Category Archives: Lewisboro

Mortgage questions answered | Katonah Real Estate

The common questions many first-time buyers ask are now answered.

Purchasing a home and conquering financial responsibility is a goal for many people. But making this leap to homeownership is a big step, and it’s one that should be taken with careful consideration. Let’s face it, finding a home and securing a mortgage isn’t a walk in the park — and certainly nothing like signing a simple rental agreement. You’ve probably encountered confusing jargon such as “points,” “preapproval,” and “prequalification,” and funny names like Fannie Mae. Making sense of everything can leave you on the verge of frustration, but don’t worry — this is a completely normal feeling.

To help you demystify the process and get the most out of your first mortgage, we’ve asked some finance experts about things to consider before applying, some common points of confusion, and a few handy tips to help you understand the basics of mortgages.

What’s your best advice to a first-time homebuyer?

“Be prepared; do your homework. Check out reputable lenders in your area. Get prequalified so that you know the price range in which you should be shopping.” — Cathy Blocker, EVP, Production Operations of Guild Mortgage Company

“Talk to a local mortgage banker that you’re comfortable with! There are some great mortgage bankers willing to help, so you shouldn’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t make you feel comfortable with the process. Explain what you’re looking to do and what your ideal home-buying situation is. The right mortgage banker will customize your home loan to your specific scenario. Make sure they explain all the costs ahead of time, so that you know exactly what to expect once you get a purchase contract and start the mortgage process.” — Nick Magiera of Magiera Team of LeaderOne Financial

What should buyers be prepared for when applying for a loan?

“Every mortgage situation is different, so there’s really not a one-size-fits-all list of requirements. I recommend that you contact a mortgage banker that you know, like, and trust. If you don’t know any mortgage bankers, then I recommend that you choose a mortgage banker that your real estate agent suggests you work with. Your real estate agent wants you to have a smooth transaction, so they will only send you to mortgage bankers that they trust. A great mortgage banker will then walk you through the process and customize the mortgage around your specific scenario.” — Nick Magiera of Magiera Team of LeaderOne Financial

“There are a few things to get squared away before applying for a loan: 1. Cash for a down payment. Save money/acquire money for a down payment and closing costs. 2. A good working knowledge of your personal finances. Create a budget of your future expenses, as if you own the house, and make sure you can afford it. A good rule of thumb is that your mortgage should not exceed 30% of your take-home income. 3. A general idea of the price range of homes you are interested in. Research potential homes through a local Realtor or at Trulia.com. Compare by looking at real estate taxes, neighborhood statistics, and other criteria. Take your time! Your house may be the largest purchase in your life.” — Scott Bilker of DebtSmart

What is the value in getting preapproved or prequalified for a mortgage?

“It gives homebuyers an edge against competing offers. If a seller sees two offers and one has already been approved, then that is often the one that they go with, as there is less risk for them.” — Tracie Fobes, Penny Pinchin’ Mom

“First off, there is a difference between preapproved and prequalified. Prequalifying means you have done an initial lender screening. However, preapproval is the next step in the process. You have to give the bank many more documents like you’re applying for the mortgage. It’s worth doing because you will get a preapproval letter from the bank, and this will show sellers and real estate agents that you’re a serious buyer. It will also give you a better idea of which homes you can afford. Additionally, you will be able to act quickly once you find that perfect place without having to then seek out financing.” — Scott Bilker of DebtSmart

What range of rates should a first-time homebuyer expect with either a poor credit score or a strong credit score?

“On a conventional loan (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac), the difference in price between a poor credit score (620) and a strong credit score (740-plus) could be as much as 3.0 points in fees, or 0.75 to 1.25% in interest rate. On an FHA or VA loan, the price difference may be up to 0.75 in points in fees or 0.125 to 0.250% in interest rate.” — Cathy Blocker, EVP, Production Operations of Guild Mortgage Company

“There is not a single universal standard. Lenders determine what kind of risk premium it will add to a loan based on your credit history and other information presented in a loan application. You can’t take a lender’s advertised interest rate for its best-qualified borrowers and tack on a set premium because you’re a C credit instead of an A credit (A credit being the least amount of risk).” — Nick Magiera of Magiera Team of LeaderOne Financial

What are some tips for paying off your mortgage faster?

