BlogMORTGAGE BLOG

8 People You Want on Your Team When Buying a Home

Posted On November 26, 2020

Buying a home will likely be one of the biggest investments of your life. It can feel like a daunting process to tackle alone, but with the help of an experienced team, you can reach your goal with less stress and hassle. As the coach of your real estate team, it’s up to you to pick the best players possible. But before you do, make sure you know the positions you’re looking for.

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Preparing Your Home for a Safe Thanksgiving

Posted On November 25, 2020

The holidays are normally a time when you gather with friends and family to spread cheer and share food. But in 2020, we are working to avoid spreading and sharing. Many holiday traditions might look different this season in an effort to stay safe and stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re preparing to host a small Thanksgiving gathering this year, here are three ways to stay safe while you celebrate.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Mortgage Apps, New Home Sales

Posted On November 23, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward last week and continue to remain historically low. This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). New home sales are also scheduled for release on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts Rise, Building Permits Unchanged, Existing Home Sales Climb

Posted On November 20, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, touching some of the lowest levels in the past 12 months. The housing market sentiment index surged to another record high. Housing starts jumped while building permits remained unchanged. Existing home sales reached the highest annual rate since 2006.

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How to Finance a Home in Retirement

Posted On November 19, 2020

You’ve finished working, paid off your debt, and finally gotten the kids out of the house – now, it’s time to retire and relax. However, relaxing can be hard when you’re still responsible for keeping up a family-sized home. If you’re tired of maintaining a large house, but still want the benefits of owning a home, it might be time to downsize. Unfortunately, downsizing to a smaller home requires you to apply and qualify for another mortgage – which can be unfamiliar when you don’t have a salary.

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The Real Winner of the Election: Home Buyers and Homeowners

Posted On November 17, 2020

Two weeks ago, millions of Americans flooded the polls to answer one question, and last week, the results finally came in. So, who really won the election? According to the housing market – you did.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales

Posted On November 16, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, but are still in a historically low range. This week, there are several key housing reports scheduled for release. The housing market index will come out on Tuesday. Followed by housing starts and building permits on Wednesday and the existing home sales report on Thursday.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Down, Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Fall

Posted On October 30, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and continued to touch historic lows. New home sales and pending home sales dropped for the first time in four months, while home prices saw the biggest gain in more than two years.

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Market Forecast: Case Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, New Home Sales Index

Posted On October 26, 2020

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged, but are still in the historically low range. This week, there are several important housing reports scheduled for release. The new homes sales index is scheduled for release later today. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index is scheduled for release on Tuesday, and the pending home sales index will be released Thursday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts and Building Permits Climb, Existing Home Sales Surge

Posted On October 23, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week, but still remain in a historically low range. The home builders’ sentiment index reached a record high for the third month in a row. Housing starts and building permits increased. Existing home sales rose for the fourth consecutive month.

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Will the Presidential Election Impact Home Sales?

Posted On October 20, 2020

When an election is approaching, all of America’s attention is focused on the candidates and the future of our nation – the only house that people are concerned about is the one on Pennsylvania Ave. As is expected, many home buyers and sellers are currently wondering how the upcoming presidential election will impact the housing market. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales

Posted On October 19, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward last week and continued to touch historic lows. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) releases the housing market sentiment index today. Housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release on Tuesday, and existing home sales will be released on Thursday.

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Low Down Payment Options: FHA Loan vs. Freddie Mac Home Possible Loan

Posted On October 08, 2020

You grew up dreaming of the day that you trade in the treehouse and purchase a home of your own. You’ve done the research, found the perfect place, but there’s one thing still standing in between you and your American Dream come true: the down payment. 

 

 

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Jump, Construction Spending Up

Posted On October 02, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to hit record lows this week. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed sustained appreciation in July after no changes in June. Pending home sales soared to a new record high. Construction spending increased for the second consecutive month.

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Tips for the Perfect Home Office (In Any Room!)

Posted On October 01, 2020

When employees began working from home, everyone set up shop wherever they could — kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, or any other rooms with outlets and a work surface. You thought it would just be a couple of weeks, but six months later and your kitchen table is covered with empty soda cans, open laptops, endless pens, loose papers, and more cords than you can count.

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What is the 30/30/3 Rule for Buying a Home in Uncertain Times?

Posted On September 30, 2020

Buying a home is always a significant investment, but during uncertain economic times, buyers should be especially careful to not overstretch their finances.  Unlike the stock market, real estate is often considered a more stable investment since it tends to appreciate over time.  However, if you lose your job or suffer an income reduction, you want still to be able to cover the cost of your mortgage, at least temporarily, so you do not fall behind on payments, or worse, go through a foreclosure. 

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Nearly 2 Million Telecommuting Renters Could Now Become Homeowners

Posted On September 29, 2020

Many renters are considering a home purchase lately, and you may know (or be) one of them.  In addition to historically low mortgage rates, many companies have adopted work-from-home models, meaning their employees are commuting less or not at all.  Zillow estimates nearly 1.92 million renting households could become homeowners this year because of the growing popularity of working remotely and the flexibility that goes with it. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index, and US Construction Spending

Posted On September 28, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to touch historic lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will be released on Tuesday, followed by the pending home sales report will come out Wednesday, and the US construction spending report will come out Thursday.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Climb, FHFA House Price Index Appreciates, New Home Sales Surge

Posted On September 25, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week. Existing home sales climbed for the third month in a row. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated from June to July. New homes sales surged to the highest level in 14 years.

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Should You Build a New Home or Renovate a Fixer-Upper?

Posted On September 24, 2020

Average mortgage rates have reached historic lows, giving many prospective buyers an added incentive to purchase now. However, if you’re one of many people on the hunt for a new home, you’re likely going to face stiff competition, limited options, and higher home prices. To navigate the challenges of the current housing market, you may want to consider these alternatives to buying a move-in ready home: building a new home or renovating a fixer upper. Both are viable options, but here are some pros and cons of both to help determine which is best for you.

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Why Your Credit Score Matters, Even if You’re Not Buying a Home

Posted On September 23, 2020

If you’re thinking about buying a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage, you’re probably taking a closer look at your credit score and ways to improve it.  Your credit score, specifically your FICO® credit score, is used by lenders and financial institutions to determine whether you will be a good candidate for a loan, or a line of credit based on how you currently manage your debt.  Many non-bank institutions also look at your credit score.  Your credit score matters, even if you’re not actively making mortgage moves, and could impact your ability to rent an apartment, get a new phone, or even influence your car insurance premium. 

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Selling Your Home When Interest Rates are Low

Posted On September 22, 2020

You know low interest rates are an incentive for home buyers, but a low interest rate environment can actually benefit home sellers as well.  When you sell your home when rates are low, you can usually count on strong buyer demand and multiple offers.  As the seller, this will give you more negotiating power and you can typically net a higher profit since you won’t have to lower your asking price to compete for buyers.  You may also to be able to sell your home shortly after listing, rather than having it linger on the market waiting for the right buyer.  If you’re buying a new home yourself, you’ll also be able to lock in a relatively low interest rate on your new mortgage. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, and New Home Sales

Posted On September 21, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the federal funds rate unchanged.  Mortgage rates continue to trend lower.  This week, the existing home sales and new home sales reports are both scheduled for release.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will also release its house price index. 

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Market Recap: Rates Stay Low, Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Housing Starts and Building Permits Decline

Posted On September 18, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and, as expected, did not move interest rates.  As a result, mortgage rates remain historically low.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index improved.  Housing starts and building permits declined slightly in August after strong gains in July. 

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4 Things that Happen to Your Finances When You Buy a Home

Posted On September 17, 2020

Buying a home, especially your first home, is a lifechanging event and a big financial investment.  You know buying a home will come with the upfront costs of the down payment and closing costs, but do you know about all of the ongoing financial implications?  Buying a home impacts your credit score, your savings, and your tax bill, but it also becomes a vehicle for you to build wealth in the form of home equity. 

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All American Homes Assigned Flood-Risk Score

Posted On September 16, 2020

In the wake of the recent devastation of Hurricane Laura, you may be thinking about your home’s flood insurance policy.  Even if you do not live in a coastal area vulnerable to hurricane damage, stronger and more frequent hurricanes plus other climate-related natural disasters could put your home at a greater risk now than when you bought the home.  To keep home buyers and homeowners informed and aware, nonprofit research and technology group, First Street Foundation, has designed an interactive website to host flood risk data on over 142 million homes.  Additionally, Realtor.com will now include the flood-risk score on its online home listings.

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Demand for Clean Home Technology on the Rise

Posted On September 02, 2020

Smart home technology has become an increasingly more common home buyer demand, especially as the internet of things evolves.  Home buyers are looking for features like smart thermostats, self-closing blinds, and doorbell cameras among other home enhancements.  In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a new type of smart home technology is on the rise.  Home buyers, especially new home buyers, are inquiring about self-cleaning and sanitizing technology.

 

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Moderates, New Home Sales Surge, Pending Home Sales Increase

Posted On August 28, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, trending slightly upward from recent 12-month lows.  Home prices continue to rise at a moderate pace.  New home sales jumped to the highest level since 2006.  The pending home sales index also increased.

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CMG Financial Honored with Freddie Mac Home Possible RISE Award for Education

Posted On August 28, 2020

San Ramon, CA, September 1, 2020 – CMG Financial, a well-capitalized privately held mortgage banking firm headquartered in San Ramon, CA, was recognized by Freddie Mac with the Home Possible RISE AwardSM for Education.  The annual program, RISE (Recognizing Individuals for Sustained Excellence), salutes Freddie Mac’s top clients across multiple categories for excellence with Home Possible® mortgages – Freddie Mac’s affordable lending solution for low-to-moderate-income home buyers.

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Stay-At-Home Guidance Drives Home Remodeling Boom

Posted On August 25, 2020

If it seems like you’re hearing a lot of hammer and sawing lately, your neighbors may be participating in the current home remodeling boom.  Low mortgage rates combined with a steep increase in time spent at home is driving home remodeling and renovation activity across the country.  Online home remodeling professional directory, Houzz, reported a 58% increase in project leads from June 2019 to June 2020.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On August 24, 2020

Average mortgage rates trended upward last week but remain near 12-month lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the new home sales report will come out on Tuesday.  The pending home sales index is scheduled for release on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump, Existing Home Sales Surge

Posted On August 21, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week but remain near historical lows.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index reached a record high in August.  Housing starts and building permits continued to increase.  Existing home sales also experienced a record gain. 

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Freddie Mac: 70,000 Homes With ADUs Sold in 2019

Posted On August 18, 2020

Accessory dwelling units or ADUs is a separate, detached, dwelling located on the same lot as a single-family home.  Sometimes called “granny flats” or “guest homes,” ADUs are becoming more popular, according to research from Freddie Mac.  Currently, there are 1.4 million reported single-family homes with ADUs out of an MLS listing of 600 million.  The actual figure may even be higher, since it could include ADUs added without a permit. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On August 17, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to touch down to record low levels last week.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index will come out on Monday, followed by housing starts and building permits on Tuesday, and the existing home sales report on Friday.   

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What You Should Know About Buying a Second Home

Posted On August 13, 2020

With many Americans flocking to far-flung regions to escape coronavirus clusters, the second-home market is seeing a sales surge.  To accommodate social distancing guidelines, many city and suburb dwellers are looking into vacation homes or moving away entirely. 

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How Unemployment Could Impact Your Ability to Buy a Home

Posted On August 05, 2020

Earlier this year, many American workers were furloughed or laid off due to closures and restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  If you were planning to buy a home this year, your plans have likely been put on hold.  A period of unemployment will impact your ability to buy a home like any other income disruption.  It will not make it impossible to buy a home ever, you just may need to postpone your purchase until you’ve reestablished your income.

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, Home Price Appreciation Moderate, Pending Home Sales Jump

Posted On July 31, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged and mortgage rates remain historically low.  Home price appreciation was flat month-over-month and slow year-over-year.  Pending home sales jumped. 

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More Sellers Requesting Proof of Preapproval Before Allowing Buyers to Tour Home

Posted On July 28, 2020

When you’re thinking about buying a home, you may not think about your mortgage right away.  You could have some idea of what you’d like to put down for a down payment, but the mortgage preapproval process requires extensive paperwork and your preapproval letter is typically only valid for 60 to 90 days.  While real estate professionals have always advocated reviewing your mortgage options before shopping for a home, current market conditions have made preapproval more important than ever.  Mortgage rates have touched down to record lows, buyers are competing over a limited number of homes for sale, and because of the pandemic, sellers are wary of allowing too many strangers into their homes.  In fact, some sellers are requiring letters of preapproval before welcoming prospective buyers into their homes.  Here’s what you need to know.

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Market Forecast: Federal Open Market Committee Meeting, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On July 27, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week and continue to hit historic lows.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index are both scheduled for release.  

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Decelerates, Existing Home Sales Surge, New Home Sales Climb

Posted On July 24, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its house price index and showed a month-over-month deceleration in home price appreciation.  Both existing home sales and new home sales jumped.  

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6 Home Improvement Projects that Won’t Improve Your Home’s Resale Value

Posted On July 23, 2020

Like many Americans, you’ve probably spent considerably more time than usual at your home over the past few months.  Homeowners across the country have gotten inspired to renovate their homes and invest in upgrades to improve their homes’ present livability and also increase the resale value.

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1.3 Million Homeowners Put Down Less than 20%

Posted On July 21, 2020

Record low mortgage rates have inspired many first-time home buyers to transition from renting to owning in recent months.  Even before mortgage rates fell to the lowest level in the past year, first-time home buyers accounted for a substantial share of home buyers, taking advantage of low down payment mortgage options.  A report from the US Mortgage Insurers (USMI) association found more than 1.3 million homeowners put down less than a 20% down payment in 2019. 

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, and New Home Sales

Posted On July 20, 2020

Average mortgage rates have touched the lowest levels in the past 12 months last week.  This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its house price index.  Existing home sales and new home sales are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Refinance Applications Jump, Home Builder Sentiment Recovers, Housing Starts and Building Permits Climb

Posted On July 17, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower.  Homeowners have rushed to refinance and lock in record-low rates.  Home builder sentiment continued to recover in July, reaching pre-pandemic levels.  Housing starts surged and building permits also increased. 

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First-Time Home Buyers: Buy, Build, or Fix Up?

Posted On July 09, 2020

First-time home buyers are facing an especially competitive market this summer.  Record low mortgage rates have made buying a home more affordable and first-time home buyers are expecting to be bidding on fewer homes for sale.  When you’re buying a home, you have the option to buy an existing home that is move-in ready, build a new home in a development or on your own land, or buy an existing home that needs repair or renovation before you move in.  Depending on your market, your options may be limited, and you may have to be flexible. 

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Nearly 70% of Home Sellers Willing to Accept Lower Offer Price

Posted On July 07, 2020

When you’re selling your home, you probably have a deadline in mind.  Maybe you’re starting a new job somewhere else, maybe you want to move before your kids go back to school, or maybe you’re eager to close on the new home you are buying.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many moves have been interrupted or postponed entirely.  As a result, a LendingTree survey revealed 69% of home sellers are willing to accept a lower offer price to sell their home, with 29% strongly agreeing with the strategy and 40% somewhat agreeing.

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Jump, Home Prices, Construction Spending Declines

Posted On July 03, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower, touching the lowest levels in the past two months.  Pending home sales soared after a record decline the previous month.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed home price appreciation is sustained.  US construction spending declined again.

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Ask the Experts: Saving for Your New Home

Posted On July 02, 2020

Thinking about declaring independence from your landlord?  You are not alone.  With record low mortgage rates, first-time home buyers are expected to be shopping in droves this summer.  When you’re new to the home buying process, you may not know where to start.  Here are four steps you can take now whether you’re planning to buy a home soon, or just starting your research.

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Warning: 4 Ways You’re Paying Too Much for Your New Home

Posted On July 01, 2020

Buying a home is a big investment, you don’t want to spend too much up front.  Failing to look into a home’s history or forgoing a home inspection could cost you more than you bargained for.  

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales Index, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and US Construction Spending

Posted On June 29, 2020

Mortgage rates remained historically low last week and will likely stay low through the end of the year.  This week, there are several important housing reports scheduled for release this week, including the pending home sales index, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and US construction spending. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Fall, New Home Sales Jump, FHFA House Price Index Appreciates

Posted On June 26, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week and remain near the lowest level in the past two years.  Existing home sales fell, but new home sales jumped.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index continued to appreciate. 

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Design Ideas for the Perfect Home Office

Posted On June 25, 2020

If you’re working from home more often than you used to, you may be reevaluating your at-home workspace.  Having a separate space to work can improve your productivity and help you establish a better work-life balance.  What is your current home office missing?

 

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Over 3 Million Adults Migrate Home During Coronavirus Quarantine

Posted On June 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life around the country.  Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have caused many companies to shift to work-from-home models and many colleges and universities have temporarily closed.  As a result, over 32 million adults were living with parents or grandparents as of April 2020.  80% of these young adults are members of Generation Z, costing the rental market approximately $726 million each month.  As work-from-home and distance learning procedures extend, the rental market may see long-term impacts with a lack of 18- to 25-year-old renters. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, and FHFA House Price Index

Posted On June 22, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to hover around record lows, motivating home buyers and homeowners to make mortgage moves.  This week, the existing home sales report and new home sales report are both scheduled for release and are expected to reveal the state of post-coronavirus recovery.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its house price index on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Improved, Mortgage Apps Climb, Housing Starts and Building Permits Rebound

Posted On June 19, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to hover around record lows, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to leave interest rates unchanged.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index improved significantly in June, after a steep decline in April.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  Housing starts and building permits rebounded in May after April’s declines.

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7 Steps to Your New Home Purchase

Posted On June 18, 2020

If you’re planning to buy a home this summer, you are not alone.  After a disrupted spring home buying and season, many buyers and sellers are expecting a busy summer.  Be prepared for a competitive market and multiple offers.  Buying a home is a big purchase and the process may seem confusing.  Make it easier on yourself, by focusing on these seven steps.

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70% of Homeowners Applying for Forbearance May Not Need It

Posted On June 16, 2020

As of last month, over 4 million homeowners now have mortgage loans in forbearance.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many American workers were laid off or furloughed due to temporary workplace closures and state and local social distancing ordinances.  A LendingTree study revealed approximately 70% of those homeowners with loans in forbearance reported the move wasn’t financially necessary and only 5% reported they would not have been able to pay their next mortgage payment without forbearance.

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How to Sell Your Home this Summer

Posted On June 11, 2020

Did you delay listing your home because of the coronavirus pandemic?  Are you ready to move and not sure where to start?  Many real estate professionals are expecting a delayed busy home buying and selling summer, especially with today’s low mortgage rates. 

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Low Mortgage Rates Could Bring Out the Next Wave of Millennial Home Buyers

Posted On June 09, 2020

With this year’s home buying and selling season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, some real estate professionals are predicting a delayed busy season this summer.  Historically low mortgage rates plus cheaper homes for sale could mean the next wave of Millennial home buyers is primed to make a purchase.   After a few years of climbing mortgage rates and steady home price appreciation, previously sidelined first-time home buyers may find current market conditions more affordable. 

