Archive for February, 2022

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 28, 2022

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 28th, 2022

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 28, 2022Last week’s economic reporting included readings on home prices from S&P Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency; data on pending home sales and sales of new homes were also released. The University of Michigan released its final February reading on consumer sentiment and weekly reports on average mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Price Growth Expected to Slow in 2022

December readings from S&P Case Shiller suggested a slowing pace of home price growth in 2022 but analysts said that home prices are not expected to decrease. Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index showed an 18.80 percent increase in home prices year-over-year. S&P Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index reported that Phoenix, Arizona held on to its first-place standing for home price growth with home prices increasing by 32.50 percent year-over-year. Tampa, Florida home prices rose by 29.40 percent, and the Miami, Florida metro area reported home price growth of 27.30 percent. Analysts expect that home prices will continue to rise, but not at the extreme pace seen in 2021.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees properties owned and financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported year-over-year home price growth of 17.60 percent as of December. Analysts said that January’s bad weather, rising mortgage rates, and continued impacts of  Covid-19 and its variants decreased sales of new homes by 9.30 percent in January. The National Association of Realtors® reported supplies of available homes were in the normal range with a 6.1-month supply of homes available. A six-month supply of available homes is considered an average inventory.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower average rates for fixed-rate mortgages as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by three basis points to 3.89 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped one basis point to an average of 3.14 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages were unchanged at 2.98 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

Initial jobless claims were lower last week with 232,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 249,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected 235,000 new jobless claims to be filed last week. 1.48 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.59 million continuing jobless claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reading includes data on construction spending, public and private sector jobs, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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Eliminate These 5 Barriers To Saving For Your Down Payment This Month!

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 25th, 2022

Saving Up: 5 Barriers to Saving Money That You Can Eliminate in Just One MonthWith all the expenses that go into monthly living and the temptations that come along with life, saving money for the down payment on your new home can be quite a struggle for many people. If you’re having a hard time saving and are wondering what you can do to ensure a higher bank balance next month, here are a few things that may pose a risk to getting the home of your dreams.

Forgetting To Take Lunch

One of the things most likely to defeat your bank balance is the daily office trip to the deli or diner. Instead of opting for an easy but expensive $10.00 lunch, take a few minutes at the end of each day to put together a sandwich or salad so you don’t have to spend extra funds on your lunch break.

Relying On Cable Television

With all the available options for streaming services, many people are switching out their packages for something a lot more economical. Cable can easily add up to $100.00 a month to your expenses, but a streaming service may only be a fraction of the cost and will provide savings you’ll soon notice.

Splurging On Morning Coffee

Grabbing the familiar cup of joe on the way to the office is certainly a way to ease yourself into the day, but one coffee can add up to a huge expense by the end of the month. If this is a vice you crave, try taking your own coffee to work and opt for a treat once a week if you really can’t resist.

Impulse Buys At The Grocery Store

Food certainly counts as a necessity, but there are many things that end up in the grocery cart at the end of a shopping trip that aren’t really staple items. If your cart is filling up with chips and chocolate, you might want to stick to your list or review your cart before the final purchase.

Avoiding Your Budget

Unless you’re taking to a spreadsheet to balance out your expenses and earnings, you may not see any significant savings at the end of each month. Budgeting will give you a better idea of what you can and can’t afford consistently, so make sure you’re writing everything down.

The idea of cutting back on spending is rarely a popular one, but there are things you can do every day that will make for a better bank balance at the end of the month. If you’re looking for more tips on buying your own home, contact your trusted mortgage professional today!

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S&P Case-Shiller Indices: December Home Price Growth Hits Record High

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 24th, 2022

 S&P Case-Shiller Indices: December Home Price Growth Hits Record HighWhile U.S. home prices grew at record speed in December, rising mortgage rates threatened rapid price appreciation as buyers were sidelined by affordability concerns. S&P Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index reported 18.80 percent year-over-year home price growth in December.

The 20-City Home Price Index posted a year-over-year gain of 18.60 percent as compared to November’s year-over-year home price gain of 18.30 percent. Home prices rose by 1.50 percent from November to December 2020. Phoenix, Arizona held on to first place in the 20-City Index with year-over-year home price growth of 32.50 percent; Tampa, Florida held second place with 29.40 percent year-over-year home price growth. The Miami, Florida metro area held third place with year-over-year home price growth of 27.30 percent.

Rising Mortgage Rates Impact Affordability for Prospective Homebuyers

Analysts predicted slowing home price growth as mortgage rates rise and affordability issues impact prospective home buyers. Danielle Hale, a chief economist at Realtor.com, said: “Home prices continued to surpass expectations in December, but a marked change may be ahead for growth as rising mortgage rates eat into buyers’ purchasing power.”

