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Are you making this big money-saving mistake?

  • October 23, 2019

Chances are if you’re working, you are saving for retirement.  Most employers have a retirement savings program where employees can set aside pretax money directly out of their paycheck and save it in a retirement account.  While most of us know we are “saving for retirement,” we may forget we are actually “investing for retirement.”  The money you deposit in your 401(k), Roth IRA, or other retirement account is typically invested in the stock market so your money grows. 

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Expect Bidding Wars this Fall

  • October 22, 2019

After an unseasonably slow Spring, and two late-in-the-year rate cuts, many real estate professionals are expecting a busy Fall, bidding wars included.  Typically, bidding wars tend to drop off when the housing market cools down in the Fall and Winter months, dropping about 15 percentage points from March to September. However, Redfin reports in September 2019, 11% of offers written by the firm faced a bidding war, up from 10% of offers in August.  This figure may be down substantially from the 41% of offers facing a bidding war in September 2018, but the trend goes against the seasonal pattern the market has seen from 2013-2018.  

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

  • 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

  • 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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Investing in Real Estate vs. Stocks

  • October 17, 2019

Real estate is often considered a more stable investment than stocks, but why?  While all investments come with varying degrees of risk and reward, the advantage of investing in real estate is that it tends to appreciate over time, and it is a useable, tangible asset.  Before moving forward with any investment, you should consult a financial advisor.  Investing in real estate is a good option for some and investing in stocks is a better option, although it depends on your how much you are investing and your short-term and long-term goals. 

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Many Seniors Prefer Multigenerational Housing

  • October 16, 2019

Multiple generations living in the same home is growing more common.  In 1980, only 12% of Americans lived in a home that included adults from two or more generations.  In 2018, that figure had risen to 20%.  Living in a multigenerational household can help seniors stay active, healthy, and involved.  Multigenerational housing is becoming so common, that it’s not just family members living together.  Developers are designing co-living spaces to house multiple generations and meet this preference. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, Refinance Applications Up, Job Openings Dip

  • October 11, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week and remain historically low.  Consumer credit growth expanded at a somewhat weaker rate, driven by a drop in credit card borrowing.  Mortgage application submissions were mixed.  Job openings declined.

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How to Buy a Home Out of State

  • 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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Airbnb Invests in Affordable Housing

  • October 09, 2019

Airbnb, the popular short-term rental service, announced a $25 million investment in affordable housing efforts in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County.  San Francisco and Los Angeles among other metro areas in the western United States, has experienced rapid home price and rental rate appreciation in recent years.  San Francisco specifically has experienced sustained home price appreciation over the years because of the prevalence of job opportunities, especially tech jobs, and the limited supply of housing. 

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Over Half of Millennial Home Buyers Finance with PMI

  • 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 Forecast: Consumer Credit, Mortgage Applications, and Job Openings

  • October 07, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly lower last week.  This week, the only directly related housing report is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release the minutes from its last semiannual monetary policy meeting giving economists a better understanding of what to expect for the rest of the year.  Other market-moving reports include consumer credit and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).  

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Apps Rebound, ADP Employment Report Down Slightly

  • October 04, 2019

Mortgage rates trended lower this week, continuing to touch down on year-long lows.  US construction spending increased slightly, but residential construction spending specifically jumped.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions are up.  The ADP employment report was lower than expected. 

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Why School Districts Matter, Even if You Don’t Have School-Age Children

  • October 03, 2019

When you’re looking at listings for your new home, you’ll often find the local school district rating featured right beside crime statistics and other important local data.  Even if you do not have school-age children, the ranking of your neighborhood school district matters because it will influence the overall value of your home and when it comes time to sell, may even help sell your home faster and earn a larger profit.

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Average Consumer FICO Score Reaches 706

  • October 02, 2019

Consumer credit scores continue to recover in the wake of economic recovery, most recently hitting a new record high FICO score of 706.  The FICO credit score is the most widely accepted credit score used by banks and lenders to assess a consumer’s credit risk and ability to repay a loan or a line of credit.  By comparison, just ten years ago, at the end of the Great Recession, the average FICO credit score was only 686. 

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What Not to Do When the Fed Cuts Interest Rates

  • October 01, 2019

Last month, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted for a quarter-point interest rate cut, the second one this year.  When the Fed cuts the Federal benchmark interest rate, all interest rates will react by trending lower.  The cost of borrowing money, like the average mortgage rate, will fall, but the return on your savings account will also be lower, and can hurt some savers expecting to earn interest income. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and ADP Employment Report

  • September 30, 2019

Average mortgage rates are still historically low following the two recent Federal Reserve rate cuts.  This week in housing news, US construction spending comes out on Tuesday and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Sunday.  In jobs-related news, the ADP employment report is scheduled for release on Thursday. 

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

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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Watch Out: 6 Common HOA Rules You May Accidentally Break

  • September 18, 2019

In communities managed by a Homeowners Association (HOA), homeowners typically have to adhere to certain guidelines and rules known as covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs).  If you break one of your HOA’s CC&Rs you may face a fine in addition to your monthly or yearly dues.  When you move into a new home, it’s important to read your HOA CC&Rs thoroughly.  Seemingly routine changes to your home’s exterior or a friend visiting in a Recreational Vehicle may violate the rules and leave you with a fine or worse.

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A Buyer’s Market Likely Coming this Fall

  • September 17, 2019

Fall home buyers may be in luck.  This summer, mortgage rates touched down to the lowest levels in three years.  Whether or not the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) votes for a rate cut tomorrow, mortgage rates will likely stay historically low through the end of this year.  Additionally, appraisals have gotten harder, and many buyers are making more cautious decisions.  Thus, sellers are not able to price their home as high as they did earlier this year.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, Job Openings Down, Mortgage Apps Up

  • September 13, 2019

Mortgage rates stayed near year-long lows this week, skewing slightly higher according to some sources.  Consumer credit expanded in July, powering overall economic growth.  Job openings are down and voluntary quit rates are up, as the labor market stays strong.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions are up. 

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Do the Math: How much do you need to save for a down payment?

  • September 12, 2019

When you’re ready to buy a home, one of the first questions that will come to mind is naturally “how much do I need to save for a down payment?”  The amount needed for the down payment will vary depending on the type of loan you choose.  Many home buyers believe a 20% down payment is needed to buy a home, but that’s not always the case.  In 2018, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 55% of all home buyers bought their home with a down payment of 6% or less, and 72% of first-time home buyers used a down payment of 6% or less.  To determine how much you will need to save for a down payment, start with these equations.

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Think You’re Saving Money on that Fixer-Upper? Think Again!

  • September 11, 2019

Many home buyers choose to buy a fixer-upper for financial reasons.  They often expect the cost of the home combined with the cost of the needed improvements will still be less than buying a comparable move-in ready home.  A recent survey of 1,069 homeowners from Porch.com, found that although buyers who bought a fixer-upper spent on average $50,000 less than their counterparts who bought move-in ready homes.  But they tended to spend that difference, or more, on renovations and repairs to make their home livable.

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Would a Recession Impact Today’s Housing Market?

