South Orange County Blog from Bob Phillips

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 19, 2011

Posted in mortgage rates by southorangecounty on September 19, 2011

FOMC meets September 20-21Mortgage bonds worsened last week as Eurozone default fears eased abroad, and expectations for a domestic stimulus increased. 

Mortgage rates rose for the first time in three weeks last week, pushing conforming and FHA mortgage rates in California off their all-time, historical lows. Rates were at their lowest Tuesday morning, then rose through Friday’s afternoon closing. 

Markets open this week with an eye toward the world’s central banks.

In the Eurozone, central bankers (continue to) discuss the debt burdens of Greece and whether a coordinated intervention is necessary. Without it, some economists believe that the nation-state will default on its sovereign debt, which would then create additional financial stress within other nations in the region.

Italy is included among those countries.

In the United States, central bankers are making equally-important choices. 

The Federal Open Market Committee will emerge from a 2-day meeting Wednesday and is expected to announce new stimulus for the U.S. economy.

Since 2009, the Federal Reserve has twice stimulated the economy via an open-market, bond buying initiative. The programs created demand for mortgage bonds which, in turn, lowered mortgage rates for U.S. homeowners. If the Fed chooses this path a third time, expect for mortgage rates to fall in Trabuco Canyon.

If the Fed’s sponsored stimulus is something else, however — or if the Fed choose to do nothing — mortgage rates may rise.

There is economic data due this week, including the Existing Home Sales and Housing Starts report, but it will be the world’s central bankers that sit in spotlights. 

Expect volatile mortgage rates this week. Wall Street can only guess what governments will do to stimulate their respective economies and can lead to wild swings in pricing. The “safe play” is to lock a rate while we’re still near all-time lows.

Once rates reverse higher, they’re expected to rise quickly.

Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 19, 2011

Choosing A 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Over A 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

Posted in mortgage rates by southorangecounty on September 16, 2011

Comparing 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 15-year fixed rate mortgages

It’s not just 30-year fixed rate mortgages that are posting all-time lows these days. The 15-year mortgage has been plunging, too.

If you’ve ever considered a 15-year loan term, it’s a terrific time to talk to your lender. According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey of roughly 125 U.S. lenders, at 3.30 percent, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage is at its lowest point in history.

The 3.30% rate doesn’t come for free, however. Based on average loan term nationwide, borrowers in California choosing to “go 15” should expect to pay 0.6 discount points at closing. 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

With low rates, 15-year fixed rate mortgage can be enticing; a primary benefit is the huge reduction in the long-term interest costs of your loan. The downside, though, is that monthly mortgage payments can be relatively large.

At today’s mortgage rates, a 15-year fixed rate loan carries a principal + interest payment of $705.10 per $100,000 borrowed — a 46% increase over a comparable 30-year fixed rate loan. If you can manage the bigger payments, though, you’ll reap $47,000 in interest payments savings per $100,000 borrowed in paying off your loan in full.

$47,000 per $100,000 borrowed is a huge amount of savings and those saved monies can be used to fund items such as college, home improvement, and retirement, among others.

That said, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage is not for everyone.

Because it comes with higher monthly payments, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage may add financial stress to your household budget. And, once you have committed to a 15-year loan term and its payments, you’re can’t “go back”. Your lender won’t revert your loan to a 30-year schedule without a refinance, and a refinance could be costly.

Comments Off on Choosing A 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Over A 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

Annual Foreclosure Filings Down For 11th Straight Month

Posted in Housing Analysis by southorangecounty on September 15, 2011

Foreclosure Change August 2010-2011

On an annual basis, foreclosure filings fell last month. As compared to August 2010, last month’s foreclosure filings dropped 33 percent. “Foreclosure filing” is a catch-all term, comprising default notices; scheduled auctions; and bank repossessions.

The study was published by foreclosure-tracking firm RealtyTrac and this month’s report reveals a slowing rate of foreclosure within each of the Top 10 most foreclosure-heavy states.

All news is not good, however. 

On a monthly basis, foreclosure filings spiked, led by a surge in default notices. Default notices made their biggest one-month jump since August 2007 on the way to a 9-month high last month. Default notices are the first step in the foreclosure process so this jump may foreshadow a large number of bank repossessions as foreclosures “make their way through the process“.

