What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week July 14th, 2014

 

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week July 14 2014Last week brought news from the Fed as two Federal Reserve Bank Presidents made speeches and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Fed released the minutes of its last meeting. The minutes reveal the Fed’s intention to wrap up its bond-buying program in October with a final purchase of $15 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and Treasury bonds. No economic news was issued Monday following of the 4th of July holiday.

Further indications of a strengthening labor market were seen. May job openings reached their highest level since June 2007, and quits and layoffs fell from April’s reading of 4.55 million to 4.50 million. Weekly jobless claims fell to 304,000 against expectations of 320,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s reading of 315,000 new jobless claims.

Fed Speeches Address Inflation, Banks Too Big to Fail

Tuesday’s speech by Minneapolis Fed Bank president Narayana Kocherlakota calmed concerns over inflation; Mr. Kocherlakota said that the Fed expects inflation to remain below its target rate of two percent for several more years. He tied low inflation to the unemployment rate and said that the nation’s workforce is not fully utilized in times of low inflation, and cautioned that June’s national unemployment rate of 6.10 percent “could well overstate the degree of improvement of the U.S. labor market.”

Stanley Fischer, the Fed’s new vice-chairman, spoke before the National Bureau of Economic Research last Thursday. Mr. Fischer addressed the issue of breaking up the nation’s largest banks to eliminate the government’s exposure to banks too big to fail. He said that it wasn’t clear that breaking up the largest banks would end federal bailouts of banks considered too big to fail. Mr. Fisher also said that breaking up the biggest banks would be “a complex task with an uncertain payoff.”

Mr. Fischer also said that any efforts to prevent a housing bubble should focus on the supply side and cautioned that “measures aimed at reducing the demand for housing are likely to be politically sensitive.”

FOMC Minutes Reveal End Date for Bond Purchases

The minutes of the Fed’s last FOMC meeting indicate that the Fed plans to continue bond purchases at the rate of $10 billion per month with a final purchase of $15 billion in October. FOMC members re-asserted their oft-stated position that the Fed’s target interest rate of 0.00 to 0.25 percent will not change for a considerable time after the bond purchase program ends.

Mortgage Rates Rise

Average mortgage rates rose across the board last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage increased by three basis points to 4.15 percent; discount points were also higher at 0.70 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose by two basis points to 3.24 percent with discount points higher at 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by one basis point to 2.99 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.40 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes retail sales and retail sales without the auto sector, Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony, the Fed’s Beige Book report and the NAHB Homebuilder’s Market Index. Housing Starts, Consumer Sentiment and Leading Economic Indicators round out the week’s economic reports.

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Why The Terms Of A Home Sale Are As Important As The Price Paid

 

Giving and Getting: Why the Terms of a Home's Sale Are Far More Important Than the Price PaidOne of the most significant factors home buyers and sellers focus on when buying real estate is the negotiated sales price in the purchase contract. While the sales price is undeniably important, the fact is that other terms in the sales contract may have more far-reaching and significant effects on the transaction.

In fact, with a closer look at some of the most important terms, you will see why you and your agent should actively negotiate for improved terms rather than a lower sales price.

Closing Costs

Some buyers and sellers will haggle over a few thousand dollars in the sales price without paying attention to the closing costs, but the fact is that the closing costs for a typical transaction may cost the buyer between two to five percent of the sales price on average. A sales contract may be negotiated so that the seller assumes some or most of the closing costs, and this can result in considerable savings the buyer. Likewise, when a contract is negotiated in the interest of the seller, the seller may save thousands of dollars at closing if the contract states that the buyer is responsible for these costs.

The Appraised Value

In an ideal world, a home would appraise for the contracted sales price, but this is not always the case. A sales contract may be written with terms that allow for the sales price to be renegotiated after the appraised value is confirmed, and this may benefit both parties. Some sales contracts, however, state that the negotiated sales price is final regardless of the appraised value.

The Property Inspection

Many home buyers opt to obtain a property inspection to determine if there are hidden issues with the property structure, foundation, roof, air quality and other components. Some inspections reveal that a home is in fairly good condition, but others may reveal that a property needs thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars worth of repairs. Some sales contracts may be written so that the buyer may back out of a contract within a certain period of time after receiving the property inspection report or so that the terms of the sales contract may be re-negotiated once the property inspection report has been completed.

Special Contingencies

A real estate transaction may extend for several weeks or even months while the buyer contracts with a lender, an appraiser, a property inspector and other third parties. During this period of time, many events can occur that may adjust the interest level or even the ability of the buyer and seller to fulfill the contract. Some sales contracts are written so that the buyer may opt out of the contract within a certain period of time with minimal expense and regardless of other factors related to the appraisal and inspection.