  • September 10, 2019

Lately, numerous networks have been broadcasting news about an impending recession.  The economy ebbs and flows through various economic cycles, and there are times when sustained growth is followed by a downturn.  After the longest period of economic expansion in American history, a recession would not be unusual.  When we hear “recession” today, many of us may immediately recall the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 and the ensuing Great Recession.  The Great Recession was brought on in part by irresponsible lending practices and the housing market collapse.  However, if a recession takes place soon, it will likely not have the same impact on housing as the Great Recession.   

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, JOLTS, and Mortgage Applications

  • September 09, 2019

There are no significant housing reports scheduled for this week, aside from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the consumer credit report and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Improves, Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Report Beats Predictions

  • September 06, 2019

Markets were closed on Monday in observance of the Labor Day holiday.  Mortgage rates continued their downward trend this week, touching down on year-long lows.  Construction spending improved in July.  New purchase application submissions were up, but refinance application submissions were down.  The ADP employment report exceeded expectations.

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How Soon is too Soon to Sell Your Home?

  • 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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Tesla Tests Rental Solar Panels in Six States

  • September 04, 2019

Since Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016, residential solar panel installations have stalled.  High installation costs create a financial barrier for many homeowners to switch to solar panels, despite the long-term energy savings.  To make its solar panels more accessible, Tesla is pioneering a rental program in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico, with no installation costs and no time commitment. 

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Trump Administration Prepared to Release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Reform Plan Soon

  • September 03, 2019

The Trump Administration is expected to release its plan to return Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private-shareholder ownership early this month.  Although Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin initially pledged housing finance reform was a top priority when he took office, the issue has taken a backseat to other policy matters throughout the Trump presidency.  This proposal was expected to be announced earlier this summer but was delayed by revisions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report

  • September 02, 2019

Markets are closed today in observance of the Labor Day holiday.  This will be a short week with lots of news.  The US construction spending report comes out on Tuesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday, and the ADP employment report comes out on Wednesday.  

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

  • 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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4 Ways to Reduce Your Biggest Expense During Retirement

  • August 29, 2019

Whether it’s your mortgage payment or your monthly rent, housing is most retirees’ biggest recurring expense.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household headed by an adult 65 or older spends nearly 34% of their income on housing and housing-related expenses like insurance, property taxes, maintenance needs, and utilities.  For many, retiring means a fixed income and the prospect of monthly housing costs may seem daunting, especially added onto other needs like medical expenses and travel.  Financial contributors at the Motley Fool compiled this list of four ways to reduce your biggest expense during retirement. 

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Low-Cost Ways to Make Your Bathroom Feel Brand New

  • August 28, 2019

Whether you just moved into your home or have lived there for years, renovations do not have to be costly.  Bathrooms are one of the most popular rooms to renovate following kitchen renovations.  There are ways to spruce up your bathroom without breaking the bank.  If you’re not ready for a full bathroom makeover, try some of these ideas.

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Millennial Homeowners Driving Home Improvement Spending

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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Reasons Not to Get a Mortgage Online

  • August 22, 2019

The idea of a totally digital mortgage experience may sound alluring to anyone with a busy schedule of daily demands.  But when it comes to a six (or more!) digit transaction, there is an advantage to having a real person on your side to advocate on your behalf.  Even if you prefer to get started filling out your application online or through our mobile app, working with a real loan officer and not a customer service hotline empowers you to cross the finish line with confidence.

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6 Ways to Start Your Winter Home Maintenance this Summer

  • 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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Trump Administration Moves to Restrict FHA Mortgage Refinance Limits

  • August 20, 2019

In lieu of the Federal Reserve’s rate cut, many homeowners are considering a mortgage refinance.  Refinancing your mortgage could help you lower your monthly mortgage payment through a lower interest rate, reduce or eliminate mortgage insurance, change loan programs or terms, or get cash out.  When homeowners get cash out, they are able to use their home’s equity to finance other needs like a home renovation project or to pay down higher interest debt. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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FHA Issues New Condominium Approval Rule

  • August 15, 2019

With new guidelines set to become effective on October 15, 2019, condominium financing will become more accessible for FHA borrowers.  Previously, to finance a condominium unit with an FHA loan the condo project had to meet approval requirements.  With the new policy, individual condo units that are not part of an FHA-approved condo project can still be eligible for FHA financing.  The policy change is a response to the need for more affordable options for first-time home buyers in today’s competitive market. 

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

  • 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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FHA to make financing easier for condo owners

  • August 14, 2019

Announces long-awaited changes to eligibility requirements that include individual unit approval.

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

  • 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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More Americans Qualifying for Jumbo Mortgage Loans

  • August 13, 2019

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) revealed it was easier to get a jumbo loan in June 2019 than it has been in the past eight years.  All types of mortgage loans saw increases in credit availability, but jumbo loan credit availability marked the 6th straight month of increases.  Home buyers use jumbo loans to finance homes with purchase prices higher than the conforming loan limits. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Housing Market Index, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • August 12, 2019

Mortgage rates have fallen to year-long lows, amidst the Federal Open Market Committee’s vote to cut rates.  This week, there are several important housing reports ahead including the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index, and housing starts and building permits. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings Down Slightly, Refinance Apps Surge, Consumer Credit Expands

  • August 09, 2019

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, reaching year-long lows according to some sources.  Job openings slipped slightly.  New purchase mortgage application submissions declined but refinance mortgage application submissions are up.  Consumer credit expanded less than expected.

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Forbes Real Estate Council’s Realtor Recommendations

  • August 08, 2019

Choosing the right Realtor or real estate agent will greatly influence how your home purchase goes.  Your Realtor or real estate agent will connect you with the right listings in your community and be your number one advocate when it’s time to make an offer.  Forbes polled leading real estate executives from its Forbes Real Estate Council and found these top five things to look for when choosing a Realtor or real estate agent.

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Save Money by Never Buying These 5 Things New

  • August 07, 2019

We all have savings goals we are trying to reach.  While we generally can’t change when we need to buy something, we can change how we buy it.  Buying used instead of new can help you save substantially on some more expensive necessities.   Whether you’re saving to pay down student loans, buy a home, or invest elsewhere, these simple strategies can help boost your savings efforts. 

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Mortgage Delinquency Rate Falls to 20-Year Low

  • August 06, 2019

The latest CoreLogic monthly Loan Performance Insights Reports revealed Americans are better at making their mortgage payments on time than they have been in the past two decades.  A delinquent mortgage is defined as a mortgage that has been past due for 30 days or more.  As of April 2019, the national mortgage delinquency rate dropped to 3.6%. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, and Consumer Credit

  • August 05, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted for its first rate cut in 10 years.  Mortgage rates reacted by trending downward.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and consumer credit. 

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

  • 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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Build-to-Rent Housing Growing Popular

  • August 01, 2019

With foreclosure and distressed property sales at an all-time low, investors are looking for new ways to satisfy the growing demand for single-family rental homes.  Today, distressed properties account for just 2% of home sales, down substantially from the high of 49% in March 2009.  At the same time, renters are shifting away from apartments and multifamily living and seeking single-family homes.  Home builders around the country are seizing this opportunity to build homes to rent.

