eventually reaches a point where buying a home is a better deal.

So why is paying a high rent a worse option than buying a house and getting a mortgage? Here’s what you need to know.

Renting Doesn’t Generate Equity

One of the single biggest sources of wealth in the United States is home equity – as you pay down your mortgage, you invest more and more of your money into your property, and it appreciates in value. When you eventually sell that home, you make a profit. The monthly payment is something you’d have to make anyway, whether you rent or own – but when you rent, your monthly rent money lines someone else’s pockets, while when you own, paying down your mortgage actually creates wealth for you.

Renting Doesn’t Give You Access To Homeowner Tax Credits And Deductions

There are all sorts of tax benefits available to homeowners that renters simply can’t access. As a homeowner, you can deduct your mortgage interest from your taxes owing, reducing your taxable income – but there’s no such deduction for renters. You can also deduct property taxes and some closing costs when you buy a home – there are no corresponding tax benefits for renters.

There are also several tax credits available to homeowners that aren’t available to renters. Things like renovations or simply buying a home for the first time can give you tax benefits that renters can’t access.

If You Can Muster Up A Down Payment, Owning Is Cheaper In The Long Run

One of the biggest hurdles keeping young people out of the real estate market is the down payment. It’s not easy, but if you can save up enough money for a down payment, you’re actually better off buying a home than continuing to rent.

According to Trulia, the median home price in metro Houston in Texas is just under $163,000, while the median monthly rent for an apartment is $1,550. That means renting would cost $18,600 per year, while buying a home (assuming a 20% down payment and 30-year term) would cost $9,384 per year in mortgage payments. In other words, owning is about half as expensive as renting in the long run.

Renting may be a good short-term solution, but over the long haul, owning is almost always better. Call a local mortgage professional to learn more.