Offsetting Influences

It was a volatile week for mortgage rates. Influences included central bankers, comments from the Trump administration, and economic data. The net effect of these factors was very small, however, and mortgage rates ended the week with little change.

On Tuesday, a top official from the European Central Bank (ECB) signaled that the ECB should soon begin to wind down its monthly bond purchases. Investors viewed these comments as a concerning indication that the ECB is close to reducing the amount of stimulus it provides. Bond purchases from global central banks have helped push yields lower, so the possibility of a reduction in demand from the ECB was negative for mortgage rates.

 

The first reading for fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showed an increase of 1.9%, a little below the consensus of 2.2%, and down from 3.5% during the third quarter. A much wider trade deficit was the deficit was the biggest factor in the decline from the third quarter. Strength was seen in consumer spending, home building, and business investment.

For all of 2016, GDP also increased at a pace of 1.9%, which was close to the average level seen since the recession. Mortgage rates moved a little lower following the downside miss on GDP.

In December, new home sales declined 10% from November, which was far below the consensus. Even with the weak December results, new home sales in 2016 were up 12% from 2015. The new homes sales data contrasted with Tuesday’s report on existing home sales which remained near the best levels of the year. One reason for the difference is that the existing home sales data measures closings, while the new home sales data measures contracts signed. This means that the December figures for new homes sales were likely were more affected by the higher mortgage rates seen since the election.

The week ahead is full of potentially market moving news. The next Fed meeting will take place on Wednesday. No policy changes are expected. The important monthly Employment report will be released on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the unemployment rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Pending Home Sales and the Core PCE price index, the inflation indicator favored by the Fed, will be released on Monday. The ISM national manufacturing index will come out on Wednesday, and the ISM national services index will come out on Friday

 

For more information, please comment below, email  at summer@ikonmortgage.com, or call me at 214-843-5837

 

Happy Friday!

 

A Quick and Easy Guide to Using an Online Mortgage Calculator

A Quick and Easy Guide to Using an Online Mortgage CalculatorIf you’re in the market for a new mortgage, using an online mortgage calculator is a great way to determine what kind of terms you can expect to see and how they’ll affect your home purchase. Visualizing what a 3.9% interest rate looks like can be difficult, which is why a mortgage calculator is so useful – it shows you exactly what a certain mortgage will do to your finances. Here are just a few ways that you can use an online mortgage calculator to learn more about your mortgage needs and find the mortgage that is best for you.

Start With A Solid Set of Sample Data

In order for your mortgage calculator to be of any use, you’ll need to start the calculations with a set of sample data that is a fairly accurate representation of what you can expect to find in the market. For example, if your gross annual salary is $30,000, you won’t want to look at mortgages for $1 million homes (unless you’re doing so out of idle curiosity). Instead, try to represent your actual take-home earnings and interest rates available to someone with your credit as faithfully as possible.

Try Adjusting The Settings And Terms

Once you have your sample data and have done a quick initial calculation, you’ll want to play around with some of the settings and terms to see how minor changes in your mortgage arrangement can affect your finances.

For instance, what happens if you keep your monthly payment the same but increase your interest rate? What happens if you change your 15% down payment to 20% and you suddenly don’t have to pay mortgage insurance? When you understand how all of the different variables impact both each other and your monthly payments, you’re in a better position to judge what kind of mortgage is a good fit for you.

Survey Multiple Lenders And Input Their Terms

When you use your mortgage calculator, you’ll want to avoid simply using one mortgage plan from one lender. Different lenders can vary in their mortgages available and can offer you different terms, which will impact your monthly payments and possibly even what kind of home you can afford. So shop around and use different terms from different lenders – this has the dual effect of both helping you understand how mortgages work and saving you some rate shopping time later.