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Solar Panels Could Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

  • 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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How Tomorrow’s Federal Open Market Committee Vote Impacts You

  • July 30, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets today and tomorrow and most analysts are expecting a quarter-point rate cut based on messaging in the Fed’s Beige Book released earlier this month.  If the Fed votes for a rate cut, all interest rates will react accordingly.  The cost to borrow money will decrease, possibly making it more affordable for you to take out a mortgage to buy a home or finance a vehicle purchase.  However, the interest you earn from your savings account will also decrease. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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House Flipping Myths You Might Believe

  • July 25, 2019

One of the ways to make money through a real estate investment is to buy a home to sell or “flip.”  Although some flips, especially the ones featured on reality television, involve distressed or foreclosed properties, this will vary greatly depending on the property you buy.  Buying a distressed property may mean a lower buy-in price but buying a livable home in an area with rapid home price appreciation could also yield a sizable profit.  With the popularity of house flipping shows plus a surge in house flipping following the Financial Crisis, many potential real estate investors have false preconceived notions about what goes into the purchase and resale of a home for profit.  Realtor.com contributor, Terri Williams, reveals some of the most common house flipping myths you might believe. 

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Are you making these air conditioning mistakes?

  • July 24, 2019

Things are heating up this summer, and chances are your energy costs are inevitably going to go up.  Home-energy monitoring company, Sense, reports the average cost to air condition a home in the United States is about $147.82.  This figure varies widely based on geography, with a median cost of $292.90 per home in the Sun Belt and $95 per home bordering Canada.  Most homeowners need to air condition their homes at least for some part of the summer, but there are ways to do so and save.

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Price Gap: What’s for Sale vs. What Buyers Want

  • July 23, 2019

Mortgage rates may be on a downward trend, but home buyers in many metros are still facing out of budget home prices.  Researchers at Realtor.com found half of today’s home shoppers are expecting to purchase a property under $288,000.  Unfortunately, that’s 9.1% or $27,000 lower than the median sales price of homes on the market.  In order to bridge that price gap, Realtor.com estimates the market needs roughly 94,000 more homes priced between $100,000 and $340,000, a 15% inventory increase on a market already starved of inventory.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Builder Sentiment Improves, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Housing Starts and Building Permits Decline

  • July 19, 2019

Mortgage rates are continuing to trend downward ahead of this month’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index improved.  New purchase mortgage application submissions declined but refinance application submissions improved.  Both housing starts and building permits declined.

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

  • 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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The Cost of Selling to an “iBuyer”

  • July 17, 2019

In a busy market, selling your home through real estate startups that buy homes directly from buyers may be a tempting offer.  Startups like Knock, Offerpad, and Opendoor solicit bids from “iBuyers” willing to buy its customers’ homes.  A recent MarketWatch investigation found that sellers who sell their homes this way, net 11% less than sellers who sell their homes the traditional way on the open market.  Especially when fees and other costs are considered.  

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Over 8 Million Borrowers Could Save with a Mortgage Refinance

  • July 16, 2019

After a steady climb throughout 2018, 2019 has seen the opposite in mortgage rate activity.  Average mortgage rates continue to trend lower.  Mortgage software and analytics firm, Black Knight, reported that at the end of June, approximately 8.2 million homeowners could benefit from a mortgage refinance.  This figure is nearly 4.5 times greater than the number of potential refinance candidates at the end of November 2018.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Mortgage Apps

  • July 15, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, trending slightly lower amidst speculation that the Federal Open Market Committee may vote to cut the federal benchmark interest rate.  Coming up this week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its monthly housing market sentiment index.  Housing starts and building permits, and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Up, Job Openings Down, Mortgage Applications Mixed

  • July 12, 2019

Mortgage rates stayed low this week, trending downward according to some sources.  Consumer credit expanded for the second month in a row.  Job openings fell in May, but could bounce back, especially after the strong jobs report last week.  New purchase mortgage applications increased but refinance applications are down. 

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Can you afford to buy a home?

  • 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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Most Common Money Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

  • July 10, 2019

When it comes to financial decisions, consumers’ biggest disadvantage is lack of financial education.  Feeling more comfortable and confident with financial decisions will help you get the most out of your money, save for your future, and better understand your financial picture.  Certified Financial Planner® and the Motley Fool contributor, Matt Frankel, revealed the top money mistakes he sees his clients make and how you can avoid them.

 

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What Parents Want When Buying Homes

  • 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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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Job Openings, MBA Applications

  • July 08, 2019

Mortgage rates are still hovering around year-long lows, following dovish remarks by the Federal Open Market Committee at their June meeting.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include consumer credit and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Declines, Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Adds Job

  • July 05, 2019

Mortgage rates continued to swing lower, amidst growing speculation surrounding a Federal rate cut later this year.  Construction spending pulled back.  New purchase mortgage application submissions increased, and refinance mortgage application submissions decreased.  The ADP employment report added fewer jobs than expected but was positive. 

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6 Garage Renovation Ideas

  • July 04, 2019

Own a home with a garage?  Realtor.com reports garage space ranks just as high as an updated kitchen for some prospective home buyers.  If you are interested in upgrading your garage before selling your home or just looking for ways to repurpose unused garage space, review these top garage renovation ideas.  Keep in mind the temperature of your garage, especially during the summer. Most of these renovation ideas may require an HVAC upgrade or other heating and cooling system. 

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Buying a home with a pool? Read this first!

  • 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

  • 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 Forecast: Construction Spending, MBA Applications, ADP Employment Report

  • July 01, 2019

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower.  This week in housing news, US construction spending comes out on Monday followed by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.  Other market-moving reports include the ADP employment report.

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

  • 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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You’re Closing on Your Mortgage! Avoid These 5 Things.

  • June 27, 2019

You’re almost there!  You’ve found the perfect home, you’re approved for your mortgage, and you’ve even picked out your new doormat to welcome everyone to the housewarming party you’re planning.  It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get to your final closing date and certain financial missteps could jeopardize your transaction.

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Are you making these common house hunting mistakes?

  • June 26, 2019

Buying a home can be an emotional experience, especially for first-time home buyers.  Your new home is going to be the place where you host your holidays, raise your family, and make happy memories.  It’s easy to get caught up in the home search.  However, a seemingly simple mistake could cost you when it comes to the closing table. 

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Many Consumers Overestimate Mortgage Requirements

  • June 25, 2019

With today’s historically low rates, you may be considering buying your first home.  Buying a home is the first step most Americans take toward building wealth in the form of home equity.  A recent Fannie Mae survey of 3,647 consumers revealed that a staggering number of respondents vastly overestimate what it takes to get a mortgage. 

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

  • 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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VA Thought of the Week: Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan Transactions

  • June 24, 2019

In the first 4 installments, we covered overall refinance rules and a detailed review of cash-out refinance rules.  In this installment, we will cover the specifics of an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan transaction.

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

  • 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

  • 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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What to Know About Friends and Family Loans

  • June 19, 2019

Lending money to friends and family, when you are financially able, can be a good way to help someone out and can also be a tricky subject depending on the outcome.  Children may borrow money from parents to attend college or buy a car, siblings may borrow money from each other to pay for an unexpected healthcare cost, and a friend may borrow money to start a business.  If you are considering lending money to a friend or relative there are ways to help them out and still protect yourself. 

