Archive for the 'Real Estate News' Category
According to data from the National Association of REALTORS®, February’s Pending Home Sales Index slipped 0.5 percent from the month prior, to 96.5.
The Pending Home Sales Index is a monthly report which measures the number of homes under contract to sell, but not yet sold, nationwide.
The index is benchmarked to a value of 100, the average level of home contract activity in 2001, the first year that pending home sales data was analyzed. It also happened to be a year of historically-high levels of home contract activity. Therefore, a Pending Home Sales Index reading of 100 suggests a strong housing market nationwide.
The index has read north of 90 since October 2011.
On a regional basis, February’s Pending Home Sales Index varied :
- Northeast Region: -0.5 percent from January 2012
- Midwest Region : +5.7 percent from January 2012
- South Region : -3.3 percent from January 2012
- West Region : -2.6 percent from January 2012
Mild weather may have helped the Midwest Region last month but even regional data can only tell us so much. Like everything in real estate, housing data must be local to be relevant.
Throughout the South Region, for example, the area in which contract activity fell most on a monthly basis, there are states which performed better than the regional average, and states which performed worse. Furthermore, even within those states, there are some cities which over-performed, and others which underperformed.
It’s why we can’t put too much stock in national housing news. Buyers don’t buy nationally — they buy locally.
Today’s home buyers and sellers , therefore, should look beyond the national Pending Home Sales Index and into local market drivers. The Pending Home Sales Index can paint a broad picture of the U.S. housing market but for data that matters to you specifically, it’s not as widely helpful.
To get relevant, timely local real estate data, talk to a Real Living real estate professional.
Published by Alex Manessis and Russ Schreier of Samuel Scott Financial Group
A forecast of the 2012 and 2013 housing market shows increased purchasing of new homes over the next two years. This forecast, released in February by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) gives us insight not only into the trends for the short term, but where the market is headed overall and what we can expect in terms of home value, interest rates, refinance vs. purchases, and new home construction.
First let us examine the projections for Quarter 2 of 2012, as this will provide us an insight into the market’s short term prospectus. The number of housing starts for Q2 is projected to increase 3%, the fourth straight quarter of growth, to 690,000 homes (seasonally adjusted annual rate) breaking ground from April-June. The number of homes sold is expected to remain roughly the same as the first quarter of 2011, somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.39 million homes (again a seasonally adjusted annual rate).
What is important to note about these second quarter projections is the end of Operation Twist, which will bring with it a rise in interest rates. April-June is estimated to have a 30-year interest rate of 4.3%, up 30 basis points from the 4.0% seen in January-March. According to these projections, every quarter after Q2, for six quarters will experience a .1% increase in rates, meaning
interest rates near 5% by the end of 2013. For homeowners, this means that the ideal time to refinance is now while the rates are still at record lows.
What does the data say about those who are not looking to refinance but instead are looking to purchase a home of their own? Well if the third quarter of 2012 projections come to fruition, July-September will mark the first time the value of homes in America will have increased on average since late 2007 (as measured by the FHFA’s House Price Index). The evidence for the last several months has suggested that 2012 would be the year that the market finally reached rock bottom. These projections show a .2% increase in home values in 2012 Q3 but every quarter following shows increased growth after, with 2013 Q4 projections showing growth in the value of homes at 3.7%. That means it is truly a buyers market right now. The best deal is available right now, so if a potential homeowner has the means to do so they should pull the trigger now.
The big picture for not just for individual homeowners, but for that of the entire housing market is that recovery may finally be on the way, but it will be a long process. Home values are expected to increase over the next year, along with the number of homes sold (both new and existing), and the amount of money spent on mortgage originations for purchases. 2012 is the year of transition, the year where instead of our homes losing money the value stays roughly the same, the year where construction picks up. We have seen positive signs already, including unemployment dropping (now at 8.3% down from 9.0% last year). If these projections hold true 2013 will be a year of growth, providing the market with a sense of recovery. The last five years have been extremely difficult for the housing market and recovery will not occur overnight. However, these positive economic signs suggest that improvements lie ahead. This is good for all parties involved, for potential homeowners this means a stronger economic future, a buyers-market, and low-interest rates. For those in the housing industry, this means the worst is now in the past. For America, this means a recovery to
a sector of the economy that has struggled greater than any other in the last half decade.
You have the ability to move into your dream home and stabilize your financial future, and at the same time help these projections become a reality. If you are interested in purchasing a home
or refinancing your current loan, please contact a loan officer at Samuel Scott Financial Group for more information.