“There are only two ways to pay off your mortgage fast: 1. Refinance at a lower rate. 2. Pay more toward the mortgage. That’s it. Don’t be fooled by biweekly mortgages because all they do is make you pay more. If you are not in a position to get a lower rate, then simply increase your monthly mortgage payment to an amount that is comfortable, keeping in mind that this is money you cannot easily get back. Conversely, if you pay more on your credit cards, you can always use the card again for cash or to buy things you need.” — Scott Bilker of DebtSmart

What does it mean when “the Fed raises the rates,” and how does it apply to mortgages?

“[The] Federal Reserve sets the interest rate that banks pay to borrow overnight funds from other banks holding deposits with the Federal Reserve. If the cost of overnight borrowing to a bank increases, this typically causes banks to increase the interest rates they charge on all other loans they make, to continue to earn their targeted return on assets. As banks increase their interest rates, other lenders or financial firms also tend to increase their rates. An increase in the federal funds rate does not directly correlate to a direct increase in mortgage rates but is viewed as a general signal to the market that the Federal Reserve views that the economy is growing and that interest rates will be increasing in the future.” — Cathy Blocker, EVP, Production Operations of Guild Mortgage Company

What are points?

“Points are fees the borrower pays the lender at the time the loan is closed, expressed as a percent of the loan. On a $200,000 loan, 2 points means a payment of $4,000 to the lender. Points are part of the cost of credit to the borrower, and in turn are part of the investment return to the lender. That said, points are not always required to obtain a home loan, but a ‘no point’ loan may have a higher interest rate.” — Nick Magiera of Magiera Team of LeaderOne Financial

“‘Discount points’ refers to a fee, usually expressed as a percentage of the loan amount, paid by the buyer or seller to lower the buyer’s interest rate.” — Cathy Blocker, EVP, Production Operations of Guild Mortgage Company

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https://www.trulia.com/blog/mortgage-101-breaking-down-basics/?ecampaign=con_cnews_digest&eurl=www.trulia.com%2Fblog%2Fmortgage-101-breaking-down-basics%2F

Miami luxury condo prices plunge | Lewisboro Real Estate

According to a new report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel, the average sale price for luxury condos in Miami and Miami Beach plunged 30 percent year over year in the third quarter, to $948,700 and $2.6 million respectively.

The number of luxury condo sales also plunged, by 25 percent in Miami and 17 percent in Miami Beach.

The declines mark another step down for high-end real estate in the area, which had experienced a boom after the financial crisis. It comes as buyers from Latin America are slowing to a trickle and uncertainty around the presidential election is causing wealthy Americans to pull back.

At the same time, luxury buildings that were started during the boom years of 2013 and 2014 are now starting to come online, creating a glut of high-priced homes and condos.

Miami’s results echo those from other cities in the U.S., where the highest priced real estate is faring the worst.

Luxury “is becoming a smaller part of the market due to the reduced emphasis at the top,” said Miller Samuel’s Jonathan Miller.

Inventory of luxury condos in Miami Beach jumped 30 percent in the quarter compared with a year ago, to 1,235. These properties are now sitting on the market for an average 126 days, more than double last year’s number.

In broader Miami, inventory rose 11 percent, resulting in a 40-month supply of luxury condos. Inventories for single-family homes in both areas are also higher.

Given these broad-based increases, Miller said the luxury real estate market in Miami is likely to get worse before it gets better.

 

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http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/19/miami-luxury-condo-prices-take-a-plunge.html?__source=newsletter%7Ceveningbrief

Key Building Materials Remain Stubbornly Expensive | Cross River Real Estate

Inflation in prices received for building materials (prior to sales to consumers) was mixed in September according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although their monthly changes were relatively modest, the prices of OSB and ready-mix concrete have been trending upward for quite some time and remain at historically high levels.

OSB prices climbed 2.5% in September, continuing a 7-month trend that has the commodity at its highest price since June 2013. Since February, monthly increases have averaged 3.2%, pushing prices up by a cumulative, eye-popping 25%.

2016-10-ppi-osb-prices1

In addition, although the price of ready-mix concrete fell marginally in September, the long-term trend remains concerning. Monthly increases have averaged 0.3% over the last five years as the price of ready-mix concrete has steadily risen by roughly 20%.  While gypsum prices picked up (+0.1%), the prices of softwood lumber and steel mill products fell by 1.4% and 0.5%, respectively.