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38% of Home Buyers Exceed Their Budgets

  • 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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VA Thought of the Week: An in-depth Review of the Comparison Certification

  • June 17, 2019

VA created 2 forms for the Comparison Certification.  The first is the estimated or proposed comparison and the second is the final comparison.  Like a Loan Estimate, the proposed comparison must be accurate, but not necessarily perfect.  It can be changed if the circumstances change, and then reissued.  The final comparison is just as important as the final Closing Disclosure.  It must be accurate without exception.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, FOMC Meeting

  • June 17, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move much last week, continuing to hover around historically low levels.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  Some economists are suggesting a rate hike is warranted, as inflation slows and economic growth loses steam, while others predict the Fed will hold its course of leaving rates unchanged.  Other important housing reports scheduled for release include the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market sentiment index, housing starts and building permits.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Hold Steady, Mortgage Applications Jump, Consumer Price Index Increases

  • June 14, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly up or down this week, ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions surged amidst low mortgage rates.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed job openings declined slightly.  The consumer price index increased marginally.

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How much is too much for your down payment?

  • June 13, 2019

It’s no secret, accumulating a down payment is the biggest obstacle many first-time home buyers face.  Between rising rents, higher home prices, and the pervasive myth that you need to put down at least 20% to buy a home, determining how much you need to save for a down payment varies.  A larger down payment will usually reduce or eliminate the cost of mortgage insurance, and may lower the monthly mortgage payment, but you don’t need to put everything you have saved toward your down payment.  Buying a new home will have costs associated with it like urgent upgrades, home maintenance, and the closing costs on your mortgage. 

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How Smart Home Tech Can Help Retirees Age In Place

  • 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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House Members Push for Higher SALT Deduction Cut in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

  • June 11, 2019

One of the major changes to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) may soon be up for debate in Congress.  Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) recently addressed state and local tax (SALT) deduction limits at a town hall in Bloomfield, NJ.  Under the TCJA, taxpayers, regardless of income, cannot deduct more than $10,000 of total state and local taxes, including property taxes.  This deduction cap disproportionately impacts residents of higher tax areas, like New Jersey, New York, and elsewhere. 

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VA Thought of the Week: The Net-Tangible Benefits Test

  • June 10, 2019

VA has established 8 different possible Net Tangible Benefits (NTB).  All new Type II Cash Out refinance loans must meet at least 1 of the 8 possible NTB options.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Rates Continue to Fall, Construction Spending, ADP Employment Report, and More

  • June 07, 2019

Mortgage rates continued to fall this week.  US construction spending was unchanged.  New purchase mortgage applications declined, but refinance applications are up.  The ADP employment report added fewer jobs than expected.

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What’s the right rate to refinance?

  • June 06, 2019

After trending upward throughout 2018, 2019 has seen very little interest rate movement.  In fact, average mortgage rates continue to trend toward year-long lows.  Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell announced the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) would pause raising interest rates for the rest of the year.  With today’s low rates, many homeowners could benefit from a rate and term refinance, or a refinance that lowers the mortgage rate or shortens the mortgage term.  Making the decision to refinance your mortgage loan could help you lower your monthly mortgage payment, remove mortgage insurance, or even take cash out to fund a renovation project or other expense.  Keep in mind, a mortgage refinance is a new loan origination and with that comes closing costs.  With interest rates at 2019 lows, many homeowners are wondering, is it time to refinance my mortgage loan?

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3 Habits That Could Improve Your Credit Score

  • June 05, 2019

Your credit score is influenced by five differently-weighted components including payment history (35%), total amount owed (30%), credit history (15%), credit mix (10%), and new credit (10%).  Banks and lenders use your credit score to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a loan or a line of credit.  Even if you are not planning to buy or refinance a home this year, it’s good to practice to build positive credit habits to maintain a positive score. Most financial experts recommend taking six months to a year to improve your credit before you apply for a mortgage loan. 

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Market Forecast: JOLTS, Mortgage Apps, and Consumer Price Index

  • June 05, 2019

The only housing report of significance this week will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and the consumer price index.

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FHFA Director Mark Calabria Addresses GSE Reform

  • June 04, 2019

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria shared his thoughts surrounding the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) Regulatory Issues Forum.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became government-sponsored entities (GSE) following the financial crisis and despite returning to profitability years ago, the two remain under government control.  Advocates in favor of releasing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from conservatorship believe private ownership will lead to a more competitive mortgage market.  Those who oppose worry we will see a repeat of the financial crisis, especially if the proper precautions are not taken.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, ADP Employment Report

  • June 03, 2019

Mortgage rates are still low and have not moved much in recent weeks.  This week in housing news, the US construction spending report comes out today and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.  The ADP employment report is also scheduled for release.

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VA Thought of the Week: What’s new with Type II Cash Out Refinance Loans?

  • June 03, 2019

Type II Cash Out Refinance Loans are very close to the original VA Cash Out refinance loans, but there are a lot of new rules in place to ensure the loan is in the best interest of the Veteran.

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

  • 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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Is there such thing as “Good” and “Bad” debt?

  • May 30, 2019

You may have heard the terms “good debt” and “bad debt” used before.  Certified Money Coach, TED Speaker, and author, Tammy Lally defines “’good’ debt is an investment of money that grows in value or generates long-term income” and “’bad’ debt works against you from the onset.”  Americans take out loans and lines of credit to finance all kinds of purchases from weekly groceries to a new home.  As a consumer, it’s important to understand the differences between these types of debt and how to use credit responsibly to maintain a good credit score and get approved for future loans and lines of credit.

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How Multi-Generational Living Impacts Home Design

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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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VA Thought of the Week: What general terms did the VA change with the new Cash Out Refinance regulation?

  • May 27, 2019

Over the coming weeks, we will review a number of issues on VA Cash Out Refinance loans.

First, we will cover the general terms that the VA changed with the new Cash Out Refinance regulation.

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

  • 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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Retire in place or move somewhere new?

  • May 23, 2019

When we retire, we get the freedom to stay in our current home or move somewhere else.  Both choices come with their own advantages and challenges.  Staying in the same home means your mortgage may already be paid off, you’ll be close to your existing community, and you will not have to deal with the cost and stress of moving.  Moving somewhere new may give you the opportunity to downsize or move into a home that better suits your changing needs, connect with a new community, and gain a new experience.  MarketWatch contributor, Erin Rook, interviewed retirees around the country to find out what factors they considered when choosing to retire in place or move somewhere new. 

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Natural Disasters Highlight Millions of Underinsured Homes

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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VA Thought of the Week: Does the VA Funding Fee cost the Veteran too much?

  • May 20, 2019

Some Veterans may believe the VA Funding fee on a VA loan costs too much, making the FHA and Conventional loans better options.  This is a mortgage myth!

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Down, Housing Market Index Positive, Housing Starts and Building Permits Improve

  • May 17, 2019

Mortgage rates continued to follow a downward trend this week.  However, both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  Home builder sentiment improved.  Housing starts and building permits each increased.

