Monday, October 29, 2012

Mortgage Rates Expected To Creep Higher

Record Low Rates May Be Behind Us

Mortgage applications slow as rates rise

Mortgage applications fell in mid-October to their lowest level since August. At the same time, Zillow’s Mortgage Marketplace reported a slight increase in the rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage — up 2 basis points from 3.26 percent to 3.28 percent.

MBA sees Fed policy supporting slow rise in rates

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is predicting an average rate of 3.8 percent for 30-year fixed mortgages in the fourth quarter, rising to 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013 — with a steady, slow rise to land around 4.4 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013.  Jay Brinkmann, the MBA’s chief economist, thinks “continuing purchases of mortgage-backed securities through the Federal Reserve’s QE3 program will likely keep the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage below 4% through the middle of 2013.”

International economy impacted rates more than expected

According to Brinkmann, factors economists normally expect to drive interest rates, such as inflation, were less significant than other factors —

“it was uncertainty in European economies and actions taken by the Federal Reserve that moved rates so low this year.”

Gathered from

Monday, October 22, 2012

Foreclosures Hit a 5-Year Low

Filings Down 16% Year-Over-Year


Lowest foreclosure activity level since 2007

RealtyTrac recently reported that September’s foreclosure filings (just over 180,000) were the fewest monthly filings recorded since July 2007.

Month to month

Total foreclosure filings fell 7 percent from August 2012 to September 2012 — the second consecutive month of declining filings.

Foreclosure starts also down

Foreclosure starts (homes entering the foreclosure process) dropped from the prior month by 12 percent and from September of 2011 by 15 percent. August 2012 was also down from the previous month, the first drop in monthly foreclosure starts after three consecutive months of increases.

State by state, the news is either very good or very bad

The national decrease in foreclosure activity was driven mainly by declining activity in the non-judicial states (states where foreclosure proceedings do not go through the courts). Nevada, Oregon and Utah — all non-judicial states — saw foreclosure activity rate drops of more than 60 percent. Of the 24 non-judicial states, 20 saw a decline in foreclosure activity.

Judicial states, however, are not faring as well. In 14 of the 26 judicial states, foreclosure activity increased year-over-year. New Jersey saw a 130 percent increase in activity in the third quarter, New York experienced a 53 percent increase, and activity in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Illinois jumped 31 to 36 percent.

For more on recent foreclosure activity, read RealtyTrac’s complete report here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

6 Straight Months of Rising Home Prices

Year-Over-Year Home Prices Continue To Improve


Prices increasing both year-over-year and month-over-month

CoreLogic — one of the largest real estate data sources in the country — posted its latest Home Price Index Report recently, showing a 4.6 percent rise in national home prices from August 2011 to August 2012. That’s the largest annual increase in home prices in more than six years. From July, August home prices showed a 0.3 percent increase.

Biggest price gains are in Arizona, Idaho and Utah

CoreLogic analyzes the data both including and excluding “distressed sales,” which it defines as “short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions.” Arizona, Idaho and Utah were all in the top five states in annual home price appreciation, both with and without distressed sales.

·        Arizona tops the list of largest price gain both with and without distressed sales — showing an 18.2% increase in price across all sales and a 13% price increase when distressed sales are excluded.

·        Utah home prices went up 8.9% across the board and 10% when distressed sales are excluded

·        Idaho saw home prices increase 10.4% annually when looking at all sales, and 8.6% when distressed sales were excluded

States with falling prices include Rhode Island, New Jersey and Alabama

When distressed sales were factored out of the analysis, only three states posted a drop in home prices from August 2011 to August 2012 — Rhode Island, New Jersey and Alabama.

·        Rhode Island home prices decreased 1.7% excluding distressed sales — when distressed sales are included, RI home prices showed an annual 2.6% drop

·        New Jersey saw a 1.4% drop in annual prices both with and without including distressed sales

·        Alabama showed home prices falling just 0.2% if distressed sales are factored out — even including distressed sales, at 0.7% Alabama showed almost the smallest drop in home prices in the country

Continued home price gains in September

According to the report, CoreLogic is predicting a seventh month of annual home price increases in September of 5 percent, albeit with a small drop month-to-month from August of 0.3 percent:

The CoreLogic Pending HPI indicates that September 2012 home prices, including distressed sales, are expected to rise by 5 percent on a year-over-year basis from September 2011 and fall by 0.3 percent on a month-over-month basis from August 2012 as the summer buying season closes out. Excluding distressed sales, September 2012 house prices are poised to rise 6.3 percent year-over-year from September 2011 and by 0.6 percent month-over-month from August 2012.



For the complete CoreLogic Home Price Index Report, click here (PDF).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Housing a Bright Spot In Economic Recovery

Federal Reserve Releases Latest Beige Book

Not the facts, Ma’am

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book is updated eight times a year, two weeks before the Fed’s policymaking meetings in Washington, DC.
Interestingly, there are no numbers or statistics cited in the Beige Book — staffers at each of the 12 regional banks gather information via phone, email and questionnaires from experts and business leaders to summarize commentary and opinion regarding the state of consumer spending, manufacturing, real estate and other regionally significant economic sectors such as tourism and farming. (from How the Fed compiles the Beige Book, at a glance in Businessweek)

Modest economic growth

Since the last Beige Book update, the Fed is reporting modest growth in all but two of the 12 districts — the New York District reported level activity, while Kansas City noted some slowing down.
USA Today points to how “ordinary” the economic recovery, a relief after dire predictions about how the country would recover from a recession:
Six years after the housing bubble peaked, the beige book paints a picture of a recovery led by the classically cyclical factors of improving housing markets, better car sales and stronger credit quality.

Housing market leading the way

According to the Fed’s report, the housing market is showing “widespread improvement.” Home sales are up in all 12 financial districts, even “substantially” higher in some areas. Home prices are reported to be “steady to increasing, with declining inventories” putting upward pressure on prices in five districts (Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco).
 “New home construction and sales were more mixed but still mostly improved,” with increases in construction and/or new home sales seen in the Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco Districts.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Protect Your Nest Egg

Protecting your home’s value is always a top priority, and the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction is an important part of making homeownership a good investment. A resolution is pending in the House of Representatives to keep the deduction in its current form. Americans overwhelmingly oppose any action by Congress to scale back or eliminate the deduction. The consequences could be devastating for homeowners, the housing market and the nation’s economy. To learn more about this issue, go to

If you need a dedicated expert in Real Estate to help with this or anything related to lowering the cost of homeownership, call today. Let’s talk.


Source: National Association of Home Builders