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Falling Consumer Confidence Helps Drag Mortgage Rates Lower. For Now. - 07/29/10 03:53 PM
For the second consecutive month, U.S. consumer confidence is plunging. July's official reading is its lowest since July of last year and the figures run in stark contrast to just two months ago, when the index touched a multi-year high. According to The Conference Board, July's figures are reflective of a more pessimistic consumer; one concerned about "business conditions and the labor market". Falling confidence numbers are presumed to be poor for the economy. For homeowner and home buyers , however, they can create opportunity. Low confidence can influence the mortgage market in a positive manner, driving mortgage rates down. Mortgage (0 comments)
Standard & Poors released its Case-Shiller Index Tuesday. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, between April and May 2010, home prices rose in 19 of Case-Shiller's 20 tracked markets. It's the second straight month of strong Case-Shiller findings. Also, May's numbers are a mirror-image of February's. In February, 19 of 20 markets lost value. In its press release, the Case-Shiller staff resisted calling May's data proof of a housing recovery, noting that home values remain flat as compared to October of last year. However, there are some noteworthy numbers in the Case-Shiller report. 13 of the 20 tracked cities are showing home (0 comments)
After a down month in May, the sales of newly-built homes appears back on track. As published by the Census Bureau, June's New Home Sales report showed: A 24 percent sales volume increase from the month prior A 2-month drop in the supply of newly-built home There are now just 210,000 new homes for sale nationwide. June's data is a major improvement over May, but it's possible that the true "new home market" may be softer than the statistics suggest. This is for several reasons. First, we're comparing June's sales data to the worst month in New Home Sales history. (0 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 26, 2010 - 07/26/10 01:41 PM
Mortgage markets worsened last week for the first time in 6 weeks last week. Investors were pleased with corporate earnings reports and the European bank stress tests results. Stocks gained on the news, and bonds lost. Mortgage rates rose last week, but only slightly. Rate are still hovering near their lowest levels of all-time. Of the bigger stories last week was Existing Home Sales. As reported by the National Association of Realtors®, sales volume was down in June and home supplies were up. But figures were a bit better than expected, giving some hope for housing. Notably, the number of move-up (0 comments)
San Francisco Homeowners Have New Way to Pay for Going Green - 07/26/10 01:37 PM
As provided by SFAR: San Francisco homeowners have a new way of paying for solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and low-flow toilets. A new city-run program, GreenFinanceSF, will give San Franciscans the money to pay for such projects up front and let them pay it back through installments on their property tax bills. Berkeley pioneered the idea in 2007, and since then, hundreds of cities, counties and states have adopted their own versions. For more details, visit http://greenfinancesf.org/systems/energy. Visit us online! (0 comments)
Existing Home Sales Drop In June But Hint At Higher Price Tier Support - 07/23/10 03:04 PM
Consistent with most post-home buyer tax credit housing news, the National Association of Realtors® says Existing Home Sales eased lower last month. An "existing home" is a home that cannot be considered new construction. The 5 percent drop in sales from May to June was expected, but a closer look at the month's data reveals some interesting trends. First, repeat buyers accounted for 44 percent of home resales in June, up from 40 percent in May. That's a healthy increase for just 4 weeks' time and the tax credit is a likely catalyst. First-timer buyers bought starter homes owned by former (0 comments)
The New York Times ran an important story this week concerning pregnancy and mortgage approvals. Titled "Need a Mortgage? Don't Get Pregnant", the article discussed the difficulties that expecting and recently-expanded families are having with their mortgage financing. NBC's The Today Show picked up the story as well, as shown in the 3-minute clip above. The crux of the issue is that maternity/paternity leave often leads to a change in household income and mortgage lenders will no longer assume one or both parents will go back to work full-time. The loss of income can raise a household's debt-to-income ratio to (6 comments)
Single-family Housing Starts eased lower last month, falling by 0.7 percent from May, or 3,000 units nationwide. A "housing start" is a home on which construction has started. June's Housing Starts data is somewhat soft and may partially explain why home builder confidence dropped to its lowest level since April 2009, but for buyers and sellers , the Housing Starts report is not nearly as bad as headlines say. This is because when the press reports on Housing Starts, it doesn't single out single-family homes. The press lumps every type of home into a single, giant reading. As a result, (0 comments)
Eight Quick Tips for Living Green - 07/20/10 05:32 PM
Today, living green isn't just a lifestyle choice; it makes solid financial sense. As home energy costs increase, homeowners are seeking simple and smart ways to save energy and consequently save money, too. Trying to create a more environmentally sound household doesn't have to start with taking out a massive loan in order to slap solar panels on your roof. Here are some easy ways to start living green: 1. Swap out all your incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFLs last 15 times longer and use two-thirds less energy, saving at least 2,000 times their own weight in greenhouse (2 comments)