Generally, there are standard terms found in many real estate sales contracts, but these terms can be adjusted by either party to benefit buyers or sellers. Those who are preparing to buy or sell property should actively communicate their needs and desires with their real estate agent so that the contract may be negotiated with terms most favorable to their needs.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week June 23 2014 Last week’s scheduled economic news included the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits. The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) issued its usual statement at the conclusion of its meeting, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen also gave a press conference.

Home Builder Confidence Improves, but Housing Starts Slow

NAHB released its Housing Market Index report, which reached its highest reading in five months. The index moved up from 45 to 49; a reading of 50 indicates that more builders are confident about housing market conditions than those who are not. David Crowe, NAHB chief economist, said that builder confidence is in line with consumer confidence; he noted that consumers are waiting for a stronger economic recovery before buying homes and that builders didn’t want to build more homes than markets would bear.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Commerce, May housing starts fell to 1.00 million from April’s reading of 1.07 million on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, and missed the consensus reading of 1.02 million. Building permits issued in May fell by 6.40 percent to 991,000 permits issued for single and multi-family construction. In recent months, permits for single family homes have fallen, while permits for multi-family units are increasing. This concerns economists as single-family homes generate sales of retail goods including furniture and home improvement supplies, while multi-family housing is often occupied by renters and yields fewer home related purchases.

Warmer weather was expected to add to the pace of housing starts, but this did not occur during May.

Fed Reduces Asset Purchases, Mortgage Rates

FOMC members reduced the Fed’s monthly asset purchases by $10 billion, for a monthly volume of $35 billion in Treasury securities and MBS. The meeting minutes noted FOMC concerns that inflation has not yet reached the committee’s benchmark of 2.00 percent inflation as a benchmark of economic recovery.

The minutes reflected FOMC’s position that it will maintain the target federal funds rate at between 0.00 and 0.25 percent for a considerable period after the asset purchases under the current quantitative easing program have ended. While analysts previously associated “considerable period” with a time frame of six months, Fed Chair Yellen stated during her press conference that there was no formula for determining the Fed’s actions; she emphasized that the Fed and FOMC would monitor a wide range of economic indicators, economic reports and developments in support of any decisions to change current monetary policy.

In response to a question about tight credit, Chair Yellen cited banks’ reluctance to lend to all but those with “pristine” credit scores as a factor contributing to slower recovery in the housing sector.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates on Thursday. The reading for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.17 percent, a decline of three basis points. Discount points were also lower at 0.50 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was lower by one basis point at 3.30 percent; discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell to 3.00 percent from last week’s reading of 3.05 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.40 percent.

New jobless claims were higher than expected at 312,000; analysts had predicted a reading of 310,000 against the prior week’s reading of 318,000 new jobless claims.

No economic reports were released Friday.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic calendar includes several housing-related reports. Existing home sales, the Case-Shiller Housing Market Index and New Home Sales will be released along with multiple consumer-related reports and weekly updates for mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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Alameda County Fair Starts Today AND Livermore Shakespeare Festival Opens This Weekend!

2014FairVertLogo
Alameda County Fair – Now In Town Until July 6th

Taste the Red, White & Blue at the 2014 Alameda County Fair beginning June 18th and continuing through July 6, 2014 in Pleasanton. There’s lots to look forward to this year with the Big O Tires FREE Concert Series, fun contests, tasty treats and the return of the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular! Enjoy special performances by singer Eddie Money, comedian Paul Rodriguez, R&B singer Ashanti and many more.

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION!

 

 

 

 

LIVERMORE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL AT CONCANNON VINEYARD OPENS THIS WEEKEND!

Photo by Gregg Le Blanc, CumulusLight.com Jennifer Le Blanc and Matt Ballin in Much Ado About Nothing.
Photo by Gregg Le Blanc, CumulusLight.com Jennifer Le Blanc and Matt Ballin in Much Ado About Nothing.
Livermore Shakespeare Festival presents William Shakespeare’s beloved romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, and one of the most cherished love stories in English literature; Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Christina Calvit.   The productions play June 19 – July 20 under the stars at Concannon Vineyard in Livermore Valley Wine Country.  Tickets on sale at  www.LivermoreShakes.org or (925) 443-BARD.  For more information call (925) 443-BARD.
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week June 16th 2014

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week June 16 2014Last week’s economic news was quiet in the housing sector, but retail sales and employment-related reports provided indications of less consumer spending and reduced consumer confidence.

