What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 27, 2023

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 27, 2023Last week’s financial and economic reporting included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes, along with weekly data on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Single-Family Home Sales Rise in February

Year-over-year sales of previously owned homes rose 14.5 percent to a seasonally-adjusted pace of 4.58 million sales. Analysts expected 4.20 million sales of pre-owned homes as compared to January’s year-over-year reading of 4.0 million sales. February’s increased sales halted 12 months of falling sales of previously-owned homes. February’s reading marked the highest pace of sales since July 2020, when sales of pre-owned homes rose by 22.40 percent.

The National Association of Realtors® said that February’s reading represented the largest increase in existing home sales since the inception of reporting sales of previously-owned homes in 1999. The median sale price of existing homes was $363,000 in February. There was a 2.6-month supply of homes available in February.

February sales of new single-family homes rose to 640,000 sales from January’s reading of 633,000 sales. While analysts said that a brief lull in climbing mortgage rates contributed to increased home sales, new home sales remained 22.60 percent lower than in February 2021.

FOMC Statement: Fed Strives to Hold Inflation in Check, Mortgage Rates Fall

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee released the minutes of its March meeting; the Committee voted to raise its key interest rate range to 4.75 to 5.00 percent; the Committee reaffirmed its goal of returning inflationary growth to two percent. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the Fed was planning to continue rate hikes before the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. Chairman Powell said the bank’s failure forced Fed policymakers to consider a halt to interest rate hikes.

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 18 basis points to 6.42 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 22 basis points to 5.68 percent. Initial jobless claims fell slightly to 191,000 claims as compared to the previous week’s reading of 192,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims rose to 1.69 million claims filed from the prior week’s reading of 1.68 million ongoing claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on home prices, inflation, and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

3 Things That Will Absolutely Kill Your Chances for a Mortgage Approval

3 Things That Will Absolutely Kill Your Chances for a Mortgage ApprovalIf you’re about to seek approval for a mortgage, you’ll want to ensure you have a solid credit score and clean financial records to boost your likelihood of being approved. There are certain characteristics that lenders want to see in a mortgage applicant before they agree to give a loan, and you want to prove that you’re a responsible borrower. But certain behaviors can easily tank your application and crush your home ownership dreams.

Before you seek approval, make sure your finances are in order. Avoid these three mortgage-killing habits while your lender evaluates your loan and you’ll quickly find yourself holding the keys to your new home.

Using Up Most Of Your Available Credit

It can be tempting to start buying furniture when your mortgage is about to be approved, but you’re better off waiting on the shopping trip until after you get the green light from your lender. Using a significant amount of your available credit – or applying for new credit – will impact your debt-to-income ratio and change your credit score. You might even end up getting yourself a higher interest rate or reducing your credit score to below the qualifying range – so don’t go credit-crazy until after you’re approved.

Being Late On Your Monthly Bills

Payment history makes up one third of your credit score, so you’ll want to make sure you pay all of your bills on time and in full if you’re looking for a mortgage. A single 30-day late payment on a bill can easily knock 50 to 100 points off your credit score. Even worse, some lenders require a full year of on-time payments before they’ll even consider you for a mortgage.

Co-Signing Someone Else’s Loan

Co-signing on a loan is generally risky under any circumstances, but if you’re trying to get approved for a mortgage, taking on liability for someone else’s debt will change your debt-to-income ratio. Being on the hook for a debt you don’t own makes you look like a risk to lenders – if the primary borrower on the loan you co-signed stops making payments, you’ll need to pay the loan, and that could divert your cash away from your mortgage.

Getting approved for a mortgage is a critical part of the home buying process, but too many would-be homeowners torpedo their own chances of getting a mortgage by making poor decisions. Contact a mortgage professional near you to learn how you can give yourself the best possible chance of getting approved for a mortgage.

Mortgage Interest Rate Versus APR: What To Know

Mortgage Interest Rate Versus APR: What To KnowWhen you go through the process of applying for a mortgage, you need to make sure you understand all of the terms on the page. Two of the most common numbers you will come across include the mortgage rate and the APR. Many people associate both of these numbers with interest rates, but you will probably notice that they are not quite the same. What are the differences between these two numbers, and how are they going to impact your mortgage loan?