Sagging Homebuilder Confidence Opens The Door For Good Deals - 07/20/10 04:47 PM
Builder confidence in the housing market slipped this month, according to the National Association of Homebuilders' monthly Housing Market Index. The Housing Market Index is actually a weighted composite of 3 separate surveys. One measures current single-family sales; one measures projected single-family sales; and one measures traffic of prospective buyers. All three surveys were down in July: Single-Family Sales : From 17 (June) to 15 (July) Single-Family Project : From 22 (June) to 21 (July) Buyer Foot Traffic : From 13 (June) to 10 (July) The HMI's July reading of 14 puts confidence at its lowest point since April 2009. For (0 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 19, 2010 - 07/19/10 02:17 PM
Mortgage markets improved for the 5th straight week last week as consumer confidence waned and inflation data tamed. Investors ignored the news that 19 of 23 reporting S&P 500 companies beat their respective earnings estimates and sold off on stocks. There's concern about a potential economic slowdown for the months ahead and it may be well-founded. Despite an improving jobs situation and booming retail sales, households are less optimistic about the future and so is the Federal Reserve. In its post-meeting minutes released last week, the Fed revised its U.S. growth estimates downward for 2010 and 2011. For rate shoppers , (0 comments)
The Fed's June Minutes Keep Mortgage Rates In Rally-Mode - 07/16/10 09:27 AM
According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates made new all-time lows this week and the good news is that rates look poised to fall even more. Since the Federal Reserve's release of its June 2010 meeting minutes Wednesday, mortgage rates are dipping even more and one of the main reasons why is because of some choice Fed words. If you've never seen a Fed Minutes release, it reads academic. The document is page after page of stats, facts and figures about the U.S. economy, accompanied by an in-depth recap of the intra-Fed member debates that shape the nation's monetary policy. At 7,333 (2 comments)
313,841 foreclosure filings were made in June, according to foreclosure-tracking firm RealtyTrac. The figure represents a 3 percent drop from May and 7 percent drop from June of last year. However, foreclosure filings remain relatively high nationwide. June marks the 16th straight month the filings topped 300,000. 1 in every 411 U.S. homes received some form of notice last month with foreclosure density varying wildly from state-to-state. Like everything else in real estate, it seems, foreclosures are a local phenomenon. The states with the highest foreclosures per capita were: Nevada : 1 foreclosure filing per 88 homes Florida : 1 (0 comments)
What a great eco-friendly, affordable idea! ZippGo: Green, Plastic moving boxes - 07/14/10 10:08 PM
In my internet meandering this morning I came across this great eco-friendly, affordable moving resource: ZippGo Here’s their scoop: Moving is complicated and wasteful – we understand. That’s why we offer our ZippGo reusable moving boxes for a better price than buying cardboard boxes. They’re delivered to your door, so you only need to worry about packing your things. I’d love to hear your feedback if you’ve used this service. Zephyr Real Estate has great networking among agents; we frequently send eblasts out to our Z-colleagues either requesting moving boxes that are no longer needed so they can be passed on (1 comments)
Mandatory Loan Fees Keep Borrowers From Getting Their Absolute Lowest Rate - 07/14/10 10:23 AM
Conforming mortgage rates may be posting all-time lows this week, but that doesn't mean you'll be eligible for them. You may have already called your loan officer and found this out the hard way. It's because of a federally-mandated mortgage-pricing scheme known as "loan-level pricing adjustments". In effect since April 2009, loan-level pricing adjustments are changes to a loan's base rate and/or fee structure based on that loan's inherent risk to Wall Street. It's similar to auto insurance pricing adjustment in that a sports car, all things equal, will cost more to insure than a comparably-priced minivan. More risk, more cost. (1 comments)
If your adjustable rate mortgage is due to adjust this year, don't go rushing to replace it just yet. Your soon-to-adjust mortgage rate may actually go lower. It's related to the math behind the ARM. Conventional, adjustable-rate mortgages share a common life cycle: There's a "starter period" in which the interest rate remains fixed There's an initial adjustment period after the starter period called the "first adjustment" There's a subsequent annual adjustment until the loan's term expires -- usually at Year 30. The starter period will vary from 1 to 10 years, but at the point of first adjustment, conventional (0 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 11, 2010 - 07/12/10 12:22 PM
Mortgage markets improved again last week -- if only barely -- throughout a holiday-shortened week devoid of "major" data and market conviction. Up-and-down trading characterized the week which ended with mortgage rates slightly lower versus the week prior. Mortgage rates have fallen in 4 consecutive weeks and are on an extended rally that dates back to mid-April. This week, however, data returns and rates could reverse. Especially with inflation numbers are in play. Inflation is the enemy of mortgage rates. Inflation is bad for mortgage rates because mortgage rates based on the price of mortgage-backed bonds. When inflation pressures mount, the (0 comments)