It’s also noteworthy that just 6 states housed half of the nation’s bank repossessions last month.

  • California : 18 percent of bank repossessions
  • Florida : 8 percent of bank repossessions
  • Georgia : 7 percent of bank repossessions
  • Michigan : 6 percent of bank repossessions
  • Texas : 6 percent of bank repossessions
  • Arizona : 6 percent of bank repossessions

As a home buyer in Coto de Caza , foreclosures can save you money. The National Association of REALTORS® reports that distressed homes sell with typical discounts of 20 percent versus comparable, non-distressed homes. However, buying a home from a bank is a different process from buying a home from a “person”. Contract negotiations are different and it can take months to finally close on a foreclosed home.

If you’re buying a foreclosed, therefore, enlist the help of a professional real estate agent. Real estate agents can help you navigate the sometimes-complicated world of foreclosures, and help you come out ahead.

Comments Off on Annual Foreclosure Filings Down For 11th Straight Month

Capitalize On Low Interest Rates In Overlooked Places

Posted in Personal Finance by southorangecounty on September 14, 2011

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

It’s no secret. Rates are low right now. And, it’s not just mortgage rates, either — all types of rates are scraping rock-bottom. Borrowing rates, lending rates and savings rates are at or near their all-time lowest levels.

As a homeowner in Coto de Caza , one way to take capitalize on today’s low rates is to apply to refinance your home. But there are other ways to take advantage, too.

In this 5-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn of a half-dozen ways to exploit the current rate environment, including:

  • Refinance a car loan from a high rate to a low rate, for cheap, in an hour
  • Balance transfers between credit cards with teaser rates lasting up to 20 months
  • Move some savings to an “online” bank where savings rates are higher

The interview’s theme is to examine both where you’re spending and saving your money, and make sure you’re doing what’s best for your budget.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has pledged to hold the Fed Funds Rate near 0.000% until at least 2013. So long as the Fed Funds Rate is low, there will be places you can save.

Comments Off on Capitalize On Low Interest Rates In Overlooked Places

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Starting To Adjust Higher

Posted in mortgage rates by southorangecounty on September 13, 2011

ARM adjustments creeping higher

For the first time in a year, homeowners with adjusting mortgages are facing rising mortgage rates. The interest rate by which many adjustable-rate mortgages adjust has climbed to its highest level since September 2010, and looks poised to reach higher.

This is because of the formula by which adjustable-rate mortgage adjust.

Each year, when due for a reset, an adjustable-rate mortgage’s rate changes to the sum of fixed number known as a “margin”, and a variable figure known as an “index”. For conforming mortgages, the margin is typically set to 2.250 percent; the index is often equal to the 12-month LIBOR.

LIBOR stands for the London Interbank Offered Rate. It’s a rate at which banks lend to each other overnight.

Expressed as a math formula, the adjusting ARM formula reads :

(New Mortgage Rate) = (2.250 percent) + (Current 1-Year LIBOR)

LIBOR has been rising lately, which explains why ARMs are adjusting higher as compared to earlier this year. There has been considerable stress on the financial sector and LIBOR reflects the uncertainty that bankers feel for the sector. 

LIBOR last spiked after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 amid global financial fears. Analysts expect LIBOR to rise into 2012 because of bubbling concerns in the Eurozone.

Despite LIBOR’s rise, though, most adjusting, conforming ARMs are still resetting near 3 percent. For this reason, homeowners with ARMs in California may want to consider letting their respective loans adjust with the market.

This is because an adjusting mortgage rate near 3 percent may be better than what’s available with a “fresh loan” — even as 5-year ARMs rates make new all-time lows. Unlike a straight refinance to lower rates, an adjusting loan requires no closing costs, requires no appraisal, and requires no verifications.

So, if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage that’s set to reset this season, don’t rush to refinance it. Talk to your lender and uncover your options. Your best course of action may be to stay the course.

Comments Off on Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Starting To Adjust Higher

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 12, 2011

Posted in mortgage rates by southorangecounty on September 12, 2011

Eurozone trouble aids mortgage ratesMortgage markets improved last week as a weakening Eurozone and questions about the U.S. economy sparked a global flight-to-quality. Conforming and FHA mortgage rates improved for the second week in a row.