On Monday, James Bullard, St. Louis Fed President, commented that inflation appears to be rising. Although not a voting member of the Fed’s Open Market Committee (FOMC), inflation has been a topic of concern to the FOMC in recent years. Mr. Bullard had previously noted that inflation was stable.

His remarks set the stage for this week’s FOMC meeting and press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Analysts expect the Fed to continue tapering its asset purchases as it winds down its quantitative easing program.

Labor related reports were mixed last week. Job openings in April rose to 4.46 million in April; this was the highest reading since September 2007 and exceeded the March reading of 4.17 million job openings in March.

More good news came from the U.S. Labor Department, which 4.71 million hires in April. This was the highest rate of hiring since June 2008 and represented a year-over-year increase of 6.00 percent. At the start of the recession at the end of 2007, about 5 million job openings were reported.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Weekly jobless claims were reported at 317,000 as compared to expectations of 310,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s reading of 312,000 new jobless claims. The four-week rolling average of new jobless claims rose by 4,750 new claims for a total of 315,250. The four-week gauge of jobless claims evens out weekly volatility and is viewed by analysts as a better indicator of labor market trends.

Mortgage rates were higher according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by six basis points to 4.20 percent; discount points rose from 0.50 to 0.60 percent.

The average rate for a 15-year mortgage rose by eight basis points to 3.32 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.50 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose from last week’s reading of 2.93 percent to 3.05 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.40 percent.

The Fed’s quantitative easing program was implemented to control long-term interest rates, including mortgage rates. Gradual tapering of this program is allowing mortgage rates to rise. Other influences include investor concerns over recent decisions made by the European Central Bank.

Consumer sentiment slipped slightly for June according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. June’s reading was 81.20 as compared to an expected reading of 82.80 and May’s reading of 81.50.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic news includes the NAHB Housing Market Index for June and Housing Starts for May. These readings are important indicators for housing supplies, as a lack of builder confidence can translate to fewer housing starts. Housing markets were impacted by high demand for homes against low inventories of available homes during 2013 and into 2014.

Also noteworthy is the FOMC post-meeting statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s press conference. The FOMC sets the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy and is expected to announce further tapering of the Fed’s quantitative easing program. It will be interesting to learn the Fed’s perspective on inflation, which has been stuck below the Fed’s target level of two percent.

Friday’s release of Leading Economic Indicators for May round out this week’s economic reports.

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96th Annual Parade and Rodeo In Livermore This Weekend

rodeo

 

 

 

Rodeo fans from all over the Bay Area will be riding into Livermore this weekend to take part in the 96th annual rodeo.

All of the crowd favorites including barrel racing, roping, riding, steer wrestling and even wild cow milking will take place this weekend. And what would a rodeo be without a queen? Look for Livermore Rodeo Queen Allison Harman during the grand entry at the beginning of the rodeo.

The Rodeo Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The parade, hosted by the Livermore Rotary, occurs on Second Street in downtown Livermore. Sheila M. Fagliano is the Parade Grand Marshal for 2014.

The Livermore Rodeo is located at 3000 Robertson Park Road.

Tonight is Family Night at the rodeo starting at 4:30 p.m.

June 14 (wear pink):

  • 11:00 Gates Open
  • 12:30 Cowboy Experience: This is your opportunity to see the in’s and out’s of how a rodeo operates. All fans are welcome to come into the arena to visit each of the stations to learn about rodeo, see the animals, and ask any questions from the pros.
  • 3:00 Rodeo
  • Buckin’ A Saloon Rodeo Dance follows the rodeo.

June 15 (wear red, white or blue):

  • 11 a.m. Lil’ Pardners Rodeo 
  • 3:00 Rodeo

Visit the Livermore Rodeo page for full details. Follow the Livermore Rodeo on Facebook.

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Waiting To Buy A Home? Experts Say “It’ll Cost You!”

Experts agree: There’s no better time to buy a home than now. Find out why.

Yahoo Homes 

Timing is everything when it comes to a lot of things – baking a soufflé, fertilizing your lawn, and buying a home. Not so sure about that last one? With interest rates going up and housing prices on the rise, you may think that it might not be the best time to purchase a home or even refinance the one you’ve got. But experts disagree.

“It is a big deal to buy a house. But if you do your homework and have the right documentation ready, this could be a great time to buy a home for many reasons,” says Jay Plum, executive vice president of Huntington National Bank, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Read on for the five major reasons why mortgage experts believe that there is no better time than the present to get that dream house you’ve always wanted.

