Tag Archives: South Salem NY

Will Low Down Payments Bring First-timers Home? | South Salem Real Estate

Suddenly More first-time buyers are buying homes.  More are making down payments even as lenders rush to sign up for the new 3 percent down programs launched by Fannie and Freddie in November.  Coincidence or can we connect the dots?

It’s too soon for the new programs to have an impact on sales, but the odds are good that when they do the first-timer spike in sales may turn into a trend.  Loosening standards, improving incomes, soaring rents–whatever the cause, as the New Year begins there’s a refreshing new wind blowing throughout housing markets coast to coast.

According to the National Association of Realtors, first-time homebuyers accounted for 31 percent of existing home sales in November (29 percent in October 2014; 28 percent in November 2013.  Initial December data indicated a pickup of purchases from first-time buyers in November, likely a result of the improving job market and the decline in interest rates to 4 percent.

Zillow predicts that first-time buyers who stayed out of the market – either for demographic reasons or because they just couldn’t find the right entry-level home – will have a breakthrough year in 2015.rding to Zillow.  Zillow’s predictions are based on data showing rents continuing to skyrocket while the for-sale market levels off. That economic reality, increased inventory, and millennials getting married and having children after delaying those choices, will give buyers more negotiating power.  In fact, Zillow predicts the millennial generation will overtake Generation X as the biggest group of home buyers in 2015.

Meanwhile the majority of first-time home buyers making a low down payment appears to be uptrend. Among first-time buyers reported to be obtaining a mortgage in the months of September through November, about 66 percent made a down payment of 6 percent or less.  This is a decline from the 77 percent figure in early 2009, but an improvement from the 61 percent figure at the beginning of 2014.  In 2014 the average down payment for first-time buyers was

On December 8, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced the acceptance of loans originated with a 3 percent down payment under certain qualification guidelines to increase credit availability to first-time buyers meeting eligibility standards. In the case of Freddie Mac, borrowers will be required to participate in a borrower education program. In the case of Fannie Mae, borrowers will still have to meet the standard eligibility underwriting requirements such as those relating to income, employment, and debt, and borrowers will be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Borrowers making a low down payment may still face higher costs for risk adjustment (called loan level pricing adjustments) in the case of GSE-backed loans.

Within weeks, mortgage lenders—all non-banks—began lining up to announce they were going to participate.

First out of the box to sign up for FHFA program were 360 Mortgage Group and ditech, both with 97% LTV into their product offerings.   Guardian Mortgage Company, Citywide Financial in San Diego, Houston lender AMCAP Mortgage and Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage were among of the first to announce they would participate in the GSE programs.

Meanwhile, before the details were even announced, Bank of America came out saying that it does not plan on easing its mortgage standards or offering 3% down mortgages, despite regulators seeking to expand lending.  Wells Fargo said it is currently in the process of examining the new product.


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Icy Concrete Cottage in Slovenia is Surprisingly Ethereal Inside | South Salem Real Estate


k1.jpgPhoto by Janez Marolt via Dezeen

Though inspired by traditional Slovenian cottages, this stony abode near the Slovenian-Italian border is distinctly contemporary. Designed by Ljubljana-based firm Dekleva Gregorič Architects and completed earlier this year, the building dons a six-inch-thick concrete façade that’s been rendered extra rugged with irregular chunks of stone packed in. It’s also blessed with three large windows, surely an upgrade from the “almost windowless” stony houses typical of the region.

Inside, the 990-square-foot looks polished and lightweight, with the interior palette skews towards pale wood and white. Meanwhile, circulation across the second floor, which was created from inserting two wooden bedroom volumes near the gabled roof, is enclosed by breezy ropes and nets. Take a closer look.


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Housing Starts Rise 17.8% Year-Over-Year In September; 6.3% Up From August | South Salem Real Estate

Construction of new homes rose 6.3% in September and permit activity increased, suggesting that the gradual housing recovery is continuing, data released Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department shows.

September groundbreakings rose to a seasonally adjusted, annual rate of 1.017 million, up from August’s revised 957,000. September’s rate was 17.8% higher than the pace of 863,000 one year earlier, and fell within the range expected by economists surveyed ahead of the release by Bloomberg Bloomberg.

Building permits also bumped up 1.5% in September, to an annual (seasonally adjusted) rate of 1.018 million, over August’s revised 1.003 million level. September’s permit numbers are 2.5% above one year earlier.

