What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 13th, 2018

board-of-the-federal-reserve

Last week’s economic reports included readings on job openings and inflation along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Job Openings Hit Third Highest Reading on Record

Job openings held steady at 6.70 million in June, which was the third highest reading since reporting started in 2000.

Analysts said that the high number of job openings combined with low unemployment rates indicates healthy labor markets. Fewer jobs were available in transportation, utilities and warehousing, but jobs in education increased.

Job quits remained at 2.20 percent for the fourth consecutive month. Quits are considered an indicator of worker confidence in job markets.

Inflation Inches Up

Inflation rose by 0.20 percent in July according to the Consumer Price Index. While analyst expectations were met, rising housing costs offset a decline in energy prices. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy readings, held steady at 0.20 percent as compared to the same reading for analyst expectations and for June.

The Consumer Price Index rose 2.90 percent year-over-year, which matched June’s reading. The less volatile Core CPI, which excludes inflation readings for food and energy, rose by 2.40 percent year-over-year and was the highest reading for core inflation since 2008.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 4.59 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 4.05 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.80 percent, which was three basis points lower than for the previous week.

First-time jobless claims fell to 213,000 new claims filed and were lower than the expected reading of 217,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 219,000 new claims filed. The less volatile monthly reading fell by 500 new claims to 214,250 first-time jobless claims.

What‘s Ahead

This week’s economic readings include reports from the National Association of Homebuilders, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Guide To Buying An A-Frame House

a-frame-houseA-Frame houses have spiked in popularity over the last couple of years. These adorable homes can be quirky or sleek and modern. They are shaped like a triangle — hence the name. A-Frame houses are shaped like the letter A. The walls begin near the foundation and slope upwards in a slant. The walls meet at the top to form a triangle or A-shape.

A-Frame houses are popular all over the United States. They are ideal for second or vacation homes. The big windows make them especially popular in very picturesque locales. This feature allows homeowners to enjoy fabulous views of the ocean, mountains or countryside.

Characteristics Of An A-Frame House

A-Frame houses have very specific characteristics. Here are some of the features of an A-Frame house:

Open floor plan
Loft space
Large windows
Wood siding
High interior ceilings
Gables in the back and front
Benefits Of An A-Frame House

Many buyers love A-Frame houses for several reasons. They have large windows, which allows plenty of natural light to enter the home. The large windows also make them ideal for scenic views.

A-Frame homes are also quite inexpensive and straightforward, which is another reason that they are prevalent vacation homes.

Who Are A-Frame Homes Ideal For?

Many outdoor types of families love A-Frame houses because they are ideal for beautiful natural settings. A-Frame homes are also ideal for buyers looking for a vacation home in a pretty location. They are also great for investors or first-time home buyers.

If you are looking to buy in a prime waterfront location, you might consider an A-Frame house, as well. They are perfect for buyers wanting to build a private escape on a couple of acres of land.

Who Should Not Buy An A-Frame Home?

A-Frame homes aren’t for everyone. While they are an excellent option for first-time home buyers or buyers looking for a vacation property, they are not ideal for all buyers.

For example, buyers in Florida would be better served looking for a different type of home. A-Frames may not be suitable in some climates since they are constructed with wood. This fact makes them potentially more susceptible to storm and termite damage.

Also, A-Frame homes are probably not ideal for larger families that need a lot of storage space. A-Frame houses typically have limited storage space because of the shape of the roof.

Whether you are in the market for a traditional or a unique and interesting property, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to get your financing pre-approved well before you decide to make an offer.

4 Important Reasons To Install A Home Generator

investing-in-real-estate-tipsHome improvements are key investments when it comes to quality of life and property value. While decks, solar panels and smart technologies are trendy options, installing a home generator may be even more valuable. That’s because backup generators not only improve market value, they also protect you and your home during severe weather incidents.

Consider these four reasons why a home generator makes good sense.

Protect Against Severe Weather

The impact of severe weather can reach catastrophic proportions. Thousands of people are left without electricity for days — even weeks — after storms. Heat waves also put an inordinate strain on the power grid when all of those air conditioners and HVAC go into 24-hour overdrive.

The consequences of extended power losses are generally fouled foods in the refrigerator and freezer, unbearable temperatures and an inability to take corrective measures to the physical property itself. When the grid goes down, you may be left powerless as the losses mount.

