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Katonah Homes for Sale

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

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/

Hottest U.S. Real Estate Markets for September | Katonah Real Estate

Hottest markets for September 2016

Mindy_Nicole_Photography/iStock; uschools/iStock
jjwithers/iStock; Aneese/iStock; Greg Chow

September would ordinarily be the end of the high season for residential real estate, with schools back in session across the U.S. and families reluctant to uproot. But hold on—this is no ordinary year, and a preliminary review of the month’s data on realtor.com®shows that September is shaping up to be the hottest fall in a decade.

Homes for sale in September are moving 4% more quickly than last year, and that’s even as prices hit record highs. The median home price maintained August’s level of $250,000, which is 9% higher than one year ago. That’s a new high for September.

“The fundamental trends we have been seeing all year remain solidly in place as we enter the slower time of the year,” says realtor.com’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke. That means short supply and high demand, which results in high prices.

Granted, September saw a bit of the typical seasonal slowdown, with properties spending five more days on market (77) than last month—but that’s still three days faster than last year at this time. At the same time, fewer homes are coming on the market, further diminishing supply. Total inventory remains considerably lower than one year ago, leaving buyers with fewer options in a market that has already been pretty tight.

In gauging which real estate markets were seeing the most activity, our economic data team took into account the number of days that homes spend on the market (a measure of supply) and the number of views that listings on our site get (a measure of demand). The result is a list of the nation’s hottest real estate markets, where inventory moves 23 to 43 days more quickly than the national average, and listings get 1.4 to 3.7 more views than the national average.

New to the top 20 this month is Grand Rapids, MI. Like other cities on the list, “Grand Rapids” includes the greater metropolitan area, which in this case takes in Wyoming, MI. Similarly, our No. 1 market, “San Francisco,” also includes nearby Oakland and Hayward.

The hot list

Rank
(September)
20 Hottest Markets Rank
(August)
Rank Change
1 San Francisco, CA 4 3
2 Vallejo, CA 1 -1
3 Denver, CO 3 0
4 Dallas, TX 2 -2
5 San Diego, CA 6 1
6 Stockton, CA 5 -1
7 Fort Wayne, IN 11 4
8 Sacramento, CA 10 2
9 San Jose, CA 10 2
10 Waco, TX 14 5
11 Modesto, CA 13 2
12 Columbus, OH 7 -5
13 Yuba City, CA 12 -1
14 Detroit, MI 9 -5
15 Santa Rosa, CA 19 4
16 Colorado Springs, CO 16 0
17 Santa Cruz, CA 17 0
18 Kennewick, WA 18 0
19 Nashville, TN 20 1
20 Grand Rapids, MI 21 1

 

 

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http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/the-hottest-u-s-real-estate-markets-for-september-2016/?is_wp_site=1

30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Hits 10 Week Low | Katonah #RealEstate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate falling as the FOMC decided to leave short term rates unchanged.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.42 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 29, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.48 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.85 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.72 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.76 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.07 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.81 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.80 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.91 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.

“Investors flocked to the safety of government bonds causing the 10-year Treasury yield to continue its descent following the FOMC’s decision to leave rates unchanged. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage responded by dropping 6 basis points before landing at 3.42 percent — a ten-week low. The course of the economy is uncertain, yet consumers continue to be a bright spot. The September consumer confidence index is up 3 percent to 104.1, exceeding forecasts and reaching a new cycle high.”

Used homes sales fall | #Katonah Real Estate

Contract signings to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in August for just the second time this year, signaling residential real estate might have difficulty building on recent momentum.

An index of pending home sales decreased 1.4 percent after a 0.5 percent advance in July, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for the gauge to climb 0.4 percent.

A scant supply of homes for sale that’s keeping prices elevated is hampering demand. At the same time, historically low mortgage rates and steady employment gains should help underpin the market as the broader U.S. economy battles headwinds from dollar appreciation and slower overseas growth.

“Pending sales have leveled off since mid-summer, with buyers being bounded by rising prices and few available and affordable properties within their budget,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 37 economists ranged from a decrease of 4.2 percent to an advance of 1.5 percent.

Purchase contracts increased 6.7 percent in the 12 months ended in August after a 7.2 percent annual gain in July on an unadjusted basis, the NAR report showed.

The pending sales index was 109.4 on a seasonally adjusted basis. A reading of 100 corresponds to the average level of contract activity in 2001, or “historically healthy” home-buying traffic, according to the NAR.

