Archive for the 'Market Updates' Category

Thirty-year mortgage rate drops to another record low

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

 Article written by Christen Davis

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30 year loan fell to 3.53% this week.  Two weeks ago it was at an average of 3.62%.  If you’re looking to refinance, a 15-year mortgage rate is down by an average of 2.83%.  These rates are the lowest since the 1950‘s and buyers and home owners should be taking advantage right now. 

Contact our Mortgage Partner Matt Vance with Guaranteed Rate for more information on how you can pre-qualify or start saving a significant amount of money by refinancing.

Housing Confidence Picks Up in June Despite Worries

Monday, July 16th, 2012

By: Tory Barringer

Downturns in economic confidence hasn’t shaken consumers’ optimism in the housing market, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey for June showed.


According to the survey, the average home price expectation rose to 2 percent in June, up 0.6 percent from May and the highest recorded value since the survey began two years ago.

In addition, 35 percent of respondents expect that home prices will go up in the next year, the highest level recorded since the survey’s inception.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they think mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months, a drop of 4 percentage points from May.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates steadily fell through much of the year’s second quarter, reaching new lows week after week.

The combination of low rates and low home prices spurred a small boost of confidence in the housing market.

The percentage of respondents who said it is a good time to buy

a home increased slightly to 73 percent, while the percentage who said it is a good time to sell remained flat at 15 percent.

Sixty-nine percent said they would buy if there were going to move, an increase of 6 percentage points from May’s survey and the highest level since the survey began.

This optimism grew in spite of faltering confidence in the economy. An upward trend of confidence in the economy saw a stall in June, with 36 percent of respondents saying they believe the economy is on a right track-a slight drop from April and May.

Forty-two percent of respondents said they expect their financial situation to stay the same over the next 12 months, a decrease of 4 percentage points.

The number of those who expect their situation to get better steadied at 43 percent. Thirteen percent said they expect their situation to get worse, a slight increase from the last survey.

Finally, the survey found that household expenses remained stable, with 55 percent reporting that expenses stay about the same as they were a year ago.

The number of respondents reporting a household income higher than it was a year ago fell 4 percentage points to 18 percent, while the percentage reporting a lower income stayed flat at 15 percent.

“While consumers remain cautious about the general economy, their attitudes toward the housing market continue to improve,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist of Fannie Mae.

“Although this positive trend may be short-lived if the general economy falters, one might ask whether consumers are increasingly seeing the current environment as a unique opportunity to buy a home while home prices remain depressed, rental costs are increasing, and interest rates are near historic lows,” he added.

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Buying a Home Today: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Monday, May 14th, 2012

By RE/MAX of New England - Last updated: Monday, February 13, 2012

By Steve Harney
Inman News’ 2011 100 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate
Author Keeping Current Matters

More and more research is coming out showing that it makes great financial sense to purchase a home today. Whether it is rent-vs.-buy ratios, income-to-price ratios or income-to- mortgage payment ratios, purchasing a home right now is a bargain compared to historic norms.

If we look at the COST of a home today compared to pre-peak prices, we can truly understand the tremendous savings available in today’s real estate market. According to the S&P Case Shiller price index, residential real estate values have returned to 2003 prices nationally. That, in itself, says something. However, when you factor in mortgage rates, the case for buying a home today becomes even more compelling.

In 2003, 30 year mortgage rates stood at 5.83%. Today, they are under 4%. How does that impact the actual COST of a home? On a home purchased for $250,000, here is the difference in monthly cost:

You save $278.12 a month, $3,337.44 a year and $100,123.20 over the life of a 30 year mortgage! You buy the home for the same PRICE but the COST has been reduced by more than $100,000.

This is why so many financial advisors are saying that this may be one of the greatest times in history to purchase a home.

Positive Indications Of A Recovering New England Housing Market

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
By RE/MAX of New England Last updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Longer days and warmer weather aren’t the only reasons to celebrate right now. Recent news continues to reinforce that the housing market in New England is improving, and just as important, there are several positive signs on the national front which should encourage buyers, sellers, and agents alike.

According to our latest RE/MAX of New England Monthly Housing Report for March, home sales were up dramatically. Each state posted double digit gains in year-over-year home sales. Rhode Island led the way with a 25.6% increase, followed by Vermont at a 25% year-over-year increase. Connecticut (up 15.4%), Massachusetts (up 14.3%), New Hampshire (up 12.3%) and Maine (up 12.1%) also posted exciting gains as well.

While home sales have been strong since the fall, it is even more encouraging to see that home prices are beginning to stabilize. In fact, in March, Maine and Massachusetts both experienced a slight uptick in median sales price, up 1.1% and 0.5% respectively. It is a trend being played out on the national level as well. According to The National Association of Realtors®, median sales price increased 2.5% in the U.S. in March 2012 compared to March 2011.