Keeps Critical Systems Operational

When the power goes down for an extended period of time, important electronics become inoperable. If you work from home or rely on electronic devices to earn a living, either you’re putting in for vacation time or losing money. But beyond the financial implications, many people need power for vital medical equipment to function. It’s simply too risky to not have a backup plan if you or a loved one suffers from a health condition.

Backup Generators Improve Home Security

We have all seen the national news coverage about post-storm or brownout crime waves. Looting and burglary ran rampant when residents are evacuated. That’s because criminals know full well that your alarm system went down with the power.

Consider the accumulated wealth you have at home and irreplaceable personal items. Those could be lost if your home gets robbed during a power outage. Fortunately, installing a home generator will allow you to keep the lights on and thugs away. Just having your lights on at night demonstrates that you have electricity and that acts as a powerful deterrent. A backup generator provides peace of mind against theft.

Backup Generators Improve Property Values

It only makes sense that a home generator will increase your property value. After all, home generator installations are direct financial investments.

According to Consumer Reports, installing a home generator can improve your home’s value by as much as 3-5 percent. Similarly, Remodeling Magazine indicated that the return on investment for a home generator installing can range as high as 150 percent. Of course, those figures may be weighed against the money you saved by being powered up when the grid was down as well.

The point of this discussion is that while new kitchens and smart homes are exciting ways to amp up your home’s values, improvements such as backup generators have a quiet value worth considering.

If you are interested in improving your property and need additional funding, contact your trusted mortgage professional to find out about the types of programs available to help you access the equity in your home.

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper?

fixing-up-a-historic-homePopular TV shows like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers have brought the charms of owning a fixer upper to light. A fixer-upper can be a great option if you are prepared for the experience of owning a house that needs work and time.

A house that needs work can be a great investment if you are ready to invest the time and money into it. On the other hand, buying a fixer upper might be a problem if you are not aware of what you are getting into.

Not sure if owning a fixer upper is worth it? Here are some considerations to think about.

Start With This Easy Equation

Start with the likely market value of the house after renovations will be made. Then, sum up the cost to renovate the home. Then, add another 25 percent to the renovation costs for unforeseen problems that will no doubt come up during the renovation process.

Next, subtract the renovation costs from the probable market value of the house after the renovations are made. Use similar real estate prices in the area to get your estimate.

What number is left? This number what you should offer.

So, if the comparable estimates are $100,000 and the house needs $25,000 in work, then you should offer no more than $75,000 to break even. Most professionals recommend deducting 10 percent from the asking price just to make the investment of time worthwhile.

Determine How You Will Pay

If you buy a fixer-upper, you’re going to need some way to fund the renovations. It can be hard coming up with the funds for repairs and upgrades after paying closing costs. Some options for funding renovations include a renovation loan, like Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Loan. This loan is rolled right into your mortgage, which makes things easier.

Another popular option is an FHA 203(k) loan. This loan is a little easier to qualify for than the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Loan and it only requires 3.5% down.

Decide If You Want To Invest The Time

Buying a fixer-upper is an investment. You will have to invest your time in making a lot of decisions. You’ll need to decide on things like building materials and aesthetics.

Do you have a design or architectural background? Do you enjoy remodeling projects? These are questions that you’ll really want to think about before buying a fixer upper.

Your trusted mortgage professional will be your best resource to help you secure the right financing for your new home project.

Downsizing? Here’s What You Can Expect When You Move From a House to a Condo

best-maryland-mortgage-rates-300x236Whether the kids have moved out or you just aren’t using the extra bedrooms, having a house that feels ‘too big’ is rarely fun. In today’s post, we will share a few changes you can expect when you downsize from a large house to a smaller apartment or condo.

Why Downsize At All?

As you might imagine, having too much space is the primary reason that couples and families downsize. Larger homes cost more to maintain and can feel empty if it’s just one or two people living there. In many cases, old items and clutter tend to build up as there is so much storage space. Downsizing to a smaller home helps to maintain a lifestyle that is more efficient but no less luxurious.

Ask Yourself: Are You Ready?

Another consideration that you will need to make: are you ready to move? If you are retired from work, then you likely have enough time on your hands to manage a move. Conversely, if you and your spouse are both working full-time and live near your workplace, you may want to source a smaller home nearby.