Despite the increase in September activity in both permitting and housing starts, builders confidence is down slightly, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo. Yesterday the group released its Housing Market Index, which shows that builder confidence in the market for new, single-family homes fell five points, to a level of 54, in October. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view the market as favorable than as poor.

“After the HMI posted a nine-year high in September, it’s not surprising to see the number drop in October,” said NAHB’s chief economist David Crowe. “However, historically low mortgage interest rates, steady job gains, and significant pent up demand all point to continued growth of the housing market.”

September’s numbers show that builders are continuing to bet on multi-family housing. While permits issued for single-family homes were relatively flat at 624,000 (0.5% below August’s revised 627,000) in September, permitting rose by 7% for buildings with five or more units, to 369,000 in September from 345,000 in August. Similarly, groundbreakings on single-family homes stood at a rate of 646,000 in September, just 1.1% above August’s revised figure. Starts on buildings with five or more units were at 353,000, up 18.5% from August.


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Live Like a Robber Baron in this $13M Lakeside Tudor Manse | South Salem Real Estate

Location: Lake George, N.Y.
Price: $12,900,000
The Skinny: Built as only Gilded Age captains of industry could build ’em, this magnificent $12.9M Tudor Revival home on New York’s Lake George is a beautifully preserved example of the opulent mansions of the early 20th-century elite. Dubbed Wikiosco after the Algonquin for “Home on Beautiful Waters,” the house was built by Brooklyn Con Edison founder (and excellent name-haver) Royal C. Peabody based on a design by his son, architect Charles S. Peabody, whose firm also designed such landmarks as NYC’s Mercantile Building and portions of Vanderbilt University. The 20,000-square-foot mansion sits on almost seven acres of rolling waterfront land, with 545 feet of lake-frontage, and, per the listing, features original “carved oak doors, decorative carved built-ins, oak beams, stain-glassed windows, crown moldings and wainscoting.”



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When Should You Refinance | South Salem Real Estate

When you take out a mortgage with a fixed interest rate, you expect to be locked into the same monthly payment for the life of the loan. But that’s not necessarily the case — many homeowners can benefit by refinancing their mortgage at a lower interest rate.

Before you can decide whether it’s worth it to refinance, get a handle on the numbers involved. How many more years do you have on your current loan, and what’s your current interest rate? How much do you still owe? Will you be borrowing the same amount, or are you hoping to cash out some equity?

Now, turn your attention to the new loan you’re hoping to get. What kind of interest rate can you expect? Some say it’s not worth it to refinance unless you’re knocking off an entire percentage point (e.g. going from a 5% interest rate to 4%, for example), but that rule can be misleading. If you’re planning on staying in the home for several more years, even a small reduction in your interest rate can make a big difference. If you’re a little hazy on the math, Trulia’s refinance calculator can help demystify things.

Once you know what kind of interest rates are available now, find out how much closing costs are likely to be. That’s right. Closing costs aren’t just an issue when you buy a house. You pay closing costs again when you refinance, although they’ll be lower this time.

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30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Hits Year’s Low | South Salem Real Estate


Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates following bond yields lower. Averaging 4.10 percent for the week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below its previous 2014 low of 4.12 percent.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.10 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending August 21, 2014, down from last week when it averaged 4.12 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.58 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.23 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.24 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.60 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.95 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.97 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.21 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.38 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.36 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.67 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 links for the Regional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates were down slightly this week, following the decline in 10-year Treasury yields. Meanwhile, housing starts in July jumped 15.7 percent to 1.093 million units after falling 4.0 percent a month earlier. Also, July’s consumer prices increased at a 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted pace, the slowest in five months.”

Home Prices Start Easing, to the Relief of Experts | South Salem NY Homes


A steep gain in home prices in many markets that helped lift millions of Americans out of the red on their mortgages is now markedly slowing, with new data from the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller national home price index on Tuesday showing that the annual growth in prices had eased in March to 10.3 percent, from the previous year’s increase of 11.4 percent.

But analysts said that the softening of price gains, rather than a worrisome trend, may actually be welcome news. Double-digit increases cannot go on forever, and many economists are using words like “sustainable” and “stable” to describe the slowdown, saying the market is becoming healthier.

