Fannie Mae

Will Higher Interest Rates Kill HOME SALES?


Sotheby’s Realty Newton, MA.  Top 20 Agents Network

 

Will Higher Interest Rates Kill HOME SALES?

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 02:00 AM EST

Will Higher Interest Rates Kill HOME SALES? | Keeping Current Matters

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are each projecting mortgage interest rates to increase substantially over the next twelve months. What will that mean to the housing market in 2015? Last week, we posted a graph showing that home prices appreciated each of the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased. Today, we want to talk about the impact higher rates might have on the number of home sales. The reason many experts are calling for a rise in rates is because they see a stabilizing economy. With the economy beginning to improve, they expect the employment situation to regain some ground lost during the recession, incomes to grow and for consumer confidence to improve.

What will that mean to home sales next year?

In its November 2014 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac explains:

“While higher interest rates generally detract from housing activity, when they occur with strong job and income growth the net result can be increases in household formations, construction, and home sales. Our view for 2015 is exactly that, namely, income and job growth offset the negative effect of higher interest rates and translate into gains for the nation’s housing market.”

Bottom Line

Even with mortgage rates increasing, home sales and home appreciation should be just fine in 2015.


Boston as a Retirement Mecca?


Boston as a retirement mecca?

Non-Traditional “Retirement” Metros Becoming Meccas for Older Adults Who Want to Age in Place

Non-Traditional “Retirement” Metros Becoming Meccas for Older Adults Who Want to Age in Place | Keeping Current Matters

It’s probably only natural for real estate agents to assume that most boomers or retirees bent on moving to a new city to enjoy their golden years will be on the trail to Florida, Arizona, or some other state blessed with warmth and plenty of sunshine. And those states are probably the ones best situated to offer plenty of age-in-place benefits, right?

Nope.

When a boomer or senior who’s open-minded about where they wish to move and retire searches Google for the best cities to age in place or best cities to retire, they finds some spots that are a bit out of the norm, but quite intriguing nonetheless.

Places like Sioux Falls, SD; Provo, UT; Iowa City, IA; Bismarck, ND; Columbia, MO; Omaha, NE; Madison, WI; and Boston, MA top the list.

As adults 55+ begin to contemplate their future and plan for a possible move, they are hearing more and more about the importance of preparing to age-in-place. They already know they hope to live in their own home, independently, for as long as possible. And the cities listed above – plus many other non-traditional retirement options – are receiving plenty of attention as go-to spots for their aging-in-place benefits in the form of quality healthcare, accessible transportation, government initiatives in building the city as senior-friendly, and a number of other indexes.

The Milken Institute, a non-partisan think tank, compiled a list in 2012 of the 259 Best Cities to Age Successfully. Another ranking is due later this summer of 2014. It divided the rankings into “Large Metros” and ‘Small Metros,” with Provo, Utah topping the Large City list and Sioux Falls the Small City rankings.

Others in the Top 10 of Large Cities to Age Successfully include Pittsburgh, Toledo, Des Moines, Salt Lake City, and Washington D.C.

Others in the Top 10 of Small Cities to Age Successfully include Rochester, MN, Ann Arbor, MI, Missoula, MT, Durham-Chapel Hill, NC, and Gainesville, FL.

See the entire list here and learn more about the Milken Institute’s approach to promoting aging-in-place awareness: http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa.html

Frankly, if I were a real estate agent or broker in any of these top cities (and even many further down the list), I’d be going full-bore to make sure I was positioned to capture as much of this older adult segment in my town as possible. Yes, older adults will purposefully be moving to my city and I should be the one to serve them and find a stellar house for them to buy.

 

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5 REASONS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER SELLING YOUR HOUSE NOW!


NEWTON AND BROOKLINE HAVE BELOW AVERAGE INVENTORY…..and….

If you plan on moving anytime in 2011, you should strongly consider selling your house now rather than waiting. Here are five reasons why:

1.) This is when your house will get the most exposure

The spring, and particularly the month of May, is when most buyers enter the real estate market. This surge of buyers dramatically increases the exposure for your house . The best chance of getting quality offers (perhaps even multiple offers) is RIGHT NOW!

2.) Foreclosures and short sales will increase in about 90 days

The good news is that the number of people paying their mortgage on time is increasing. This will lead to less distressed property sales later this year and throughout 2012. The not-so-good news is that there is still a large inventory of existing foreclosures and short sales that will still be coming to market.

As an example, LPS reported in their latest Mortgage Monitor that:

  • There are still twice as many loans going 90+ days delinquent as are starting foreclosure
  • There are almost three times the number of foreclosure starts as there are foreclosure sales
  • Distressed property inventory levels are almost 45 times the rate of monthly foreclosure sales

This means that there is a backlog of properties which will start coming to the market in about 90 days as banks clear up their paperwork challenges. These properties sell at dramatic discounts. They will be your competition. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recently discussed the magnitude of this challenge.