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Making Your New Home Wish List

Posted On June 04, 2020

If you’ve spent the past several weeks (or months) confined to your home, like many other Americans under coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders, you probably have a better idea of what you are looking for in a new home.  Maybe your once unused extra bedroom has transformed into an essential home office.  Maybe you’ve realized a fenced-in backyard could have provided safer play space for your children.  Spending this extra time in your current home is a great opportunity to decide what features are most important for your new home.

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Share of Single American Homeowners Reaches 118-Year High

Posted On June 02, 2020

Americans are no longer delaying homeownership until marriage, according to US Census Bureau data.  In 2019, single Americans owned 38.4% of US housing stock, the largest share of single homeowners in 118 years.  Numerous factors may have caused the increase including Millennials delaying marriage, viewing a home as an investment and a place to live, and lower mortgage rates. 

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Market Recap: Home Values Go Up, New Home Sales Increase, Pending Home Sales Fall

Posted On May 29, 2020

Markets were closed on Monday, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.  Mortgage rates remain historically low.  Home price appreciation continued.  New home sales turned around.  Pending home sales declined.

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Where Home Prices are Headed Post-Pandemic

Posted On May 28, 2020

The last Recession that most of us remember was brought on by the Financial Crisis of 2007-08.  Following this recession, home prices tumbled, due in part by irresponsible lending practices that left many homeowners unable to pay their mortgage.  The current global economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will likely not hurt home values the same way.  Before the pandemic-related shutdowns, the economy was thriving, job creation and home price appreciation were steady, and lenders were observing strict lending guidelines enacted after the Financial Crisis.  As states start to reopen, and people go back to work, most real estate professionals predict that home prices will remain stable and continue to appreciate. 

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Understanding How Much Homeowners Insurance You Need

Posted On May 27, 2020

When was the last time you examined your homeowner’s insurance policy?  Now, more than ever, homebound homeowners are making sure their homeowner’s insurance policies offer adequate coverage, as your home has become your living, working, and schooling space during nationwide stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines.  You don’t want to pay for coverage you don’t need, but you want to make sure you’re protected.  The biggest mistake most homeowners make is not updating their policy.  The original policy you took out when you bought your home might not be enough to cover its appreciation in value or might not accommodate the increased frequency in natural disasters like fires and hurricanes.   

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On May 25, 2020

Markets are closed today in observance of Memorial Day.  Mortgage rates have not moved significantly in recent weeks, continuing to average historic lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, the new home sales report, and the pending home sales index are all scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Rebounds, Housing Starts and Building Permits Down, Existing Home Sales Fall

Posted On May 22, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward this week.  Home builder sentiment rebounded in May after a historic plunge in April, suggesting business is starting to get back to normal.  As expected, housing starts and building permits declined, as did existing home sales.

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How to Increase Your Home’s “Screen Appeal” for Social-Distanced Selling

Posted On May 21, 2020

Before you list your home for sale, spend some time researching and staging your home to maximize your space and give it a more neutral palette for prospective home buyers to imagine themselves there.  With stay-at-home ordinances and social distancing guidelines in place, you may be relying more on photos of your home and video tours rather than in-person tours.  Your home looks great when you’re in it, but how will it be perceived through a virtual listing? 

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New FHFA Guidance: Home Purchase and Refinance After Forbearance

Posted On May 19, 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 4.7 million homeowners have put their mortgage in forbearance as of May 2020. 

If you put your mortgage loan in forbearance due to financial hardship brought on by the pandemic, you may be wondering how this will impact your ability to qualify for a refinance or buy a new home. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On May 18, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low and did not move much last week.  This week, several important housing reports are scheduled for release and will give us more perspective on the impact of the coronavirus on the housing market. 

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What to Expect from Home Buyers, Home Sellers, and Renters Post-Pandemic

Posted On May 14, 2020

The coronavirus or covid-19 pandemic has impacted many industries including the real estate industry.  Widespread layoffs and furloughs have caused economic disruption and social distancing procedures have impacted the way people do business.  As states and municipalities gradually start to reopen, home buyers, home sellers, and renters will start to see the long-term impacts on the post-pandemic housing market. 

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Market Recap: Low Mortgage Rates Motivate Home Buyers, ADP Employment Report, and Consumer Credit

Posted On May 08, 2020

Mortgage rates are still historically low, trending lower according to some sources.  Lower rates seemed to have motivated home buyers, and new purchase mortgage applications have increased.  The ADP employment showed significant job loss due to coronavirus closures.  The consumer credit report showed that overall borrowing has slowed. 

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Questions You Can Ask the Neighbors Before You Buy Your New Home

Posted On May 07, 2020

When you’re shopping for a new home in a new area, the neighbors could be your greatest resource to learning more about your prospective future neighborhood.  Your Realtor or real estate agent can be a great resource, but there’s nothing like the insight from a resident who has lived in the area for many years. 

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Fall, No Rate Cut

Posted On May 01, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met virtually on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell delivered a press conference and met with reporters over video chat following the meeting.  Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, continuing to trend lower.  Home price appreciation continued upward in February.  Pending home sales dropped significantly in March. 

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Shelter-At-Home Improvement Projects

Posted On April 29, 2020

As the coronavirus outbreak has led to increased social distancing precautions and shelter-in-place orders, many parts of the country have been advised to quarantine in their homes. Stay-at-home orders have disrupted routines and shut millions off from the traditional world, Americans are searching for ways to pass the time. While isolating, there are plenty of projects to make your home a more enjoyable place to quarantine.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index, and FOMC Meeting

Posted On April 27, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low and have not moved much in recent weeks.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday for its first scheduled semiannual monetary policy meeting since the two emergency meetings last month.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index are both scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Fall, Mortgage Apps Mixed, New Home Sales Slump

Posted On April 24, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved drastically this week and are still historically low.  Existing home sales declined, as some markets adjust to social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place ordinances due to the coronavirus pandemic.  New purchase mortgage application submissions are up, but refinance application submissions are down. 

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4 Features That Will be Hard to Find in Your Next Home

Posted On April 23, 2020

When you’re searching for a new home, you’ll usually have a list of your “must-haves” and your “nice-to-haves” to help narrow your search.  Your home search may involve some compromises, especially if you are searching in a busy market.  Real estate contributor, Steven Gottlieb, identified these four features you should think twice about adding to your “must-have” list if you are currently searching for a home. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, Mortgage Apps, and New Home Sales

Posted On April 20, 2020

Mortgage rates trended lower last week.  Although coronavirus or Covid-19-related closures have caused many closures and slowdowns, banks and lenders are fully operational.  This week, the existing home sales and new home sales reports are both scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Refinance Applications Up as Homeowners Take Advantage of Low Rates

Posted On April 17, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, continuing to come in at historic lows.  Refinance mortgage application submissions jumped but new purchase mortgage application submissions declined.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index declined due to the coronavirus or Covid-19 slowdown.  Housing starts and building permits declined month-over-month but improved year-over-year. 

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4 Signs Your Home’s Value Is Declining

Posted On April 16, 2020

Your home is an investment, and for most Americans, your biggest investment. Even if you are not planning on selling your home in the near future, you want your home to appreciate in value, so you continue to build wealth through home equity. It is important to recognize factors that indicate a decline in the value of your home. These signs may be an indicator that value has declined.

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How Home Buyers Have Adapted to Socially Distant Home Sellers

Posted On April 14, 2020

With states and counties adapting to social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates to stop the spread of coronavirus or Covid-19, the way prospective home buyers are touring homes is changing.  As an essential service, banks and lenders are still fully operational helping people buy new homes and refinance existing home loans.  Realtors and real estate agents are adjusting to temporary changes by using technology to create 3D home listings, conduct virtual tours, and give prospective home buyers all the information they need to purchase their homes. 

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Up, Home Prices Appreciate, Construction Spending Down

Posted On April 03, 2020

Mortgage rates climbed slightly higher this week, but overall remain lower than last year’s highs.  Pending home sales increased.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated.  Construction spending weakened.

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales Index, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Construction Spending

Posted On March 30, 2020

Mortgage rates have experienced some volatility in recent weeks, as the global economy copes with coronavirus concerns.  Overall, average mortgage rates are historically low.  In housing news, this week, the pending home sales index, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and US construction spending are all scheduled for release.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Down, Mortgage Apps Fall, FHFA Price Index Appreciates

Posted On March 27, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to experience some volatility this week, but despite that remain historically low.  New home sales dropped in February, after touching a 13-year high in January.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated. 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Mortgage Applications, FHFA House Price Index

Posted On March 23, 2020

Mortgage rates experienced volatility last week, following the Federal Reserve’s emergency rate cut on Sunday and the global economic slowdown related to the coronavirus.  This week, the new home sales report and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are both scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Slips, Housing Starts and Building Permits Drop, Existing Home Sales Jump

Posted On March 20, 2020

Mortgage rates experienced some volatility this week, after the Federal Reserve’s emergency Sunday night rate cut.  Home builder sentiment declined slightly but remains in a positive range.  Housing starts and building permits declined.  Existing home sales climbed.

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What to Know About Buying a Foreclosed Home

Posted On March 19, 2020

In a home foreclosure sale, the seller is a bank or mortgage lender who has seized the property from the owners who were unable to make their mortgage payments.  To make up for the losses, the bank or lender sells the property.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On March 16, 2020

The Federal Reserve will not meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, following Sunday night's emergency rate cut. Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, remaining near year-long lows.  There are several significant housing reports scheduled for release this week including the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index, housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales.

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Weekend Home Improvement Projects

Posted On March 12, 2020

There are many reasons that homeowners start home improvement projects. Maybe you are looking to sell your home soon, increase your return on investment when you do sell, or just want to spruce up your living space.  Many homeowners put off their home improvement projects because they’re worried about how long it’s going to take or how much it’s going to cost.  While major remodels may be expensive or take a long time, some high-value projects can be completed over the weekend! 

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What to Know About Buying a Home Near Water

Posted On March 04, 2020

Many Americans dream of owning a home near water. Whether this home borders an ocean, a bay, or a lake, waterfront houses have a special charm. As alluring as this charm may be, there are several factors that home buyers may not consider. As sea levels rise each year and hurricanes get stronger, purchasing a coastal home may not be in your best interest. Make sure you consider these factors when buying a home near water:

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, New Home Sales Climb

Posted On February 28, 2020

Mortgage rates touched down to year-long lows this week. Home price appreciation has picked up after a sluggish few months toward the end of 2019. New home sales jumped to a 12-year high.

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Should you look at homes outside your budget?

Posted On February 27, 2020

Before you start looking at home listings, you should get preapproved for mortgage financing.  Mortgage preapproval lets you know how much you can qualify for, estimate what you’ll need for a down payment, and lets you set a budget.  Once you’ve gotten preapproved, you’ll know whether or not the homes you’re looking at are within your budget.  You also may be heartbroken to find out the perfect home you’ve been checking out is outside your budget.  Is there ever a reason to look at homes outside your budget?

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9 Million Homeowners Could Save with a Refinance

Posted On February 25, 2020

On the fence about a refinance?  Black Knight Analytics reports about 9.4 million homeowners with a mortgage could save an average of $272 per month if they refinanced their mortgage with today’s low mortgage rates.  At the end of January, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to hold interest rates steady and mortgage rates reacted by trending downward.  A mortgage refinance is an opportunity to lower your monthly mortgage payment, change your loan terms, or even get cash out. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FHFA House Price Index, New Home Sales

Posted On February 24, 2020

Mortgage rates have trended lower this month and will likely stay low.  This week, both the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are scheduled for release.  The new home sales report will come out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Home Builders Confident, Housing Starts and Building Permits Mixed, Existing Home Sales Decline

Posted On February 21, 2020

Mortgage rates touched down near year-long lows this week. Home builder confidence declined by one point, but overall builders remain confident. Housing starts declined but building permits jumped. Existing home sales fell, due in part to lack of for-sale inventory.

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What to Know About Buying a Home Near a Busy Street

Posted On February 20, 2020

When you start looking at homes online, you may fall in love with the curb appeal of a home without stepping foot on the actual curb.  While online listings are a great place to start, you should always visit the home in person before you make an offer.  The home itself may be perfect, but the neighborhood might not be the best fit, and the one thing you can’t change about the home is the location.

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Only 30% of Home Buying Millennials Have Spoken to a Mortgage Lender

Posted On February 18, 2020

The long-awaited Millennial migration into homeownership is underway, but a recent TD Bank survey suggests many 23 to 38-year-olds are uncomfortable with the mortgage process and unaware of what exactly goes into buying a home.  From the survey of first-time Millennial home buyers, 68% of respondents think it’s the right time to buy a home and 52% are browsing listings online.  However, 75% of respondents report they are overwhelmed by the mortgage process.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On February 17, 2020

Markets are closed today in observance of the Presidents Day holiday.  Mortgage rates continued to trend lower last week.  There are several important housing reports scheduled for this short week, including the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index, housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales. 

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What can you do about your debt before you buy a home?

Posted On February 13, 2020

When you apply for a mortgage, or any other loan or line of credit, your lender will look at your debt-to-income ratio or DTI.  Having debt does not exclude you from buying a home, but most mortgage lenders want your DTI to be 43% or lower to qualify you.    Your DTI is calculated by dividing your monthly debt repayments, like student loans, credit card debt, and car loans, by your gross monthly income. 

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Caution: What to Know When Buying a Home in Another Country

Posted On February 12, 2020

Ever thought about buying a home in another country? Whether you plan to purchase an international vacation home or move abroad permanently, buying overseas is quite the undertaking. This task can be even more arduous if there are additional complications, as many overseas buyers have experienced.

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How to Accurately Price Your Home for Sale

Posted On February 06, 2020

Your home has probably appreciated since you bought it, but do you know how much it’s worth?  If you’re planning to sell your home this year, you want to list it at the right price.  Significantly changing the price once its listed may be a red flag for potential buyers.  You should consult with a Realtor or real estate agent before you list your home, to get their professional input.  If you’re starting to do your research, here are some options for accurately estimating the value of your home.

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Home Sellers See Record Profits

Posted On February 04, 2020

In 2019, home sellers saw record profits, according to the 2019 US Home Sales Report by ATTOM Data Solutions.  Sellers netted an average of $65,500, the highest level in 13 years.  Higher profits were influenced by a strong job market, higher wages, stock market gains, and historically low mortgage rates.  After three rate cuts in 2019, and no rate cuts expected this year, mortgage rates will likely stay low through 2020. 

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales Decline, Home Price Appreciation Steady

Posted On January 31, 2020

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the Federal benchmark interest rate unchanged.  As a result, mortgage rates trended slightly lower this week.  New home sales dipped, after gains the previous month.  Home price appreciation was steady.  Pending home sales unexpectedly fell. 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On January 27, 2020

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Fed is not expected to cut or raise the Federal benchmark interest rate at this meeting and mortgage rates will likely continue to hover historically low levels.  In housing news this week, the new home sales report, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and the pending home sales index are all scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Reverse, Home Prices Appreciate, Existing Home Sales Increase

Posted On January 24, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly lower this week ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  Mortgage application submissions reversed course and declined for the week ending 1/17, not surprising after the previous week’s substantial gains.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index showed modest acceleration.  Existing home sales turned around after last month’s decline.

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Mortgage Applications, Existing Home Sales

Posted On January 20, 2020

Markets are closed today in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.  Important housing reports scheduled for this week include the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index and the existing home sales report.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Jump, Home Builder Sentiment Slips, Housing Starts Hit Record High

Posted On January 17, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly and remain historically low.  Mortgage applications reacted and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey showed a strong increase in both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index dropped by one point and remains overwhelmingly positive.  Housing starts climbed to a 13-year high.  Building permits declined month-over-month but increased year-over-year. 

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Your New Home Checklist

Posted On January 16, 2020

Moving into a new home is exciting – and can be overwhelming.  That’s why we’ve created your “Welcome Home” Checklist! 

Before you roll out the welcome mat and invite the neighbors to your housewarming party, here are a few things you need to do. 

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Rising Childcare Costs Hurt Homeownership

Posted On January 14, 2020

One of the most commonly reported barriers to buying a first home is saving for the down payment.  Student loan debt is a huge factor in preventing would-be first-time home buyers from saving, and most recently, rising childcare costs may also be a cause.  Freddie Mac issued a recent report on how the rising cost of childcare is hurting renters and delaying home purchase.  The report found the cost of housing has increased 14% in 25 years, while the cost of childcare has increased 49% over the same period.  

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6 Tips for Renting Your Vacation Home

Posted On January 09, 2020

If you own a vacation home, renting it out through short-term rental services like Airbnb and HomeAway is a way to earn rental income when you’re not using the home.  Short-term home rentals are growing popular as a hotel alternative, especially for travelers seeking the comforts of home while they are away. 

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Housing Market May See An Early Home Buying Season

Posted On January 07, 2020

A new year means new housing market predications, and the outlook is good for 2020.  Last week, MarketWatch contributor Jacob Passy wrote, “overall, mortgage rates started off 2020 roughly 80 basis points lower than they were at the start of 2019.”  Lower rates plus a more stable interest rate environment will likely trigger mortgage momentum heading into the new year and might even bring an early home buying season.

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Increase, Home Prices are Up, Construction Spending Climbs

Posted On January 03, 2020

Markets were closed on Wednesday in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.  The pending home sales index improved in November after an October decline.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated more rapidly after a gradual slowdown in 2019.  US construction spending increased. 

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Watch Out for Haphazard Home Renovations

Posted On January 01, 2020

Buying a home that was recently renovated can be a great find or a big mistake.  If everything is up to code and completed by a thoughtful homeowner, you could score a home with like-new features at an affordable price.  If the project was rushed by a property investor or developer, you may end up paying more to fix problems later.  When you’re touring new homes, especially recently renovated homes, here is what you should do.

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Fannie Mae: Upbeat Outlook for New Home Construction in 2020

Posted On December 31, 2019

Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group revised its expectations for the 2020 housing market.   The researchers predict single-family housing starts will accelerate 10% in 2020 after just a 1% growth this year.  Home buyers in many markets are competing over a limited number of existing homes for sale and turning to newly constructed homes. 

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Construction Spending

Posted On December 30, 2019

It will be another short week ahead with markets closed on Wednesday in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.  There are several important housing reports scheduled for release including the pending home sales index, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and US construction spending. 

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Climb, Mortgage Apps Decline, Jobless Claims Sink

Posted On December 27, 2019

Markets were closed on Wednesday, in observance of the Christmas holiday.  Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, trending slightly upward.  New home sales increased, driven by strong buyer demand.  New purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions each declined amidst seasonal slowdown.   Jobless claims fell. 

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Is the home the next family heirloom?