Ms. Hale described a trend that could signal slower home price growth. “While typical asking prices continue to accelerate, the pace of median sales price growth has slowed, signaling a potential gap between what buyers are willing and able to pay and what sellers are hoping to receive.”

The quarterly report issued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency supported trends evident in the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Prices for homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose by 17.50 percent year-over-year in December. The FHFA reported the strongest home price growth in Arizona, Utah, and Idaho during the fourth quarter of 2021.

The strongest state housing markets for  FHFA were Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, while the weakest housing markets were in Washington, DC, Louisiana, and North Dakota. Homebuyers continued to seek homes in less congested suburban and rural areas due to rising home prices. This trend originally started as Covid-19 outbreaks and work-from-home opportunities prompted city dwellers to relocate to areas less affected by the virus.

Analysts recognized that rising home prices sidelined moderate-income and first-time homebuyers, but did not expect home prices to fall in the coming months.

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Which Home Equity Loan Is The Best Option?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 23rd, 2022

Which Home Equity Loan Is The Best Option?There are a number of significant advantages that come with homeownership, and one of the biggest advantages is the ability to take out a home equity loan. As homeowners pay off the mortgage, the amount of equity in the house increases. Homeowners can borrow against the equity in their house to fund other projects. For example, homeowners could borrow against home equity to complete a home renovation, pay medical expenses, or pay down student loans. The most common home equity loans include cash-out refinances, a traditional home equity loan, and a home equity line of credit. Which is the best option? 

A Cash-Out Refinance

The first option is called a cash-out refinance. Essentially, homeowners are taking out a loan for an amount that is greater than the current mortgage. Then, homeowners will keep the difference in the two loan values for their personal use. Homeowners essentially refinance the existing mortgage and extract additional equity. There is only one mortgage payment, and any interest on the new loan is tax-deductible. 

A Home Equity Loan

The next option is a traditional home equity loan. Homeowners borrow against the existing equity in the home, and homeowners create a second mortgage. There is a fixed interest rate on the second mortgage, and homeowners receive the money as a lump sum. It is not unusual for the interest rate on the second mortgage to be higher than the first mortgage.  Then, they have to pay off the second mortgage just like the first mortgage. 

A HELOC

Homeowners who are okay receiving the funds over time might be interested in a home equity line of credit, also known as a HELOC. The initial interest rate on a HELOC is often lower than the mortgage, but it can vary with time. Payments are often lower because homeowners only owe money if they actually use the line of credit. Interest is only charged on the outstanding balance.

Choose The Right Option

Homeowners need to understand the differences between these home equity loans to choose the best option for them. Some of them provide lump sums, some create multiple monthly payments, and some have more flexible payment terms. The features of each loan must be compared to the needs of the individual homeowner.

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 22, 2022

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 22nd, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - February 22,  2022

Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets, reports on sales of previously owned homes, housing starts, and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Rising Materials Costs, Supply Chain Problems Weigh on Builders

The National Association of Home Builders’ February housing market index reading was 82 and one point lower than in January. This was the second consecutive month that builder confidence dropped by one point. Homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions remained relatively high as any index reading over 50 indicates that most builders are confident about market conditions.

Short supplies of available homes and high demand combined to hold builder confidence steady, but growing concerns over rising materials costs, delivery delays, and labor shortages put downward pressure on builder confidence. NAHB chair Jerry Konter wrote, “Many builders are waiting months to receive cabinets, garage doors, countertops, and appliances. These delivery delays are raising construction costs and pricing prospective buyers out of the market.” Rising mortgage rates coupled with rising home prices were regarded by homebuilders as threats to affordability for moderate-income and first-time home buyers. 

Building Permits Increase as Housing Starts Decline

The Commerce Department reported that building permits issued exceeded expectations and the prior month’s reading. 1.90 million building permits were issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in January as compared to the expected reading of 1.75 million permits issued and December’s reading of 1.89 million permits issued.

January housing starts decreased to 1.64 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis from December’s reading of 1.71 million starts and the expected reading of 1.69 million housing starts. Economists expect a slowdown in home building as shortages of available homes, rising home prices, and mortgage rates continue to impact affordability.

January sales of previously-owned homes rose to 6.50 million sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis from December’s reading of 6.09 million sales. Analysts predicted a reading of 6.10 million sales.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 23 basis points to 3.92 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.15 percent and were 22 basis points higher. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 18 basis points to 2.98 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 248,000 claims filed; analysts expected 218,000 new claims to be filed based on 225,000 initial jobless claims filed in the prior week. 1.59 million ongoing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.62 million continuing jobless claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the Federal Housing Finance Agency Home Price Index, data on new home sales, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index.

