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Each quarter, the Census Bureau releases the Homeowner Vacancy Rate, a housing statistic the measures the percentage of homes for sale that are vacant. A home listed for sale may be vacant for several reasons including: The home has been foreclosed and the owner has moved out The home seller moved into a new home and not sold his former home The home was a rental property and is being sold without a tenantIn Q4 2007, the Homeowner Vacancy Rate matched its all-time high of 2.8 percent. The statistic can be misleading, however, because Homeowner Vacancy Rates appear to be seasonal and the (4 comments)
Looking Back And Looking Ahead : March 24, 2008 - 03/24/08 10:32 AM
Conforming mortgage rates edged slightly lower for the second week in a row. Mortgage rates fell for two main reasons: The Federal Reserve offered fiscal support for troubled mortgage-backed securities A government group gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac permission to lend more of money to American homeownersThese two actions combined to make mortgage-backed securities safer for mortgage bond investors and when mortgage bonds are safer, their required rate of return (i.e. interest rate) comes down. This is the financial concept of Risk vs. Reward in action. Expect mortgage rates to be in flux and highly volatile again this week, however. Aside from housing and consumer confidence (0 comments)
Re-Approve Your Pre-Approval - 03/20/08 10:48 AM
Since December 2007, mortgage lending guidelines have changed very quickly and often without notice. Some of the more well-known changes include: Broad restrictions on stated income home loans Broad restrictions on 100 percent financing "Risk-based fees" for credit scores under 740Some of the lesser-known restrictions relate to property type and occupancy status as well as debt-to-income levels and mortgage payment histories. Because of the number of changes and their collective scope, home buyers should be prudent and get re-pre-approved for their home loan. Even if you last spoke with your loan officer four weeks ago, it's important to know how market changes could ultimately impact your (0 comments)
Expect A Fed Funds Rate Cut This Afternoon - 03/18/08 10:50 AM
The Federal Open Market Committee meets today and will issue a press release in addition to cutting the Fed Funds Rate at 2:15 P.M. ET. The verbiage of the press release will be as widely watched as the rate cut itself because markets are curious about how far the Federal Reserve will go to lessen the impact of an economic recession. With every Fed Funds Rate cut, recession becomes less likely, but the other side of the equation is that the probability of long-term inflation grows. Like recession, inflation can be bad for the economy, too. The Fed Funds Rate now stands at (2 comments)
Looking Back And Looking Ahead : March 17, 2008 - 03/17/08 08:30 AM
Mortgage rates fell last week on growing evidence of a recession, but far fewer Americans were eligible to take advantage. Mortgage lenders continue to reduce product menus and that is leaving homeowners with fewer mortgage financing options than before. As an added hurdle, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently added "risk-based" fees on all conforming home loans, subjecting mortgage applicants to higher mortgage rates based upon: Property Type Credit Score Loan-to-ValueSo, even though mortgage rates moved lower last week, for many homeowners, the cost of homeownership did not. This week, the biggest scheduled news is the Federal Open Market Committee's Tuesday meeting. It's widely (0 comments)
Go Beyond The Headlines: Unemployment Data - 03/12/08 08:17 AM
The Unemployment Rate fell to 4.8 percent in February. This is 0.1% lower than from January and that's confusing to a lot of people; it's been highly publicized that U.S. companies shed 63,000 jobs last month. Americans are losing jobs at the same time that the Unemployment Rate is falling. Seem strange? Well, it's possible because the Unemployment Rate measures workers unemployed versus workers in the workforce. The "jobs number", by contrast, measures active workers collecting actual paychecks. So, when the government reported that Unemployment Rates fell in February, it happened because the "workforce" figure used to calculate the unemployment was 644,000 less than the workforce (1 comments)
The Right Question: "How Much Do I Want To Spend On Housing Each Month?" - 03/06/08 09:33 AM
One of the most popular questions that home buyers ask real estate and mortgage professionals is "How much home can I afford?" It's a normal question to ask, but it's not the most effective way to plan your finances. Banks will almost always approve you for a home loan in excess of your household budget. The more appropriate question is: "How much do I want to spend on housing each month?" By focusing on a home's payment instead of its list price, home buyers exert more control over their short- and long-term financial goals. List price is only one piece of the monthly (2 comments)
Recession or Inflation? Even Fed Members Don't Know For Sure. - 03/05/08 07:47 AM
With Friday's jobs report looming, mortgage markets are especially skittish about whether the economy is in a recession, or facing inflation. Four Fed speakers Tuesday did little to quell the debate: 9:00 A.M.: Fed Chairman Bernanke stayed on message that foreclosures and falling home values are dragging down the economy. 10:00 A.M.: Fed Vice Chairman Kohn said that banks will "face challenges" but will not fail en masse. 1:00 P.M.: Federal Reserve Governor Mishkin said that deflation is more concerning to him than inflation 1:00 P.M.: Dallas Fed President Fisher said fighting inflation is more important than fighting recession.Four speeches, four different perspectives. (3 comments)
After briefly exceeding its all-time high, oil closed Monday at $102.45. Rising energy costs can lead to inflation because American Business eventually passes on its higher costs to American Consumers. When consumers have to spend more money for the same amount of product, it's called "inflation". Another way to look at inflation is like an erosion in the value of a dollar. The presence of inflation causes mortgage rates to rise because mortgage debts are repaid in dollars. If those dollars are losing their value, the rates tied to those debts have to increase to "cancel out" the erosion. This is why mortgage rates spiked (2 comments)
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.