The Mortgage Interest Rate

The first number you are probably going to look at is the mortgage interest rate. This reflects the additional money that you will be charged over the life of the mortgage. For example, if you take out a loan for approximately $250,000 that has an interest rate of 5 percent, you will end up paying not only the principal but also an interest component of approximately $233,000 over the life of the loan. Keep in mind that an interest rate can be fixed or variable, so make sure you read the application carefully. 

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The other number that you might see is your APR. This calculation is a bit more complex because it considers all facets of your application, not just the interest rate on the mortgage. Your APR is going to include other values as well, such as private mortgage insurance premiums, discount points, closing costs, and other closing expenses. This number might be a bit harder for people to understand, but it will also give you a more accurate picture of the total cost of your mortgage.

Ask Questions Before You Sign Your Contract

Because there are so many moving parts involved when you apply for a mortgage, you need to take the time to ask questions before you sign on the dotted line. You will be focused on your primary interest rate, as it will play a major role in the total cost of your loan as well as your monthly payment; however, you need to have an accurate picture of the other fees associated with your home loan as well. Reach out to an expert who can help you find the right mortgage to meet your needs.


Navigating A Market With Higher Interest Rate

Navigating A Market With Higher Interest RateEven though interest rates have gone up significantly during the past few months, there are still opportunities for you to find a home at a great price. The high interest rate can be discouraging for some people, but as long as you know how to navigate the market, you can still put yourself in a position to be successful.

Put More Money Down

The easiest way to combat a high interest rate is to reduce the amount of money you borrow. That means that you might need to put more money down. Of course, this means that you might need longer to save up a down payment, but there are other benefits you might notice as well. For example, if you are willing to put 20 percent down or more, you no longer have to purchase private mortgage insurance, which can help you save some additional money.

Increase Your Credit Score

You may be able to secure a lower interest rate if your credit score is higher. Remember that the lender will give you a lower interest rate if you are of less risk to them. If you increase your credit score, you improve your financial health, which means that the lender may offer you a lower interest rate. You can increase your credit score by correcting mistakes on your credit report, paying down your existing debt, and reducing your credit utilization ratio.

Consider an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

You may even want to consider going with an adjustable-rate mortgage, usually shortened to ARM. This means that the interest rate on your loan will change with the market. If you feel like the interest rates are going to go down, this may be a way to save money; however, keep in mind that you may end up owing more money if the interest rates go up.

Refinance Your Home Loan Down The Road

If you are not willing to take the risk with an ARM, keep in mind that you can refinance your home loan later if interest rates go down. You might need to pay closing expenses again, but it could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan if you decide to refinance. 


Understanding Mortgage Pre-Approvals and How to Avoid Being Declined for One

Understanding Mortgage Pre-approvals and How to Avoid Being Declined for OneThe mortgage process is a long and complicated one, with a number of similar-sounding terms that can easily confuse first-time homebuyers. A pre-approval is not the same thing as a pre-qualification, and it’s important to understand everything that goes into a pre-approval. Being declined during the pre-approval process means you’ll have a hard time getting the funds you need to buy your home, so it’s important that you know what the process is going to look like before going into it.

How does a pre-approval work, and how can you make sure you won’t be declined? Here’s what you need to know.

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Approval?

A mortgage pre-approval is a step that happens somewhere near the start of the home buying process. Being pre-approved means you have a preliminary loan commitment from a mortgage lender. Pre-approval isn’t necessarily a guarantee that you’ll get a mortgage, but rather, a statement that if all goes according to plan, your lender will most likely issue a mortgage to you.

Pre-approvals can make the mortgage process shorter and easier, but they’re not legally binding. If you later find a better mortgage through another lender, you don’t have to take out a mortgage through the lender that pre-approved you.

What Do You Need To Be Pre-Approved?

In order to be pre-approved, your lender will need to evaluate your finances and your ability to pay for your mortgage. You’ll want to meet with your lender and provide them with bank and creditor documents that clearly show your income, your assets, and your debts. You can expect your lender to run a credit check on you in order to determine your employment status and verify that you’ve accurately reported your finances.

If you meet your lender’s criteria, you’ll receive a commitment letter that states what size of a mortgage your lender is willing to give you.