The new, revamped HARP program is now available nationwide. It was officially released Saturday, March 17, 2012 by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
HARP is an acronym. It stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP is the conforming mortgage loan product meant for “underwater homeowners”. Under the HARP program, homeowners can get access to today’s low mortgage rates despite having little or no equity whatsoever.
HARP is expected to reach up to 6 million U.S. homeowners who would otherwise be unable to refinance.
HARP is not a new program. It was originally launched in 2009. However, the program’s first iteration reached fewer than 1 million U.S. households because loan risks were high for banks, and loan costs were high for consumers.
With HARP’s re-release — dubbed HARP 2.0 — the government removed many of HARP’s hurdles.
In order to qualify for HARP, homeowners must first meet 3 qualifying criteria.
First, their current mortgage must be backed either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Loans backed by the FHA or VA are ineligible, as are loans backed by private entities. This means jumbo loans and most loans from community banks cannot be refinanced via HARP.
- To check if your loan is Fannie Mae-backed, click here.
- To check if your loan is Freddie Mac-backed, click here.
The second qualification standard for HARP is that all loans to be refinanced must have been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. Mortgages securitized on, or after, June 1, 2009 are HARP-ineligible.
There are no exceptions to this rule.
And, lastly, the third HARP qualification standard is that the existing mortgage must be accompanied by a strong repayment history. Homeowners must have made the last 6 mortgage payments on-time, and may not have had more than one 30-day late within the last 12 months.
If the above three qualifiers are met, HARP applicants will find mortgage guidelines lenient overall :
- Refinancing into a fixed rate mortgage allows for unlimited loan-to-value
- The standard 7-year “waiting period” after a foreclosure is waived in full
- Except in rare cases, home appraisals aren’t required for HARP
Furthermore, HARP mortgage rates are on par with non-HARP rates. This means that HARP applicants get access to the same mortgage rates and loan fees as non-HARP applicants. There’s no “penalty” for using HARP.
To apply for HARP, check with your Samuel Scott Financial Group loan officer today.
I want to thank everyone who helped make the Angel’s Depot annual Soup & Beans Food Drive such a success!! This organization is doing great work for our local seniors in need and I am so happy that we were able to help make a difference. The cans we collected from the Arrowood and Mission Point communities in Oceanside together with donations made at the office put us in the top 25% of participants in the fundraiser. Pretty exciting for our first time participating.
Overall Angel’s Depot collected a total of 11,749 cans of soup and beans this year. That is enough to provide soup and beans for 2,349 emergency senior meal boxes!
We are looking forward to supporting this great organization again next year. Thank you for helping make a difference in the life of a senior in need!Madeleine Lavelle Real Living Lifestyles 760-805-7663 [email protected] www.NorthCountyHomeSource.com
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Economists believe the strength of the 2012 housing market will be closely tied to jobs. If they’re right, the housing market is ripe for a boost. It spells good news for San Diego home sellers and may mean the end of bargain-basement prices for buyers.
Since peaking in mid-2009, the number of U.S. workers filing for first-time unemployment benefits has dropped 44 percent. Over the same period of time, the U.S. economy has added more than 2 million jobs and the national Unemployment Rate is down more than 1 percentage point to 8.3%.
Employment’s link to the housing market of Emerald Heights is both economic and psychological.
To make the economic link is straight-forward. A person with a job earns verifiable income and such income is required in order to be mortgage-eligible. For conventional and FHA purchase loans, for example, mortgage lenders want a home buyer’s monthly income be more than double his monthly debts.
For the formerly unemployed that have since returned to work, having a full-time income makes buying homes possible. It also supports higher home valuations nationwide because home prices are based on supply-and-demand. All things equal, when the number of buyers in a market goes up, prices do, too.
The psychological connection between housing and employment is a tad more complicated, but every bit as important. It’s not just out-of-work Americans that don’t look for homes — it’s fearful Americans, too. People with concerns about losing a job are just as unlikely to shop for homes as people actually <em>without</em> a job. The same is true for people unsure of their prospects for a better-paying job, or their own upward mobility.
A recovering job market can lessen those fears and draw out buyers — especially those who face a loss on the sale of an “underwater” home.
The Initial Jobless Claims rolling 4-week average is at its lowest level since 2008. Fewer Americans are losing jobs, and more are finding permanent placement.
It’s one more reason to be optimistic for this year’s housing market.