Online mortgage calculators are an easy way to learn how mortgages work, but you’ll want to enlist the help of a professional mortgage advisor when it comes time to choose a mortgage and a lender. Contact your local mortgage professional today to get expert home buying advice.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 04, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week January 04 20162015 said farewell with reports on Case Shiller home prices, pending home sales, and consumer confidence. The details:

Case-Shiller Home Prices Post Double Digit Gains in October

According to Case-Shiller’s 20 City Home Price Index, Denver, Colorado, Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California tied for the highest home price gains in October with year-over-year home price gains of 10.90 percent. Lowest annual price gains were posted by Chicago, Illinois at 1.30 percent followed by Washington, D.C with a year-over-year –reading of 1.70 percent. Home prices rose at their fastest rate since August 2014 according to Case-Shiller.

Month-to-month home prices showed mixed results in October. Miami, Florida posted the highest month-to-month gain of 0.70 percent. San Francisco, California posted a gain of 0.60 percent; Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon posted month-to-month home price gains of 0.60 percent.

Cities posting month-to-month declines in home prices included Chicago, Illinois where home prices declined 0.70 percent, Cleveland Ohio and San Diego, California posted month-to-month declines of 0.40 percent, Washington, DC home prices dropped 0.30 percent month-to-month. Home prices in Boston, Massachusetts and Las Vegas, Nevada were unchanged in October from September readings.

While Case-Shiller’s 20-City Index remains 11 to 13 percent below 2006 peak home prices, the index is approximately 36 percent higher than lowest home prices posted in 2012.

Pending Home Sales Dip in November

According to the National Association of Realtors®, pending home sales dipped 0.90 percent in November after posting a gain of 0.20 percent in October. Analysts expected a 1.0 percent gain in pending sales for November. Pending home sales peaked in May 2015, but short supplies of available homes and rising prices have caused home sales to slow. Pending home sales are defined as homes for which a sales contract is signed, but aren’t yet closed. November’s pending sales were 2.70 percent higher than for October and represented the 15th consecutive month of annual gains in pending home sales.

Regional results for November’s pending sales were mixed. The Northeast reported a reading of 91.8, which was nearly three points lower than October’s reading. The Western region posted a reading of 100.4, a decline of nearly 6 points. The Midwestern region posted a gain of one point to a reading of 104.9. The South had the strongest reading for pending home sales in November with a reading of 119.9, which represented an increase of 1.50 percent.

The National Association of Realtors® expects sales of pre-owned homes to top out at 5.25 million for 2015, which would be the highest reading since 2006. The national median home price for pre-owned homes is $220,700, which is six percent higher than in November 2014.

Mortgage Rates, Consumer Confidence Rise

Freddie Mac reported that the average mortgage rates rose across the board last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points higher at 4.01 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was two basis points higher at 3.24 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage also rose two basis points to 3.08 percent. Average discount points were unchanged at 0.6, 0.6 and 0.4 percent respectively.

On a positive note for year-end, consumer confidence increased to a reading of 96.5 in December as compared to November’s upwardly revised reading of 92.6 and an expected index reading of 93.50. Analysts were relieved to see increasing consumer confidence after an unexpected decline in November.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on construction spending, the government’s Non-farm Payrolls report and ADP’s payroll reports. Labor reports act as potential indicators of future housing markets as steady employment is typically a major factor in home-buying decisions.

Did You Know: Here’s Why Buying a New Home Grows Your Wealth Faster Than Renting

Did You Know: Here's Why Buying a New Home Grows Your Wealth Faster Than RentingThere can be many downsides to both renting and buying, depending on what side of the coin you are on, but if you’re leaning towards purchasing a home it can have added benefits for your bank account that renting does not. While renting can certainly alleviate many of the costs that go along with property ownership, here’s why purchasing a home can have positive monetary affects in the long run.

The Good Impacts of Inflation

While inflation is often seen as a dirty word, a real estate purchase can see the positive side of inflation with how your home purchase investment will grow over the years. Putting money into rent will mean that money is gone and out the window once you’ve paid for the month, but investing into a property will come back to you in future gains that are made in the real estate market. While buying a home will be more expensive in the short term, it can also provide you with greater financial flexibility and equity in the future.