Stable prices are the next piece to fall into place in the housing recovery. As strong sales continue throughout the rest of this spring and this year, excess inventory will continue to be depleted. Prices will stop declining, begin holding steady, and eventually, they will ever so slowly begin to rise again.

The key to this entire formula is for buyers and sellers to remain active, and they certainly have good reason to. Interest rates remain at or near historic lows, and unemployment continues to decline in most communities. Buyers and sellers should also be confident that the economic recovery is not going to take a step back. Just last week, Abby Joseph Cohen, the Chief Equity Strategist for Goldman Sachs, said the investment powerhouse fully believes we will not slip back into another recession in the near future.

The Federal Reserve, which has long recognized that a robust economy is supported by a vibrant housing market, is also rolling out a new program in June which aims to speed up the short sale process. The ultimate goal is to help families shed mortgage debt and avoid foreclosure, while at the same time accelerating the pace at which this block of inventory moves.

Anyone who has ever dealt with a short sale before is well aware of the snail’s pace the process can move at. Buyers and sellers can go months without a response from the bank, only to find out their offer has been rejected.

According to the Boston Herald, the new policy will require banks respond to short sale requests within 30 days if it is owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. After 30 days, the bank must provide weekly updates explaining what is behind the delay. Final decisions are required within 60 days and banks that fail to comply will face fines and other penalties.

This new policy is sure to help make the short sale process more transparent, and will hopefully encourage buyers not to rule out this type of transaction because of the uncertainty usually associated with it.

As the government continues to adjust its housing policies to continue to make it easier for qualified borrowers to purchase a home – whether it is a short sale, foreclosure, or regular transaction —
this year’s spring housing market is shaping up to be one of the most active in recent memory thanks to an improving economy and the return of consumer confidence. Best of all, many of the indicators of a long-term, meaningful housing recovery are present, which should give buyers and sellers alike renewed confidence in the real estate market.

RE/MAX Agent Survey Reveals Rising Prices, Strong Demand

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The housing industry is staging a recovery with increasing sales and stabilizing prices, according to a national survey of RE/MAX agents. Four out of five agents believe U.S. home prices won’t decline further. In fact, nearly 70% predict prices will go up, led by a strong demand for homes in the low to middle price ranges.

“To active real estate agents, this market is definitely heating up,” said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. “They are witnessing a recovery across the country fueled by home buyers and sellers taking advantage of a significant market opportunity.”

Agent opinions are documented in the quarterly RE/MAX Market Insights, an online survey of 1,022 residential experts. The survey builds brand visibility for RE/MAX agents, and is typically picked up by more than 300 news outlets. Collectively, RE/MAX agents sell more real estate than any other real estate network in the U.S.

Download the RE/MAX Market Insights survey infographic.

Key findings include:

  • Price rebound: 68% say prices will be higher by the end of 2012.
  • Today’s prices: 29% below the peak reached during the housing bubble.
  • Demand for lower-priced properties: 80% of agents say it’s good or very good.
  • Demand for homes in the middle-price ranges: 71% rate it as fair to good.
  • Demand for high-priced homes: 58% call it poor to fair.

A snapshot of today’s homebuyers served by RE/MAX agents:

  • Roughly one third are first-time buyers. Another third are homeowners looking to sell so they can move up or downsize. The remainder are mostly investors, who believe the market has hit bottom.
  • One in five buyers pays cash, receiving an average discount of 15%.

The most significant challenges facing first-time homebuyers are having an acceptable credit score, posting a down payment, and facing a shortage of homes for sale. Repeat buyers have the added burden of selling their current home. They, too, are facing a scarcity of homes to purchase in the lower and middle price ranges.

Nearly half of the agents say lower priced homes in their markets are selling for slightly less than the asking price, while 17% say buyers are paying full price and 11% say buyers are paying slightly more than the asking price.

For homes in the middle-price ranges, 49% report sale prices are slightly less than the asking price, while 8% say full-price is being paid. For the high-priced homes, 43% report that sale prices are moderately less than asking prices, with another 25% saying it is slightly less.

With bank-owned homes making up a significant portion of the current inventory, agents report that 62% of their non-investor buyers have a favorable attitude toward foreclosures, while only 27% have a favorable attitude toward short sales.

“With distressed properties still making up a sizeable portion of homes on the market, this inventory is being cleared effectively by buyers, who don’t mind investing a little to fix up a property in return for an attractive bargain,” Kelly added.

Among buyers’ highest priorities were quality of schools, and condition and size of the home. The lowest priorities included public transportation, walkability and energy efficiency.

Most RE/MAX agents advise their buyers to hire a professional home inspector and to attend the inspection. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage, not merely pre-qualified, also is recommended.