2016-10-ppi-grmcsl

After holding steady in August, the economy-wide PPI rose 0.3% in September. Over three-quarters of the increase was the result of a 0.7% increase in prices for goods, while the rise in prices for services was a more modest 0.1%. Final demand prices for core goods (i.e. goods excluding food and energy) inched up 0.3%, and prices for core goods less trade services rose 1.5% over the 12 months ended in September. This represented the largest 12-month increase in two years.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/key-building-materials-remain-stubbornly-expensive/

More First-timers Than Expected Are Now Buying Homes | Katonah Real Estate

First-time buyers may be entering the U.S. home market in greater numbers than industry watchers had assumed.

Nearly half of sales in the past year went to people who were buying their first home, according to a survey released Tuesday by the real estate firm Zillow. That’s a much higher proportion of the market than some other industry estimates had indicated.

Zillow’s survey results suggest that this year’s growth in home sales has come largely from a wave of couples in their 30s, who are the most common first-time buyers. If that trend were to hold, it could raise hopes that today’s vast generation of 18-to-34-year-old millennials will help support the housing market as more of them move into their 30s.

That’s among the findings in a 168-page report by Seattle-based Zillow. Its survey also found that home ownership is increasingly the domain of the college-educated. And it indicated that older Americans who are seeking to downsize are paying premiums for smaller houses.

Here’s a breakdown of Zillow’s findings:

— First-time buyers make up a larger chunk of the housing market than the real estate industry has generally thought. Forty-seven percent of purchases in the past year went to first-time buyers. Their median age was 33. By contrast, surveys from the National Association of Realtors have indicated that first-timers account for only about 30 percent of all buyers.

The difference between the two surveys may stem from their methodologies. The NAR has used a mail-based survey for its annual figures, while Zillow used an online survey that might have generated more responses from younger buyers.

— No college? Dwindling chance of homeownership

It’s become harder to realize the dream of home ownership without a college degree. Sixty-two percent of buyers have at least a four-year college degree. Census figures show that just 33 percent of the U.S. adults graduated from college. The gap between the education levels of homebuyers and the broader U.S. population indicates that workers with only a high school degree are becoming less likely to own a home.

This is a major shift for the middle class. Just 12 percent of homeowners in 1986 were college graduates, according to government figures. The trend is driven in part by falling incomes for people with only a high school degree.

— Millennial home buyers are increasingly Hispanic

Out of the 74 million U.S. households that own their homes, a sizable majority — 77 percent — are white. But these demographics are changing fast. Only 66 percent of millennial homeowners are white. The big gains have come from Latinos, who make up 17 percent of millennial homeowners but just 9 percent of all homeowners.

Asians also make up a greater share of millennials. This means that as today’s millennial generation ages, the housing market may look considerably more diverse than it does now.

— Older Americans aren’t just downsizing; they’re also upgrading.

The so-called “silent generation” — those ages 65 to 75— bought homes in the past year with a median size of just 1,800 square feet, about 220 square feet smaller than the homes they sold. But that smaller new home still cost more. These retirement-age buyers paid a median of $250,000, nearly $30,000 more than the home they sold. In some cases, the higher purchase price likely reflects the profits from the sale of their previous home, in other cases a desire by upscale buyers for luxury finishes and amenities.

— Starter homes are no longer popular.

When millennials buy, they’re leapfrogging past the traditional, smaller starter home. This younger generation paid a median of $217,000 for a 1,800-square-foot house. That median is nearly identical to what older generations buy.

 

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http://www.newsmax.com/Personal-Finance/zillow-housing-survey-homes-buyers/2016/10/18/id/753992/

Schiller: Always reason to worry about housing prices | Waccabuc Real Estate

US home price gains slowed slighting in July, as many on Wall Street are speculating that the Federal Reserve will raise rates before the end of the year. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index rose 5.0% year-over-year, missing analysts’ expectations of a 5.1% increase but still above the 4.8% pace of the prior two years.

The recent surge in real estate demand has pushed home prices near their pre-crisis peak in 2006, which is making it increasingly difficult for new home buyers to enter the market. Home sales fell 0.9% in August from the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s the second straight month of declines.

Higher home prices have begged the question by many as to whether the current pace is sustainable, or if there’s reason to fear another massive collapse in real estate.

“There’s always reason to worry [about a coming collapse],” Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize–winning economist and co-creator of the S&P/Case Shiller Index, told Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith in the video above. But he is quick to point out one stark difference between today’s housing market and that of 2006. “We’re in a holding pattern right now … People are less excited about buying because they themselves don’t believe [home prices] will be going up a lot. Back in 2006, when the homeownership rate was setting records, people had extravagant expectations.”

His comments on Americans’ hesitation to buy echo the findings of a recent study byPulsenomics, which found that just 38% of renters surveyed think now is a good time to buy. Today, home values have reached or surpassed peak levels in about a quarter of US markets.

How rising rates could impact the housing market

While prospective buyers continue to benefit from relatively low borrowing costs, the big question is whether a series of rate hikes will increase mortgage rates and prompt a fallout in the housing sector. Fed funds futures suggests a roughly 57% chance of higher US interest rates by December, according to data from CME Group.

Shiller says it’s very difficult to forecast how the housing market will react to rising rates but is quick to point out that even in an uncertain environment, rate hikes shouldn’t be a factor for potential buyers.

“The Fed raised [rates] in December just a quarter of one percent, and plausibly they’ll raise [rates] by another quarter or a half percent, and it may not be a big deal,” said Shiller. “On the other hand, it might be a big deal because we’re in this strange period of near zero interest rates, and if people see it as a major turning point, it could affect home prices … My opinion is if you want a house, go out and buy it. It’s not an extremely unusual time. There are always risks.

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http://finance.yahoo.com/news/robert-shiller-theres-always-reason-to-worry-about-a-coming-collapse-in-housing-124331739.html

Housing #affordability at the worst level in seven years | South Salem Real Estate

Home affordability is at the worst level in seven years, with 24% of the U.S. county housing markets less affordable than their historic affordability averages in the third quarter, the most recent ATTOM Data Solutions Home Affordability Index for third quarter 2016 recorded.

This level is not only up from 22% of markets in the previous quarter, but it is up from 19% of markets a year ago.

The only other time affordability came in worse than this was in third quarter of 2009 when 47% of markets were less affordable than their historic affordability averages.

The affordability index is based on the percentage of average wages needed to make monthly house payments on a median-priced home with a 30-year fixed rate and a 3% down payment — including property taxes and insurance.

“The improving affordability trend we noted in our second quarter report reversed course in the third quarter as home price appreciation accelerated in the majority of markets and wage growth slowed in the majority of local markets as well as nationwide, where average weekly wages declined in the first quarter of this year following 13 consecutive quarters with year-over-year increases,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

“This unhealthy combination resulted in worsening affordability in 63% of markets despite mortgage rates that are down 45 basis points from a year ago.

According to the report, out of the 414 counties analyzed in the report, 101 counties (24%) had an affordability index below 100 in the third quarter of 2016, meaning that buying a median-priced home in that county was less affordable than the historic average for that county going back to the first quarter of 2005.

Key counties highlighted include: Harris County (Houston), Texas; Kings County (Brooklyn), New York; Dallas County, Texas; Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas; and Alameda County, California in the San Francisco metro area.

Despite the negative news, Blomquist did point out one positive area.

“Some silver lining in this report is that affordability actually improved in some of the highest-priced markets that have been bastions of bad affordability, mostly the result of annual home price appreciation slowing to low single-digit percentages in those markets,” Blomquist continued.

He explained that this is an indication that home prices are finally responding to affordability constraints — a modicum of good news for prospective buyers who have been priced out of those high-priced markets.

This infographic from ATTOM Data Solutions shows the U.S. home affordability affliction and some possible antidotes.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38158-housing-affordability-at-the-worst-level-in-seven-years?eid=311691494&bid=1542377

Chinese real estate is ‘biggest bubble in history | Katonah Real Estate

Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin made his fortune in the country’s real estate market — and now he’s warning that it’s spiraling out of control.

It’s the “biggest bubble in history,” he told CNNMoney in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

Bubble is a sensitive word in China after the dramatic rise and spectacular crash in the country’s stock market last year, which wiped out the savings of millions of small investors who thought Beijing wouldn’t allow the market to drop.

After struggling to contain the fallout from the stock market debacle, China’s leaders could face a similar headache in the real estate sector.

The big problem, according to Wang, is that prices keep rising in major Chinese metropolises like Shanghai but are falling in thousands of smaller cities where huge numbers of properties lie empty.