3.) Interest rates have risen over the last six months

Interest rates have stabilized recently. However, in the last six months, interest rates have climbed over 1/2%. Every time the rates increase 1/4%, approximately 250,000 buyers are eliminated from qualifying for a mortgage. In an environment of volatile rates, waiting could mean that there will be fewer buyers eligible to purchase your house. It also could mean that you will pay a higher rate on the next home you buy.

4.) Qualifying for a mortgage is about to get even more difficult

Besides increasing rates, there are other factors that will hinder a buyer’s ability to qualify for a mortgage as we move forward. Lending standards have been getting tighter over the last year. And as the government debates the new proposed guidelines (QRM), banks are gearing up for even more stringent standards.

Morgan Stanley recently stated:

“Recent developments in issues such as GSE reform, Dodd-Frank securitization rules, and foreclosure settlement issues suggest a tighter and more expensive environment for mortgage credit.” 

This may impact any potential purchaser for your property and may also impact your next purchase.

5.) It’s time to get on with your life

Probably the most important reason to sell is so you can get on with your life. You placed your home on the market for a reason. Do not allow a less-than-stellar housing market prevent you from reaching your goals as an individual or as a family. Think about the reasons you decided to move in the first place. Are these reasons still important to you? If you have to take less than you were originally hoping to get for your house, your family has a question to ask each other: Is the dollar difference in sales price worth putting off our plans? Only you and your family know the answer to that question.

Bottom Line

If you plan to sell this year, the reasons above prove that selling now makes more sense than waiting to later in the year. Sit with a real estate professional in your area today to fully understand your best option.

More Borrowers Are Opting for Adjustable-Rate Mortgages


More Borrowers Are Opting for Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

The New York Times
By LYNNLEY BROWNING
Published: March 17, 2011
IN the years since the financial crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, with their low initial interest rates that changed over time, have been considered riskier than fixed-rate loans and shunned by most buyers. But these days more people are being persuaded to give the loans a try.

This time around, lenders are rolling out more conservative ARM products — without the gimmicky extra-low “teaser” rates that adjust every six months, or the “pick-a-pay” and “option” features that allow borrowers to pay less than the monthly interest, only to be hit with a huge bill down the road.

Those ARMs were hallmarks of the subprime mortgage boom that fueled the soaring rate of mortgage defaults and home foreclosures nationwide.

“An adjustable now is basically a prime product,” said Michael Moskowitz, the president of Equity Now, a lender in New York. “There’s definitely a comeback in their popularity.”

Bank of America, for example, had nearly twice as many ARM transactions last month as it did a year ago, according to Terry H. Francisco, a spokesman, and ARMs now account for 10 percent of all its home loans.

Mortgage brokers and lenders say the loans most in demand are the “5/1” and “7/1,” in which the initial interest rate is fixed for the first five or seven years — after which many homeowners typically think about selling or refinancing anyway — then adjusted annually at a capped rate toward a maximum level.

In contrast to fixed-rate loans, whose interest rates never change, ARMs start out at one rate and then adjust typically once a year at a capped rate, often two percentage points, based on changes in the interest-rate indexes to which they are tied. The adjusted rates can go up or down, and the total increase over the life of the loan is capped.

According to Stephen Habetz, the vice president of DRB Mortgage, the lending division of Darien Rowayton Bank in Darien, Conn., the maximum caps are around 6 percent above the initial rate.Bankrate.com said the initial rate for a 5/1 ARM in the New York area averaged 4.04 percent as of Wednesday, compared with 3.74 percent nationally. For 7/1 ARMs, the average was 4.74 percent, versus 4.10 percent.

Starting rates are usually one to one and a half percentage points below those of 30-year fixed-rate loans.

But one catch is that getting an ARM may now be harder.

Last summer Fannie Mae, the government buyer of home loans, said lenders must qualify borrowers on either the initial rate plus two percentage points, or on the full index rate to which the initial rate is tied, whichever is greater.

Back in 1994, ARMs were used for around 70 percent of all home purchases, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released in December. By early 2009, after the onset of the financial crisis, the share had fallen to 2.3 percent, the study showed, but as of April 2010, it had climbed to about 4 percent.

Freddie Mac, another government-buyer of loans, said in January that it expected the share of ARMs for home purchases to rise to 9 percent this year.

Among those borrowers choosing adjustable-rate mortgages are buyers of property costing more than the $729,750 limit at which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will buy back loans from lenders, said Mary Boudreau, the owner of Penfield Financial, a mortgage broker in Fairfield, Conn. (Without the government buyback, fewer lenders are willing to make these “jumbo” loans, which carry interest rates one or two points above those of conventional loans. The Fannie and Freddie limit is set to drop to $625,500 in October.)

With an ARM, the savings can be significant. Sean Bowler, a loan officer at DRB Mortgage, said someone borrowing $500,000 with a 5/1 ARM at 3.5 percent would save $42,507 in the first five years, before it adjusts, compared with a 30-year fixed-rate loan of 5.25 percent. A 7/1 ARM at 4.125 would save $38,330 over the first seven years.

A version of this article appeared in print on March 20, 2011, on page RE9 of the New York edition.