 

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-28/pending-sales-of-previously-owned-u-s-homes-unexpectedly-fall

Condos gaining popularity in Greenwich real estate market | Katonah Real Estate

Greenwich is traditionally known for its sprawling multi-million dollar estates and a community that provides escape from the compact living associated with nearby Manhattan.

But what happens when those expansive single-family homes are no longer the preferred abode for Greenwich elite?

Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants, said an influx of luxury condos on the market — and a rush of city dwellers seeking homes with little upkeep in the suburbs — is changing the way people think about Greenwich real estate.

“We’re seeing this in Westchester, we’re seeing this in the Hamptons … where the development is luxury condo products,” Miller said. “We’re seeing this city-to-suburban path where people coming from the city are used to this —not having to take care of the exterior of the property, etc. — and we’re seeing this pop up in a lot of New York City metropolitan area suburbs, including Greenwich.”

Miller prepares an independent quarterly report for real estate firm Douglas Elliman, which recently entered the Greenwich market. The Elliman Report details the changing trends in the region, particularly as it relates condominium and townhouse sales to single-family homes. The first quarter report showed the ongoing change in the Greenwich real estate market — mansions were struggling to sell while condos with less upkeep (and a lower price tag) were more popular among buyers.

 

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http://www.greenwichtime.com/business/article/Condos-gaining-popularity-in-Greenwich-real-6413253.php

New Home Sales: Growth for FHA-Backed Mortgage Share | Katonah Real Estate

NAHB analysis of the most recent Census numbers reveals two consecutive quarters of higher market share of FHA-backed mortgages for the new home sale sector. This development comes after a reduction in FHA premiums announced at the start of 2015.

qtrly new home sales_2q15

Despite the surprising drop for the pace of new home sales in June (down 6.8%), the strong non-seasonally adjusted sales level for April (revised to 50,000 homes) pushed total sales for the second quarter of 2015 to a post-recession high of 143,000. This is according to data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing and NAHB calculations.

New home sales due to FHA-backed loans increased to a quarterly count of 100,000 and a market share of 16% for the second quarter according to the Census numbers. This is higher than the approximate share of 11% from a year prior.

It is worth adopting some caution associated with these estimates. In particular, the statistical error associated with the FHA, cash, and VA sales estimates from this data set are relatively high. This reduces the reliability of measures of short-term market changes.

Mindful of this limitation, the current FHA-share estimate is lower than the 28% share determined for the first quarter of 2010 but is higher than the 10% 2002-2003 average. The FHA share has fallen as the conventional financing share recovered. However, the share increased from 10% to 16% from the end of 2014 to the start of 2015.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/07/new-home-sales-growth-for-fha-backed-mortgage-share/

Home-builder confidence rises to nine-month high | Katonah Real Estate

A gauge of confidence among home builders rose five points to 59 in June, hitting a nine-month high, according to National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo data released Monday. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a June result of 55.

Gauges of builders’ views on present and upcoming home sales each hit their highest level since late 2005, shortly before the housing bubble burst. Readings above 50 signal that home-construction companies, generally, are optimistic about sales trends, and June marks the 12th consecutive month of above-50 readings.

NAHB said a barometer of builders’ views on present sales of single-family homes rose seven points to 65 in June, while a gauge of their views on upcoming sales increased six to 69, and an index of prospective-buyer traffic rose five to 44.

 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-builder-confidence-rises-to-nine-month-high-in-june-2015-06-15

New Home Sales Surge | Katonah Real Estate

Builders signed contracts on more homes in February 2015 than any time since early 2008 according to the Census Bureau and HUD. February seasonally-adjusted annual new home sales topped out at 539,000, up 7.8% from a healthy 500,000 in January. Sales increased a whopping 153% in the Northeast region but that was a make-up from an overabundance of snow in January that slowed the rate of sales to its lowest level in the 43 year history of the series. Sales were up 10.1% in the South to the highest level since early 2008. Sales were down 6% in the West but back to the level established in the fourth quarter of 2014. The Midwest saw a slight softening in sales (down 12.9% monthly and 3.6% annually) but still within the range of sales in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Regional New Home Sales
Inventories dropped slightly to 210,000, which with the increased sales rate, dropped the month’s supply to 4.7 months. Builders were able to sell an increased share of their homes from inventory in December and January. Along with the rise in sales suggests an improved starts picture in the future.
Share of New Homes Sold While Under Construction

Prices rose 2.6% from last February to a median of $275,500. The shift is due to more sales at the upper end of the price spectrum as fewer first time buyers continue to push the only new sales more to the repeat buyer market. The share of homes sold for more than $500,000 increased from 11% in February 2014 to 15% in February 2015.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/03/new-home-sales-surge/