Renovations Will Increase Home Value

While changing up the bathroom or the paint on the wall in your apartment isn’t going to add any extra lining to your wallet when you move out, making upgrades to a home that you own will have the very opposite effect! Renovations can certainly be unpopular while they’re taking place, but no matter how small or large, they can mean an easier sell and a higher profit when the home finally goes on the market.

The Opportunity For Rental Property

An apartment you rent won’t offer opportunity for investment if you’re away from your home for an extended period of time, but a home you own may serve as an ideal investment property at some point in the future. With the success of Airbnb and unique modern housing needs that may only require a home rental for a short period of time, being able to use your house as a rental property can be a significant boon for earning money you would have otherwise been without.

Buying a home can require a lot of number crunching in the beginning that rent does not, but it can also provide significant financial benefits down the road that might not exist without such a purchase. If you’re considering purchasing a home in the near future, you may want to contact your local mortgage professional for a review of what would work best for your situation.

Three Things You Can Expect when Buying a Home This Winter

Three Things You Can Expect when Buying a Home This WinterWhen you’re looking into purchasing a home, there are plenty of things to watch out for at any time of the year, but there are a few things that you can expect during the winter months that may be a little different than other seasons. If you happen to be on the market for a home and are thinking of buying, here are three things you may want to consider for the winter buying months.

A Little Bit Off The Top

While there is significant home buying that goes on throughout the fall, it’s often the case that things slow down in winter with the often unruly weather and the busyness of the season. As a result, if you’re planning on making an offer during these months, you may be able to swing the home seller a couple thousand dollars in your direction to garner a bit of a discount. Though there are no assurances, it’s quite likely that the home seller will want to get their house off the market before springtime comes around.

A Speedier Approval Process

With the amount of properties being bought and sold in the winter months slightly lower than the rest of the year, you may be able to take advantage of a speedier approval process for your mortgage. Since there will be fewer client approvals to sort out, you may be in the clear shortly after you’ve decided on the home of your choice. This means more ease in the winter months for you, and a home you’ll soon be able to call your own.

An Effective Heating System

There may be certain upgrades you’ll want to make shortly after arriving in your new home, but if you decide to buy in the winter months, overhauling the heating system is not going to be one of the things you’ll want to worry about. If the furnace in good working order and is maintained on a consistent basis, you should be good to go; however, if any upgrades will need to be made you’ll want to clarify this with the seller before signing on the dotted line.

There are many factors in winter that can lend to a slow season for the real estate market, but there are a few things you can expect that may make buying a home in the winter months a worthwhile venture.

Understanding Mortgage Pre-Approvals and How to Avoid Being Declined for One

Understanding Mortgage Pre-approvals and How to Avoid Being Declined for OneThe mortgage process is a long and complicated one, with a number of similar-sounding terms that can easily confuse first-time homebuyers. A pre-approval is not the same thing as a pre-qualification, and it’s important to understand everything that goes into a pre-approval. Being declined during the pre-approval process means you’ll have a hard time getting the funds you need to buy your home, so it’s important that you know what the process is going to look like before going into it.

How does a pre-approval work, and how can you make sure you won’t be declined? Here’s what you need to know.

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Approval?

A mortgage pre-approval is a step that happens somewhere near the start of the home buying process. Being pre-approved means you have a preliminary loan commitment from a mortgage lender. Pre-approval isn’t necessarily a guarantee that you’ll get a mortgage, but rather, a statement that if all goes according to plan, your lender will most likely issue a mortgage to you.

Pre-approvals can make the mortgage process shorter and easier, but they’re not legally binding. If you later find a better mortgage through another lender, you don’t have to take out a mortgage through the lender that pre-approved you.

What Do You Need To Be Pre-Approved?

In order to be pre-approved, your lender will need to evaluate your finances and your ability to pay for your mortgage. You’ll want to meet with your lender and provide them with bank and creditor documents that clearly show your income, your assets, and your debts. You can expect your lender to run a credit check on you in order to determine your employment status and verify that you’ve accurately reported your finances.