Red Flags: Sure Signs That You’re Destined To Be Declined

You can be declined for a mortgage pre-approval for any number of reasons. If you have a poor credit score, a high debt-to-income ratio, or a low or unstable income, you likely won’t meet the lender’s minimum borrower requirements – and you’ll be declined. To avoid being declined for a pre-approval, you’ll want to ensure you always pay your bills on time, negotiate with your creditors to pay off your debts, or boost your income.

A mortgage pre-approval can help you to narrow your home search and access a mortgage loan. That’s why it’s important to ensure you don’t get declined during the pre-approval. Contact a mortgage professional near you to learn more about the pre-approval process.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 20, 2023

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 20, 2023Last week’s economic reporting included readings on housing starts and building permits issued, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s Senate testimony. The Commerce Department reported on housing starts and building permits issued published, and a monthly reading on consumer sentiment was published. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Two bank failures instill fear in depositors

In the aftermath of two bank failures last week,  US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that “the banking system is sound” during testimony to the US Senate last Thursday. When asked if federal protection could be extended to deposit accounts exceeding $250,000, Secretary Yellen replied that such action would “require approval from super majorities of the Boards of the Federal Reserve, the FDIC.and consultation between the Treasury Secretary and the president to determine that failure to protect uninsured depositors would create system risk and significant economic and financial consequences.”

NAHB: home builder confidence in US housing market improves

The National Association of Home Builders reported that its Housing Market Index for March increased by two points to an index reading of 44. Home builders expected a reading of 40 and the February HMI reading was 42. Readings below 50 indicate that most home builders surveyed were not confident about current housing market conditions.

The Commerce Department reported that housing starts exceeded expectations in February with 1.45 million starts reported as compared to the expected reading of 1.31 million starts and January’s reading of 1.32 million starts. Building permits issued also rose in February with 1.52 million permits issued as compared to expectations of 1.34 million permits issued and January’s reading of 1.34 million building permits issued.

Mortgage rates, jobless claims fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 13 basis points to 6.60 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by five basis points to an average rate of 5.90 percent.

Initial jobless claims were also lower with 192,000 first-time claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 212,000 claims filed. 1.68 million continuing jobless claims were filed as compared to 1.71 million ongoing claims filed in the previous week. 

What’s ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes, the post-meeting statement from the Federal Open Market Committee, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s post-meeting press conference. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.

Is A VA Loan The Best Option For Your Needs?

Is a VA Loan the Best OptionIf you plan on buying a house in the near future, there are a few mortgage options available. One potential option is called a VA loan. This is a loan that has been backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it could provide you with some added flexibility that you can use to purchase a house. Is a VA loan right for you? There are a few points to keep in mind.

Who Qualifies For a VA Loan?

First, not everyone is able to access a VA loan. This is a loan that is generally only available to active members of the US military, veterans of the US military, and surviving spouses of service members. There are different service requirements that you need to meet before you can qualify for a VA loan, so if you have questions about your service record, consider reaching out to an expert who can clarify whether you meet the requirements.

What Are the Top Benefits of a VA Loan?

There are a few reasons why you might want to take advantage of a VA loan. First, you don’t need to put any money down. You can take out a home loan for 0 percent down, making it easier to purchase the house of your dreams. Second, even though don’t put any money down, you don’t need to pay for mortgage insurance, helping you save money. While you can still put money down if you would like, there is no requirement for you to do so.

Overall, the closing costs tied to a VA loan are significantly lower, so you don’t have to worry about exorbitant fees at the closing table. Finally, if you decide to pay off the loan early, you should not have to worry about incurring a prepayment penalty. 

Consider Applying For a VA Loan

There are a lot of unique requirements that you need to meet if you want to qualify for a VA loan, but it could help you buy a home without having to put anything down at all. You should partner with an expert who has experience navigating this situation. That way, you can find the best loan option to meet your needs.

Should You Pay Discount Points When You Get Your Mortgage?

Should You Pay Discount Points When You Get Your MortgageOne of the challenges you will face when deciding how much money to put down on your new home is whether to put down a larger down payment or to take a bit of money from your down payment and use it to buy “discount points” to lower your interest rate.