The storylines should sound familiar by now. They are the same ones that have dictated the path of mortgage rates since April 2011. As a result, according to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates across California and nationwide are now at an all-time low.

Not in 50 years of tracking mortgage rates has pricing been so favorable.

Last week’s holiday-shortened week didn’t begin well for rate shoppers in Trabuco Canyon. Rates moved higher on the expectation of additional economic stimulus from two separate parts of the government — the Federal Reserve and Congress. 

Wall Street held high hopes for Ben Bernanke’s address to the Economic Club of Minnesota, and for the President’s address to a joint session of Congress. It expected Fed Chief Bernanke to reveal clues about the Fed’s next move; and it expected the President to unleash a massive jobs creation program that would put more Americans to work.

Both outcomes would have harmed mortgage rates as money flowed into stocks. However, neither happened. Bernanke kept mum on the Federal Reserve’s options and the White House announced a jobs program smaller in scope than was expected.

Mortgage rates fell throughout the day Thursday then received a big boost Friday.

Amid rumors of a pending Greek default and the potential credit downgrades of several Eurozone banking groups, safe haven buying picked up and drove mortgage rates down.

Markets open this week with rates lower than they’ve ever been in history.

There isn’t much new data set for release this week so market expectations will continue to set the direction in which mortgage rates go. If concerns for a Eurozone default rise, mortgage rates should fall. Conversely, if Eurozone chatter settles, mortgage rates should rise.

For now, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows and should not be taken for granted. If you see a rate that makes sense for you, consider locking it in.

Tagged with: , ,

Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 12, 2011

Home Affordability Still Tops Nationwide

Posted in Housing Analysis by southorangecounty on September 9, 2011

Home Opportunity inde 2005-2011Home affordability slipped slightly last quarter, dragged down by rising mortgage rates and recovering home prices in California and nationwide.

The National Association of Home Builders reports a Q2 2011 Home Opportunity Index reading of 72.6. This means that nearly 3 of 4 homes sold last quarter were affordable to households earning the national median income of $64,200.

Q2 2011 marks the 10th straight quarter — dating back to 2009 — in which the index surpassed 70.

Prior to 2009, the index had never crossed 70 even one time.

However, we must remember that the Home Affordability Index is a national survey. From region-to-region, and town-to-town, home affordability varied.

In the Midwest, for example, affordability was highest. 14 of the 15 most affordable markets nationwide were spread throughout Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. Only Syracuse (#9) cracked the list from other regions. 

The top 5 most affordable cities in Q2 2011 were:

  1. Kokomo, IN (95.8%)
  2. Wheeling, WV (94.7%)
  3. Lansing, MI; East Lansing, MI (94.4%)
  4. Bay City, MI (94.3%)
  5. Youngstown, OH; Warren, OH; Boardman, OH (93.7%)

By contrast, the Northeast Region and Southern California ranked as the least affordable markets. Led by the New York-White Plains, NY-Wayne, NJ area, 7 of the 10 least affordable areas were in New York, New Jersey, and California. For the 13th consecutive quarter the New York metro area was ranked “Least Affordable”.

Just 25.2 percent of homes were affordable to households earning the area median income there.

The rankings for all 225 metro areas are available for download on the NAHB website.

Comments Off on Home Affordability Still Tops Nationwide

After A Pause, Mortgage Guidelines Resume Tightening

Posted in Mortgage Guidelines by southorangecounty on September 8, 2011

Mortgage guidelines tighteningMortgage guidelines appear to be tightening with the nation’s largest banks.

In its quarterly survey to senior loan officers nationwide, the Federal Reserve uncovered that a small, but growing, portion of its member banks is making mortgage approvals more scarce for “prime” borrowers.

A prime borrower is described as one with a well-documented payment history, high credit scores, and a low monthly debt-to-income ratio.

Of the 53 responding “big banks”, 3 reported that mortgage guidelines “tightened somewhat” last quarter. This is a tick higher as compared to prior quarters in which only 2 banks did.

46 banks reported guidelines unchanged from Q1 2011.

When mortgage guidelines tighten, it adds new hurdles for would-be home buyers in Trabuco Canyon. Tighter lending standards means fewer approvals, and that can retard home sales across a region.

Just don’t confuse “tighter standards” with “oppressive standards”.