Posted On December 26, 2019

If you’ve shopped for a home recently or currently work in real estate, you know fewer and fewer Americans are moving, for a number of reasons.  In 1990, approximately 7.7% of homeowners moved over the course of the year, by 2016 that figure declined to just 4.2%.  In 2017, Zillow reported 86% of all American homeowners who have owned their home for one year or more were not interested in moving in the next three years. 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Mortgage Apps, and Weekly Jobless Claims

Posted On December 23, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week.  This week, markets are closed on Wednesday in observance of the Christmas holiday.  In housing news, this week, the new home sales report and the weekly mortgage application survey are scheduled for release.  Another market-moving report scheduled for release is the weekly jobless claims report. 

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Soars, Housing Starts and Building Permits Increase, Existing Home Sales Decline

Posted On December 20, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, ahead of next week’s shortened holiday week.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index improved, boosted by low mortgage rates and higher buyer demand.  Housing starts and building permits each increased, also.  Existing home sales, however, fell.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On December 16, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave interest rates unchanged, and mortgage rates reacted by not moving significantly.  There is a full week of housing news ahead with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index, housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales all scheduled for release.

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Rental Rates Rise, Especially for Single-Family Homes

Posted On December 10, 2019

Renters are about to start paying more every month, according to data from CoreLogic, due to a shrinking supply of single-family rental homes.  After the high number of foreclosures following the Financial Crisis, a surplus of low-priced single-family homes were purchased by property investors and converted into rental homes.  From 2010 to 2016, the number of single-family rental homes jumped 38%, while multifamily or apartment rentals increased just 3%.  Since that surge, supply has flattened while demand has remained strong. 

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Buying a Home for the Holidays

Posted On December 05, 2019

During the holiday season, most home buying and selling activity tends to slow down.  People are traveling, the weather is colder, and home buyers and sellers have other things on their mind.  However, if you’re on a timeline to start a new job or move for a family obligation, you may still need to buy or sell a home during the holiday season, even if it’s not the ideal time.  After October’s rate cut, the third one of 2019, home buying and selling may pick up into the end of the year.

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Commonly Overlooked Home Hazards

Posted On December 04, 2019

You don’t have to save your cleaning for the spring!  With a new year approaching it’s the perfect opportunity to start fresh.  Is there a musty smell in your basement?  When was the last time you changed your smoke detector batteries?  Do you even have a carbon monoxide detector?  Zillow researchers narrowed down the top five household hazards and how you can avoid them.

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Market Recap: Home Values Up, New Home Sales Down, Pending Home Sales Fall

Posted On November 29, 2019

It was a short week this week, with markets closed on Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Home price appreciation has started to pick up.  New home sales and pending home sales both declined month-over-month, but climbed year-over-year. 

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4 Reasons to Consider Buying a Multi-Family Home

Posted On November 28, 2019

Your investment in real estate starts with the purchase of your first home.  The major advantage of buying over renting, is that when you own your home, every mortgage payment goes toward building home equity.  You can take your real estate investment a step further by buying a multi-family home like a duplex or triplex instead of just a single-family home. 

 

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More Young Home Buyers are Choosing VA Loans

Posted On November 26, 2019

The VA Loan is one of the most affordable ways for qualifying Veterans and Active-Duty Military to purchase a home.  The VA Loan does not require a down payment, doesn’t have mortgage insurance, and typically will have a below-average interest rate.  The VA Loan was created in 1944 to help soldiers returning from World War II put down roots and buy homes.  However, it tends to be underutilized as a mortgage option.  Recent data shows, both Millennial and Generation Z home buyers have led to a resurgence in VA Loan usage. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On November 25, 2019

It will be a short week for economic news, with markets closed on Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday and none scheduled on Friday.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the new home sales report are both scheduled for Tuesday.  The pending home sales index comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Pulls Back, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump, Existing Home Sales Increase

Posted On November 22, 2019

Mortgage rates are historically low, and likely to remain low into the end of the year.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index dropped one point in November, but the reading is still positive.  Both housing starts and building permits increased.  Existing home sales turned around. 

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Tips for a Stress-Free Home Renovation

Posted On November 21, 2019

Recently, many homeowners are using cash-out refinances to reinvest in their homes.  Through a cash-out refinance, you can withdraw a portion of your home’s equity to finance other expenses.  Home repair or renovation projects are commonly financed through a cash-out refinance because they are a way for you to reinvest in your home.  You should not withdraw equity from your home unless you’ve built up a cushion of at least 20%.  When used responsibly, a cash-out refinance can be a way for you to increase the resale value of your home. 

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Homeowners: What to Know Before End-of-Year Tax Time

Posted On November 19, 2019

With today’s low mortgage rates, many homeowners are refinancing their mortgages to get a lower interest rate or get cash out.  A cash-out refinance is an opportunity to withdraw your home’s equity to improve your home, pay down other debt, or finance another need.  Home repair and renovation projects are a good way to reinvest in your property and potentially increase its resale value.  This year, Americans are on track to spend $425 billion on home improvement projects.  You may even be able to claim tax benefits on some home upgrades. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On November 18, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, trending slightly downward according to some sources.  There are several important housing reports scheduled for this week ahead of next week’s Thanksgiving holiday.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index is scheduled for release on Monday, followed by housing starts and building permits on Tuesday, and existing home sales on Thursday. 

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Real Estate Investing: Single-Family Homes vs. Apartment Buildings

Posted On November 14, 2019

When you invest in residential real estate you either buy to rent or buy to sell.  Buying to rent means you will have to pay for and maintain the property overtime, while renting to a tenant who will ideally offset the cost through the rental payment.  Buying to sell means you buy the home to renovate, repair, and resell for a profit.  When buying to rent, you have the option to buy a single-family home or multi-family units like a row of townhouses or apartment building, depending on your upfront capital and ongoing commitment.  When you are deciding whether to go single-family or multi-family on your residential real estate investment, consider these four points: vacancy, management, maintenance, and capital. 

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5 Home Improvement Trends from the Home Improvement Research Institute

Posted On November 12, 2019

Homeowners and home buyers are going to be busy with home improvement projects in 2020.  Many homeowners are taking advantage of lower mortgage rates to refinance and get cash out to reinvest in home improvement projects and many home buyers are choosing to renovate a home they buy rather than wait for the perfect home to go up on the market.  The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) hosted a summit earlier this summer to discuss home improvement trends and make predictions for 2020. 

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7 Inexpensive Ways to Add Value to Your Home

Posted On November 07, 2019

When you’re staging a home for sale the details matter. A couple of inexpensive changes can make a big difference to potential buyers who are touring your home.  Your Realtor or real estate agent is the expert when it comes to staging your home, but here are some ways you can up the perceived value of your home before you list.

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Market Recap: Fed Cuts Rates, Home Price Appreciation Slows, Pending Home Sales Jump

Posted On November 01, 2019

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to lower the federal benchmark interest rate to a targeted range of 1.5-1.75%.  Mortgage rates will likely trend downward as a result.  The S&P Core-Logic Case-Shiller home price index depreciated month-over-month and moved up just slightly year-over-year.  The pending home sales index climbed. 

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Warning: 7 Outdated Home Décor Trends According to Real Estate Experts

Posted On October 31, 2019

When you’re selling your home, you want potential buyers to be able to picture themselves living there.  Staging your home is an important part of that and so is avoiding or changing outdated décor trends.  Apartment Therapy interviewed real estate agents, brokers, and Realtors from around the country to define these top trends to avoid.

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Looking to flip homes? Look in the Midwest!

Posted On October 29, 2019

Home flipping, or buying a home at a low price to sell for a profit, is one of the ways real estate investors make money.  The practice is usually popular in markets experiencing rapid home price appreciation, like Las Vegas or Miami.  A new study from Realtor.com found that one of the best markets for flipping homes may not be where you expect – St. Louis, MO. 

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meeting, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On October 28, 2019

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will give a press conference on Wednesday following the release of the FOMC announcement.   In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index are both scheduled for release on Tuesday.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Down, Mortgage Apps Fall, New Home Sales Slip

Posted On October 25, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  Existing home sales declined in September.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions are down.  New home sales also declined. 

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Why Your Home Might Sell for Less than you Expect

Posted On October 24, 2019

The last thing you want to happen when you’re selling your home is for it to sell for less than you expected.  If you’re selling your current home, you’re probably in the process of buying a new home.  Selling your home for $5,000 or even $10,000 less than you expected to sell it for can seriously shrink your moving budget. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, Mortgage Apps, and New Home Sales

Posted On October 21, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, trending slightly downward according to some sources.  This week will be a big week for housing with both the existing home sales and new home sales reports scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey will come out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Housing Starts and Building Permits Declined

Posted On October 18, 2019

Mortgage rates did not change significantly this week, trending slightly downward according to some sources.  Home builder sentiment reached the highest level in almost two years.  New purchase mortgage application submissions declined, and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  After strong numbers in August, housing starts and building permits declined. 

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Medical Debt May Be Hurting More Potential Home Buyers Than Student Debt

Posted On October 15, 2019

In recent years, student loan debt has been one of the biggest obstacles to saving for the down payment on a home, especially for Millennials and younger first-time home buyers.  A recent Zillow survey of 13,000 households nationwide reveals that another type of debt may be hurting home buyers and renters of all ages, even more than student loan debt.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and New Home Sales

Posted On October 14, 2019

Mortgage rates are not expected to move significantly this week and continue to remain historically low.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index is scheduled for release on Wednesday, followed by housing starts and building permits and new home sales on Thursday. 

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How to Buy a Home Out of State

Posted On October 10, 2019

Any move can be stressful, but moving out of state comes with added intricacies.  Whether you’re moving for a career change, family reasons, or a change of scenery, your new home purchase should not be something to worry about.  Follow these steps to simplify your next big out-of-state move.

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Over Half of Millennial Home Buyers Finance with PMI

Posted On October 08, 2019

Private mortgage insurance or PMI is typically required when the home buyer finances with a conventional loan and puts down less than 20% for the down payment.  Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, private mortgage insurance is insurance for the lender, in case you default on your mortgage.  PMI is usually added on top of the monthly mortgage payment and this extra cost can quickly add up, especially for first-time home buyers that may not fully understand PMI.  

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Slows, Pending Home Sales Rebound

Posted On September 27, 2019

Average mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week, but still remain close to year-long lows.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index was unchanged from June to July, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index increased slightly.  Pending home sales increased.

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Profile of Today’s First-Time Home Buyer

Posted On September 26, 2019

Do today’s first-time home buyers look drastically different from the first-time home buyers of twenty years ago?  In some ways they do but in many ways they don’t.  Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies analyzed over twenty years of housing data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and American Housing Surveys to evaluate what today’s first-time home buyers look like, what trends have persisted, and what’s new.

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Did you know your homeowner’s insurance may cover this?

Posted On September 25, 2019

You get homeowner’s insurance to protect your family and your property from fire, thefts, and weather damage, but did you know it may also cover other unexpected hazards?  Consumer Reports collaborated with the Insurance Information Institute and found six surprising incidents your homeowner’s insurance may cover. 

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Home Buyers Rank Air Conditioning Over Proximity to Family and Friends

Posted On September 24, 2019

We’ve all heard the familiar real estate mantra “Location, Location, Location,” but today’s home buyers and renters are consistently ranking this home feature as the most important.  Zillow Group’s 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that air conditioning was the most important housing feature ranked even above proximity to family and friends. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FHFA House Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On September 23, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to cut the Federal benchmark interest rate, and mortgage rates responded by trending lower.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are both scheduled for release on Tuesday.  The pending home sales index will come out on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Up, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump, Existing Home Sales Jump

Posted On September 20, 2019

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to lower the benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to a target range of 1.75% to 2%.  Mortgage rates reacted by trending lower.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index ticked upward.  Housing starts and building permits each turned around.  Existing home sales climbed to a 17-month high.

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Listing Your Home? Emphasize These Features if You’ve Got Them

Posted On September 19, 2019

When you’re selling your home, you’re likely on a deadline.  You have to get an offer on your current home, make an offer on your new home, and move all within a relatively tight timeline, especially if you live in or are moving to a busy market.  Selling your home faster can be as easy as emphasizing certain features that buyers find appealing.  Zillow analyzed 4.6 million home sales across the country from 2017 to 2018 and found that these features tended to sell homes faster and, in some cases, net a greater profit.

 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On September 16, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, continuing to hover around historic lows.  The Federal Open Market Committee will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and is expected to cut interest rates.  In housing news, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index is scheduled for release on Tuesday, followed by housing starts and building permits on Wednesday, and existing home sales on Thursday.

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How Soon is too Soon to Sell Your Home?

Posted On September 05, 2019

The home you buy today is not always going to be the home you live in forever.  Sometimes the need to move may come sooner than you expect.  Most real estate professionals recommend waiting at least five years after buying a home before selling it to make sure you recoup the cost of the home purchase.  However, circumstances vary, and in some cases, you could benefit from selling your home sooner rather than later.  Realtor.com contributor, Larissa Runkle, identified three times when you should break the “5-year rule.”

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Slows, Pending Home Sales Decline

Posted On August 30, 2019

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, touching year-long lows according to some sources.  Both the Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index showed a slowdown of home price appreciation in June.  Pending home sales declined. 

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Millennial Homeowners Driving Home Improvement Spending

Posted On August 27, 2019

Determined to become homeowners in today’s competitive housing market, Millennials have found a new way to get what they want out of their home purchase; home improvement.  In many metros, especially high-cost areas with rising home prices, first-time home buyers like Millennials have found choosing to buy a home that needs renovation or repair allows them to become a homeowner sooner and start building valuable home equity from their real estate investment.  CNBC reported last year, homeowners who had mortgages experienced an 8% annual equity increase, adding up to $678 billion in excess home equity or approximately $9,700 per homeowner. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FHFA House Price Index, and Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On August 26, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, continuing to hover near historic lows.  This week, two readings on home price appreciation trends will be released.  Both the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are scheduled for release on Tuesday.  The pending home sales index comes out on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Flat, Existing Home Sales Increase, New Home Sales Decline

Posted On August 23, 2019

Mortgage rates flattened out this week, not moving significantly in either direction.  As a result, mortgage activity was slow.  Existing home sales increased in July, possibly triggered by this summer’s lower mortgage rates.  New home sales fell sharply.

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6 Ways to Start Your Winter Home Maintenance this Summer

Posted On August 21, 2019

If you’re kicking back by the pool, the last thing on your mind is colder weather ahead.  But fast forward to the winter months and imagine going out to check your gutter leak in the chilling wind.  Preparing your home for the winter months during the summer can save you tons of aggravation, and even reduce the need for expensive repairs. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales

Posted On August 19, 2019

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower, reaching year-long lows in many cases.  This week, both the existing home sales and new home sales reports are scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Climb, Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Housing Starts Decline but Building Permits Increased

Posted On August 16, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, staying near year-long lows.  Lower rates led to a significant increase in refinance mortgage applications.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index improved.  Housing starts fell but building permits jumped. 

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Choosing the Right Size Home: Floor Plan vs. Square Footage

Posted On August 15, 2019

After budget and location, the number of rooms and the square footage are among the top factors home buyers consider.  However, when you’re buying a new home, bigger isn’t always better.  Touring the actual homes you’re considering purchasing, rather than just relying on the reported square footage, allows you to see how the home is setup.  A larger home with poorly used space won’t serve you as well as a smaller home with the right layout.  When you see a home within your budget and a larger than expected square footage, take a tour with your Realtor or real estate agent.  Make sure the layout suits your needs and you don’t get stuck with unusable space.

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5 Most Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes, According to Realtors

Posted On August 14, 2019

When you’re buying a home, especially for the first time, working with a Realtor or real estate agent can help you avoid any rookie mistakes.  Lifestyle blog, Apartment Therapy, polled real estate agents from around the country to identify the most common first-time home buyer mistakes, and how you can avoid them. 

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Market Recap: Rate Cut, Home Appreciation Slows, Pending Home Sales Up

Posted On August 02, 2019

In a widely anticipated move, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to cut the federal benchmark interest rate by .25 bps.  Mortgage rates trended slightly lower following the announcement.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed home price appreciation has continued to slow down in many metros across the country.  Pending home sales continued to increase.

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Solar Panels Could Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

Posted On July 31, 2019

Homeowners switch to solar panels to reduce energy costs and lower their environmental impact.  As an added bonus, Zillow researchers uncovered that homes with solar panels sell for 4.1% more on average that similar homes without solar power.  The value of adding solar panels to your home varies depending on the market.  On the lower impact end of the spectrum, homes in Riverside, CA sold for an average 2.7% or $9,926 more.  Comparatively on the higher impact end of the spectrum, homes in New York, NY sold for an average 5.4% or $23,989 more.  

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index, and Federal Open Market Committee Meeting

Posted On July 29, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and a rate cut is widely expected.  Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will host a press conference at 2:30 ET on Wednesday.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index will both be released on Tuesday.

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Slows, Existing Home Sales Decline, New Home Sales Increase

Posted On July 26, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved drastically this week, trending somewhat lower according to some sources.  Home price appreciation has also slowed, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index.  Existing home sales fell, but new home sales rebounded. 

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales

Posted On July 22, 2019

Mortgage rates continued to stay low last week, especially with speculation about a rate cut later this year.  This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency will release its housing market index.   Additionally, existing home sales and new home sales are both scheduled for release. 

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover – What’s Hiding Beyond Your Dream Home’s Exterior

Posted On July 18, 2019

It’s easy to fall in love with a home at first sight – there’s a reason they call it curb appeal!  Looking beyond a beautiful exterior could help you find costly dangers lurking within.  Some of the common reasons home sales fall through include pending permits, undisclosed insurance claims, pests, water damage, and structural damage.  A home inspection should unearth most potential problems but doing your due diligence before you make an offer can also protect you from falling for the wrong home.

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Can you afford to buy a home?

Posted On July 11, 2019

When it comes to buying a home, the first question most home buyers ask is “can I afford to buy a home?”  There are numerous factors that influence whether or not you can afford to buy a home.  Home prices may be rising rapidly in one area but may be level just a half-hour drive away.  One loan program may mean high monthly payments, but another could be closer to your budget.  If you find yourself answering “no” to the question of whether or not you can afford to buy a home, consider these solutions below. 

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What Parents Want When Buying Homes

Posted On July 09, 2019

The need to buy a home is often triggered by milestones like starting a family, children reaching school age, or career movement.  It’s not surprising that almost half of all home buyers and one-third of renters who moved in the past year had children under 18 living at home.  Zillow’s 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that buyers with young children were more likely to go over budget than buyers without children.  Having children significantly changes home buyer wish lists and, in some cases, makes it more difficult to compromise. 

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Buying a home with a pool? Read this first!

Posted On July 03, 2019

Summer is in full swing and if you’ve spent any time waiting in line or shelling out fees to use a community pool, you may be day dreaming about having a pool of your own.  Buying a home with a pool could mean endless summer fun and even a higher resale value when it’s time to move.  It could also be a potential pitfall if you don’t do your due diligence or properly maintain the pool.  Realtor.com contributor Sally Herigstad compiled this list of crucial lessons she learned when buying a home with a pool seven years ago.  Take note!