There are pros and cons to doing both and each borrowers situation will be different so it’s important to understand which option is best for your individual situation. Some factors you should consider include:

  • Cost of borrowing – generally speaking, to lower your interest rate will mean you pay a premium. Most lenders will charge as much as one percent (one point) on the face amount of your loan to decrease your rate. Before you agree to pay points, you need to calculate the amount of money you are going to save monthly and then determine how many months it will take to recover your investment. Remember, closing points are tax deductible so it may be important to talk to your tax planner for guidance.
  • Larger down payment means more equity – keep in mind, the larger your down payment, the less money you have to borrow and the more equity you have in your new home. This is important for borrowers in a number of ways including lower monthly payments, better loan terms and potentially not having to purchase mortgage insurance depending on how much equity you will have at the time of closing.
  • Qualifying for a loan – borrowers who are facing challenges qualifying for a loan should weigh which option (points or larger down payment) is likely to help them qualify. In some instances, using a combination of down payment and lower rates will make the difference. Your mortgage professional can help you determine which is most beneficial to you.

There is no answer that is right for every borrower. All of the factors that impact your mortgage loan and your overall financial situation must be considered when you are preparing for your mortgage loan.

Talking with your mortgage professional, and where appropriate your tax professional, to help you make the decision that is right for your specific situation.

Bridge Loans: What You Need To Know

Bridge Loans: What You Need To Know Are you in the process of selling your home? You probably want to buy a new one right now to ensure you have another house to move into, but what happens if you do not have the cash to buy a home right now? You might need to cash from your current home before you can purchase your next home, but can you really wait to sell your house before buying another one? A bridge loan can help you fix this issue. What is a bridge loan, and how does it work?

What Is A Bridge Loan?

A bridge loan has been specifically designed to let you tap into the equity you have in your current home and use that equity to buy another house. Essentially, you will borrow against the equity in your home, giving you the cash you need to buy your next house. Then, when you sell your current house, you will use the cash from the sale to pay off the bridge loan. That way, you don’t have to worry about selling your current house before you can buy your next one.

How Does The Repayment Process Work?

Like any other loan, you will have to make regular payments on the bridge loan even before you sell your current house. On the other hand, you might not have to pay down any of the principle until your sell your first home. Generally, you need to pay back the loan in a few months, and there is typically a balloon payment at the end that you pay when you sell your house.

Is It Right For Me?

Generally, you should consider getting a bridge loan if you need more flexibility when buying a house. Keep in mind that the loan will come with a slightly higher interest rate when compared to a mortgage, but it could make it easier for you to buy your next home.

Consider Getting A Bridge Loan If You Are Buying A Selling A House

If you are looking for some additional flexibility during the buying process, a bridge loan could help you. You should think carefully about whether you can qualify for a bridge loan and whether it is right for you. Consider reaching out to an expert who can help you.

A Reverse Mortgage And A Home Equity Conversion: What To Know

A Reverse Mortgage And A Home Equity Conversion: What To Know If you are getting ready to retire, you need to make sure you have income to support yourself during your golden years. One popular option is a reverse mortgage, and you can use it to supplement the benefits you receive through Social Security. On the other hand, you may have also heard about a home equity conversion mortgage. What are the differences between them, and which one is right for you?

A Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is a popular option because you can tap into the equity you have in your home to receive funds from a specific lender. In some cases, they will provide you with a single lump sum, but in other cases, they may provide you with monthly installments. You are not required to make any monthly mortgage payments, and you simply have to pay the money back when you sell your home. Your name will remain on the title of your home even as you tap into the equity to support your retirement. There are multiple types of reverse mortgages, and a home equity conversion mortgage is one popular option.

A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage

A home equity conversion mortgage is one specific type of reverse mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. It provides you and your heirs with certain protection, and it is only available to borrowers who are 62 years of age or older. If you take out this type of reverse mortgage, you must use the funds to pay off any remaining balance you have on the original mortgage. Then, any funds that are left over will be provided to the homeowner. There are a number of factors that will dictate the amount of money you can receive. They include the age of the youngest borrower, the expected interest rate, and the national lending limit insured by the FHA.

Is This Option Right For You?

If you own your home outright, a reverse mortgage could be a great way for you to support yourself during retirement while also protecting any inheritance you passed down to your heirs. Consider reaching out to a professional who can help you decide if this is the right option to meet your needs.