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2 Ways to Make Money from Real Estate Investments

  • May 16, 2019

Real estate investment is a common choice for those who are looking to invest in something more stable than the stock market.  While stocks go up and down, most homes tend to steadily appreciate over time, and when there is a change in a housing market it’s typically gradual.  Before you choose to invest in real estate, it’s important to understand how to make money from your real estate investment. 

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Keep These Phrases OUT of Your Offer Letter

  • May 15, 2019

When you’re buying a home in a competitive market, some home buyers choose to write a personal letter to accompany their offer to make an emotional connection and stand out to the seller.  Buying a home is a personal experience, especially if the seller has lived there for many years.  A personal letter could be the extra push you need to get your offer accepted; it could also sour the deal. 

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1 in 6 Home Buyers Get Down Payment Assistance from Seller

  • May 14, 2019

It’s no secret that the down payment is the biggest obstacle would-be home buyers face.  Saving for a down payment has become increasingly difficult as home prices rise, rents go up, and student loan debt reaches record highs.  While it may not be surprising that home buyers are using down payment assistance, it may be surprising that some of that assistance is coming from home sellers themselves.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • May 13, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved much this week and will likely stay low for the rest of the year, following the Federal Reserve’s decision to pause rate hikes.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its housing market sentiment index.  Housing starts and building permits and the weekly mortgage application survey are also scheduled for release. 

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VA Thought of the Week: What is the maximum VA loan amount in your area?

  • May 13, 2019

What is the maximum VA loan amount in your area?  $484,350… $690,000… $726,525?

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Market Recap: Job Openings Up, Consumer Credit Slows, Mortgage Apps Rebound

  • May 10, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, following the Federal Reserve’s decision to leave rates unchanged.  Job openings increased, as the labor market continues to show strength.  Consumer borrowing slowed but was still positive.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions turned around after several weeks of declines.  

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How to Save Money on Your Mortgage

  • May 09, 2019

You know you’re going to finance your new home purchase with a mortgage, but where do you start?  There are plenty of ways to save money on your mortgage and it all starts with working with the right mortgage lender. 

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4 Times to Invest When Buying a Home

  • 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

  • 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 Forecast: Job Openings, Consumer Credit, Mortgage Applications

  • May 06, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the federal benchmark interest rate unchanged.  Mortgage rates reacted accordingly but did not move significantly.  This week, the only housing-related report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and consumer credit.

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VA Thought of the Week: Pest Inspections: Who can pay for them?

  • May 06, 2019

Most mortgage and real estate professionals may believe that a Veteran cannot pay for the pest inspection on a home purchase using a VA Guaranteed home loan. However, that’s one of the most misunderstood issues in the industry today! 

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

  • 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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Your Spring Cleaning Checklist

  • May 02, 2019

When you’re done purging your closets and clearing out the garage or basement, remember the rest of your home!  Spring is the perfect time of the year to tackle some home maintenance tasks you may have put on hold during the busy holiday season or colder winter months.  Your home deserves a facelift too!

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5 Questions to Ask that Could Save You Money

  • May 01, 2019

Whether you are paying down student debt, saving for the down payment on a home, or trying to achieve another financial goal – sometimes asking a simple question could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.  CNBC contributor Alicia Adamczyk identified these five questions many Americans have not asked, or did not know they could ask, that can help them save money.

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

  • 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

  • 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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VA Thought of the Week: What is a VA joint loan?

  • April 29, 2019

 

Did you know that a Veteran can buy a home with a person that is not a Veteran and not their spouse?  It’s called a VA Joint Loan.  

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

  • 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

  • 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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Natural Disasters Have Lasting Impact on Credit Scores

  • April 24, 2019

As natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires grow more prevalent each year, researchers have compiled the data to show their lasting financial impact.  The Urban Institute identified zip codes where households received financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individuals and Households Program to determine the long-term effects natural disasters have on residents’ credit scores and finances.

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60% of Home Shoppers are Willing to Renovate

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Builder Sentiment Improves, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Housing Starts and Building Permits Decline

  • April 19, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week.  Home builder sentiment hit a 6-month high.  New purchase application submissions increased, but refinance application submissions declined.  Housing starts and building permits are down.

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6 Signs You’ve Found the Perfect Home

  • 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

  • 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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Zillow Invests to Improve Zestimate Technology

  • April 16, 2019

Zillow, a free real estate marketplace resource, has invested in improving the accuracy of its popular “Zestimate” tool.  When it launched in 2006, the price estimate feature had a margin of error of about 14%, giving some homeowners and home buyers unrealistic expectations when it came time to buy or sell.  Today, that margin of error has improved to about 4.5%.  In 2017, Zillow launched a competition to improve the accuracy of the Zestimate.  Approximately 4,000 teams of data scientists and engineers from 91 countries participated.  Zillow hopes to reduce its margin of error to 4% by the end of this year.

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Market Forecast: NAHB Housing Market Index, Mortgage Apps, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • April 15, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, trending slightly upward after this year’s initial decline.  Looking ahead this week, the National Association of Home Builders will release its housing market sentiment index on Monday and housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release on Friday.  Weekly reports include the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) mortgage application survey.

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Market Recap: Fewer Job Openings, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Consumer Price Index Jumps

  • April 12, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, trending slightly upward according to some sources.  There were fewer job openings in February than in January, as expected.  Mortgage application data was mixed, with refinance applications falling off and new purchase applications up slightly.  The consumer price index increased, due to rising electricity and gasoline costs.

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How Many Homeowners Would Benefit from a Rate Refinance?

  • 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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One Mistake Could Cost You Your Down Payment

  • April 10, 2019

MarketWatch contributor Kari Paul recently profiled an unsuspecting Seattle home buyer, who lost his $123,000 to an unfortunate wire fraud scam.  Aaron from Portland received email instructions to wire the down payment funds to someone impersonating a representative from his title insurance company.  He completed the request, and the money was wired to a scammer’s bank account instead of the title company.  Today, the defrauded home buyer is a spokesman for the title company, sharing his story with others as a warning. 

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Report: Healthy Housing Market this Spring Home Buying Season

  • 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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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, Consumer Price Index

  • April 08, 2019

Mortgage rates continued to trend lower last week, leading to a surge in refinance mortgage activity.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and the consumer price index.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Apps Surge, ADP Employment Adds Fewer Jobs

  • April 05, 2019

Mortgage rates trended downward again this week and will likely stay low throughout the Spring home buying and selling season.  US construction spending picked up in February.  Mortgage application submissions surged, driven by refinance activity.  The ADP employment report added fewer jobs than expected.

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Average Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Tops $700,000

  • April 04, 2019

Earlier this quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported the average size of a fixed-rate mortgage nationwide was $280,900 and the average size of an adjustable-rate mortgage nationwide was $688,400.  A fixed-rate mortgage will retain the same interest rate throughout the term of the loan, whereas an adjustable-rate mortgage will fluctuate based on market conditions and other factors.  Adjustable-rate mortgages typically have a lower introductory interest rate than fixed-rate mortgages of the same size and terms and may be a more affordable option for homeowners who plan to move or refinance the loan after a few years. 