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Why Young Home Buyers are Facing Limited Inventory and What They’re Doing About It

Posted On July 02, 2019

For the past few years, home buyers have faced a competitive market with a limited number of homes for sale.  One of the chief factors impacting housing supply is the Baby Boomer generation.  Baby Boomers are staying in their homes longer, instead of downsizing or moving into retirement communities.  This trend has kept previous generations, who are homeowners, in their starter homes longer, preventing would-be first-time home buyers from entering the market. 

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Flat, New Home Sales Decline, Pending Home Sales Improve

Posted On June 28, 2019

Mortgage rates continue to swing lower, amidst the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to leave rates unchanged.  Home price appreciation was flat month-over-month but up marginally year-over-year.  New home sales declined, but pending home sales are up.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On June 24, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged.  Mortgage rates reacted by holding steady.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, new home sales, and the pending home sales index are all scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, Home Builder Sentiment Drops, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Posted On June 21, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met on Tuesday and Wednesday this week and voted to leave the federal benchmark interest rate unchanged.  As a result, mortgage rates trended downward.  Home builder sentiment fell slightly.  Housing starts declined and building permits increased. 

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Benefits and Risks of Home Sharing

Posted On June 20, 2019

A new practice called “house hacking” is a new name of an old concept, that is getting popular again, especially in expensive markets.  Homeowners rent out one or more rooms in their home, through short-term rental sites or other rental agreements, to help with the cost of their mortgage and even make a profit.  Some homes, like duplexes or homes with mother-in-law suites, are more conducive to renting, while others may require some modifications. 

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38% of Home Buyers Exceed Their Budgets

Posted On June 18, 2019

One of the first steps to buying a new home is setting a reasonable budget.  Getting preapproved for mortgage financing will help you determine how much home you can afford and where you should start looking.  Most mortgage professionals recommend setting a budget below the amount of loan you qualify for, to avoid stretching your finances.  The cost of buying a home comes with the down payment, closing costs, and other ongoing maintenance and renovation costs that may come up during the first few years of homeownership.  A new study from real estate brokerage, Owners.com, found that an alarming 38% of home buyers exceeded their self-imposed budgets over the past four years.

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How Smart Home Tech Can Help Retirees Age In Place

Posted On June 12, 2019

The thought of smart home devices may conjure the idea of tech-savvy millennials using smart thermostats to regulate temperatures or smart appliances to maximize efficiency.  However, smart home technology can also help older homeowners.  As more and more retirees plan to age in place rather than downsizing or moving into a retirement community, smart home technology is making the transition easier.

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Gainful, but Slower. Pending Home Sales Decline

Posted On May 31, 2019

Average mortgage rates continued their downward trend this week.  Both the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index indicated that home price appreciation is also slowing down.  Pending home sales are down.

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How Multi-Generational Living Impacts Home Design

Posted On May 29, 2019

Today, it’s not uncommon to have multiple generations living in the same home.  Between adult children returning after college and parents living longer, Baby Boomers are often called the “sandwich generation” as they simultaneously care for their children and parents.  In fact, 41% of American home buyers consider the need to accommodate an elderly parent or adult child when they are shopping for a home.  After decades of building detached single-family homes, some home builders are shifting gears toward accommodating multiple generations under one roof.

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Are Parents Hurting Homeownership?

Posted On May 28, 2019

Millennials may have an even harder time shaking the “parents’ basement dwellers” moniker after recent data from an Urban Institute study.  While a large share of recent college graduates move back into their parents’ homes with the intention of saving money in a no-or-low-rent environment, they may actually be hurting their chances at homeownership.    From the study, young adults who live with their parents between the ages of 25 and 34 are significantly less likely to be homeowners ten years later.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FHFA House Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On May 27, 2019

Markets will be closed today, in observance of Memorial Day.  Coming up this week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are scheduled for release on Tuesday.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release its pending home sales index on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Decline, Mortgage Apps Mixed, New Home Sales Also Fall

Posted On May 24, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly lower this week and continue to hover around year-long lows.  Existing home sales dropped in April.  New purchase mortgage application submissions decreased but refinance application submissions increased.  New home sales are also down.

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Natural Disasters Highlight Millions of Underinsured Homes

Posted On May 22, 2019

In 2018, the United States suffered 14 natural disasters spanning coast to coast from wildfires in California to hurricanes in Florida.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports natural disasters cost the United States $91 billion in damage, marking the eighth consecutive year that eight or more natural disasters resulted in billion-dollar level damage.  As climate change continues to warm the atmosphere, natural disasters are only expected to increase in frequency and severity and home insurers are lagging behind.  Rising construction costs lead to costlier repairs that many home insurers are not prepared to cover. 

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5 Challenges Home Sellers Face in 2019

Posted On May 21, 2019

No matter what the market is doing, home sellers will face various challenges throughout the process.  Forbes contributor and CEO of Las Vegas Homes by the Brooks Team, Jim Brooks, outlined five specific challenges home sellers will face in 2019. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, Mortgage Apps, Jobless Claims

Posted On May 20, 2019

Mortgage rates continue to trend downward, amidst some uncertainty surrounding global trade tensions.  There are very few economic reports scheduled for release this week.  In housing news, existing home sales and the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage application survey are scheduled for release.  The weekly jobless claims report comes out on Thursday.

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4 Times to Invest When Buying a Home

Posted On May 08, 2019

Buying a home is a big financial commitment, and it’s no secret that it gets expensive, between the down payment, closing costs, and other fees.  When you are making this big of a purchase, you will probably be looking for ways to save.  Apartment Therapy contributor, Kate Streit, interviewed real estate experts nationwide to compile this list of the top four things you should never skimp on when buying a home.

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Survey: Home Buyers of All Ages Looking for Lawns

Posted On May 07, 2019

What do you love most about your home?  A recent survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) suggests it may be your lawn.  From the survey, 81% of Americans have a lawn or yard and 79% say that a lawn or yard is one of the most important features when buying or renting a home.  A nice sized lawn ranked second behind a kitchen renovation, and the sentiment was shared by all generations.

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, Case-Shiller Home Price Index Appreciates, Pending Home Sales Jump

Posted On May 03, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee met on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and voted to leave the federal benchmark interest rate unchanged.  In turn, mortgage rates did not move significantly.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated at the slowest clip since September 2012.  The pending home sales index exceeded expectations. 

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Home Equity Hits Record High – Why Aren’t Homeowners Using it?

Posted On April 30, 2019

Home equity increases over time as the homeowners makes payments toward their mortgage balance and their home appreciates.  As home values continue to rise, tappable home equity has increased substantially.  In the fourth quarter of 2018, Black Knight reported that American homeowners had a collective $5.7 trillion in tappable equity.  In fact, CoreLogic data showed from 2017 to 2018, the average homeowner gained almost $10,000 in home equity. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index, and Federal Open Market Committee Meeting

Posted On April 29, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, continuing to hover near year-long lows.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and pending home sales index are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Down, FHFA House Price Index Increases, New Home Sales Up

Posted On April 26, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly up or down this week, ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  The FOMC is not likely to raise interest rates during this meeting.  Existing home sales are down but new home sales are up.  Home price appreciation continues to slow. 

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Analysis of Today’s First-Time Home Buyer

Posted On April 25, 2019

Despite some obstacles that first-time home buyers face when starting their home search, a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests the share of first-time home buyers has remained stable over the past 17 years.  On average, first-time home buyers make up a little less than half of total home buyers on the market, 46% in 2016.  To help lenders and other real estate professionals cater to first-time home buyers, the New York Fed released this analysis of today’s first-time home buyer and their specific needs.

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60% of Home Shoppers are Willing to Renovate

Posted On April 23, 2019

A recently released study from Move.com showed 60% of home shoppers are willing to consider a home renovation project after they purchase their home.  Whether it’s the HGTV effect, or limited homes for sale, more than half of survey respondents are willing to spend in excess of $20,000 on home renovation and 28% are willing to spend between $10,000 and $20,000.  Additionally, 95% of respondents expect a return on their renovation investment.

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, New Home Sales

Posted On April 22, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week but continue to hover around year-long lows.  This week, the existing home sales and new home sales reports are both scheduled for release.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency will also release its home price index.

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6 Signs You’ve Found the Perfect Home

Posted On April 18, 2019

Are you looking for a home in today’s busy market?  Buying a home can be an emotional experience, and it’s easy to get swept up making such a big decision.  Whether you’re in the middle of your home search or just starting, look for these seven signs you’ve found the perfect home. 

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Built for Zero: How 9 Cities Ended Veteran Homelessness

Posted On April 17, 2019

Earlier this year, the city of Abilene, Texas joined a growing number of communities to end Veteran homelessness.  With the help of a national program called Built for Zero, Abilene city officials were able to leverage community data to track homeless Veterans on a case-by-case basis, identify the causation of their chronic homelessness, and allocate resources effectively. 

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How Many Homeowners Would Benefit from a Rate Refinance?

Posted On April 11, 2019

Mortgage rates are trending downward, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to pause raising rates this year.  As rates fall, more and more homeowners could benefit from a mortgage refinance.  According to a recent report from Black Knight, 4.9 million American homeowners could reduce their mortgage rate by at least 0.75% if they refinance now, a 1.6 million week-over-week increase.

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Report: Healthy Housing Market this Spring Home Buying Season

Posted On April 09, 2019

Spring is in the air – and so are “For Sale” signs.  Traditionally, Spring and Summer are the busiest seasons for home buyers and sellers, thawing out after the slower winter months.  Housing professionals anticipate this Spring to be especially busy, with improved affordability for home buyers.  While 2018 ended with higher mortgage rates and home prices, the early months of 2019 have brought lower mortgage rates plus a slowdown in home price appreciation.  Recent data shows consumer house-buying power has increased 2.3% from December 2018 to January 2019, and the trend is expected to continue.

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Tax Day 2019 Checklist: Did you get all your home-related deductions?

Posted On April 03, 2019

Tax Day, or the last day for tax payers to file their income taxes, is Monday, April 15th.  If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, it’s time to get started!  Early last year, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the most sweeping tax reform legislation in decades.  The biggest change was the increase in the standard deduction: $12,200 for individuals, $18,350 for heads of household, and $24,400 for married couples filing jointly.  Since the standard deduction has increased so significantly, homeowners may need to more closely calculate their home expenses to determine whether or not their total sum exceeds the standard deduction. 

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Market Recap: Housing Starts and Building Permits Pull Back, Case-Shiller Home Price Index Slows, New Home Sales Climb

Posted On March 29, 2019

Mortgage rates continue to slide downward, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to ease back on rate hikes this year.  After an exceptionally strong January, February’s housing starts and building permits declined.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index posted the slowest annual rate of growth in seven years.  New home sales exceeded expectations. 

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45.5% of Home Sellers Didn’t Know Who Paid the Buyer’s Agent

Posted On March 28, 2019

If you’re in the market for a home, or if you’ve bought or sold a home, you probably know that the Realtor or real estate agent does not get paid commission until the transaction is complete.  A new report from Clever Real Estate, an online platform that connects home buyers and sellers with agents, had some startling results.  Out of 1,000 homeowners selling their home around the country in 2019, an astounding 45.5% thought the home buyer paid the buyer’s agent’s commission. 

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Home Renovation Spending to Exceed $450 Billion

Posted On March 26, 2019

According to a new report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, Improving America’s Housing 2019, home renovation and remodeling increased 6.5% from 2016 to 2017, and more than 50% since the Recession ended.  In fact, remodeling spending accounted for 2.2% of total national economic activity in 2017.  Homeowners staying in their homes longer combined with aging housing stock and appreciating home values has led to a surge in renovation and remodeling spending, and it’s only expected to keep growing.

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Market Forecast: Housing Starts and Building Permits, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and New Home Sales

Posted On March 25, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged last week and signaled a pause on raising rates for the rest of the year.  Mortgage rates reacted by trending downward, following Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s statement.  After government shutdown-related delays, February’s housing starts and building permits and new home sales reports are all scheduled for release.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will come out on Tuesday.

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This is how your life changes when you become a homeowner

Posted On March 25, 2019

You signed the papers, got the keys and opened the front door. Now, that quaint little place is all yours.

But more freedom comes with more responsibility. A lot changes once you’re a homeowner. Here’s how to prepare for a few of the adjustments — emotionally and financially.

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, Home Builder Sentiment Unchanged, Existing Home Sales Jump

Posted On March 22, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met Tuesday and Wednesday and voted to leave the federal benchmark interest rate unchanged. In turn, mortgage rates plunged following the news, hovering around year-long lows.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index was unchanged in March.  Existing home sales surged to the highest level in almost a year. 

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VA Loan Originations More than Double for First-Time Home Buyers

Posted On March 19, 2019

The VA Loan, a mortgage loan issued by lenders but partially insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs, has become the loan of choice for first-time home buyers who have served or are actively serving in the US military.  In 2007, VA Loans were used by approximately 30% of first-time home buyers who were service members.  By 2016, that figure has increased to 78%, with roughly three-fourths of all service members using a VA Loan to purchase their first home.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Construction Spending, New Home Sales

Posted On March 18, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved drastically this month, even trending downward according to some sources.  This week in housing news, US construction spending and new home sales data are finally catching up, following report release delays due to the partial government shutdown.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey is also scheduled for release.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Up, Construction Spending Increases, New Home Sales Dip

Posted On March 14, 2019

Mortgage rates continued their downward trend this week.  Mortgage applications reacted, with new purchase application submissions increasing and refinance application submissions down only slightly.  US construction spending is up.  New home sales are down.

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Caution: Home Inspection Myths You Might Believe

Posted On March 13, 2019

The home inspection is one of the most important steps in the home buying process.  You may think you have found the perfect home, but a home inspection could reveal costly and even dangerous problems that you could face down the road.  When you are buying a home, it’s important to understand what a home inspection actually is, what a home inspector does, and what a home inspector does not do.  Realtor.com identified some of the most common myths first time home buyers and even some repeat home buyers believe.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, and FOMC Meeting

Posted On March 13, 2019

Mortgage rates have trended downward this month, amid notes from the minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in January.  This week, the FOMC will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, but is not expected to raise the Federal benchmark interest rate.  In housing news, the housing market index comes out on Monday and existing home sales will be released on Friday.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Down, New Home Sales Up, ADP Employment Report Up

Posted On March 08, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, trending downward according to some sources.  Construction spending declined in December, after posting strong numbers in December.  New home sales surged to a seven-month high.  The ADP employment report was positive. 

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How sweat equity and a little home DIY can help you avoid a down payment on mortgage loan

Posted On March 04, 2019

Saving a down payment is challenging for many first-time home buyers, and even if they manage it, more obstacles lie ahead.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, New Home Sales, and the ADP Employment Report

Posted On March 04, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this month and continue to hover around year-long lows.  Economic indicators are finally catching up, after many reports including the new home sales report and US construction spending were delayed by the partial government shutdown.  This week, December’s US construction spending report comes out on Monday, followed by December’s new home sales report on Tuesday.  In labor market news, the ADP employment report is scheduled for release on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Housing Starts and Building Permits Mixed, Case-Shiller Home Price Index Appreciates, and Pending Home Sales Go Up

Posted On March 01, 2019

Some economic indicators continue to be delayed by the partial government shutdown earlier this year.  In the housing sector, January’s new home sales report originally scheduled for Tuesday and January’s US construction spending originally scheduled for Friday, were both delayed.  Of the reports released, housing starts declined and building permits inched up, home price appreciation continues to slow down, and pending home sales increased.

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The Surprising Home Renovation That Usually Pays for Itself

Posted On February 28, 2019

Investing in a home renovation or remodel can improve the livability of your home and even increase the resale value when it comes time to sell.  When you choose to renovate your home, you may want to consider what projects will garner the most return on investment, even if you’re not selling anytime soon.  Remodeling magazine released its 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, comparing the cost and return on many common home renovation projects.  Out of all of the repairs evaluated, replacing a standard garage door with an upscale model, tended to recoup 97.5% of the cost when it came time to sell. 

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How Net-Zero Energy Homes Work

Posted On February 27, 2019

Six years ago, home builder De Young Properties built a single-family home that was a net-zero energy building.  Net-zero energy refers to a building that has the potential to produce as much energy as it would consume over the course of a year.  Today, there are approximately 5,000 net-zero energy single-family homes throughout the country.  With new building mandates in California, there could be as many as 100,000 by the end of 2020. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Starts and Building Permits, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On February 25, 2019

Average mortgage rates trended downward last week, reaching 12-month lows in some cases.  After getting delayed due to the partial government shutdown, the December housing starts and building permits report will come out this week.  Other important upcoming housing reports include the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) pending home sales index.  The new home sales report, originally scheduled for release on Tuesday of this week, will be delayed.

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Market Recap: Builder Optimism Improves, Housing Starts and Building Permits Delayed, Existing Home Sales Decline

Posted On February 22, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week.  Home builders are feeling optimistic to start out the year, as rates start to level off and economic conditions remain favorable.  The release of the housing starts and building permits report was delayed, due to the lasting effects of the partial government shutdown.  Existing home sales fell.

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All the best Presidents Day sales for the home

Posted On February 18, 2019

Presidents Day, originally established to celebrate the birthday of the first U.S. president George Washington, is also the first big holiday of the year for shopping. If you’re in the market for something new for your home—especially mattresses, furniture, and appliances—this weekend is a good opportunity to score some major deals. We’ve rounded up the best sales announced so far, organized by category for your browsing convenience.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales

Posted On February 18, 2019

Markets are closed today in observance of the Presidents Day holiday.  It’s a busy week ahead for housing news with the home builders sentiment index, housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales all scheduled for release. 

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3 Things First-Time Home Buyers May Not Know

Posted On February 14, 2019

Your first home – how exciting!  Whether you are looking to buy your first home now, or sometime in the future, it’s never too early to do your research.  With the abundance of educational materials available, you may not know where to start.  Forbes contributor and Certified Financial PlannerTM, David Rae, pointed out these three things that first-time home buyers should know, before they start shopping.

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Market Recap: Home Price Index Mixed, Pending Home Sales Down, No Rate Hike

Posted On February 01, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) announcement to slow down on interest rate hikes this year.  Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell asserts the decision to stop hiking rates has nothing to do with the strong US economy, rather a global economic slowdown taking place in Europe and China.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed that home price appreciation has slowed, giving some buyers a much-needed break.  The pending home sales index declined. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, FOMC Meeting

Posted On January 28, 2019

The US partial government shutdown ended last Friday, as the White House and Congress reached a three week spending agreement while they continue to hash out a border security deal.  The shutdown had delayed the release of some economic indicators over the past five weeks.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will come out on Tuesday and the pending home sales index comes out on Wednesday.  The Federal Open Market Committee will also meet this week but is not expected to raise the benchmark interest rate.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Down, Home Prices Up, New Home Sales Delayed

Posted On January 25, 2019

The partial US government shutdown continues, delaying the release of some economic indicators, including this week’s new home sales report.  Existing home sales declined, as expected, following a slow winter season.  Home prices appreciated more than expected. 