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How Safe is Your Home from a Fire? Learn How to Run a Quick Fire Safety Assessment

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 18th, 2022

How Safe is Your Home from a Fire? Learn How to Run a Quick Fire Safety Assessment A fire can rage through your home at a moment’s notice, and it can cause a significant amount of damage in a very short period of time. Damage from the flames, intense heat, smoke and soot can cause tens of thousands of dollars or more in some cases, and a severe fire event can result in a total loss for the homeowner. More than that, a fire can create a serious health and safety risk for you and your loved ones inside the home. If you are concerned about how safe your home is from a fire, consider a few important points.

Do You Have Fire Extinguishers On All Floors?

When a small fire breaks out, you may only have a few seconds to respond. You simply do not have time to rush around the house in search of a fire extinguisher. Instead, you should know immediately where it is at and how to use it. More than that, you should have one available on all floors of your home. While you may want to reach for a fire extinguisher to put out a small flame, you should still yell for others in the home to vacate while you use the fire extinguisher.

Do You Have Smoke Alarms in Ideal Locations?

Fires can break out during all hours of the day and night. When you are awake, you may easily be able to smell smoke from a nearby room. However, when you are asleep or when the smoke is in a removed area of the home, it can be more difficult to observe the signs of a fire until it is too late. Placing a loud smoke alarm in all bedrooms in your home is a wise idea. You will also need one in living areas of the home. If your home is larger in size, you may consider investing in additional smoke alarms.

When Was the Last Time You Replaced the Batteries in Your Smoke Detectors?

It is not enough to simply have the smoke detectors mounted to your walls or ceiling. Instead, you need to make sure that they are loud and that they work well. If you have a hearing impaired person in the home, you should invest in detectors with a visible strobe light to alert them to a danger. Batteries generally should be replaced every few months, and you may consider replacing the batteries each time you replace the filters for your HVAC system. Keep in mind that it is better to replace the batteries before they lose power than to be without the function of an alarm in your home when you need it.

Even a small fire can be a dangerous and costly event. By focusing on these factors in your home, you can most easily prepare for a fire, and you will be able to take immediate action in the event a fire develops in your home.

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How To Deal With An Appraisal Gap

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 17th, 2022

	Three Tips To Get The Best Financing On Your Second Home PurchaseThe vast majority of people will need to go through a mortgage lender when purchasing a home. One of the last steps in the purchase process is the home appraisal. The lender wants to make sure they are not lending more money than the house is worth. If the appraisal value comes in above what the buyer is paying, then the buyer is happy because they might be getting a great deal. On the other hand, if the appraisal comes in below what the buyer is paying, this can be frustrating. What is the appraisal gap, and how does it work? 

Buyers Might Be Asked To Bring More Cash Or Pay PMI

In many situations, buyers will be asked to pay PMI if they are not putting 20 percent down. For example, if someone is buying a $250,000 house, they might be asked to put down $50,000 to avoid dealing with PMI.

Ultimately, if the lender is financing more than 80 percent of the loan’s value, PMI might be required. In the example above, if the house only appraises for $200,000, then the lender will only finance $160,000 before asking for PMI. Therefore, to get the lender down to $160,000, the buyer would have to bring another $40,000 to the closing table (for a total of $90,000 down) to avoid paying PMI. 

If the buyer is not willing to pay PMI or close the gap, the sale could fall through, leading to other ramifications.

Get An Accurate Valuation Before Making An Offer On A House

If there is an appraisal gap, it can be frustrating for a buyer who is asked to bring more cash to the table. Furthermore, if the sale falls through, the buyer could lose his or her earnest money. Depending on the market, earnest money could be tens of thousands of dollars. That is why it is important to get an accurate valuation of the house before making an offer. No matter how beautiful the house might seem, it is important not to overpay, as it increases the chances of dealing with an appraisal gap. If there is an appraisal gap, buyers need to carefully evaluate their options before they decide how to proceed. 

 

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What To Know About Airbnb As An Investment Strategy: Pros And Cons

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 16th, 2022

What To Know About Airbnb As An Investment Strategy: Pros And ConsMany people rely on Airbnb to go on vacation because this website often makes booking easier, affords more flexibility, and is frequently cheaper when compared to a hotel. Therefore, some real estate investors rely on Airbnb as an investment strategy. At the same time, this is not necessarily the best option for everyone. What do people need to know about using Airbnb as a real estate investment strategy? 