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

  • 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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Trump Calls to End Conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

  • April 02, 2019

Last week, President Trump signed a memorandum calling for an “overdue reform of the housing finance system,” including an end to the conservatorship of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  In Wednesday’s White House release, the president expressed a desire to work with Congress to initiate comprehensive housing finance reform and increase competition in the mortgage market. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and ADP Employment Report

  • April 01, 2019

Mortgage rates continue to fall, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s March meeting.  Coming up this week in housing news, the February construction spending report comes out on Monday, followed by the weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.  Other market-moving reports include the ADP employment report. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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Flooding in Midwest Could Have Lasting Impact

  • March 27, 2019

Heavy rains and rapid snowmelt following last week’s “bomb cyclone” have caused severe flooding throughout the Midwest including Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and others.  The flooding has already impacted over 8 million people in 14 states and could damage farmland from Nebraska to Iowa to Illinois down to Louisiana.  National Weather Service meteorologists predict the flooding could last into the Spring, causing substantial damage to homes throughout the region. 

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Home Renovation Spending to Exceed $450 Billion

  • 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

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

  • 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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How This Mortgage Can Help Grow Your Retirement Savings

  • March 21, 2019

When you are shopping for a mortgage loan, one of the factors that will influence the overall cost is the length of the mortgage term.  Mortgages are available with a range of terms, most commonly 30-year and 15-year terms but can be as short as a 10-year or 7-year terms.  The length of your mortgage term will impact how much your monthly payment is and how much interest you pay over time.  A longer term mortgage will have lower monthly payments, but you will pay more in interest during the term. 

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Fire-Resistant Construction Could be Coming Soon

  • March 20, 2019

Approximately 14,000 homes were destroyed in two of California’s worst wildfires in 2018, equating to $19 billion in damage to residential and commercial real estate.  After a year of dangerous wildfires, home builders are experimenting with more fire-resistant construction techniques.  While a fully fireproof home might not be possible at this time, investing in more fire-resistant construction could prevent future damage. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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The Next Big Housing Trend May Be Small

  • March 14, 2019

Recent data shows the next most popular single-family home may be a townhouse.  National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) chief economist Robert Dietz noted that over the past year, “the single-family attached market is up 24%.  It’s growing eight times as fast as the overall single-family market.”  Rising home prices, limited land ability, and an influx of first-time home buyers are some of the major reasons townhouses are becoming more popular.

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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NAMB Asks FHA to Rework Mortgage Insurance Premium Structure

  • March 12, 2019

The National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) sent a letter to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Brian Montgomery asking him to consider changing the FHA’s current Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) structure to make the product more competitive against low down payment conventional mortgage options like HomeReady by Fannie Mae and Home Possible by Freddie Mac.  In the letter, 2019 NAMB President Richard M. Bettencourt Jr. explained with more low down payment mortgage options on the market, the “credit quality of borrowers using an FHA loan has deteriorated.” 

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

  • 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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Zillow vs. Redfin: Who has the Most Accurate Estimate?

  • March 07, 2019

Real estate websites like Zillow and Redfin are a great resource for home buyers or homeowners looking to get an idea of the value of a home they are interested in buying or refinancing.  Like any free tools, Zillow and Redfin’s valuation estimate tools are not 100% reliable.  Homeowners upgrade homes over time, some neighborhoods have homes with comparable attributes, while other homes are more spread out and very different from their nearest neighbors.  Understanding that free real estate resources will not be perfect every time, who has the most accurate estimate tool: Zillow or Redfin?

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Alert: Most Americans Unprepared to Cover Cost of Emergencies

  • March 06, 2019

Despite an increasing frequency in weather-related natural disasters ranging from wildfires in California to hurricanes in the Southeast, many Americans are financially unprepared to cover the cost of emergencies.  Personal finance website GoBankingRates.com, compiled a list of the average cost of eight emergencies based on data from the Census Bureau, FEMA, HomeAdvisor, Insurance.com, and other reputable sources.  The calculations reveal that emergencies are more expensive than Americans anticipate, and many Americans are woefully underprepared.

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HUD Secretary Ben Carson Announces Decision to Leave Position After First Term

  • March 05, 2019

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced he plans to leave his position after President Trump’s first term.  During a Monday evening interview on Newsmax TV, Secretary Carson stated, “I will certainly finish out the term.  I would be interested in returning to the private sector because I think you have just as much influence, maybe more, there.”

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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2019 Buyers Have the Most Options in 5 Years

  • February 26, 2019

After years of an increasingly competitive market, home buyers are starting to see more options this year.  According to Zillow, US for-sale home inventory is up 1.2% year-over-year, meaning for the first time in over five years the housing market opened the year with more homes for sale than the previous year.  28 of the 35 largest markets saw inventory increases over the past year.  The most significant inventory increases took place in the busy West Coast markets, that were experiencing some of the most severe inventory constraints.

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

  • 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

  • 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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What credit score do you need to qualify for a mortgage?

  • February 21, 2019

Part of applying for a mortgage is building your credit or improving your score.  Lenders use your FICO® credit score to determine your creditworthiness and whether or not you are a good candidate for mortgage financing.  Before the Financial Crisis, you could get a mortgage or other line of credit, with very little credit history, a low score, or even no score.  Today, lending standards have improved greatly, and you will need higher credit to finance your home purchase.  What credit score do you need to qualify for a mortgage?

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Red Flags the IRS will be Watching

  • February 20, 2019

Tax season is upon us and American taxpayers are in the process of filing for returns, receiving refunds, and paying taxes due.  A harmless mistake or deliberate misinformation may lead to your tax return being audited.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) chooses taxpayers to audit based on anomalies that are detected in comparison to similar returns.  A taxpayer may also be audited if a relative or business partner is being audited.  The IRS audits returns up to three years old.  If inaccuracies come up, the taxpayer may have to pay a fee, up to $5,000 in some cases.  In other cases, the taxpayer may face criminal charges like tax evasion or tax fraud.

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How Millennials are Transforming Real Estate

  • February 19, 2019

After years of sitting on the sidelines, Millennials are getting into the housing market, in full force.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported in the 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Study, Millennials made up the largest share of home buyers compared to any other generation for the fifth consecutive year.  Millennials are facing a far different housing market than previous generations and thus are changing the way the game is played in several different ways.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: More Job Openings, Mortgage Apps Decline, Consumer Price Index Unchanged

  • February 15, 2019

The job market continues to fire on all cylinders, with the Labor Department reporting an increase in job openings, up to 7.53 million in December.  New purchase mortgage application submissions fell and refinance application submissions were almost unchanged.  The consumer price index increased year-over-year but was unchanged month-over-month as inflation cools.

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3 Things First-Time Home Buyers May Not Know

  • 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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Seniors Have Student Loan Debt Too

  • February 13, 2019

The faces of student debt in America are aging.  While you may associate student debt with current students and recent graduates, almost every demographic is burdened with student debt.  The Wall Street Journal reports Americans 60 years and older owe a collective $86 billion in student loan debt.  From 2010 to 2017, the average student loan debt owed by a senior has surged 44% to a level of $33,800.  According to TransUnion, total student debt for this demographic is up 161%, the largest increase of any age group.