If you meet your lender’s criteria, you’ll receive a commitment letter that states what size of a mortgage your lender is willing to give you.

Red Flags: Sure Signs That You’re Destined To Be Declined

You can be declined for a mortgage pre-approval for any number of reasons. If you have a poor credit score, a high debt-to-income ratio, or a low or unstable income, you likely won’t meet the lender’s minimum borrower requirements – and you’ll be declined. To avoid being declined for a pre-approval, you’ll want to ensure you always pay your bills on time, negotiate with your creditors to pay off your debts, or boost your income.

A mortgage pre-approval can help you to narrow your home search and access a mortgage loan. That’s why it’s important to ensure you don’t get declined during the pre-approval. Contact a mortgage professional near you to learn more about the pre-approval process.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 28, 2015

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week December 28 2015This week’s report of economic events is shortened due to the Christmas holiday. Economic news through Wednesday included Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales and Consumer Spending. The details:

Existing Home Sales Dip, New Home Sales Rise

According to the National Association of Realtors®, sales of previously owned homes dipped from October’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.32 million sales to 4.76 million sales of pre-owned homes. This was considerably lower than analysts’ expectations of 5.30 million sales. Factors seen as contributing to November’s reading included pent-up demand caused by low inventories of available homes and affordability issues emerging as demand pushes home prices up. New regulations that extended the closing period for home sales were cited as causing some closings to be pushed into December. 

In contrast to lower sales for pre-owned homes, November sales of new homes rose by 4.30 percent from October to November based on a revised October reading of 470,000 sales. The original October reading was 495,000 sales of new homes, which provided the basis for analyst projections of 505,000 new homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

New home sales were up by 9.10 percent year-over-year in November. New home sales account for approximately 9.30 percent of home sales. Regional reports for new home sales were mixed. The Northeast region reported a drop of 28.60 percent, while the Midwest reported a gain of 20.50 percent. New home sales rose 4.50 percent in the South and fell 8.60 percent in the West. The good news about new home sales softened concerns about cooling housing markets caused by the abrupt drop in home resales.

Last week’s financial news ended on a positive note with December’s reading of 92.60 for consumer sentiment rose from November’s reading of 91.30 and also surpassed analysts’ expected reading of 92.

What’s Ahead

This week’s roster of economic reports includes Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, Pending Home Sales and Consumer Sentiment for December. No reports will be issued Friday in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.

DIY Home Decorating: How to Use Spray Paint to Spice Up Your Home and Furniture

DIY Home Decorating: How to Use Spray Paint to Spice Up Your Home and FurnitureThe idea of using spray paint to make some quick fix-ups to your home might seem uncouth, but it can be a great way to make some easy, economical upgrades that will shift the overall look of your living space. Instead of assuming that spray paint is just for graffiti, here are some simple ways to use a can of quick paint to change up your home’s style.

Dress Up Your Doorknobs

An outdated doorknob can instantly age the look of your home, but what you might not know is that a simple douse of spray paint can instantly change the look of your knobs and provide a facelift. Instead of going down to the hardware store and paying hundreds of dollars to switch out each and every knob in your home, you can grab a can of paint in an appropriate shade and spray away for a result that will be long-lasting, modern and easy to complete.

Fix Up The Fixtures

Instead of just contending with the light fixtures in your home, you may want to consider replacing them altogether for a look that is up-to-date and unique. However, instead of going to the lighting store for an expensive, ornate piece, hit the thrift store or a discount home store. You should be able to find a fixture that will benefit from a quick spray of paint, and will spruce up your home nicely without all the cost of a trendy new piece.

Make An Old Piece Of Furniture Shine

There are probably certain items in your house that you’ve gotten sick of looking at, but whether it happens to be a basic brown coffee table or an old, oversized chest of drawers, spray paint can make for an effective change that will entirely switch up your room. While this will help you save money since you won’t have to invest in a new piece, it can also provide years and years of future use for an item that was only on its way to the dumpster.