Don’t forget that if you own the house you are living in now, this might mean having to list and sell it while buying your new home. This is a common situation and isn’t a significant problem, but it will require a bit of scheduling and financial planning.

The Hardest Part: Choosing What To Keep

Ask any couple or family that has downsized their home about the toughest part, and many will share that it was choosing what stays and what goes. When space is at a premium, everything from shoes to appliances needs to be considered.

Spend some time going through each room in your house, taking an inventory of what you have. Are there any family heirlooms or other emotional items that you can’t part ways with? After that, is there anything that will be usable in your new home? Everything else should be considered fair game. Sell it, donate it or toss it out.

Moving to a smaller home can seem challenging at first, but it is a lifestyle choice that can pay significant dividends. When you are ready to make a move, contact our professional mortgage team.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 6th, 2018

board-of-the-federal-reserveLast week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller, Commerce Department reports on pending home sales and construction spending and an FOMC statement. Labor sector reports on job creation and the national unemployment rate were released along with the monthly Consumer Confidence Index. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Holds Steady in May

Home price analysts Case-Shiller reported national home prices rose 0.40 percent in May and were 6.40 percent higher year-over-year. Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index was 0.20 percent higher in May and 6.50 percent higher year-over-year. Only seven cities reported home price growth in May, but home prices were higher than gains reported in April.

Home price gains were highest in in Seattle, Washington with a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year gain of 13.60 percent: Las Vegas, Nevada; reported seasonally-adjusted home price growth of 12.60 percent. San Francisco, California reported a seasonally-adjusted annual home price growth of 10.90 percent. Analysts said that home price growth may be slowing, but it grew faster than wages and inflation, which continued to present challenges for first-time and moderate-income hone buyers.

Pending home Sales Grow as Construction Spending Dips

The National Association of Realtors® reported an index reading of 106.9, which was 2.50 percent lower than in May. June was the sixth consecutive month that year-over-year pending sales were lower than in the preceding year-over-year period. Pending home sales increased by 0.90 percent in June as compared to a negative reading of -0.50 percent in May.

Construction spending fell by 1.10 percent in June as compared to 1.30 percent growth in May. Analysts expected construction spending to rise by 0.90 percent in June. Home builders continued to face headwinds such as rising materials costs, labor shortages and slim supplies of buildable lots.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Rise

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise the federal funds rate, which held steady at a range of 1.75 – 2.00 percent. This news did not stop average mortgage rates from moving up. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose six basis points to 4.60 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage also rose six basis points to 4.08 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages also rose six basis points and averaged3.93 percent.

Weekly jobless claims rose to 218,000 new claims and fell short of analyst expectations of 220,000 new claims filed, which was based on the prior week’s reading of 217,000 new claims.

Unemployment rate Falls Below 4 Percent

July’s National Unemployment Rate dipped to 3.90 percent and matched analyst expectations. In May, unemployment reached 4.00 percent.

Jobs grew in July with ADP posting 219,000 new private-sector jobs and the Commerce Department reported 157,000 new public and private sector jobs added in July. Analysts expected 195,000 new jobs to be added to Non-Farm Payrolls based on 248,000 mew jobs added in June.

The University of Michigan reported that its Consumer Confidence Index gained 0.30 points for an index reading of 127.40 percent.

What‘s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on consumer expectations, July job openings, inflation and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Top Real Estate Predictions You Should Know About

investing-in-real-estate-tipsWhether you are a homeowner looking to get the maximum return on investment, a buyer interested in fair market value or an industry insider grappling with the moving parts of the real estate industry, these are some trends and predictions you should know about.

Lower Home Supply Causing Significant Value Growth

Indicators point to a U.S. economy that has settled into a nice growth period. Unemployment rates have touched some record lows, wages appear to be on the rise and Millennials are entering high earning and home-buying years. Couple these factors with the fact that last year’s tax reform laws will likely put more money back in everyday Americans’ pockets and homes could be a hot commodity, so to speak.

Home supply — on the other hand — does not appear ready to meet the rising demand of buyers. Experts are predicting that rising demand will collide with the housing shortfall and prices will ramp up in 2019.