Last week, the Case-Shiller Index reported home values up 0.8 percent across 20 tracked markets. The public-sector Federal Housing Finance Agency has reached a similar conclusion. Reporting on a two-month lag, the government's Home Price Index shows home values up 0.8 percent in April, buoyed by the expiring federal home buyer tax credit and low mortgage rates. It's a positive signal for a recovering housing market. But just because the Home Price Index says home values are rising, that doesn't mean they are. The Home Price Index methodology is flawed on multiple fronts. First, the Home Price Index reports on (2 comments)
Real Estate: What is it for? Part 4 - 07/08/10 06:36 PM
One of the things that I have found over the years in working with clients that own real estate portfolios is that people love buying real estate, but they constantly make fundamental mistakes when doing so. The starting point in deciding what to buy and how to buy it should begin with the answer to this question: What is it for? This may seem like a silly question, but as a financial advisor I need to know the time frame, expectations, and, most importantly, whether the property will be used to create income, for growth, or for growth and income (both). (0 comments)
Morning television can be "light", but as far as personal finance interviews go, this Suze Orman segment from The Today Show is loaded with practical financial planning advice. Titled "What Should You Do First?", Ms. Orman addressed the real-life, money management conundrums households face, such as: Should I pay off credit card bills, or create an emergency cash fund? Should I pay off student loan debt, or pay off credit card bills? Should I save for a child's college tuition, or save for my retirement? In 5 minutes, the segment covers a half-dozen scenarios like the ones above, explaining what (0 comments)
June's Jobs Report Wasn't As Bad As The Headlines (And How You Can Take Advantage) - 07/07/10 01:27 PM
In June, for the first time since December 2009, the U.S. workforce shrank. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy shed 125,000 jobs last month even as the Unemployment Rate dropped to 9.5 percent. The drop in the Unemployment Rate is being attributed to fewer Americans looking for work. At first glance, the jobs report looks weak but a deeper look shows something different. Excluding the 225,000 government Census workers that recently left the workforce, the total number of employed persons actually grew by 83,000 in June. That's 50,000 more working Americans as compared to May. And, since the (1 comments)
What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 6, 2010 - 07/06/10 10:26 AM
Mortgage markets improved last week as economic data revealed a slowing U.S. economy. Major stock indices fell to 2010 lows in response to a weak jobs report among other data points, forcing worldwide investors into the relative safety of U.S. government-backed bonds. This category includes mortgage-backed bonds and the extra demand helped to drop rates. Once again, mortgage rates improved and Freddie Mac is reporting new all-time lows on three popular, conforming loan products: The 30-year fixed rate mortgage The 15-year fixed rate mortgage The 5-year adjustable rate mortgage Low rates mean low payments and you can't know your options until (2 comments)
Beautiful on the Outside - 07/06/10 10:22 AM
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but many homebuyers do just that: judge a home by its external appearance. If you're gearing up to sell your home this spring, you need to make sure your home's exterior and landscaping stops buyers in their tracks and gets them to come in for a walk-through. Here are some easy and effective ways to accomplish that. * Clean up the yard. Take a weekend and start mowing, trimming, weeding, raking and doing everything you can to make the yard neat as a pin. Trim back grass and other ground coverings (2 comments)
Should I Put the Kids on Title? NO! - 07/03/10 09:50 PM
*This information is designed to be of general interest. The specific techniques and information discussed may not apply to you. Before acting on any matter contained herein, you should consult with your personal legal advisor who is familiar with your personal situation. We are lawyers based in California. If your matter involve non-California issues, please contact a local lawyer.* That's the worst idea ever! I hear it all the time. "We have 2 grown kids. We are getting older. we want to put the kids on title to our home." Why does this happen so often? What is the problem? Here (2 comments)
Was The Pending Home Sales Report Really That Bad? It Depends Who You Ask -- Buyer Or Seller. - 07/02/10 01:58 PM
The Pending Home Sales Index plunged in May 2010, just one month after the expiration of the federal home buyer tax credit program. The Pending Home Sales Index is now at a record-low level. A "pending home sale" is an existing home under contract to sell, but not yet closed. According to the National Association of Realtors®, 80 percent of homes under contract close within 60 days. Because of this timeline, we can expect the summer's Existing Home Sales to be weak, too. With fewer homes going under contract, fewer homes can close. On the surface, May's Pending Home Sales Index (0 comments)
The Year Is Half-Over. How Did The Housing Experts Fare On Their Predictions? - 07/01/10 03:22 PM
As 2009 was ending, the "experts" were busy making forecasts about the U.S. economy and what to expect in 2010. With respect to the housing markets, two predictions were made again and again: Home prices would fall in the first half of 2010 Mortgage rates would be higher in 2010 Well, it's July 1 and the year is half-over. Both predictions are proving to be incorrect. Home values are rising in most markets and mortgage rates are down. Way down. It reminds us that economists are much more skilled with analysis of the past versus predictions of the future. A pile (1 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.