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Why Rental Data Matters – Especially for Home Buyers

Posted On January 24, 2019

For many, buying their first home is the end of renting.  When you are shopping for a new home, especially if you are a repeat buyer, keeping an eye on the rental market may not seem relevant to you.  However, data suggests that rental prices tend to increase or decrease more rapidly than sales prices and can be a better indicator of the overall health of a housing market.

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Single Female Homeowners Outnumber Single Male Homeowners

Posted On January 22, 2019

According to a new LendingTree study, single women are outpacing single men in becoming homeowners.  Single women own 22% of homes nationwide, compared to just 13% owned by single men.  Out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas across the country, single women own an average of 70,000 more homes than single men do.  With most women earning an average of only 80% of their male counterparts, the new homeownership data may be surprising to some.  Despite the fact that many young homeowners are delaying milestones like marriage and children, they are still taking advantage of the wealth-building opportunity of home purchase. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, and New Home Sales

Posted On January 21, 2019

Markets are closed today in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  The US government remains in a state of partial shutdown, delaying the release of some economic indicators, including the new home sales report.  The existing home sales report is scheduled to come out on Tuesday and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index is scheduled for Wednesday. 

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7 Tips for Buying a Home This Year

Posted On January 10, 2019

Whether you are buying your first home, moving up, or downsizing, buying a home should be an exciting experience.  The best way to reduce stress is to have the support of the right real estate team.  Internet media company, Buzzfeed, surveyed its community of Realtors and real estate agents to compile this list of the top 7 tips your agent wants you to know before you start searching for a new home. 

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Don’t Make this Home Renovation Mistake

Posted On January 02, 2019

In the spirit of new beginnings, you may be considering a home remodel or renovation this year.  A home renovation is a great option to add resale value to your home or adapt the layout or design to fit your current lifestyle.  If you are planning a home renovation, don’t make this big mistake.  In 2017, 1 in 3 homeowners paid for some or all of their renovation project with a credit card.  With homeowners spending a median of $10,000 on renovation projects, this is a dangerous debt to take on.

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Market Recap: Government Shutdown Delays New Home Sales Report

Posted On December 28, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, trending slightly downward.  Markets were closed on Tuesday in observance of the Christmas holiday.  The US government has been partially shutdown since Thursday 12/20, following a budgetary dispute in Congress.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index was released on Tuesday, as planned.  New home sales were delayed due to the partial government shutdown. 

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How the New Tax Law Impacts Your Vacation Home

Posted On December 26, 2018

As the year comes to an end, taxpayers are starting to review how the new tax law will impact their 2018 tax returns. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) implemented early last year, was the most sweeping tax reform passed in decades and impacted everything from corporate taxes to the size of tax deduction. However, for those who own vacation homes or rental properties, the tax law will remain largely the same.

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Airbnb Enters Home Building Business

Posted On December 25, 2018

Airbnb, the popular service for home sharing and short-term vacation rentals announced its plan to enter the home building business and start building homes designed for sharing.  The new project, called Samara: Backyard, will be headed by Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia and begin building in 2019.  The goal of Samara is to prototype a new way for homes to be “designed, built, and shared” that better caters to Airbnb’s service.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On December 24, 2018

Markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of the Christmas Holiday.  Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise the Federal benchmark interest rate, as expected.  This week will bring some closing housing numbers heading into the end of the year.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will come out on Wednesday, followed by new home sales on Thursday, and the pending home sales index on Friday. 

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21 pets who love cozy, gorgeous homes as much as you

Posted On December 24, 2018

Nothing says home-for-the-holidays like a furry pet snuggled up in its favorite spot around the house (okay, there are also festive decorsplendid gifts, and actual human family, but stay with us here.) To that end, we've rounded up a bunch of dogs and cats that have found amazing perches in all kinds of home, as seen on Instagram. Dreamy interiors just got a million times better!

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Down, Housing Starts and Building Permits Up, Existing Home Sales Rise

Posted On December 21, 2018

In a highly anticipated move, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the Federal benchmark interest rate on Wednesday, to a range of 2.25% to 2.5%.  Mortgage rates are expected to move upward to reflect the rate hike.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index declined in December.  Both housing starts and building permits increased.  Existing home sales also increased.

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Trend: Millennials Buying First Homes in Cities Over Suburbs

Posted On December 18, 2018

As Millennials segue into homeownership, housing professionals are studying whether or not their preference for city living will continue.  While Millennials have tended to rent near city centers early in their careers, some forecasters suspect once marriage and children come into the pictures, they will migrate to suburbs to purchase homes.  However, recent data from the Journal of Planning Education and Research shows Millennials are 21% more likely to buy their first home in an urban area compared to Generation X counterparts.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales

Posted On December 17, 2018

It will be a full week of housing news, heading into the end of the year.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will have its final semiannual monetary policy meeting of the year on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a press conference scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.  Although the stock market has experienced some volatility in recent weeks, the Fed is still expected to raise interest rates following this meeting.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index is scheduled to come out on Monday, followed by housing starts and building permits on Tuesday, and existing home sales on Wednesday.

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How Home Builders Building Smaller Could Help Home Buyers

Posted On December 13, 2018

The phrase “inventory crunch” has become common in today’s housing market, with more and more buyers competing over a limited number of homes for sale.  Some of the causes of the inventory crunch are homeowners choosing to stay in their homes longer and home builders building larger.  Baby Boomers opting to age in place are choosing to renovate or adapt their current homes rather than downsize or migrate, while home builders facing affordability issues with the rising cost of construction materials are choosing to build larger homes to increase their profit margin.  However, with more first-time home buyers in the market for smaller homes, builders may need to build smaller to keep up with buyer demand.

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How to Protect Yourself and Your Home Following a Fire

Posted On December 12, 2018

Most California homeowners have insurance to protect themselves and their homes against fire damage.  Following a massive blaze, like the recent destructive fires across Northern and Southern California, insurers may be looking to minimize payouts.  Joshua Heffner, a Los Angeles lawyer specializing in fire-related claims, explained, “in a mass loss, they’re looking at their overall payments.  They’ll do what they can to keep payments down.  And they’re getting very smart about paying less.”

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Couple Trades Traditional Wedding Registry for Down Payment Fundraising Platform, HomeFundIt

Posted On December 11, 2018

Recently engaged Minneapolis couple Conner and Ashley were working full time, coaching after school, attending grad school, and wedding planning, simultaneously. With winter approaching, they were on a timeline to find the right home closer to work to reduce the length of their commute. After hearing about their home search, Conner’s father suggested that they use HomeFundIt in lieu of a traditional wedding registry.

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Besides FHA, What Other Low Down Payment Options Do Home Buyers Have?

Posted On December 06, 2018

Last month, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Brian Montgomery announced that despite economic momentum, the FHA would not be cutting mortgage insurance premiums this year.  FHA Loans require an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) payment, plus mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan.  Any reduction to Mortgage Insurance Premiums makes FHA Loans more affordable.  FHA Loans are popular amongst first-time home buyers because of their low down payment requirements. 

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Can you afford to buy a home? How much to spend on housing.

Posted On December 05, 2018

For most Americans, both renters and homeowners, housing is their largest expense.  But how much is too much to spend on housing costs?  Whether you rent or own, financial commentator and co-founder of AE Wealth Management, David Bach recommends, not spending more than 35% of your annual after-tax income on housing costs.

 

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Slows, New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales Decline

Posted On November 30, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week.  Recent comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggest that the Fed may be slowing down rate hikes, as interest rates reach a neutral range.  Both new home sales and pending home sales declined in October, heading into the slower buying and selling season.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index has also started to slow, giving buyers a break from home price appreciation. 

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Community First Focus Helps Rehabilitate Homeless

Posted On November 28, 2018

The “housing first” model of addressing homelessness emphasizes the importance of stable housing before other issues like chronic unemployment and substance abuse are addressed.  Real estate developer Alan Graham has taken the “housing first” approach a step further with the Community First! Village – a mix of RVs and micro-homes that shelters and employs formerly homeless people 10 miles northeast of downtown Austin, TX.  Community First! Village has been so successful, that last month a 24-acre expansion began, which will include 110 RV sites, 200 more micro-homes, and a 20,000 square foot health facility.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales

Posted On November 26, 2018

There was not much movement from mortgage rates last week, markets were closed on Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving and some markets were closed or closed early the following Friday.  This week closes out November with several important housing reports including the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, new home sales, and the pending home sales index.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Confidence Slides, Housing Starts Improve, Existing Home Sales Increase

Posted On November 23, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly up or down this week.  Markets were closed yesterday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, and some banks are closed or closing early today.  Home builder sentiment fell in November and builders lowered their expectations for the new year.  Housing starts increased but building permits declined.  Existing home sales exceeded expectations.

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Transit Agencies Improve Impact on Homeless Population

Posted On November 21, 2018

As many of us give thanks this week for our loving families and happy homes, it’s important to remember those who are more vulnerable and experiencing hardships like homelessness.  Partnerships like “Hub of Hope” between Philadelphia’s SEPTA transit system and Project HOME, a social service agency, strive to reach homeless transit passengers and intervene with assistance to help them overcome their crises. 

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The Predictions Are In: Home Sales to Rise in 2019

Posted On November 20, 2018

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts home sales will increase in 2019, while home price appreciation starts to slow.  Following 2017, the best year for home sales in over a decade, existing home sales are expected to close out 2018 down a slight 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.345 million transactions.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On November 19, 2018

This week will be a short week, with markets closed on Thursday and closing early on Friday, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  However, there is a full week of housing news ahead with the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market sentiment index, housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales all scheduled for release.

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HomeFundIt: Not Your Parents’ Wedding Registry

Posted On November 15, 2018

Congratulations, you’re getting married!  As soon as you’ve staged the perfect engagement photos and built your wedding website you’re probably inundated with the “Where are you registered?” question.  What are you going to register for?  When’s the last time you got up early enough to make waffles?  Do you really need another blender?  Do you think you’re going to use that pizza stone before just ordering online?  Chances are you don’t really need all of the stuff people traditionally use their wedding registry for. 

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Unnecessary But Awesome Things Everyone Wants in Their Lottery Dream Home

Posted On November 07, 2018

It is a truth universally acknowledged, as Jane Austen might have said, that a lottery winner in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a gigantic master closet. And a waterbed. And probably a tiny personal railroad that runs around his property. 

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Veteran Homelessness Down Nearly 50% Since 2010

Posted On November 06, 2018

After increasing last year, veteran homelessness decreased in 2018 and has plummeted since 2010; in some states, veteran homelessness has even been completely eradicated.

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How the Rust Belt is Attracting Millennial Home Buyers

Posted On November 06, 2018

Midwestern states including Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, sometimes known as the Rust Belt, are experiencing a revival. After the decline of manufacturing bases like Detroit, this region suffered economically.  As coastal home prices increase, and more companies and businesses are choosing to migrate to the Midwest and Great Lakes regions for lower taxes and affordable housing more, causing more Millennials are to put down roots in the Rust Belt.

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Slows, ADP Employment Strong, Construction Spending Flat

Posted On November 02, 2018

The US economy looks like it’s heading toward a strong finish for 2018.  The ADP employment report was stronger than expected and construction spending was unchanged overall, but residential spending improved.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated, but price appreciation has started to slow. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, ADP Employment Report, and Construction Spending

Posted On October 29, 2018

Heading into the end of the month, there are a couple more housing reports scheduled for this week.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will come out on Tuesday and the US construction spending report comes out on Thursday.  In other market-moving news, the ADP employment report is scheduled for release on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: FHFA House Price Index Up, New Home Sales Down, Pending Home Sales Index Improves

Posted On October 26, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its house price index and indicated home price appreciation has started to slow.  New home sales declined, but the pending home sales index recovered. 

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Generation Z Home Buyers Entering the Market with Help from Family

Posted On October 23, 2018

With so much focus on Millennial home buyers, the next incoming generation of buyers has been slightly overlooked.  According to Zillow, 3% of last year’s home buyers were born after 1995, meaning over 100,000 homeowners across the country are 23 and younger.  “I’m a little surprised to see the numbers as large as they are,” commented Rob Dietz, chief economist and senior vice president for economics and housing policy for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). 

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, New Home Sales, and Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On October 22, 2018

Average mortgage rates have started to plateau, after climbing earlier this month.  Although rates have started to trend upward, they are still near the lowest levels in the past decade.  This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its house price index and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release the new home sales report and the pending home sales index. 

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Market Recap: Builder Confidence Improves, Housing Starts Fall, Existing Home Sales Decline

Posted On October 19, 2018

Mortgage rates held steady this week with no significant movement to report.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index improved, with builders optimistic about solid buyer demand.  Housing starts fell and building permits slipped slightly.  Existing home sales declined. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On October 15, 2018

There is a busy week of housing news ahead, with important data scheduled for release including the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index, housing starts and building permits and existing home sales.  Builder sentiment was positive last month, unchanged from the previous month.  Housing starts jumped, but building permits tapered off.  Existing home sales were also unchanged. 

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Do 21 Million Under 40 Renters Know Their Homeownership Potential?

Posted On October 10, 2018

Saving for a down payment is a considerable barrier to homeownership. With rising home prices and interest rates and tight lending standards, the path to homeownership has become more challenging, especially for low-to-median-income borrowers and potential first-time homebuyers.

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What does your home insurance cover?

Posted On October 04, 2018

Earlier this month, Hurricane Florence caused an estimated $20 to $30 billion of damage to commercial and residential properties throughout North and South Carolina.  Unfortunately, an estimated 85% of residential property losses were uninsured, and less than 10% of properties in North Carolina had flood insurance.

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Four Ways Jeff Bezos’s $2 Billion Could Make the Biggest Impact on Homelessness Among Children and Families

Posted On October 02, 2018

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced a $2 billion investment last week that will fund organizations fighting childhood homelessness and develop high-quality preschools in low-income communities. As this news thrusts the issue into the national spotlight, it’s important to underscore that homelessness is a solvable problem. A lack of funding and political will, not a lack of solutions, are the biggest obstacles to ending homelessness. And this kind of funding infusion could move the needle closer to reaching that goal.

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Market Recap: Fed Raises Rates, New Home Sales Spike, Home Prices Appreciation Slows

Posted On September 28, 2018

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the federal benchmark interest rate for the third time this year.  Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell cited a strong labor market and continued economic expansion as reasons for the rate hike.  In housing news, new home sales jumped, and home price appreciation slowed.

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What Happens to Your Mortgage if Your Home is Hit with a Natural Disaster

Posted On September 27, 2018

In the wake of last week’s hurricane and with an especially active hurricane season expected, disaster preparedness is more important than ever.  When hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters damage your home or impact your ability to pay your mortgage you have several options.  Before disaster strikes, review these ways to stay safe, physically and financially.

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Improve Your Employer Benefits: Add HomeFundIt to Your Employee Package

Posted On September 25, 2018

Today, most companies offer their employees medical and dental, paid vacation, and 401K options.  In one of the tightest labor markets in decades, relying on industry standard offerings to remain competitive is not a sustainable solution.  With wage growth stagnating, you need more than the same type of benefits to attract and retain top employees. 

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meeting, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and New Home Sales

Posted On September 24, 2018

The Federal Open Market Committee will meet this Tuesday and Wednesday and markets are pricing in a rate hike.  Sustained economic growth, a healthy labor market, and strong consumer spending have all pushed the inflation rate toward the Federal Reserve’s benchmark and support the case for raising the benchmark interest rate.  In other housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will come out on Tuesday and the National Association of Realtors’ new home sales report comes out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Housing Starts Surge, Existing Home Sales and Housing Market Index Unchanged

Posted On September 21, 2018

Construction activity boomed in August, housing starts posted a significant increase.  Building permits, however, declined.  The National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index was unchanged but remains positive.  Existing home sales were unchanged month-over-month but down year-over-year. 

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How This San Francisco Homeowner Sold for Twice the Purchase Price

Posted On September 19, 2018

After years of renting in San Francisco and Oakland, we bought a home in Walnut Creek (a small city in the Bay Area) for $545,000 in 2010—when the market was relatively slow. The house was the smallest model in a 1960s neighborhood at 1,445 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. But it sat on a spacious 9,375-square-foot lot. It was a dream cosmetic fixer. Over seven years, we made it our own. We installed new interior doors and baseboards, gave away the wall-to-wall carpeting on Craigslist, and refinished the original hardwood floor. We painted the interior and exteriors, removed popcorn ceilings, and remodeled both bathrooms and the kitchen. 

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Millennials Delay Marriage, Not Homeownership

Posted On September 18, 2018

Millennials may be delaying marriage but not homeownership, according to a recent study.  In 1985, 75% of first-time home buyers were married couples.  Today, married couples make up 57% of first-time home buyers.  The National Association of Realtors’ managing director of survey research commented, “it’s absolutely a trend.  People feel fine purchasing a home without a ring.”

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

Posted On September 17, 2018

There is a full week of housing news ahead, with the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index on Monday followed by housing starts and building permits on Wednesday and existing home sales on Thursday.

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Welcome Home! What to Do in the First 24 Hours in a New Place

Posted On September 12, 2018

The first 24 hours in a new place are vital — they can make a difference on how the first few months go and set the tone for the rest of the time you live there. So how should you spend the first 24 hours in a new place? Consider this list as your guide for those precious first hours.

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1 in 4 American Homes Now Equity Rich

Posted On September 11, 2018

Last month, ATTOM Data Solutions released a report showing 24.5% of all mortgaged properties were equity rich in Q2 2018.  “Equity rich” is defined as a home with a loan-to-value ratio of 50% or lower.  Collectively, American homeowners have accrued over $15 trillion in home equity, over a trillion and a half dollars more than the highest levels before the recession.  What are they doing with it?

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How to Dispute a Low Home Appraisal

Posted On September 06, 2018

You will need a home appraisal when you’re buying a new home, selling your current home, or refinancing your mortgage.  Home appraisals are conducted by an independent appraiser to determine the value of the home.  When you are selling your home and the appraisal comes in lower than expected, you could run into some difficulty including the buyer backing out of the sale or the lender denying the buyer the loan they need to purchase the home.  If you’re selling your home and you get a lower appraisal than expected, here are the steps you can take to dispute it.

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First-Time Home Buyers Outnumber Repeat Buyers

Posted On September 04, 2018

Despite the down payment obstacle, first-time home buyers continue to dominate the housing market.  For the past decade, first-time home buyers have comprised the largest share of home buyers, even though affordability concerns, specifically related to the down payment, have caused many would-be first-time home buyers to delay home purchase. 

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Market Recap: Home Prices Up, Mortgage Apps Down, Pending Home Sales Decline

Posted On August 31, 2018

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, trending slightly upward following Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s Jackson Hole Symposium speech.  The Fed is expected to continue raising rates to keep up with strong economic growth.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated in June, but at a slower pace.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  Pending home sales fell for the seventh straight month. 