Home Values Could Rise Another 5 Percent By Year’s End

Some real estate insiders are pointing to National Association of REALTORS information that the number of available homes for sale has dropped for 35 consecutive months. The volume of sales is down because there simply are not enough homes being put on the market. Coupled with the uptick in the economy, sellers are in the driver’s seat right now and they are demanding top dollar for their homes.

That being said, it may be in the best interest of first-time homebuyers to get into the market sooner rather than later. The improved wages from the surging economy may not be able to keep pace with a potential 5-percent increase in property values by the end of 2019. It looks like a buy now or pay later real estate market.

It’s Not A Housing Bubble And Won’t Burst

The housing market has been on a tear over the last three years. Property values have appreciated fairly consistently for 35 straight months. Such data mirrors that of the housing market right before the crash. While some experts are calling for another housing bubble to burst due to an unforeseen flaw in the system, tough legislation and oversight are in place. It’s only human nature to be cautious when conditions appear similar to those leading up to a bad outcome.

This time around, rising home prices appear to be based on solid economic factors. Either contractors are going to start massive home-construction builds all over the country or the shortage will continue to drive prices up. While experts say we are not in a so-called housing bubble, the market may level off down the road to get in tune with consumer affordability.

If you are in the market for a new home, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to get your financing pre-approval!

Selling Your Home? 4 Ways To Get Your Garage Ready

builder confidence is upThe garage is often the last thing on seller’s minds when it comes to home staging. It is prudent to make sure your kitchen and bathrooms are perfect for showings. Make sure that you don’t neglect your garage when getting your home ready to sell.

A good-looking garage can be a great selling point. Has your garage become a greasy, junk-filled space that you don’t like to visit? If so, then buyers won’t want to see it either. Fortunately, it is easy to get your garage in top shape before your showings. Up the appeal of your garage with these easy tricks.

Get Rid Clutter

The first step to getting your garage in tip-top shape is to remove all of the clutter. The garage often becomes a storage place for random things. Purge everything that you don’t need. Getting rid of junk can help make moving easier and more comfortable, as well. Divide your stuff into piles: trash, donate and keep. Get rid of all garbage. Recycle broken items. You can give things that you don’t need anymore to Goodwill or another charity.

Organize

Buyers love organized homes, and this goes for the garage too. Organizing your garage can also help make your move easier. Install a pegboard on your wall. Pegboards are inexpensive, and they can make a garage look neat and clean. You can use ceiling space to hang items. Ceiling-mounted racks are easy to install and not too pricey. Buyers will appreciate the extra storage space as well.

Paint the Floor

Is your garage floor stained with rust or oil? A dirty garage floor can turn buyers off. You can brighten up your garage and make the concrete look brand new with a couple of coats of epoxy garage floor paint. It isn’t very costly or time-consuming to refinish your garage floor. This is a project that most people can do in a spare weekend.

Add Light

Most garages don’t have windows. As a result, they tend to be dark and dreary. The first step in adding light to your garage is to replace any light bulbs that aren’t working. If your garage still looks dark, consider installing additional lighting. You can replace your standard bulb with a multi-directional LED fixture if you only have one lighting fixture in your garage. These are kind of pricey but they don’t require expensive rewiring. They simply screw into your existing socket and offer about four times more lighting compared to a traditional 60-watt bulb.

It can be tedious work preparing to sell your home. One of the best things you can do to ease the transition between selling your old home and purchasing your new home is to make sure that you have your financing pre-approved. Contact your trusted mortgage professional to get the process underway!

Check Out This Great Next Gen Kitchen Technology

do-it-yourself-kitchen-remodeling-ideasThere’s perhaps no better indicator that we are living in the technology age than Smart gadgets infiltrating the kitchen. Whether they are little conveniences or big-ticket items, the chef in every home can benefit from the devices that help improve cooking, storage and food preparation. These are some of the next generation kitchen items that are making life a little easier and homes a tad more valuable.

Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge Provides Constant Contact

This big-ticket Samsung line has definitely taken refrigeration to the next level. It features a touchscreen that you can connect to with handheld devices to connect with your unit. One of the key features is that it enjoys an embedded camera and you can literally look at what is on your shelves while shopping for the evening meal. The days of being one ingredient short are over.

But beyond the shopping aid, the Family Hub lets you know when food is expiring, provides recipe suggestions, plays music and can utilize an Internet of Things method of ordering items for you. The Smart fridge has all the bells and whistles that can help improve your quality of life.