Reason #1: Interest rates won’t stay this low forever

“A reason to look now into buying a home or refinancing is because these rates won’t stay [put] forever. That’s what rates do – they go up,” says Plum.

In fact, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is expected to go up to 5 percent by the fourth quarter of this year and 5.3 percent by the end of 2015, according to a recent forecast by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Why are rates rising? Well, one huge factor is that the feds will start raising rates about six months after they stop buying mortgage bonds, which is projected to happen sometime in 2015, says Plum.

“[Rates] probably won’t start shooting up quickly. But a quarter of a point on an interest rate can mean about $100 more each month on [a homeowner's] loan. For a lot of families, that can make a big difference,” he says.

Reason #2: Credit score requirements are lowering

Is your credit score lower than you’d like to admit? Well, good news: Credit score requirements for borrowers taking out mortgages are easing.

In March, credit scores on purchase mortgages stood at 755, down from 761 in the previous year, according to data from Ellie Mae, a mortgage-software provider. Credit scores for FHA loans dropped even lower to 684, compared to 696 a year earlier.

What brought on this change? The 2014 market is expected to be a more purchase-focused market, says Vickee Adams, vice president of external communications for Wells Fargo Home Lending.

“Having a broader credit score range will serve to attract more borrowers into the market,” she explains.

But why is there a need to attract more borrowers? Well, the demand for refinancing has dropped considerably. Refinance applications are about 70 percent slower than a year ago and are expected to continue to decline, according to a statement by the MBA in April 2014. As a result, banks are trying to find ways to boost lending to homeowners, including lowering credit score minimums.

Reason #3: Spring and summer are the best times to buy a home

It has been a brutal winter, and people who wanted to sell their house just didn’t want to bother with all the snow and cold weather, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors in Washington, D.C. The same goes for people wanting to buy a home – they just stayed put, he adds.

“Many people who were forced to delay putting their house up for sale are doing so now. But spring has always been an important time in the real estate business,” Yun says. In fact, warmer seasons like spring and summer have always been a popular time to buy a home.

People think about moving during summer vacation, because their kids will be out of school then, which helps makes things easier, says Yun. Buying a new home in the summer gives families enough time for the closing and moving before school starts again.

No kids? Summer is still a popular time to sell or buy even for people without children. And it’s not just because the weather is nicer.

“People just know that there are more listings coming in the spring and more buyers,” Yun says. “But from a buyer’s perspective, there will be more competition from other buyers.”

Reason #4: Buying is still cheaper than renting

Buying a house is a significant purchase, but in most parts of the country, it’s cheaper than renting. If that seems counterintuitive, let’s look at recent research by Trulia, an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals.

According to Trulia, homeownership compared to renting continues to be the less expensive way to live in all of the 100 largest metro areas researched. The study compared the costs of renting and owning assuming homebuyers get a 4.5 percent mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed term loan with 20 percent down.

So why should people buy a home now? The gap is getting smaller between the two choices because of rising mortgage rates and home prices, says Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist and author of the report.

“Now, at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5 percent, buying is 38 percent cheaper than renting nationally, versus being 44 percent cheaper one year ago,” Kolko says in the report. “Some markets might tip in favor of renting this year as prices continue to rise faster than rents, and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due both to the strengthening of the economy and Fed tapering.”

However, the percentage is different in every housing market. In Honolulu, buying is only 5 percent cheaper than renting, while in Detroit, buying is 65 percent cheaper than renting.

Reason #5: Home values are still competitive

Are you looking for a bungalow with a white picket fence, a modern metropolitan penthouse, or a cabin in the woods? Well, it might be time to buy your dream abode before prices go too high.

The good news is that that the prices of homes have gone up but haven’t skyrocketed, so they’re still within reach of many buyers. The median existing home price for all housing types in February 2014 was $189,000, which is up 9.1 percent from last February, according to recent press release by the National Association of Realtors (NRA).

Plus, the housing inventory rose 6.4 percent to 2 million existing homes available for sale, reports the association. So there are more homes to choose from during your search depending on where you live.

“Property values are still very competitive in most markets, but there is a tremendous amount of competition by buyers,” Plum says. “If you are looking at buying a home, be prepared to offer quickly, and get preapproved by a lender which will make things go easier.” Contact me and I will be happy to refer you to a top quality lender so that you can get the process started. As always, I am here for all your real estate financing needs and if you or someone you know is thinking of selling or buying I will be happy to assist in any way that I can!

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