While it is more difficult to get approved for a purchase home loan in 2011 as compared to 2006, the same basic rules apply:

  • Show that you have a history of paying your bills on time
  • Show that your income is sufficient to cover your obligations
  • Show that you can make a downpayment

And the good news is that, once approved, you’ll benefit from some of lowest mortgage rates in history.

Last week, the average 30-year fixed mortgage was below 4.250% for buyers willing to pay points, and the average 5-year ARM was below 3.000%. The 15-year fixed rate loan was similarly low.

For as long as delinquency rates remain high, expect mortgage guidelines to continue to tighten through the rest of 2011 and into 2012. Therefore, if you’re a “fringe” borrower looking at a purchase in the fall or winter season, consider moving up your time frame. Changing guidelines may render you ineligible for a mortgage.

Comments Off on After A Pause, Mortgage Guidelines Resume Tightening

As Jobs Tally Fades, Mortgage Rates Fall

Posted in The Economy by southorangecounty on September 7, 2011

Net new jobs, rolling average

The U.S. economy is no longer adding new jobs.

Last Friday, in its monthly Non-Farm Payrolls report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added exactly zero new jobs in August as the national Unemployment Rate held steady at 9.1 percent.

Despite the “zero” reading, the jobs figures were in the red. This is because the BLS issued revisions to its June and July figures that adjusted the two months of data down by 58,000 jobs.

Economists had expected a monthly reading of +75,000. Their estimates missed.

The weaker-than-expected jobs data fueled a stock market sell-off that pushed stocks down 2.5% and spurred a bond market rally. 

Mortgage bonds — the securities on which mortgage rates in Rancho Santa Margarita are based — improved Friday ahead of Labor Day Weekend, and carried that momentum into Monday. While the U.S. markets were closed, global investors snapped up “safe” assets in fear of a second wave of financial crises. Already this year, markets have grappled with sovereign debt concerns in Greece and Portugal.

Now, Italy is facing similar international scrutiny, forcing markets to question the health of the Eurozone.

Concerns like these tend to benefit home buyers and mortgage rate shoppers and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.

Mortgage rates are falling this week. Rates may reverse quickly, however.

Later this month, the Federal Reserve and White House are each expected to add stimulus to the U.S. economy. If they do, it may push investors back into risky assets including equities at the expense of safe securities. This would spark a bond market sell-off and send rates higher.

Possibly by a lot.

Therefore, if you’re currently looking for home or comparing rates between lenders, consider executing sooner rather than later. Mortgage rates are low today, but low rates may not last. And when rates reverse higher, it will likely happen fast.

Comments Off on As Jobs Tally Fades, Mortgage Rates Fall

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 6, 2011

Posted in mortgage rates by southorangecounty on September 6, 2011

Eurozone debt concerns resurfaceMortgage markets improved last week on a weak jobs report, expectation for new market stimulus, growing evidence of a global economic slowdown. Rates were especially volatile, too, with the long Labor Day Weekend looming.

Overall, conforming mortgage rates in California improved for the first time in 3 weeks. On a product-by-product basis, though, mortgage rates are faring differently.

According to the Freddie Mac weekly mortgage rate survey, last week, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged but the 15-year fixed rate mortgage and the 5-year ARM fell.

The 5-year ARM is at a new all-time low for qualified borrowers.

A drop in 5-year ARM rates throughout Trabuco Canyon without a corresponding drop in 30-year fixed mortgage rates signals that markets expect the economy to stabilize over the long-term but with weakness in the near-term. The 5-year ARM’s ultra-low rates suggests marked weakness ahead.

The 5-year ARM may get another boost this week, too.

While U.S. markets were closed for Labor Day, Eurozone nations were hit with new wave of sovereign debt concern, this time centered on Italy. Greece, Portugal and Ireland have already been the subject of debt default debate this year. Italy’s inclusion hit equity market hard and safe-haven buying re-commenced.

This should give a good start to mortgage rates this week. Look for rates to start lower. That’s not to say, however, that they’ll finish the week lower. With very little economic data due for release, markets will move on momentum and momentum can change in a flash.

The two biggest potential market movers both come Thursday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks in Minnesota at 1:00 PM, and United States President Barack Obama addresses the nation at 7:00 PM. Both speeches are highly anticipated and should cause markets to move.

Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 6, 2011

%d bloggers like this: