A new report from Pro Teck Valuation Services’ Home Value Forecast suggests that the availability of credit in local markers influences local housing recoveries and accounts for dramatic differences in home prices.
HVF looked at regular average sold prices versus total mortgage trends in San Francisco and Detroit and found that in San Francisco, buyers have averaged 20+% down over the last 14 years to create loan to value ratios between 67 and 82 percent. In Detroit buyers have averaged LTVs between 86 and 101 percent. Collateral Analytics, Pro Teck’s partner in Home Value Forecast, found that San Francisco home prices are at an all-time high while Detroit is still trying to return to pre-crash levels, suggesting a direct relationship between LTVs, one of the critical factors determining mortgage approvals, and higher prices. Conversely, higher LTVs in Detroit may make it more difficult buyers to get financing.
The median LTV levels for closed mortgages in August was 80 for conventional purchase loans and 96 for FHA purchase loans, according to Ellie Mae.
The HVF authors also examined the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale CBSA and found that LTV levels vary from neighborhood to neighborhood within the metro area. The HVF update reported that in Scottsdale, average home prices have been rebounding steadily since 2011 and now are 20 percent below all-time highs after dropping 37.5 percent. Apache Junction, AZ, another city within the CBSA, is still 36 percent below its all-time high. At the height of the housing crisis, homes in Apache Junction lost more than half their value. The community also had more homeowners with high LTV loans foreclosed, leading to a steeper drop in home prices and a slower recovery.
Existing Home Sales in the United States fell 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5310 Thousand in August from a downwardly revised 5580 Thousand in July of 2015. It is the lowest figure since April, below market expectations. The median sale price went up 4.7% yoy and the months’ worth of supply rose 0.3 to 5.2. Existing Home Sales in the United States averaged 3842.52 Thousand from 1968 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 7250 Thousand in September of 2005 and a record low of 1370 Thousand in March of 1970. Existing Home Sales in the United States is reported by the National Association of Realtors.
|5310.00||5480.00||7250.00||1370.00||1968 – 2015||Thousand||Monthly||
Some Great Ways to Take Advantage of an “Average to Good” or “Excellent” Credit Score
For those who achieve an “average to good” FICO score (660 and above) or an “excellent” score (740 and above), there are many ways to take advantage of this achievement by opening new doors for opportunity and savings. As a real estate/financing professional, you can share these tips with your client base to bring value added and allow your clients to do further business with you.
Here are some things those with great credit can take advantage of (but must be aware of the potential downsides):
● Transferring Credit Card Balances
Many credit cards can charge an exorbitant interest rate, and these rates coupled with debt can lead to large payments and wasted money. In fact, the average credit card debt in the US is currently over $6,500. Fortunately, those with great credit are eligible for a method to pay debt off rather quickly and easily. People with great credit should be eligible for a 0 percent interest rate on balance transfers, which essentially allows one to transfer credit card debt from a high interest card to a no interest account for a certain time period.
It’s important to note a few things when considering this option:
– Some of these cards will slap on a 3% fee for transferring balances, and you should make sure to find a card that doesn’t charge this fee.
– Opening new credit reduces your average age of credit which will drop your credit scores. Do not open new cards if you plan on applying for a mortgage or loan within 2 years since scores may drop substantially after opening new credit. Make sure the cards you open are done strategically and not often.
● Credit Card Upgrades
High FICO scores will also make consumers eligible for the best credit card offerings. Many of the cards offered to those above a 660 score have better benefits, rewards, and perks unavailable to others. In addition, these cards often offer sign-on bonuses. Clearly if your scores are above a 740 the perks are even better. However, consumers have to make sure that they follow our tips when opening a new card in order to maintain their score (see the tips here) and should contact us with any questions.
● Home Refinance
Those with great credit can also take advantage of historically low home interest rates. With a higher FICO score, many can lock in a much better rate for their mortgage. Even a small improvement in interest rates can lead to savings in the hundreds of thousands over the life of a mortgage.
● Negotiating better interest rates or transfer offers with current credit cards
If you have existing cards and have excellent credit scores you can ask the creditor for lower interest rates or transfer offers on your existing cards. This is great if you don’t want to reduce your scores by opening new credit.
● Requesting limit increases on current cards
The higher your credit limits the more leeway you have to charge without reducing your credit scores. Since balance-to-limit ratios on revolving credit (credit cards) must be under 10% for the best score increases, it is great to have high limits. Calling your creditor and asking for a limit increase can help your scores. The creditor will pull your credit reports and scores for approval so the scores can drop a little from the inquiry. If you have had many third party inquiries during the year it could drop scores significantly and it might be best to wait a year from the latest third party review.
Sales of existing homes rose 1.2% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. The gain was below expectations. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the sales rate to increase to 4.94 million in February from 4.82 million in January. Existing home sales remain soft, having been stuck below 5 million unit rate for two-and-a-half years. The median sales price of used homes hit $202,600 in February, up 7.5% from the year-earlier period. This is the biggest gain in a year. February’s inventory was 1.89 million existing homes for sale, a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace. The number of homes available for sale was down 0.5% from the year-earlier period.
The rent may be too damn high, but it’s not enough to turn most renters into buyers.
The gap between rental costs and household income is widening to “unsustainable levels” in many parts of the country, new research published Monday by the National Association of Realtors found, “and the situation could worsen unless new home construction meaningfully rises.” In the last five years, a typical rent rose 15% while the income of renters grew by only 11%, the study found. The top markets where renters have seen the highest increase in rents since 2009 are New York (51%), Seattle, (32%), San Jose, Calif., (26%), Denver, (24%) and St. Louis. (22%).
“Many of the metro areas that have experienced the highest rent increases are popular to millennials because of their employment opportunities,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist said in a statement. “With a stronger economy and labor market, it’s critical to increase housing starts for entry-level buyers or else many will face affordability issues if their incomes aren’t compensating for the gains in home prices.”
But most renters are reluctant to buy. Only 12% of current renters say they plan to buy a home within the next year, according to the latest “Housing Confidence Index” published last week by real-estate company Zillow, although this was up 25% on the previous year. On a scale of 1 to 100, with a reading of more than 50 indicating general confidence, the housing confidence index rose to 70.6 in January 2015, up 4.4 points over the previous year.
If you’ve got the itch to ditch your landlord and take the leap to homeownership, mortgage rates are still low by historical standards. But beware because they are expected to begin creeping higher throughout the year.
“The cost of renting is really high right now. Rents have been rising and rising,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. “Renters are getting squeezed, and some want to convert to ownership.”.
The NAR expects 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to average 3.80 percent in the first quarter. However, mortgage rates are forecast to start inching higher throughout the year. The NAR forecasts an average 4 percent rate in the second quarter, 4.3 percent in the third quarter and 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter.
Economic forces, including an improving U.S. labor market and faster economic growth, are conspiring to push mortgage rates higher this year. “The Federal Reserve is likely to raise short-term interest rates in the summer, which will be a signal for the rest of the market for rates to go higher,” Yun says.
“There’s a window of opportunity for buying and refinancing at crazy-low rates, but it’s closing,” says Gina Pogol, loan expert at Charlotte, North Carolina-based LendingTree.
If this is the year you want to sign on the dotted line and become a homeowner, experts have several suggestions to help you move quickly through the mortgage approval process.
The overall lending environment remains stringent, and the best mortgage rates will be awarded to those with higher credit scores. Your credit score is a three-digit number generated using information on your credit report, and generally, the higher it is, the better. Here’s what you need to do to get the best rates.
Mind your credit score. “Minimum credit scores required by lenders have steadily dropped, and mortgage insurers’ underwriting guidelines have also loosened a bit, but it’s still a little tough,” Pogol says. “Average FICOs of applicants approved for home loans continue to come down, but they’re still hovering around the 700 mark. Unfortunately, three-fourths of U.S. consumers have scores lower than 700.”
What’s an ideal credit score? “To get the best rate, strive for above 740. That is the benchmark for A-plus lending,” says Jeannie Meronk, assistant vice president and mortgage loan officer at First State Bank of Illinois.
Visit your lender before you hit the open houses. Create a game plan that makes sense for your budget. It pays to talk to a lender about what you can afford and qualify for before you fall in love with a home outside your price range.
“It is really important from a budget standpoint to be shopping in the right price range,” Meronk says.
Just because you qualify for a certain loan amount doesn’t mean that is what you should spend. Consider your monthly budget, and determine what level of monthly payment feels comfortable. Remember that there will be other costs relating to homeownership, including property taxes, maintenance and unexpected repairs.
Also know that most sellers won’t take an offer seriously unless you have been preapproved for a loan. “Preapproval means actually applying for a loan, having your credit checked and your income documented. Preapproved means that as long as the property meets the lender’s requirements, you can close,” Pogol says.
Don’t make any changes to your financial picture. Once you’ve been preapproved, this is not the time to open new credit cards, change jobs, transfer large sums of money or make big-ticket purchases using credit. “Once you are preapproved, don’t apply for any new credit. If you go ahead and finance furniture, it can mess up the amount that you were preapproved for,” Meronk says.
If you are fortunate enough to have a parent, in-law or relative who is willing to gift you some or all of your intended down payment, be sure to talk with your lender about this. You will need to document this properly with a letter for your lender.
If you are thinking of buying a rental property, however, gift money can’t be used toward a down payment. It only can be used for a primary residence, according to Meronk.
If you are self-employed, expect to jump through more hoops. Be prepared to provide two years’ worth of tax returns. If your income fluctuated from one year to the next, underwriters will average the income from the two years. Also, underwriters will look at your income after your business deductions have been taken.
“It often comes as a surprise to self-employed applicants that their gross income isn’t counted by underwriters. It’s their taxable income that’s used. So if you write off every meal and every vacation as a business expense, that comes off the top of your income,” Pogol says.
Although it was constructed in 1901 as a carriage house, this Riverdale building now acts as a 5BR, 3.5BA modern-day Bronx estate. Okay, “estate” might be too strong of a descriptor, but the home at 5450 Palisades Avenue sits on a half-acre lot and has a rather bucolic past; that is, well before it was picked up by a former Deputy Commissioner of Counter-Terrorism of the NYPD in 2006 for $2.3 million. Now asking $2.43 million, the home still shows traces of its former life as a carriage house through its high, beamed ceilings and three street-facing garage doors.
Rents are projected to outpace home values by the end of the year, according to Zillow, so it’s a good time to consider buying a home. Fixed mortgage payments and a more stable market are other reasons to make the jump.
Zillow projects that by the end of 2015, millennials will become the largest home-buying age group. Whether you fall into that category or not, coming up with a down payment can be challenging. Here are some strategies to help you get there.
Reduce large expenses
Sure, skipping your morning latte may help save money over time, but why not attack your biggest expenses head on for quicker results? We’re talking about your rent, which is likely eating up over 30 percent of your take-home pay. You can try to negotiate a better rate with your landlord, move to a cheaper location, or downsize — going from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom can drop your rent by 25 to 30 percent, depending on where you live.
You could also bring in a roommate (or two). Sharing a home isn’t just for kids straight out of college anymore. In fact, the percentage of adults living with someone other than a spouse or partner continues to rise (32 percent nationwide in 2012; up from 26 percent in 2000, according to Zillow’s analysis of the latest Census Bureau data). Jump on the bandwagon and pocket the savings.
Automate savings contributions
This is a no-brainer: Tell your payroll department that you want a fixed amount automatically deducted from your paycheck and deposited into a designated savings account.
Start small. Most people can cut their income by 2 percent without even noticing, and the payoff over time can be significant.
The average tax refund in 2014 was $3,116; this year, it’s expected to rise to $3,295. And while it may be tempting to splurge, why not exercise some restraint and put your windfall into a designated down payment account? You’ll be happy you did.
Save less for retirement
This suggestion is certainly not the norm. And just to clarify, you should not raid your retirement account. But if you have a 401(k) employer match, and are already contributing the max (6 percent), consider stopping there and allocating additional cash toward your down payment — in a separate after-tax account.
Nothing to do but move your furniture in and start enjoying your weekends in this adorable shingled house. It’s been recently renovated—the 3.5 bathroomsare especially nice—and although the plot is fairly small at 0.22 acre, as is usual for the area, there’s a lawn, a gunite pool, separate garage, and a variance to build a pool house. The house itself isn’t huge at 2000sf, but there’s everything you need, with three bedrooms, separate dining room, and eat-in kitchen. And the in-town location means you can walk to shops, restaurants, the movies, whatever. Price is $2.35M, which is reasonable; the place last sold for $2.225M in 2007.