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Is paying off your home saving for retirement?

Posted On August 29, 2018

For most Americans, a home is the first appreciating asset they will own.  Unlike stock market investments, the housing market is relatively stable, and most homes tend to appreciate over time.  This fact has some Americans asking the question, “is paying off your home saving for retirement?”  To some extent, the answer is yes.

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Why do Americans think buying a home is so stressful?

Posted On August 28, 2018

Applying for college, going on a job interview, and hosting Thanksgiving dinner can all be stressful life events, but according to a recent survey, none of those compare to buying a home.  Out of 2,000 Americans surveyed by Homes.com, 40% of respondents cited buying a home as the most stressful event in modern life and 33% admitted to shedding tears at some point in the home-buying process.

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New Home, New Landscaping

Posted On August 27, 2018

New homeowners take notice, your landscape needs to be an early priority. Whether your home is brand new or new to you, landscaping is a key part of making it your own. Your landscape shows off your style and is your “welcome home” at the end of the day. Well done landscaping can quickly boost the perceived value of your home, and may inspire your neighbors to take on their own landscaping challenges. Enjoying a great yard is one of the best parts of owning a home. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Mortgage Applications, Pending Home Sales

Posted On August 27, 2018

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly for the past two weeks, even trending downward according to some sources.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will come out on Tuesday and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) pending home sales index will come out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales Decline, FHFA Price Index Up

Posted On August 24, 2018

Mortgage rates have not moved much this week, trending downward according to some sources.  Steady mortgage rates triggered some mortgage activity, with both new purchase and refinance applications increasing.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey increased 4.2% week-over-week.  Existing home sales and new home sales each declined and the FHFA house price index appreciated. 

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More First-Time Home Buyers Using Retirement Money for Down Payment

Posted On August 21, 2018

As more Millennials start to enter the housing market as first-time home buyers, an alarming trend has emerged.  According to a recent Bank of the West survey of 600 homeowners ages 21-34 from, one in three took out loans against their retirement account to pay for their down payment.  Saving for a down payment is one of the most commonly reported obstacles to homeownership.  In fact, almost 70% of renters consider it the greatest barrier to homeownership.  However, borrowing against or withdrawing savings from a retirement account could set the home buyer up for long-term financial consequences.

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index

Posted On August 20, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward last week.  There are several important housing reports scheduled for this week, including existing home sales and new home sales.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index is also slated for release. 

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Millennial Home Buyers’ Biggest Regret

Posted On August 15, 2018

Compared to previous generations, millennials have been slower to become homeowners.  Factors like high student debt, sluggish wage growth, and other residuals from the Great Recession have impacted their ability to buy homes.  Of the millennials who are homeowners (approximately 4 in 10), 68% have expressed buyer’s remorse, with the top concern being spending too much money on the down payment.

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, Pending Home Sales Jump, Case-Shiller Home Price Index is Up

Posted On August 03, 2018

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and as expected, did not make any interest rate moves.  Most economists are predicting two additional rate hikes this year, one in September, then another in December.  The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) pending home sales index surged after several months of tepid data.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index continues to appreciate. 

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US Homeowners Staying Put Then Selling for Record Gains

Posted On July 31, 2018

As home values continue to rise, homeowners are reaping the profits.  Attom Data Solutions and Bloomberg report homeowners are occupying their home for an average of 8.09 years, the longest stretch of time since 2000.  Those who sold in the second quarter of 2018, recorded an average gain of $58,000, the largest profit margin in over a decade.  But while homeowners are cashing in, would-be first-time home buyers have been hit hardest by this trend.

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meeting, Pending Home Sales, and Case-Shiller Home Price Index

Posted On July 30, 2018

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and release an announcement following the meeting on Wednesday afternoon.  The Fed is not likely to raise interest rates following this meeting, the market expects the next rate hike to take place later this year.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release its pending home sales index on Monday.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index comes out on Tuesday.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales Decline, Mortgage Apps Mixed

Posted On July 27, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week.  Low available for-sale inventory continues to impact housing activity.  Existing home sales and new home sales each declined.  Refinance mortgage application submissions increased, but new purchase mortgage application submissions dropped.

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Homeowner Equity Hits Record High

Posted On July 24, 2018

This month, tappable homeowner equity, reached the highest level ever recorded.  Tappable equity refers to the value of the home minus the standard 20% lenders recommend homeowners keep as a security cushion.  As of July 2018, US homeowners have a total of $5.8 trillion in tappable equity.  In the past year, the average homeowner gained $14,700 and currently has an average of $113,900 available to withdraw.

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, Mortgage Apps, New Home Sales

Posted On July 23, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, continuing to hold steady.  The existing home sales report comes out on Monday, followed by the new home sales report on Wednesday.  The weekly mortgage application survey is also scheduled for release on Wednesday.

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How to Buy a Home When You’re Self-Employed

Posted On July 12, 2018

Buying a home when you are self-employed or own your own business will require more documentation than if you are a salaried employee with a yearly W2.  In today’s increasingly mobile job market, more and more US workers are choosing self-employment over traditional payroll jobs.  Freelancing is growing in popularity as workplaces become more remote.  Buying a home when you’re self-employed or own your own business is possible, when you do your homework.  Freelancers and small business owners can follow these tips for a smooth home buying process.

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HomeFundIt Success featured in The Wall Street Journal

Posted On July 11, 2018

Reese and Kyle Rademacher weren’t sure how they would afford a down payment to buy a home until their real-estate agent mentioned an offbeat idea: crowdfund the money from friends and family.

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Young Home Buyers Facing Affordability Crisis

Posted On July 10, 2018

Home price appreciation is impacting summer selling season, especially for first-time home buyers.  New research from Freddie Mac shows young adults aged 24-35 are hit hardest by affordability constraints. The homeownership rate for this age group has fallen 8% since peaking in 2004.  Based on the survey, 700,000 young adults who did not purchase a home between 2000 and 2016 cited affordability as the main reason. 

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How to Spot What’s Hiding in a Staged Home

Posted On July 04, 2018

Staging a home is a way for home sellers to show potential buyers what the home will look like when they live there.  A staged home can give the buyer an idea of where to put their furniture and how to decorate.  While home staging can accentuate a home’s nice features, it can also cover up some unwanted damage.  

 

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Fannie Mae Revises 2018 Income Limits for HomeReady Mortgage

Posted On July 03, 2018

Fannie Mae HomeReady® Mortgage is a low down payment loan with 95% and 97% financing options and cancellable mortgage insurance coverage.  The HomeReady® Mortgage is not limited to first-time home buyers and available for repeat home buyers seeking an affordable financing option.  The HomeReady® Mortgage also employs flexible underwriting and credit guidelines allowing rental unit and boarder income to be included in the debt-to-income ratio and allowing non-occupant borrowers, like a parent borrowing on behalf of a child.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Surge, Case-Shiller Home Price Index Increases, Pending Home Sales Decline

Posted On June 29, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, settling after a post-rate hike climb.  New home sales increased substantially, signaling strong construction activity.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index continues to appreciate.  The pending home sales index dropped off again. 

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First-Time Home Buyers: How to Compete in Today’s Market

Posted On June 28, 2018

Low inventory and an influx of home buyers has created a competitive housing market, especially for first-time buyers.  Starter homes are feeling the inventory crunch, with Baby Boomers living in their larger homes longer, reducing available move-up options for Generation X, and thus starter homes for Millennials. 

 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales

Posted On June 25, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move much last week, holding steady after the rate hike earlier this month.  This week, the new home sales report will come out on Monday, followed by the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and pending home sales later in the week. 

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Drops, Housing Starts and Building Permits Mixed, and Existing Home Sales Slip

Posted On June 22, 2018

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, trending slightly upward in some cases.  Home builder sentiment is down, amidst rising construction costs.  Housing starts increased, but building permits declined.  Existing home sales dropped slightly. 

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Home Flipping Rate Hits 6-Year High

Posted On June 19, 2018

Home flipping, or the act of buying a home with the intention of selling for a quick profit, is on the rise.  ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data company, reports the home flipping rate hit a 6-year-high in the first quarter of 2018.  Some of the particularly hot flipping metros leading this increase include Baton Rouge, LA, up 70% quarter-over-quarter, Lincoln, NE, up 55% q-o-q, Madison, WI, up 55% q-o-q, Columbia, SC, up 48% q-o-q, and Atlantic City, NJ, up 43% q-o-q. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On June 18, 2018

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the benchmark interest rate, and mortgage rates reacted accordingly.  This week will be a big week for housing news, with the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index scheduled for release on Monday, housing starts and building permits on Tuesday, and existing home sales on Wednesday.

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Don’t Let Debt Defer Homeownership

Posted On June 14, 2018

During the mortgage loan application process, lenders review debt-to-income ratio to ensure that the applicant will be in a good position to repay the loan.  Unfortunately, many Americans, especially Millennial-aged first-time home buyers, believe they are too debt burdened to buy a home.  With record-high student debt, the national median age of first-time home buyers in 2017 was 32-years-old. 

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HomeFundIt Surpasses $1 Million Milestone

Posted On June 13, 2018

HomeFundItTM, the first and only approved down payment crowdfunding platform, celebrated $1 Million raised last week.  To date, HomeFundIt has helped 337 families purchase a home with a crowdfunded down payment.  The proprietary service is changing lives around the country, one closed loan at a time.   

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Rising Mortgage Rates Likely to Slow Home Price Increases

Posted On June 07, 2018

After several years of near-zero interest rates, the Federal Reserve has started to gradually raise rates.  As mortgage rates continue to rise, home buyers will likely see relief in terms of home price appreciation.  In busy metros like Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco posting double-digit annual gains this reprieve will be especially welcome.  In fact, some housing experts attribute the past few years’ rapid home price appreciation to exceptionally low mortgage rates.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Ease, Private Payrolls Slow, Pending Home Sales Drop

Posted On June 01, 2018

Mortgage rates continued their downward trend this week, though there was no significant movement to report.  The S&P Core-Logic Case-Shiller home price index showed home price appreciation has started to ease up as mortgage rates climb.  The ADP employment report continued to show a strong labor market.  Pending home sales declined, as limited for-sale inventory continues to create a competitive market.    

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, ADP Employment, Pending Home Sales

Posted On May 28, 2018

Markets are closed today in observance of Memorial Day.  Coming up this week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will reveal whether or not home price appreciation has started to slow down.  The ADP employment report is scheduled for release on Wednesday.  Thursday’s pending home sales index will help predict housing’s direction heading into the summer.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales Decline, FHFA House Price Index Up

Posted On May 25, 2018

Mortgage rates trended downward this week.  New home sales are down month-over-month, but up year-over-year as buyer demand continues to outpace supply.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index ticked slightly upward.  Existing home sales declined.

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On May 21, 2018

This week will be packed with housing reports including new home sales, existing home sales, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index.  New home sales surged last month and are expected to continue to strengthen with sustained buyer demand.  Existing home sales increased less significantly last month, as home buyers are vying over many of the same house prices.  The FHFA house price index is expected to continue to appreciate, at a more moderate pace. 

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Market Recap: Housing Starts and Building Permits Down, but Home Builders are Optimistic

Posted On May 18, 2018

Mortgage rates continued to trend upward this week.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index increased by two points with builders maintaining a positive outlook.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey declined, pushed down by a drop in refinance applications.  Housing starts and building permits each fell, but single-family home construction was positive.

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How to Access Valuable Home Equity

Posted On May 17, 2018

A home’s tappable equity is equal to the current value of the home minus the mortgage balance.  In 2017, tappable home equity, or the amount of equity borrowers could withdraw from their homes, rose by a record $735 billion, the largest annual increase ever, to a national level of $5.4 trillion.  As home values continue to rise, many homeowners are considering tapping into their homes’ equity to pay for expenses like college tuition, healthcare, and home renovations or to pay down other debts or invest elsewhere.  A home’s equity can be a great financial tool, but it can also be a great way to save for the future.  

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California is the First State to Require Solar Panels on New Homes

Posted On May 16, 2018

Last week, California became the first state in the country to require solar systems on almost all new homes.  Most new homes built after January 1st, 2020, will be required to include a solar energy system.  The policy will apply to single-family houses and multifamily housing three stories or less, but will have some exclusions, including homes that are too shady to benefit from solar power. 

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Why Some Millennials are Skipping Starter Homes

Posted On May 15, 2018

One of the most prevalent discussions in today’s housing market is the shortage of available homes for sale.  Construction activity has yet to surpass its pre-Recession peak and in many metros, home buyers are vying over the same few available properties for sale.  Starter homes especially are feeling the inventory crunch.  With builders seeing more profit from larger luxury homes, they prefer to build big rather than replenish starter home inventory.  As Millennials, roughly those born between 1980 and 2000, start to enter the housing market as first-time home buyers, many are skipping starter homes altogether and buying these bigger homes. 

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What Unmarried Couples Should Know When Buying a Home Together

Posted On May 03, 2018

The National Association of Realtors reported 16% of first-time home buyers in 2017 were unmarried couples, the largest share since the organization started tracking in 1981.  Committed couples buying a home together before marriage is a popular choice especially with mortgage rates, rental costs, and home prices on the rise.  Some couples are willing to own and start building equity, rather than waiting and risking higher rates or home prices. 

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Selling Your Home? Prepare for these Hidden Costs.

Posted On May 02, 2018

Need to sell your home this year?  With limited for-sale inventory, some housing professionals are calling it a seller’s market.  While many sellers stand to profit from the sale of their home, there are still costs associated with selling.  The majority of sellers who sold a home in 2017 had never sold a home before. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Up, Home Prices Appreciate, New Home Sales Surge

Posted On April 27, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week.  Existing home sales increased month-over-month but declined year-over-year.  Home prices continue to appreciate, as limited inventory strains for-sale availability.  New home sales surged, and revisions to the previous two months’ reports indicate that buyer demand in the first quarter of 2018 was stronger than originally thought.

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HUD and VA Commit $43 Million Toward Housing Homeless Veterans

Posted On April 25, 2018

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a budget of $43 million toward funding permanent housing solutions for homeless veterans.  The funding will be distributed amongst 325 local public housing agencies with the hopes of housing over 5,200 homeless veterans. 

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3 Ways Home Buyers Can Stand Out in a Seller’s Market

Posted On April 24, 2018

Home buyers are hearing a lot about the “seller’s market” this spring – but what exactly does that mean?  A “seller’s market” occurs when the housing supply dips below a six-month supply.  Based on February’s existing home sales data, it would take just 3.4 months to exhaust all existing home inventory.  Many metros around the country today do not have enough homes for sale to meet buyer demand, creating an increasingly competitive market.  Some home buyers may be wary to enter today’s competitive market. However, there are ways to stand out in a seller’s market and get an offer accepted.

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Market Forecast Existing Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales

Posted On April 23, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, and mortgage application submissions surged with many buyers looking to lock rates ahead of future increases.  This week, there are numerous important housing reports scheduled for release including existing home sales, new home sales, and the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index. 

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HomeFundIt iPhone and Android App Now Available

Posted On April 19, 2018

HomeFundItTM, the first and only approved down payment crowdfunding platform, is now available as a mobile app for iPhone and Android devices.  Home buyers can download the free app on the App Store or Google Play Store and launch HomeFundIt campaigns from the palm of their hands.

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How Student Loan Debt Prevents Homeownership

Posted On April 10, 2018

One of the most pervasive issues hurting first-time home buyers today is student debt.  The substantial cost of higher-education pushes many young Americans to take out high-balance loans and graduate with debt in the range of tens of thousands of dollars, or higher, depending on the degree.  Over 45 million Americans carry student debt, the average borrower owes more than $30,000 and one-fifth of borrowers owe more than $100,000.  Student loan debt is hurting homeownership in a number of ways, because it lessens the borrower’s ability to save for a down payment and closing costs, it increases the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, and in some cases negatively impacts the borrower’s credit score.

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Freddie Mac Eases Down Payment Requirements for 2-Unit Primary Residences and Second Homes

Posted On April 03, 2018

This week, Freddie Mac announced updates to its loan-to-value (LTV) ratio guidelines for purchases and “no-cash-out” refinance mortgages used for second homes, any 1-unit residential property owned by the borrower but only occupied for a portion of the year, and 2-unit primary residences, such as duplexes. 

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Up, Mortgage Apps Strong, Pending Home Sales Rebound

Posted On March 30, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week, following strong economic gains.  Home prices continue to appreciate, due to low housing inventory.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  The pending home sales index turned around after last month’s decline. 

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Pre-Purchase Planning for the Perfect Home

Posted On March 29, 2018

This spring home buying and selling season is expected to be one of the most competitive in over a decade.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that 61% of home buyers looking to buy in the next 12 months, have been searching for three months or longer, and their sample includes buyers looking for newly constructed and previously-owned homes.

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SXSW Housing Highlight: 3D-Printed Homes in Under One Day

Posted On March 28, 2018

Among the multitude of innovative tech debuted at this year’s South by Southwest, was, what is believed to be, the first fully up to code 3D-printed house.  The Vulcan printer was designed by Icon, a robotics construction company based in Austin, TX in collaboration with New Story, a Y Combinator-backed charity that works to provide shelter for people in emergency situations in developing nations.  The Vulcan printer is able to produce 800-square-foot 3D-printed houses that are easy-to-replicate and inhabitable in less than 24 hours. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Mortgage Apps, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On March 26, 2018

Mortgage rates continued to trend upward last week, but buyer demand remains strong.  Homes are selling increasingly faster, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in last week’s existing home sales report.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will review home price appreciation trends, and the pending home sales index will show what to expect in terms of sales in the coming months.  Additionally, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Improve, New Home Sales Slip, and FOMC Hikes Rates

Posted On March 23, 2018

Average mortgage rates did not move much in either direction this week. In a highly anticipated move, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the benchmark interest rate .25 bps.  Existing home sales rebounded, but new home sales fell slightly.

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Trulia’s Top Homeowner Regrets

Posted On March 22, 2018

Buying a home is the first step many consumers take toward building wealth, becoming a part of a community, and seizing a piece of the American dream.  But, some home purchases can lead to regret when buyers don’t do the appropriate research or make a hasty decision.  Real estate blog Trulia surveyed homeowners across the country to find out what went wrong with a past purchase, and how they would have handled the experience differently. 

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How to Raise Your Credit Score Before Home Purchase

Posted On March 21, 2018

Lenders use a home buyer’s credit score to determine credit risk and evaluate their ability to repay a loan.  A good FICO credit score is instrumental to securing a mortgage loan and, in some cases, getting a better interest rate.  Most mortgage professionals suggest potential home buyers start credit repair at least six months to a year before shopping for a home.  Remember, each hard credit pull, like the kind needed for a new line of credit like a mortgage, will impact the credit score!  A little credit repair now goes a long way when it comes to a high-dollar purchase later.