Smart Ovens Are Trending

Star Trek: Next Generation fans may recall Capt. Jean-Luc Picard ordering tea by simply saying “Earl Grey, hot.” The days of voice-activated meals may be closer than you think.

The latest lines of Smart ovens are integrating WiFi and connecting to recipe apps as well as that friendly home bot Alexa. Amazon reported that Alexa will be integrated into the kitchen and laundry room going forward. Several lines of Smart ovens on the market are already set up for tech-oriented homes. This Smart kitchen trend is likely to be popular with Millennial homebuyers who are flooding the real estate market.

Tech-Savvy Toaster Ovens Rule

The sometimes-forgotten toaster oven could be making a comeback in a huge way. Some of the new lines, such as Breville’s Smart Oven and Smart Oven Pro could double for a full-sized unit. Reviews on the brand tout the device’s ability to cook a 13-inch pizza or 14-pound turkey.

But the next generation aspect of these Smart ovens are things such as the “air fry” capabilities. It also features 13 pre-programmable cooking options including dehydrate. Those college dorm room days of crumb-filled toaster ovens heating up pre-cooked frozen foods are last generation.

Futuristic PancakeBot Amazes

Tech buffs often see 3-D printers as the device that could make the largest difference in terms of machinery and even ending hunger. The 3-D technology has been put to use making amazing and artistic pancakes of all shapes and sizes. You simply program it with a computer image to create the pancake design you desire, pour in the batter and serve.

The next generation of Smart kitchens are shifting the way home cooks function. In terms of property values, integrating Smart technologies appear to be highly sought after and can be a difference-maker in home sales.

If high-tech kitchen gadgets are on your list of must-haves, contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

3 Generations Top Housing Market Trends

best-maryland-mortgage-rates-300x236Historians like to say that those who do not learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them. In the real estate industry, the chances of that happening are slim because agents and other professionals follow market trends closely.

That being said, a careful examination of 2017 market trends and other factors can help highlight where the housing market is headed. Consider these top trends when deciding about whether to buy or sell a property.

Millennials Scooping Up Homes

According to resources such as Zillow, the low inventory and emergence of Millennials in the home-buying market helped break records last year. Millennials comprised upwards of 34 percent of the market and about two-thirds of them were reportedly first-time home buyers.

Given the shortage of entry-level homes for this demographic, 2018 and 2019 should have them in the driver’s seat in terms of buying trends. Although home prices are expected to rise in the single digits during the foreseeable future, the second wave of Millennial home buyers are likely to take a big bite of listed properties.

As this group moves into their mid-30s, expectations are that last year’s 34 percent turns into about 43 percent of homes purchased. Millennials appear to be setting the pace.

Gen Z Home Buyers Expect Smarter Homes

Consider those born between 1995 and 2001 are adults or on the cusp of becoming adults. The front end of Generation Z is graduating college and looking for starter homes. This group is bound and determined to be different and they were basically weaned on technology.

Tech-friendly kitchens, lights and home-integrated devices have been trending and this demographic is likely to make them a priority when buying a home. Homeowners who are considering updating to a so-called “Smart Home” could be rewarded with resale value once Gen Z enters their collective mid-30s. Smart homes are trending and could go vertical with Gen Z buyers.

Generation X Returns From Great Recession

The housing crisis of 2007-09 put upwards of 10 million Americans out of their homes. Forced into foreclosure and bankruptcy, the financial aftermath of that catastrophe is coming to an end.

Those that filed for bankruptcy during the crash are in position to put their rebuilt credit to work. According to reports, approximately 1.5 million people could become eligible to re-enter the housing market in 2019.

A large portion of these potential returning homebuyers fall into the Gen X age group. They are likely to be savvier than the first time out. Many of these 50-somethings are expected to be frugal and cautious value buyers that could target properties that are traditionally considered starter homes. Regardless of how the trend plays out, Gen X is coming to a housing market near you.

If these emerging trends indicate anything, it’s that the shortage of homes on the market will only get tighter. Several large emerging demographics and returning buyers are going to speed an already fast-selling market. The trending idea may be to buy a home in today’s market and save money.

Contact your trusted mortgage professional for a pre-approval and get started looking for the house of your dreams!