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American Incomes Hit Highest Levels Since 2010

  • February 12, 2019

After years of stagnant wage growth, many Americans are starting to see a bump in their paychecks.  In December 2018, the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index found that 24% of Americans reported their incomes were higher than one year ago, the highest jump since June 2010. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, and the Consumer Price Index

  • February 11, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward last week, following the Federal Reserve’s decision to slow down on interest rate hikes at the end of January.  The only significant housing report this week will be the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market moving reports include job openings and the consumer price index.

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Market Recap: Refinance Applications Up, Jobless Claims Down, Consumer Credit Expands

  • February 08, 2019

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, following Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments after the Federal Open Market Committee meeting at the end of January.  Refinance mortgage application submissions inched upward, but new purchase application submissions are down.  Jobless claims dropped from the previous week.  Total outstanding consumer credit exceeded $4 trillion for the first time.

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Don’t Forget the Closing Costs

  • February 07, 2019

Most first-time home buyers are prepared for the cost of the down payment, but not as familiar with closing costs.  Self-made millionaire and experience real estate investor Barbara Corcoran said, “the biggest mistake that first-time homeowners make is they forget they need closing costs – not just the down payment of say 10 or 20 percent.”

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3 Outdated Financial Tips You Might Still Believe

  • February 06, 2019

As the economy changes, the way we buy and sell homes changes as well.  What made sense for your parents, or even yourself, twenty or thirty years ago may not be relevant to today’s economic conditions.  We reviewed three common real estate misconceptions that might be preventing you from making real estate moves.

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Builders Cutting Prices to Stay Competitive

  • February 05, 2019

With the Spring buying and selling season on the horizon, predictions are already rolling in.  2018 marked an overall slowdown for housing, after several years of rampant activity.  However, Zillow Research found that some home builders are starting to lower prices on newly constructed homes, to stay competitive in their markets.  The study found that 25.1% of newly constructed homes experienced a price drop in Q4 of 2018, up from 19.2% in Q1 of 2018.  Home shoppers looking to buy a new home in 2019 may be able to get a deal, depending on where they are shopping.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Jobless Claims, and Consumer Credit

  • February 04, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee announced it would be slowing down on gradual interest rate hikes over the course of the next year.  Mortgage rates reacted by trending slightly downward.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the weekly mortgage application survey, scheduled for release on Wednesday.  Other market-moving reports coming up include the weekly jobless claims report and consumer credit.

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

  • 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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Reasons to Refinance, Even When Rates Rise

  • January 31, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the federal benchmark interest rate this week, but further gradual rate hikes may be on the horizon.  When the Fed raises rates, the cost of borrowing money will start to rise, including the cost of mortgage financing.  Although rising rates may discourage some homeowners from refinancing, there are still many reasons to refinance, even when rates rise.

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8 Changes Impacting Your 2018 Tax Return

  • January 30, 2019

Despite the recent government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced the official tax season opened Monday, January 28th.  This year will be the first year tax payers’ returns are impacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  When you file your 2018 return, expect it to be influenced by some or all of these 8 changes.

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Why Mortgage Points are Getting Popular Again

  • January 29, 2019

Mortgage points or discount points are fees paid to the lender at closing to buy down the interest rate.  One point is equal to 1% of the total loan amount.  As mortgage rates gradually rise, the practice of buying mortgage points may start to become popular.  Whether or not points will benefit you financially depends on how long you plan on staying in your home, and your loan. 

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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CFPB Reverses Course: Seeks Compliance Authority on Military Lending

  • January 23, 2019

During his tenure as Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, made the decision to stop supervising lending to active duty service members.  Instead, Mulvaney ordered the CFPB to wait for complaints from service members and their families to instigate investigations.  The recently confirmed CFPB Director, Kathy Kraninger, sent a letter to congress last week asking for “clear authority” to supervise for compliance with the Military Lending Act.

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Single Female Homeowners Outnumber Single Male Homeowners

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Up, Builder Sentiment Improves, Housing Starts and Building Permits Delayed

  • January 18, 2019

As of Friday, 1/18/19, the US government remains partially shutdown.  Due to the government shutdown, the release of the housing starts and building permits reports have been delayed.  Mortgage application submissions increased across the board and builder sentiment has improved.

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Getting to Know a New Neighborhood

  • January 17, 2019

When you are buying a new home, you may get so excited about the experience you forget about the neighborhood.  Although it may seem obvious to some, real estate professionals warn new home buyers, “you can change the house, but you can’t change the location.”  If you are shopping for a new home in 2019, don’t forget to look around the neighborhood before getting emotionally invested in a property.  Here are six red flags Realtor.com contributor Jaime Wiebe advises prospective home buyers to watch for. 

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Can you get a mortgage with a credit freeze?

  • January 16, 2019

With cybersecurity of the utmost concern, all major credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – offer free credit freezes for consumers who believe they are at risk.  A credit freeze prevents lenders from accessing your credit report, with the intention of stopping a thief from opening fraudulent lines of credit with your personal information.   While a credit freeze can protect you in the case of a stolen identity or other stolen personal information, it will also prevent legitimate lenders, like your mortgage lender, from accessing your credit report to complete a mortgage application for a new home purchase or mortgage refinance.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • January 14, 2019

As the partial government shutdown enters its fourth week, Congress and President Trump have yet to reach an agreement over a budget dispute regarding border security and the possible construction of a border wall along the United States – Mexican border.  Due to the government shutdown, the release of the housing starts and building permits report may be delayed.  Other housing-related reports scheduled for this week include the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey and the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Decline, Consumer Credit Up, Mortgage Apps Rebound

  • January 11, 2019

The US government is still in a state of partial shutdown, delaying the release of some economic indicators.  Mortgage rates have recently trended downward, resulting in a spike in mortgage application submissions.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed the number of job openings have declined.  Consumer credit expanded to a total outstanding debt of $3.98 trillion. 

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7 Tips for Buying a Home This Year

  • 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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What’s the rush? Why paying off this debt might actually HURT your credit score.

  • January 09, 2019

If you are like 44 million Americans nationwide, you probably owe a share of the national $1.5 trillion student loan debt.  In 2016, the average graduating student owed $37,172 in student loan debt.  For most Americans, student loan debt is the first time they will take out a loan or line of credit, and the first step toward building credit.  If you are eager to pay off your student loan debt early, you may want to wait.  Closing a student loan account may actually hurt your credit score, because it will shorten the length of your credit history. 

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Report: Average Apartment Size Shrinking

  • January 08, 2019

Do you feel like apartments are getting smaller and smaller?  Unfortunately, you may actually be right.  A recent study by RentCafe confirms average apartment sizes are getting smaller, and more expensive, in many major metros around the country.  According to the study, the top five cities with the smallest apartments nationwide (ranging from 737 square feet to just 711 square feet on average) are Seattle, WA, Manhattan, NY, Chicago, IL, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, CA.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Consumer Credit, Mortgage Apps

  • January 07, 2019

The only significant housing report scheduled for release this week is the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and consumer credit.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Down, ADP Employment Up, Construction Spending Delayed

  • January 04, 2019

The US government is still in a state of partial shutdown, delaying some of this week’s economic indicators like US construction spending.  Of the reports released, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey declined, and the ADP employment report exceeded expectations.