Spray paint might seem like something that you’ll never have a use for, but it can actually be a simple way to dress up your home without the associated costs of new furniture pieces and fixtures. If you’re dressing up your home to put it on the market, you may want to contact your local real estate professional for more inside tips.

DIY Home Decorating: How to Use Spray Paint to Spice Up Your Home and Furniture

DIY Home Decorating: How to Use Spray Paint to Spice Up Your Home and FurnitureThe idea of using spray paint to make some quick fix-ups to your home might seem uncouth, but it can be a great way to make some easy, economical upgrades that will shift the overall look of your living space. Instead of assuming that spray paint is just for graffiti, here are some simple ways to use a can of quick paint to change up your home’s style.

Dress Up Your Doorknobs

An outdated doorknob can instantly age the look of your home, but what you might not know is that a simple douse of spray paint can instantly change the look of your knobs and provide a facelift. Instead of going down to the hardware store and paying hundreds of dollars to switch out each and every knob in your home, you can grab a can of paint in an appropriate shade and spray away for a result that will be long-lasting, modern and easy to complete.

Fix Up The Fixtures

Instead of just contending with the light fixtures in your home, you may want to consider replacing them altogether for a look that is up-to-date and unique. However, instead of going to the lighting store for an expensive, ornate piece, hit the thrift store or a discount home store. You should be able to find a fixture that will benefit from a quick spray of paint, and will spruce up your home nicely without all the cost of a trendy new piece.

Make An Old Piece Of Furniture Shine

There are probably certain items in your house that you’ve gotten sick of looking at, but whether it happens to be a basic brown coffee table or an old, oversized chest of drawers, spray paint can make for an effective change that will entirely switch up your room. While this will help you save money since you won’t have to invest in a new piece, it can also provide years and years of future use for an item that was only on its way to the dumpster.

Spray paint might seem like something that you’ll never have a use for, but it can actually be a simple way to dress up your home without the associated costs of new furniture pieces and fixtures. If you’re dressing up your home to put it on the market, you may want to contact your local real estate professional for more inside tips.

Existing Home Sales Dip More Than Expected

The 3 Golden Rules of Staging - Follow These and Sell Your Home FasterNovember sales of pre-owned homes dipped lower than expected and prior month’s readings according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Analysts expected existing home sales to slow to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.30 million sales, which was based on October’s reading of 5.32 million sales. Instead, November’s reading dropped to 4.76 million sales. November’s drop represented a decline of 10.50 percent drop in existing home sales month-to-month; existing home sales were 3.80 percent lower year-over-year.

November’s reading represented the first time since September 2014 that the year-over-year reading for sales of pre-owned homes was lower than for the previous month. November’s reading was also the sharpest dip in pre-owned home sales since July 2010 and was cited as a “statistical anomaly.” Such a sharp drop in sales is unusual except when housing tax credits expire and cause home sales to drop after a last minute increase in home purchases by home buyers rushing to gain a tax credit advantage.

Tight Supply of Homes, New Regulations Cited as Cause for Lower Sales

A lean supply of available homes has caused rising demand for homes in 2015; an inadequate supply of homes typically causes prices to rise and sales to fall as affordability decreases. First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of all home buyers in November, but the first-time buyers usually account for 40 percent of buyers. The national average home price rose to $220,300 in November, which represents a year-over-year increase of 6.30 percent. Home prices are rising faster than wages, which presents a major obstacle for would-be home buyers.

There was a 5.1 month supply of existing homes for sale in November, while the average supply is six months. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said that new regulations that increased the closing period for many home sales may have pushed more sales into December that otherwise would have closed in November.

Distressed property sales involving bank-owned homes and short sales increased in November, but this was due to financial institutions offering more homes for sale than in previous months. Analysts said that the increase in distressed sales did not represent an increase in mortgage default and foreclosure rates.

NAR forecasts that existing home sales will reach 5.20 million during 2016; this represents an increase of 2.90 percent. Upcoming reports on new and pending home sales will help provide a general picture of housing market trends as 2015 winds down.