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, and FOMC Meeting

Posted On March 19, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward last week, following a few weeks of steady increases.  New tariffs on construction materials have caused political discord and could stall home building activity.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet Tuesday and Wednesday for their semi-annual monetary policy meeting.  A press conference with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled for Wednesday.  February’s existing home sales and new home sales reports are also scheduled for release.

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Home Depot Invests $50 Million in Construction Worker Training

Posted On March 14, 2018

Last week, Home Depot announced a funding initiative to train 20,000 construction workers.  One of the major problems the construction industry faces today is a lack of skilled laborers.  Home Depot’s $50 million investment to the Home Builders Institute (HBI) is expected to go towards the training of veterans and soldiers soon returning to civilian life, high school students, and disadvantaged youths.

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IRS: Interest Still Deductible on Some Home Equity Loans and HELOCs

Posted On March 13, 2018

As home prices continue to appreciate, homeowners continue to build equity.  In 2017, American homeowners’ home equity hit a record $14.1 trillion.  With growing home equity, some homeowners may be considering home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOC).  Following the release of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, some homeowners are unclear about whether or not their interest is tax deductible.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently weighed in on the issue to clarify what is and is not still deductible.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Drop, Home Prices Go Up, Pending Home Sales Decline

Posted On March 02, 2018

As expected, mortgage rates continued to trend slightly upward this week.  Unseasonably cold winter weather stalled new home sales again this month.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated month-over-month and year-over-year.  The pending home sales index declined.

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On February 26, 2018

Mortgage rates continued to trend upward last week.  Heading into the end of February, this week brings some end-of-month reports including, new home sales, pending home sales, and the Case-Shiller Home Price Index.   

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Dip, Existing Home Sales Slump, More Rate Hikes Expected

Posted On February 23, 2018

Mortgage rates continue to trend upward but are averaging less than half of a percentage point higher than they were this time last year.  The weekly mortgage application survey showed a week-over-week decline, but a year-over-year increase.  Existing home sales scaled back, though not as drastically as they did in December.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released the minutes from its January meeting, and the market expects the first rate hike of the year to take place in March. 

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Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index Positive in January

Posted On February 20, 2018

Despite what the groundhog said, some real estate professionals are seeing an early spring in the housing sector.  Gradual rate hikes and steady home price appreciation are pushing some home buyers to start shopping early.  In heated housing markets, like Denver, Colorado, a moderately priced home can see as many as 100 tours in a single weekend. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Existing Home Sales, and FOMC Minutes

Posted On February 19, 2018

Most banks and markets are closed today in observance of Presidents' Day.  This will be a short week for economic data, though two important housing reports will be released.  The weekly mortgage application survey and existing home sales are scheduled to come out on Wednesday.  Additionally, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release the minutes from its January meeting. 

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Homeownership Rate Rises in 2017

Posted On February 08, 2018

Last week, the US Census Bureau reported the total homeownership rate in Q4 2017 improved to 64.2% from 63.9% in Q3.  Even after a year of gradual rate hikes and sustained home price appreciation, more American households are transitioning from renting to homeownership. 

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Index Appreciates, Pending Home Sales and Construction Spending Up

Posted On February 02, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move much in either direction this week, after the previous week’s upward trend.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met Tuesday and Wednesday, and as expected voted unanimously against a rate hike.  In housing news, home values continue to appreciate, the pending home sales index increased for the third month in a row, and US construction spending was strong.

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How Remodeling Impacts Home Values

Posted On February 01, 2018

With the current pace of home price appreciation and limited housing inventory, some homeowners are choosing to remodel and renovate their current homes instead of moving.  Many homeowners choose to remodel under the pretense that that their improvements will increase the resale value of their home.  While this is true to an extent, certain types of renovations have greater impact on home values than others. 

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Hospitals Helping Homeless with Subsidized Apartments

Posted On January 31, 2018

A new program pioneered by the University of Illinois Hospital and the nonprofit Center for Housing and Health aims to reduce the amount of emergency room visits by homeless patients with a new supportive housing program, Better Health Through Housing.  The pilot program has provided housing for 26 repeat ER visitors since 2015.  Since its inception, the per patient healthcare cost has decreased 18% each month and the hospital has plans to expand the housing. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, and US Construction Spending

Posted On January 29, 2018

Mortgage rates are continuing their upward trend.  The Federal Open Market Committee will meet Tuesday and Wednesday but will not hold a press conference following the meeting.  This will be the last meeting with Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair.  Jerome Powell was confirmed as the new Federal Reserve Chair last week.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index comes out on Tuesday, pending home sales comes out on Wednesday, and US construction spending will come out on Thursday.

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Market Recap: FHFA Index Appreciates, Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales Drop

Posted On January 26, 2018

Mortgage rates continued their upward trend this week.  Based on this week’s housing reports, activity slowed down in December.  Cold winter weather across the country limited construction and stalled sales.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated, and existing home sales and new home sales each declined.

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, and New Home Sales

Posted On January 22, 2018

Mortgage rates trended upward last week, reacting to the end-of-year rate hike.  This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) releases its house price index.  The existing home sales report comes out on Wednesday and the new home sales report comes out Thursday.

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What the New Tax Law Means for Homeowners

Posted On January 11, 2018

The end of year passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the most comprehensive tax code revision to take place since 1986.  While the tax reform changes will not impact your 2017 return, some workers might see the changes to their paychecks as early as next month. 

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HomeShare Startup Aims to Alleviate Rental Burden

Posted On January 10, 2018

In cities across the country, renters are feeling the burden of rising rental rates.  High-cost areas like large cities are hit especially hard by high rents.  A new startup, HomeShare, has partnered with 10 properties in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York City to match renters with roommates to share the space and cost of high-priced rentals.  HomeShare functions by converting living rooms into an extra bedroom, so roommates each get their own bedroom and closet, and in some cases a private bathroom, for a fraction of the market rental rate.

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Why Aren’t There Enough Homes for Sale?

Posted On January 04, 2018

Heading into 2018, the housing market is facing much of the same inventory problems, there are not enough homes for sale.  Limited inventory leads to home price appreciation and a competitive market.  First-time home buyers are hit especially hard as they struggle to save for a growing down payment amidst rising rents and sluggish wage growth.  So, why aren’t there enough homes for sale? 

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Appreciates and Pending Home Sales are Up

Posted On December 29, 2017

Markets were closed on Monday, in observance of the Christmas holiday.  This week, the Mortgage Bankers Association did not release the mortgage application survey, and release of the survey will resume next Wednesday.  The Case-Shiller home price index continued to appreciate and pending home sales are up slightly. 

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Millennials Trading Starter Homes for Fixer Uppers

Posted On December 26, 2017

With the housing market facing limited inventory, the starter home bracket is hit especially hard.  As first-time home buyers enter the market, they find themselves competing for the same limited selection of starter homes.  In heated markets especially, home price appreciation is pushing some home buyers to the higher-end of their budget.  Renovation loans, like the FHA 203(k) loan, are growing in popularity because they allow home buyers to purchase previously overlooked homes and have the budget to complete necessary repairs or desired upgrades. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Mortgage Apps, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On December 25, 2017

Markets will be closed today, in observance of the Christmas holiday.  There are some noteworthy housing reports scheduled for release, including the Case-Shiller home price index, the weekly mortgage application survey, and pending home sales.

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Market Recap: Home Builders’ Confidence Soars, Plus Housing Starts, Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On December 22, 2017

Mortgage rates started to trend upward this week, following last week’s federal interest rate hike.  Tax reform took center stage, dominating most of the news circuit as the House of Representatives and the Senate hammered out the details of their plans and reached a compromise.  This week, home builder confidence hit an 18-year high.  Housing starts improved, but building permits declined slightly.  Existing home sales hit an 11-year high. 

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Will it be possible to buy a home with Bitcoins?

Posted On December 19, 2017

Investors around the country are captivated with the debate surrounding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.  Bitcoin, the first digital currency that does not require a bank or middleman, is traded online through a digital ledger.  In the past month, the valuation has soared from $5,870.37 per coin on November 12, to $16,650.01 per coin on December 12.  While some investors are warning of a “crypto bubble,” others are researching ways to integrate the cryptocurrency into the greater economy. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On December 18, 2017

The Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise the benchmark interest rate last week, and mortgage rates have not yet reacted.  This year’s mortgage rate activity has been gradual, with rates continuing to hover historic lows.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release their housing market sentiment index on Monday, housing starts and building permits come out on Tuesday, and the existing home sales report comes out Wednesday.

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How Tax Reform Could Impact Home Prices

Posted On December 14, 2017

Last week, the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to go to conference committee to hash out the differences between the tax reform bills.  Among the points of interest most relevant to the mortgage industry is the issue of mortgage tax deduction.  Yale economics professor and co-creator of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, Robert Shiller posits that the mortgage interest tax deduction will not impact the housing market greatly. 

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Gen X Boosts Homeownership Rate Recovery

Posted On December 07, 2017

The national homeownership rate has struggled to regain traction since the pre-recession housing peak.  Last month, a report from the Census Bureau showed the United States homeownership rate improved to 63.9% in the third quarter, up slightly from second quarter’s 63.7% and significantly from last year’s 63.5%.  One of the notable finds from the report was the resurgence in Generation X homeowners, the generation most impacted by the housing crisis.

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Market Recap: Strong Gains in New Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On December 01, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week.  Several strong housing reports were released.  New home sales surged to a 10-year high in October, as post-hurricane recovery appears to be progressing.  The Case-Shiller home price index continued to appreciate.  Pending home sales were also strong, up 3.5% month-over-month. 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales

Posted On November 27, 2017

Last week was a short week, with markets closed on Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving.  This week, some of the final numbers from November are scheduled for release.  Noteworthy housing reports include, the new home sales report on Monday, the Case-Shiller home price index on Tuesday, and the pending home sales index on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Surge, New Purchase Apps Up, Refinance Apps Down

Posted On November 24, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move significantly during this short week.  Markets were closed on Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving, and the New York Stock Exchange is closing early today.  Existing home sales improved month-over-month, but decreased year-over-year.  New purchase mortgage applications increased and refinance mortgage applications declined.  The consumer sentiment index eased slightly.

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, Mortgage Applications, Consumer Sentiment Index

Posted On November 20, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward last week.  This week will be a short week with markets closed on Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving, and the New York Stock Exchange closing early on Friday.  In housing news, existing home sales comes out on Tuesday and the weekly mortgage application survey comes out Wednesday.  The consumer sentiment index is also scheduled for release on Wednesday. 

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First-Time Home Buyers Hit Hardest by Home Price Appreciation

Posted On November 09, 2017

Home price appreciation has strained housing activity over the past few years, particularly the first-time home buyer demographic.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports, in 2017 home sales to first-time home buyers dropped 34%.  Among the other factors hampering first-time home buyer activity are student debt and lack of available inventory.

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Up, Construction Spending Rebounds, and No Rate Hike

Posted On November 03, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move much either way this week.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met on Tuesday and Wednesday and, as expected, voted to leave interest rates unchanged.  On Thursday, President Trump announced Jerome Powell would be the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve, after current Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires in February 2018.  The Case-Shiller home price index appreciated and US construction spending rebounded slightly.

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Humble Design Helps Recently Homeless

Posted On November 01, 2017

Humble Design is a non-profit organization that helps recently homeless families rebuild their new homes through furnishings and design services.  Since 2009, Humble Design has served 832 families throughout the greater Chicago and Detroit area.  Humble Design’s mission is to give recently homeless people a sense of pride and ownership as they transition out of homeless shelters and into new living situations. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Construction Spending, and FOMC Announcement

Posted On October 30, 2017

Mortgage rates trended upward last week, ahead of this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  The FOMC meets Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss monetary policy.  The FOMC was in the news last week, as the finance world speculated on what move President Trump will make when Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires in February 2018.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index comes out on Tuesday and US construction spending comes out Wednesday.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Surge, Pending Home Sales Unchanged, and GDP Grows

Posted On October 27, 2017

Mortgage rates are trending upward again this week.  New home sales hit record highs, climbing to the highest level in a decade.  Pending home sales were unchanged from August to September.  Third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded expectations and grew at an annual pace of 3%.

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales, and GDP

Posted On October 23, 2017

Mortgage rates are trending upward, heading into the seasonal winter slowdown.  This week, the new home sales reports comes out Wednesday and pending home sales index comes out Thursday.  The first estimate for third quarter’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be released Friday morning. 

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Improves, Housing Starts and Building Permits Down, Existing Home Sales Up

Posted On October 20, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week.  The home builders’ housing market index improved to a six-month high.  Housing starts and building permits declined slightly, but single-family housing permits are strong.  Existing home sales recovered after hurricane-related slowdown. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On October 16, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward last week.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its housing market index on Tuesday. The housing starts and building permits reports will come out on Wednesday.  Existing home sales is scheduled for release on Friday. 

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Generation Z Renters Gearing Up for Homeownership

Posted On October 12, 2017

Generation Z (Gen Z) renters include people born between the late 1990s or 2000s are more interested in homeownership than the preceding generation, the Millennials, according to a new survey.  Zillow reports 57% of Gen Z renters are confident they will own a home, compared to 55% of Millennials.  The discussion of Millennials delaying homeownership has been prevalent throughout the housing industry.  Now with a new demographic of young home buyers vying for starter homes, the housing market might just get more competitive. 

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CNBC Profiles HomeFundIt: A new way to buy a home

Posted On October 10, 2017

Since its official launch, HomeFundIt has garnered attention from real estate industry professionals around the country.  Emmy Award-winning journalist and Real Estate Correspondent Diana Olick recently profiled the down payment crowdfunding platform for CNBC’s Realty Check. 

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HomeFundIt: Crowdfunding Platform for Mortgage Down Payment Has Launched

Posted On October 05, 2017

First approved platform for savvy homebuyers to increase down payment & home buying opportunities

CMG Financial, a privately held mortgage-banking firm, today announces the launch of HomeFundItTM; the first industry approved crowdfunding service providing homebuyers the support, education and platform they need to crowdfund a mortgage down payment.

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Up, New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales Drop

Posted On September 29, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week, as housing and construction activity begins to normalize following the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Limited housing inventory continues to impact the housing market.  The Case-Shiller home price index increased again, and new home sales and pending home sales each declined.

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Home Flipping Makes a Comeback in Many US Housing Markets

Posted On September 26, 2017

Home prices are on the rise.  This month’s Case-Shiller home price index continues to show home value appreciation across the country, specifically markets in the West and Pacific Northwest.  Rising home values and low mortgage rates are spurring a new house “flipping” trend.  According to Realtor.com, 193,000 single family homes were flipped in 2016. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales

Posted On September 25, 2017

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee met for its semiannual economic policy meeting and voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged.  This week, the Case-Shiller home price index, new home sales, and the pending home sales index are all scheduled for release. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, FOMC Meeting, and More

Posted On September 18, 2017

 This week will be a full week for housing with numerous important housing reports scheduled.  On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release the housing market index.  On Tuesday, housing starts and building permits comes out.  On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release the existing home sales report.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday and a press conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen will follow on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Up and Construction Spending and Pending Home Sales Down

Posted On September 01, 2017

This week, Hurricane Harvey devastated much of Texas’s Gulf Coast and other parts of the Southeastern United States.  Mortgage rates did not shift drastically and the Federal Reserve is reconsidering further rate hikes this year, as the greater Houston area begins the process of rebuilding.  Tightened housing inventory has led to an increase in home prices and a decrease in pending home sales.  Construction spending decreased overall, but the residential housing segment improved. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index, US Construction Spending

Posted On August 28, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move much last week, and continue to hover year-long lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index comes out on Tuesday.  The pending home sales index comes out Thursday and US construction spending will be released Friday. 

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Market Recap: FHFA House Price Index Up, New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales Down

Posted On August 25, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, hovering year-long lows.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated.  New home sales and existing home sales each declined amid low housing inventory and a competitive housing market.

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Will Home Prices Cool Down this Fall?

Posted On August 24, 2017

With mortgage rates still historically low, housing demand shows no sign of letting up.  According to Redfin, listings for homes are down 11% from July 2016 to July 2017, the lowest level since 1982.  In the midst of peak selling season, prices continue to appreciate.  Will home buyers catch a break this fall?

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, New Home Sales, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On August 21, 2017

Mortgage rates dropped last week to a post-election low.  This week will be a heavy housing week with reports on the Federal Housing Finance Association’s (FHFA) house price index, existing home sales, and new home sales.

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HomeFundIt: How it Works

Posted On August 17, 2017

HomeFundItTM is a crowdfunding platform designed specifically for the down payment on a home.  Home buyers get prequalified, share their story, and raise funds all through one platform.  Here’s how it works…

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HomeFundIt: Fund Your Way Home

Posted On August 14, 2017

Did you know saving for a down payment is one of the biggest challenges renters face?  According to Zillow, nearly 70% of renters report saving for a down payment as the biggest obstacle to homeownership.  If you are interested in owning a home, but unable to save a down payment, this new program can change your life.  It’s called HomeFundItTM, formerly known as HomeFundItTM

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Watch Out: Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Posted On August 10, 2017

Traditionally, owning a home is one of the ways Americans can build wealth and financial security.  Homeownership does not come without a cost, as Zillow researchers pointed out in a recent article on the hidden costs of homeownership.  According to budgeting experts from Zillow, Thumbtack, and UtilityScore the average American homeowner incurs $9,080 in expenses each year, broken down as unavoidable costs and maintenance expenses.

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Why Home Buyers are Buying Homes “Site Unseen”

Posted On August 08, 2017

When a buyer makes an offer on a home “site unseen,” this means they are making an offer without visiting the property.  Making an offer site unseen can expedite the buying process by reducing the time it takes for one or more walk-throughs or property visits.  According to Redfin’s sample of 3000+ home buyers in May 2017, one in three purchased their property without physically seeing the home.

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Up, Construction Spending Down, and the ADP Employment Report

Posted On August 04, 2017

Mortgage rates edged downward this week. The pending home sales index turned around this month, but total construction spending dropped slightly.  The ADP employment report was positive but below expectations. 

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Homeownership Rate on the Rise

Posted On August 03, 2017

Household formation is strong so far, this year, after the second consecutive quarter of gains.  The US Census Bureau reported the homeownership rate improved by 0.1% quarter-over-quarter and is up 0.8% year-over-year, hitting a three-year high.  With rates still historically low, more first-time home buyers are entering the market with confidence and boosting the homeownership rate.

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Home Seller Profits Hit Record Highs

Posted On August 01, 2017

Last week, the Case-Shiller home price index and FHFA house price index each showed home values are continuing to increase.  In addition to home price appreciation, homeowners are occupying their homes longer.  The average homeowner occupancy time of a home sold in Q2 2017 was eight years compared to just four years in the mid-2000s.  Homebuilders are facing challenges as well with rising costs of construction materials and labor shortages.  These combined factors have created the most profitable seller’s market in over a decade.