Foreclosures make up a smaller percentage of sales, and the higher prices have caused investors to back off, leaving the bigger question of whether housing is affordable and mortgages are accessible to average families that want to buy. First-time home buyers still make up less than 30 percent of the market, according to the National Association of Realtors, while the number of all-cash buyers — not just investors, but older people who are downsizing after the sale of a larger home — has remained elevated.

Continue reading the main story

OPEN Interactive Graphic

Interactive Graphic: Home Prices in 20 Cities

Those factors will help curb any potential new bubbles, said Mark H. Goldman, a real estate expert at San Diego State University. “Here in San Diego, we have a real shortage of inventory, yet prices are softening,” he said, adding that houses in the area may have been priced too aggressively. “A big factor on home price appreciation is affordability.” Prices in San Diego rose 18.9 percent between March 2014 and March 2013, according to Case-Shiller. More moderate increases may give buyers’ incomes a chance to catch up.

Of the 20 cities that Case-Shiller tracks individually, all had double-digit price increases in that time period except Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, New York and Washington, which had single-digit increases. In some cases, the cities hit hardest in the housing bust had the biggest gains. Las Vegas, where home prices rose 21 percent, led the list. Cities where demand has accelerated and housing supply is sharply limited by geography and other factors, like San Francisco, also posted large gains. Prices soared there by 21 percent, according to the measure.

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Yellen: Housing remains a big concern | South Salem Real Estate


Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s second day on Capitol Hill found her focusing on at least three economic vectors tied to housing – fiscal policy, job creation and the tapering of bond buying.

Yellen wasn’t as specific or blunt on Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee as she was on Wednesday before a congressional committee.

“Of course the recovery of the housing sector is very important. To see that ongoing is important to our recovery and has been a very important factor in the downturn,” Yellen told senators.

On Wednesday, though she warned more strongly that housing is a headwind for the economy.

“One cautionary note, though, is that readings on housing activity – a sector that has been recovering since 2011 – have remained disappointing so far this year and will bear watching,” she said. “Another risk – domestic in origin – is that the recent flattening out in housing activity could prove more protracted than currently expected rather than resuming its earlier pace of recovery.”

Weak job growth and wage stagnation remain challenges for both housing and for the economy in general.

On bond buying and the commitment to the tapering, Yellen held her ground.

“What we need to see in order to follow that plan is continued improvement in the labor market and an overall pattern of growth that is sufficient to cause us to project continued improvement,” she said. “Our objective is to make sure that the economy moves back to full employment or maximum employment, and we are making gradual progress….

“Whenever we meet we ask ourselves the question, ‘do we continue to believe that the economy is on a path that will take us toward our objective of reaching full employment or maximum employment?’ And we also think about inflation, which is running below our 2% objective and ask ourselves, ‘does incoming evidence suggest that inflation will also be moving back up to 2% over time?” Yellen said. “If the answer to those two questions is ‘yes,’ we will continue to reduce the pace of our asset purchases.”



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Mortgage Rates up slightly to 4.33% | South Salem Realtor


Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates following an uptick in the 10-year treasury note and amid a week of soft housing data.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.33 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending April 24, 2014, up from last week when it averaged 4.27 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.40 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.39 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.33 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.61 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.03 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.58 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.44 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.62 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 links for the Regional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quotes Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates edged up following the uptick in the 10-year Treasury note late last week. Existing home sales were essentially flat with a 0.2 percent decline in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. However, new home sales fell nearly 15 percent in March to an annual rate of 384,000, well below consensus.”

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing. Additional information is available at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Bankrate: Mortgage Rates Show Little Movement | South Salem Homes


Mortgage rates saw very little change this week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching lower to 4.48 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.31 discount and origination points.

To see mortgage rates in your area, go to http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage stepped back to 3.50 percent, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage climbed to 4.51 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were slightly up this week, with the average 1-year ARM moving up to 3.29 percent and the 5-year ARM rising to 3.30 percent.

Mortgage rates have been in a docile state over the past few weeks, as uncertainty regarding global markets has receded. While the pace of the U.S. economic recovery is still an open question, things have transitioned to a wait-and-see mode that translates into tame movements in mortgage rates. The surge of monthly economic releases over the next ten days may answer some of those economic questions, and be a catalyst for renewed volatility in the bond market, and ultimately, mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

On May 1, 2013, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.52 percent. At that time, a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $900.32. With the average rate currently at 4.48 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,011.00, a difference of $111 per month for anyone that waited too long.