“I don’t see a good solution to this problem,” he said. “The government has come up with all sorts of measures — limiting purchase or credit — but none have worked.”

It’s a serious worry in China, where the economy is slowing at the same time as high debt levelscontinue to increase rapidly. There are massive sums at stake in the real estate market: direct loans to the sector stood at roughly 24 trillion yuan ($3.6 trillion) at the end of June, according to Capital Economics.

“The problem is the economy hasn’t bottomed out,” Wang said. “If we remove leverage too fast, the economy may suffer further. So we’ll have to wait until the economy is back on the track of rebounding — that’s when we gradually reduce leverage and debts.”

He says, though, that he’s not worried about the prospect of a “hard landing” — a sudden and catastrophic collapse in economic growth.

Wang’s comments carry weight. He is the richest man in China, according to Forbes and Hurun Report data from 2015, and his real estate and entertainment empire brought in revenue of about $44 billion last year.

Wang has been warning of trouble in the Chinese property market for a while. His Dalian Wanda Group, which has developed huge malls and office complexes across China, has been gradually cutting back on its real estate business.

Instead, it’s pouring resources into entertainment, sports and tourism — areas where it sees potential for growth.

Wang has been on an overseas shopping spree lately, with a particular focus on the U.S. movie industry. And he’s on the hunt for more juicy targets.

In January, he bought the Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment, which made blockbuster movies like “Jurassic World” and “Godzilla.” Less than two months later, his movie theater business AMC snapped up Carmike Cinemas, forming the biggest cinema chain in the world. And Wanda’s in talks to buy Dick Clark Productions, which produces shows like the American Music Awards and the Golden Globe awards.

But the major prize he’s seeking is control of one of Hollywood’s “Big Six” movie studios: 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Paramount, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers and Walt Disney.

“We are waiting for the opportunity,” he said. “It could come in a year or two, or longer, but we have patience.”

His relations with Disney (DIS) came into the spotlight in May when he said the U.S. company“really shouldn’t have come to China” with its giant new Shanghai resort. Wanda is also investing heavily in theme parks in the country.

 

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http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/28/investing/china-wang-jianlin-real-estate-bubble/

Mortgage rates average 3.52% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher for the second week in a row and marking the first time the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen above 3.5 percent since June.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.52 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending October 20, 2016, up from last week when they averaged 3.47 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.79 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.79 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.76 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.98 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.85 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.82 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.89 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage moved a solid 5 basis points to 3.52 percent while the 10-year Treasury yield remained relatively flat. This is the first week in over 4 months that rates have risen above 3.50 percent. This month, mortgage rates seem to be catching up to Treasury yields and returning to pre-Brexit levels.”

U.S. housing starts fall 9% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Housing starts in the United States tumbled 9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1047 thousand in September from August of 2016, below market expectations of 1175 thousand. It is the lowest figure since March of 2015, due to a fall in construction of multifamily homes. In contrast, building permits rose 6.3 percent to 1225 thousand, beating expectations of 1165 thousand. Housing Starts in the United States averaged 1439.56 Thousand from 1959 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 2494 Thousand in January of 1972 and a record low of 478 Thousand in April of 2009. Housing Starts in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

United States Housing Starts

 

 

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http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/housing-starts

 

Home prices rise slightly less than forecast | Waccabuc Real Estate

U.S. single-family home prices rose slightly less than expected on an annual basis in July, and the year-over-year gain was smaller than in the prior month, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 5 percent in July on a year-over-year basis, retreating from the 5.1 percent climb in June and short of the estimate calling for a 5.1 percent increase from a Reuters poll of economists.

“Both the housing sector and the economy continue to expand with home prices continuing to rise at about a 5 percent annual rate,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“There is no reason to fear that another massive collapse is around the corner.”

Prices in the 20 cities were flat in July from June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the survey showed, matching expectations.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices increased 0.6 percent from June.

Home prices in three U.S. cities, Denver, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, showed the highest year-over-year gains, the survey showed.

 

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http://www.marketbeat.com/stories.aspx?story=http%3a%2f%2ffeeds.reuters.com%2f~r%2freuters%2fbusinessNews%2f~3%2fKc7Pyl6Zl3o%2fus-usa-economy-homes-index-idUSKCN11X1FO