The Pros Of Using Airbnb

If the property is in a great location, it is possible to make more money using an Airbnb rental strategy. On a per-night basis, Airbnb usually leads to more income when compared to a long-term renter. For example, a property in an attractive location could earn hundreds of dollars on a single weekend, while a long-term renter might only pay a thousand dollars for the whole month. Therefore, if an Airbnb property is booked solid for a whole month, the income would be higher.

Furthermore, Airbnb leads to a more diversified portfolio of tenants. Airbnb properties collect money from a variety of renters on a regular basis, so having one cancellation will not necessarily lead to a serious financial situation.

The Cons Of Using Airbnb 

There are a few drawbacks to using Airbnb as well. Income can vary significantly depending on the season, as people may want to vacation more during the summer than in the winter (or vice versa). In addition, overhead expenses might be higher. To make the property more attractive, owners might have to purchase nice furniture, pay the utility bills on the property, and give a portion of the rental income to Airbnb. 

Think Carefully About Using Airbnb As An Investment Strategy

These are just a few of the most important points people need to keep in mind regarding Airbnb as a real estate investment strategy. Even though there is the potential to generate more income, it also leads to greater variability on a month-to-month basis. Furthermore, the potential to use Airbnb as a real estate investment strategy will depend on the location of the property. It is important for everyone to think carefully about the benefits and drawbacks of Airbnb before deciding if this is right for them. 

 

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Increase Your Home’s Value By Handling Minor Repairs

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 15th, 2022

Increase Your Home's Value By Handling Minor RepairsA house is an investment, and it is important to treat it as such. Homeowners must capitalize on the value of their homes when they go to sell them. One of the best ways to do so is to handle minor repairs before listing the house. Minor repairs do not take that long, so homeowners don’t have to worry about delaying their timeline. Furthermore, they are not that expensive to fix, but they can have a significant impact on the value of the home. Why is this the case?

Repair Broken Items in Rooms

Even though broken items in certain rooms might not be a big deal, they can send the wrong message to a prospective buyer. For example, if there is a door that doesn’t latch well, try to repair it. If there is a drawer that doesn’t close properly, fix this issue. If homeowners see that there are no broken items, they will immediately realize the house has been well taken care of.

Ger Rid of Annoying Noises 

Annoying noises can be incredibly distracting as someone walks through a house in which they might be interested. If there are creaky stairs, try to figure out where this is coming from. If the ceiling fan rattles, try to tighten it. Annoying noises can detract from the value of the house by distracting potential buyers. 

Fix Any Leaks in the Home

Small drips and leagues can have a significant impact on the value of a home. If someone believes they are a sign of bigger plumbing issues, they might not make an offer. Inspect all faucets, toilets, and outdoor spigots to make sure they work properly. If anything is dripping, try to fix it before listing the house. 

Maximize the Home’s Value

Ultimately, the biggest reason why minor repairs can make a big difference is that they can drive up the amount of money someone is willing to pay for a home. A lot of people steer away from houses that require repairs because they don’t know if something more serious is lurking underneath. When homeowners address minor repairs, they increase their chances of making a positive first impression on a buyer. This can make the difference between someone walking away and someone making an offer. 

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 14, 2022

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 14th, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - February 14, 2022Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation and the University of Michigan’s preliminary February reporting on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Rises as Fed Considers Raising Key Rate

The government’s Consumer Price Index for January reported that month-to-month inflation rose by 0.60 percent as compared to an expected increase of 0.40 percent which was based on December’s month-to-month increase of 0.50 percent.  Year-over-year inflation rose to a rate of 7.50 percent, which was the highest inflation rate in 40 years. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, also rose 0.60 percent in January from December’s reading of 5.50 percent.

Analysts said that the Federal Reserve will likely raise its key federal funds rate range to help slow inflation, but drastic dips in the inflation rate aren’t expected. While the Fed predicted inflation to ease in a statement made last December, inflation has only increased. The Fed’s strategy of raising interest rates would ease high consumer demand and help slow rapidly rising prices for housing, goods, and services.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims and Consumer Sentiment Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 14 basis points to 3.69 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 16 basis points to 2.93 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.80 percent and nine basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for  5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

223,000 new jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 239,000 first-time claims filed. No information for continuing jobless claims was released last week.

The University of Michigan reported a preliminary index reading of 61.7 for January’s Consumer Sentiment Index. This was the lowest consumer sentiment reading in ten years and was attributed to consumer concerns over rising inflation.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, Commerce Department readings on building permits issued, and housing starts. Data on sales of pre-owned homes will be released along with weekly reporting on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

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