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales Index, Construction Spending, and ADP Employment

Posted On July 31, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move much last week.  There were mixed housing numbers with a decline in existing home sales and an increase in new home sales.  This week, the pending home sales index comes out on Monday, US construction spending comes out Tuesday, and the ADP employment report comes out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Decline, New Home Sales Increase Slightly, Case-Shiller Home Price Index

Posted On July 28, 2017

Mortgage rates ticked back upwards this week, though there are no significant changes to report.  Existing home sales declined after last month’s positive numbers.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index continues to improve.  New home sales increased, only slightly.

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Over Half of All Home Buyers Put Down Less Than 20%

Posted On July 27, 2017

For most first-time home buyers, the biggest challenge when buying a home is saving for the down payment.  However, the 20% down payment is not as rigid of a requirement as it has been in the past.  Low down payment programs, especially those targeting first-time home buyers, are growing in popularity. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and New Home Sales

Posted On July 24, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward last week.  There are numerous housing reports scheduled for this week, including last month’s existing home sales and new home sales reports, and May’s Case-Shiller home price index.  Last week’s reports showed positive gains in mortgage applications filed, housing starts, and building permits issues.  This week’s reports will reflect whether or not that momentum persists. 

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Secretary Carson Advocates Responsible Homeownership Goals

Posted On July 06, 2017

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson hosted a questions and answer session last week on Facebook Live.  In his discussion, he addressed homeownership as a core component of the American dream and avoiding a repeat of the Financial Crisis of 2008. 

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5 Affordable Locations for Vacation Homes

Posted On July 05, 2017

Vacation homes and investment properties can be used as a “home away from home” and also potentially become a source of rental income when occupied.  The cost of the vacation home largely depends on the location. 

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Up, Pending Home Sales Down, GDP Expands

Posted On June 30, 2017

Mortgage rates started to trend upward this week, though there are no significant changes to report.  Home prices are continuing their steady trend of appreciation and contracts signed declined slightly as limited housing inventory continues to strain housing activity.  The third revision for first quarter’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came out Thursday, with a positive expansion.

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Financial Gap Widens Between Homeowners and Renters

Posted On June 29, 2017

Home prices are on the rise, as limited housing inventory causes demand to outpace supply.  In May, the median price of an existing home sold was $252,8000, up 5.8% from May of last year.  55% of homes were sold in less than a month.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports the average time on the market was just 27 days in May, down from April’s figure of 29 days, a new record low. 

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Beware: Home Improvement Scams

Posted On June 28, 2017

Did you know, in 2016 over 32,000 home improvement-related scams were reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?  The average cost of these scams was $1400.  Be prepared to avoid falling victim to dishonest contractors, repairmen, or other service professionals.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales and GDP

Posted On June 26, 2017

Mortgage rates stayed low last week, trending slightly downward according to Mortgage News Daily.  Housing market activity picked up with gains in both existing home sales and new home sales.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index comes out Tuesday, the pending home sales index comes out Wednesday, and on Thursday we get the third estimate for first-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

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Market Recap: Gains All Around with Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, and FHFA House Price Index

Posted On June 23, 2017

Mortgage rates stayed low this week, trending downward according to Mortgage News Daily, despite the June rate hike.  The final numbers from the spring selling season were mostly positive, with existing home sales and new home sales rebounding and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index also improving. 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Existing Home Sales, and FHFA House Price Index

Posted On June 19, 2017

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the benchmark interest rate to a level of 1.00% - 1.25%, the second rate hike of 2017.  This week, the final numbers from the spring selling season will be available including existing home sales, new home sales, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index.

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Market Recap: Rate Hike, Home Builders Confidence Declines, and Housing Starts and Building Permits Drop

Posted On June 16, 2017

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the benchmark interest rate.   Mortgage rates did not change drastically following the announcement, increasing slightly according to some sources.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index declined slightly.  Housing starts and building permits declined.

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meets, Home Builders’ Index, Housing Starts, and Building Permits

Posted On June 12, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward last week, ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday and hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release the home builders’ sentiment index on Thursday and housing starts and building permits come out on Friday.

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller House Price Index Increases, Pending Home Sales and Construction Spending Decline

Posted On June 02, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week and are holding near year-long lows.  The Case-Shiller house price index appreciated to the highest level in over two years.  Pending home sales and construction spending each declined.

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Help Wanted: Home Builders

Posted On June 01, 2017

As the housing industry struggles with tightened inventory, one problem facing home builders is a shortage of skilled laborers.  Throughout the country, builders are struggling to fill open positions and this is causing rising labor costs, increased construction time, and higher home prices.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, and Construction Spending

Posted On May 29, 2017

Markets are closed today in observance of Memorial Day.  This week’s scheduled reports will include the final numbers of May and the first numbers of June.  The Case-Shiller home price index comes out Tuesday, pending home sales index comes out Wednesday, and construction spending comes out Thursday.

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Market Recap: Existing and New Home Sales Disappoint, FHFA House Price Index Improves

Posted On May 26, 2017

This week, mortgage rates hovered year-long lows.  New home sales and existing home sales flattened, each declining month-over-month but still improving year-over-year.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated slightly.

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, and Existing Home Sales

Posted On May 22, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward last week, amidst some political turmoil in Washington.  This week, there will be some significant reports on the first numbers from second quarter including new home sales and existing home sales.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its house price index, also. 

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Market Recap: Home Builders Positive Despite Drop in Housing Starts, Building Permits, and Mortgage Apps

Posted On May 19, 2017

Mortgage rates are down from last week, hovering year-long lows.  The home builders’ sentiment index posted positive numbers in May after a decline in April.  Housing starts and building permits each dropped, and both new purchase and refinance mortgage applications decreased.

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Home Builders Swap Luxury for Starter Homes

Posted On May 16, 2017

With millennials entering the housing market slowly, luxury homes are not on their radar.  The Wall Street Journal reported home builders are switching gears and building smaller.  The newest generation is shopping small, so home builders have put their focus on starter homes rather than luxury homes.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Increase, New Home Sales Surge, Pending Home Sales Decline

Posted On April 28, 2017

Mortgage rates trended upward this week.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and new home sales report each posted significant gains.  Pending home sales declined slightly, due to mixed regional numbers.

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Will the Canadian Lumber Tariff Impact Homebuilders?

Posted On April 27, 2017

This week, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that his agency will impose new anti-subsidy tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports.  The tariffs are said to average 20%, and the move will impact the $5.66 billion worth of imported construction material.  American homebuilders will be most impacted by the new tariff.

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Market Forecast: Home Price Index, New Home Sales, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On April 24, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, after hitting a year-long low earlier in the month.  There will be a full schedule of housing reports this week including the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, new home sales, and pending home sales.

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Posted On April 21, 2017

Mortgage rates did not fluctuate much this week, hovering the year-long lows they hit last week.  The housing market index gave a positive reading.  Housing starts declined, but building permits ticked up.  Existing home sales surged to the highest level since 2007.

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Survey: Down Payment Biggest Obstacle to Homeownership

Posted On April 18, 2017

A recent Zillow survey reveals nearly 70% of renters report saving for a down payment as the largest barrier to homeownership.  With rents reaching record highs, the average rent costs nearly 50% of the median income in many cities.  Even with the delay in buying a home, most renters cite homeownership as a goal.  63% of survey respondents are confident they will someday own a home, 25% believe it will happen in the next three-to-five years.

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Market Forecast: Low Rates, Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales and Starts and Permits

Posted On April 17, 2017

Last week, Freddie Mac reported mortgage rates dipped to new 2017 lows.  The lower rates bode well for the spring home buying season, typically the busiest of the year.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release the housing market index on Monday.  On Tuesday, housing starts and building permits come out and on Wednesday there will be the existing home sales report.

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Home Buyers are Springing Ahead

Posted On April 11, 2017

Home prices are on the rise in some regions, but buyers are not holding back.  CoreLogic reports that home prices will continue to rise into 2018 due to inventory restrictions and rising rates.  However, this price appreciation is not significant enough to stop home buyers from making a move.

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Market Recap: Home Prices, Pending Home Sales, and Consumer Spending Gain

Posted On March 31, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move much this week, trending slightly upward from last week.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index surged at a record pace, pending home sales increased, and consumer spending improved also.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, and Core Inflation

Posted On March 27, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward last week.  When the Federal Reserve raises the short-term interest rate, long-term rates like mortgage rates may not react immediately. This week, there will be the S&P Case-Shiller home price index, the pending home sales report, and the consumer spending, personal income, and core inflation report.

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Market Recap: FHFA House Price Index Unchanged, Existing Home Sales Down, New Home Sales Up

Posted On March 24, 2017

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward this week.  There was a mixed bag of housing news.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index was unchanged, existing home sales dropped, and new home sales increased.

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Your Home Insurance Checkup

Posted On March 22, 2017

From flooding in California, to tornadoes in the Midwest, to last week’s Northeastern snow storm, 2017 has already seen its fair share of inclement weather.  Each season and region is susceptible to its own natural disaster and homeowners’ insurance is not one size fits all. 

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The “Goldilocks” of Home Buyers

Posted On March 21, 2017

Why do homeowners want to move?  According to a survey conducted for Trulia by Harris Poll, most American homeowners are not satisfied with the size of their current home.  The survey found that less than 32% of homeowners would purchase a home that is the same size as their current residence.

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, and New Home Sales

Posted On March 20, 2017

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the benchmark interest rate.  In response, mortgage rates trended downward.  Long-term interest rates will move more slowly than short-term rates in reacting to movements by the Fed.  This week, there will be several important housing reports including the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s house price index, existing home sales, and new home sales. 

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Market Recap: Record Home Builders’ Reports and a Federal Rate Hike

Posted On March 17, 2017

Happy St, Patrick’s Day!  As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise interest rates.  Mortgage rates reacted by trending down.  The home builders’ sentiment index increased at a record pace and housing starts also posted gainful numbers.  However, building permits declined. 

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Market Recap: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Improves, Pending Home Sales and US Construction Drop

Posted On March 03, 2017

There was not much movement from mortgage rates this week, trending upwards according to some sources.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index improved, but the pending home sales index and construction spending declined.  On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Meeting later this month. 

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Avoid These Paint Colors When Selling Your Home

Posted On February 28, 2017

A fresh coat of paint on your home’s interior or exterior is a relatively inexpensive way to revitalize your home when it is on the market.  An exterior update can rejuvenate an older home and interior paint jobs can add dimension and diversity to the rooms.  According to the Institute for Color Research, people tend to judge an environment within 90 seconds of initial viewing, based strictly on its color.  Avoid these swatches when you are repainting your home for sale. 

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Construction Spending

Posted On February 27, 2017

Mortgage rates did not change significantly last week, and trended downward according to some sources.  This week includes the end of February and the beginning of March, bringing some important monthly housing reports.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) pending home sales index and US construction spending will forecast what to expect for housing in the coming months. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Surge, New Home Sales Rebound, and FHFA House Price Index

Posted On February 24, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward this week.  New home sales and existing home sales each showed signs of strength and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index increased.  New Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin addressed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform is on the agenda but stated that it was not the number one priority.

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, and New Home Sales

Posted On February 20, 2017

Last week, Steve Mnuchin was sworn in as Treasury Secretary, Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested an interest rate hike is coming soon, and mortgage rates started to rise. This week’s important housing reports will include existing home sales, new home sales, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) House Price Index.

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Homes for Hope Designed to House Homeless Population

Posted On February 15, 2017

The homeless population in Los Angeles, CA has grown so substantially, that the mayor declared a state of emergency. In November, voting citizens approved a $1.2 Billion bond to build 10,000 apartments to help house the chronically homeless over the next ten years. At this time, an estimated 50,000 people sleep on the streets every night.  Homes for Hope is trying to reduce that number.

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meets, Pending Home Sales, and Case-Shiller Index

Posted On January 30, 2017

Mortgage rates experienced some volatility last week.  On Tuesday, Dr. Ben Carson’s nomination for the Secretary of the Department of Housing was approved by the Senate Committee.  On Wednesday morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average opened at 20,000. This week the Federal Open Market Committee meets on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Upcoming housing reports include pending home sales and the S&P Case-Shiller home price index. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, and New Home Sales

Posted On January 23, 2017

Mortgage rates went up last week and the Department of Housing and Urban Development suspended their plan to cut mortage insurance premiums on Federal Housing Administration Loans.  This week, there will be important housing reports including existing home sales, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s House Price Index, and new home sales.

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Download Case Study: Building Wealth Through Homeownership

Posted On January 05, 2017

Home values, like other economic measures, are cyclical.  It is widely accepted that buying a home is an investment in the future.  Even in periods of recession, homes can increase in value.  The government puts forth affordability initiatives to close the homeownership gap, emphasizing its fundamental role in providing financial security.  When construction slows and available inventory lessens, sellers of existing homes have an advantage as their homes’ value goes up. 

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Home Equity Continues to Improve

Posted On January 03, 2017

CoreLogic reported US homeowners with mortgages saw their equity increase by $227 Billion in Q3 of 2016, up 3.1% annually.  This growth is associated with the improvement of the average loan-to-value ratio.  The average LTV ratio was 55.4%, down from 56% in mid-2016 and 57.3% in 2015.

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Market Forecast: Steady Rates, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales

Posted On December 27, 2016

Last week, mortgage rates did not change much, dropping a few hundredths of a percent according to Mortgage News Daily. This week’s announcements include the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller home price index and the consumer confidence survey today and pending home sales tomorrow.

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Market Recap: Steady Mortgage Rates, Existing Home Sales Surge, and GDP Gains

Posted On December 23, 2016

Mortgage rates did not change much this week, dropping a few hundredths of a percentage point according to Mortgage News Daily.  Existing home sales posted sizable gains, the third quarter GDP was revised up, and new home sales improved as well. 

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42% of REALTORS® Report Clients Interested in Smart Home Devices

Posted On December 22, 2016

Devices like learning thermostats and smart home security systems are changing the way homeowners integrate technology into their homes.  Smart home devices are having such a significant impact, that the National Association of REALTORS® released its first report on smart homes last month. 

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Market Forecast: Rates Rise, GDP Growth, Existing and New Home Sales

Posted On December 19, 2016

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee raised the benchmark interest rate and mortgage rates reacted accordingly and increased.  Some sources reported the highest reading of the year.  This week, the GDP revision comes out on Thursday.  Third quarter numbers were strong and this momentum is expected to carry into the end of the year.  Existing home sales and new home sales are also slated for release. 

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Market Recap: FOMC Confirms Rate Hike, Home Builder Confidence Soars

Posted On December 16, 2016

As expected, the FOMC raised key interest rates 0.25 bp to 0.5% - 0.75%.  The strengthened labor market and expectations for accelerated inflation warranted the rate increase.  FOMC Chairwoman Janet Yellen affirmed, “it’s important for households and businesses to understand that my colleagues and I have judged the course of the US economy to be strong.”  The rate increase will have a continuing impact nationally and internationally.  Following the Fed rate increase, mortgage rates ticked upward as well. 

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Helping Homeless Hawaiians with Microhousing

Posted On December 14, 2016

Last Tuesday, the County of Hawaii took a big step in housing its homeless citizens with the opening of a micro housing project.  Hale Kikaha, located in the Old Kona Industrial Area, contains 23 ADA compliant units including four that are handicap accessible.  The first tenants started moving in at the beginning of December.

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Market Forecast – FOMC Meeting, Home Builders’ Index, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

Posted On December 12, 2016

Mortgage rates started to slide back down last week after reaching year-long highs earlier in the month.  The National Association of Home Builders release their housing market index for December on Thursday.  Housing Starts and Building Permits are slated for release on Friday.  The biggest news of the week will take place on Wednesday following the Federal Open Market Committee’s Meeting.  All signs point to an interest rate hike, the FOMC has held off on hiking rates all year, and economic conditions are favorable.

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Starbucks is “Lighting Up” King County to Stop Homelessness

Posted On December 07, 2016

In an effort to fight homelessness this holiday season, Seattle-area Starbucks stores are asking for donations to the No Child Sleeps Outside campaign and matching those donations up to $1 Million.  According to a recent report from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, there are 4,000 homeless people in Seattle including 500 families. 

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Can you buy a new home if you haven’t sold your current home?

Posted On December 01, 2016

You have to relocate for a job, and you only have two weeks.  Family circumstances make your spouse relocate but you are still looking for work in the new location.  You found the home of your dreams and don’t want it to go off the market before you’ve sold your current home. 

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Delaware Becomes Third State to End Veteran Homelessness

Posted On November 30, 2016

Veterans Day has come and gone, but we still have a civic duty to serve those who have served.  This month, Delaware became the third state to end veteran homelessness.  Delaware’s State Housing Authority has found housing for 415 displaced veterans over the past two years. 

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Market Forecast: ADP Employment, Pending Home Sales, and Construction Spending

Posted On November 28, 2016

Mortgage rates hit year-long highs last week, breaking the 4% mark according to some sources.  This month brought positive housing reports building momentum to close out the month strong.  Coming this week are the ADP Employment report, pending home sales, and construction spending. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Surge, FOMC Minutes, and Rising Rates

Posted On November 25, 2016

Mortgage rates are still rising but not as drastically.  This week brought mixed housing market news and the release of the FOMC minutes.  While existing home sales are up, new home sales are down. 

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Monday Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, and FOMC Minutes

Posted On November 21, 2016

Mortgage rates are fluctuating at a steadier pace following last week’s drastic spike.  Following solid gains in housing starts and retail sales, this week brings the existing home sales report for October to be released on Tuesday and the new home sales report for October to be released on Wednesday.  Also scheduled for release on Wednesday are the FOMC minutes from the November 2nd meeting.

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Monday Market Forecast: Retail Sales, Home Builders’ Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Posted On November 14, 2016

Mortgage rates experienced a steeper spike last week, the most significant change in recent months, partially due to the election.  Scheduled reports for this week include retail sales on Tuesday, home builders’ index on Wednesday, and housing starts and building permits on Thursday.

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What the Heated Housing Market Means for New Home Buyers

Posted On November 03, 2016

The National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and leading lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac report that home sales are going to heat up in 2017.

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Buying a Home in an Election Year

Posted On October 25, 2016

Presidential elections tend to slow the housing market.  In a contentious election like the one we have ahead, many potential buyers are wondering – “should I wait until after the election to buy a home?” 

 

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Monday Market Forecast: Will Q3’s GDP Post Gains? Plus, News on Home Prices and Pending Home Sales

Posted On October 24, 2016

Mortgage rates show little change since Friday, following the trend of steady rates. After some discussion of improving the Gross Domestic Product in last week’s presidential debate, we are looking ahead to find out where it stands this Friday.  This economic scorecard will shed light not only on interest rates but the state of the economy in its entirety.  We are also anticipating the release of the Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index.

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Friday Market Recap: Existing Home Sales and Building Permits Post Gains, Home Builders’ Index and Housing Starts Show Declines

Posted On October 21, 2016

Mortgage rates have been on the rise this month climbing as much as a tenth of a percentage point according to some sources.  This week, however, we saw slight declines from Monday to Friday’s mortgage rates.  Economists are looking ahead to December’s FOMC meeting with this week’s reports pointing toward an end-of-year interest rate hike. 

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