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A Better Market for Buyers in 2019

  • January 03, 2019

2018’s year-end data showed housing activity has started to slow.  With both existing home and new home sales falling, there are finally less buyers competing on the crowded market.  After six years of sustained price gains, home price appreciation started to slow this year, dipping below 6% for the first time in six years.  Managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, David Blitzer, predicted, “throughout next year, prices will continue to rise on a national basis in most cities around the country, but the pace of increase will continue to slow.”  This trend could be welcome news for home buyers, especially first-time home buyers. 

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Don’t Make this Home Renovation Mistake

  • 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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Real Estate Predictions for 2019

  • January 01, 2019

As we ring in the new year, the predictions are in for 2019.  After several years of a red-hot housing market, activity is expected to slow, and that’s good news for home buyers.  Expect home price gains to slow and less competition.  Here’s what the top economists and forecasters from across the industry expect to see next year.

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Market Forecast: ADP Employment, Mortgage Applications, Construction Spending

  • December 31, 2018

The US government is still partially shutdown, due to a spending dispute regarding a proposed $5 billion border wall.  This week, markets will be closed on Tuesday in observance of New Year’s Day.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its mortgage application survey on Thursday, after last week’s hiatus.  The ADP employment report and US construction spending are also scheduled to come out on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Government Shutdown Delays New Home Sales Report

  • 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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Federal Government Shutdown: What you need to know

  • December 27, 2018

As the partial government shutdown continues, the overall effect on loan programs has been minimal. Each federal and government sponsored entity within the mortgage industry has been affected differently. Here is the breakdown of the effect on loan programs and processes in the coming days.

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Should you make an extra mortgage payment?

  • December 27, 2018

If you are a homeowner wondering how to responsibly spend a holiday bonus or upcoming tax return, consider paying it into your home.  When your budget allows, making an extra payment toward your mortgage can be beneficial.  You can reduce interest costs and lower your overall debt.  Making extra payments is not the right move for every financial situation, so consult a mortgage professional or financial advisor before making a decision.

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How the New Tax Law Impacts Your Vacation Home

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • 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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Federal Open Market Committee Raises Hikes Rates, Lowers 2019 Projections

  • December 20, 2018

Yesterday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the benchmark interest rate 25 basis points to a level of 2.25 % to 2.5%.  The final rate hike of the year brings 2018’s total up to four rate hikes, one more than projected in the Federal Reserve’s December 2017 statement.  The highly anticipated move is reflective of strong job growth and solid consumer spending.  Business investment, however, has started to moderate.  At this time, the Fed predicts two additional rate hikes in 2019.

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How Builders Can Plan Ahead for Deconstruction

  • December 19, 2018

In 2012, the United States had 7.4 million abandoned homes, a historical high.  When homeowners vacate their homes, commercial abandonment follows, leading to blighted neighborhoods and eventually cities.  To prevent the level of regional blight that followed the Financial Crisis, urban planners and construction researchers are thinking ahead.  Through the study of “domicology,” the lifecycle of the built environment, builders are building structures that once deconstructed can be repurposed or recycled. 

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Trend: Millennials Buying First Homes in Cities Over Suburbs

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: More Job Openings, Mortgage Apps Up Again, Retail Sales Increase

  • December 14, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  This week’s only significant housing report, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey, was positive with both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increasing.  Job openings are up and retail sales data signals the holiday spending season has started.  

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VA Increases Loan Limits in 2019

  • December 13, 2018

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced an increase in VA Loan limits for all loans closed on or after January 1, 2019.  The VA reviews loan limits every year and adjusts according to market conditions and housing affordability. 

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How Home Builders Building Smaller Could Help Home Buyers

  • 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

  • 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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Kathy Kraninger Confirmed as Next CFPB Director

  • December 11, 2018

Last Thursday, the Senate voted along party lines to confirm Kathy Kraninger as the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Following Richard Cordray’s resignation last year, Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, has served as interim director for the CFPB.  Now, a little over a year later, Kathy Kraninger will take over the role. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, Retail Sales

  • December 10, 2018

Mortgage rates have trended slightly downward this month, heading into the slower home buying and selling season.  The only significant housing report of the week will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and retail sales.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Down, Mortgage Apps Up, ADP Employment

  • December 07, 2018

Mortgage rates have trended slightly downward, and mortgage activity has reacted.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  US construction spending is down month-over-month, but up year-over-year.  The ADP employment report was strong.

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

  • 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.

  • 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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Mortgage Debt Reaches 10-Year High, FHFA Raises Conforming Loan Limits

  • December 04, 2018

The Federal Reserve announced outstanding mortgage debt totaled $10.2 trillion in the second quarter of 2018, up 2.7% from the previous year, and near the all-time high of $10.7 trillion set over a decade ago.  Although some may be wary of rising mortgage debt, when the economy strengthens and the population increases, total debt tends to rise.  Rather than worrying about the debt, economists urge consumers to look at both sides of the ledger, debt and assets.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report

  • December 03, 2018

Heading into the end of the year, mortgage rates have levelled out after rising following September’s interest rate hike.  This week in housing news, US construction spending comes out on Monday and the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.  Other market-moving reports include the ADP employment report.

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

  • 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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3 Common Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

  • November 29, 2018

Existing home sales make up the majority of real estate transaction, especially for Millennials and first-time home buyers.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported 9 out of 10 Millennials bought a property that was previously owned.  The 2018 Chase housing sentiment survey showed almost 70% of those home buyers expected to spend at least $20,000 on renovation projects.  

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Community First Focus Helps Rehabilitate Homeless

  • 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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When a "Bargain" Really is a Bargain

  • November 27, 2018

Finding a home listing described as a “bargain” could be good news for savvy shoppers.  However, the description could also be misleading, depending on where you are located.  Real estate website Trulia reviewed listings from around the country to determine when a “bargain” really is a bargain.

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FHFA Increases Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Conforming Loan Limits for Third Time

  • November 27, 2018

For the third time in three years, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has increased the conforming loan limits securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  After ten years of not increasing the maximum conforming loan limits on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, the FHFA has increased loan limits for three years in a row. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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5 Fireplace Facts to Know this Fall

  • November 22, 2018

Getting cozy by the fire after Thanksgiving dinner?  According to Zillow, fireplaces are one of the most sought-after home features.  In addition to heating your home and enhancing your décor, a fireplace may actually add value to your home.  Before you fire up this holiday season, here are the answers to the top five fireplace questions:

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Transit Agencies Improve Impact on Homeless Population

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Slide, Consumer Price Index and Retail Sales Surge

  • November 16, 2018

Mortgage rates continued to hold steady last week and did not move significantly up or down.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  The consumer price index had the biggest increase in nine months and retail sales exceeded expectations.  Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gave a speech to the Dallas Fed on Wednesday and shared his optimistic economic outlook heading into 2019.

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HomeFundIt: Not Your Parents’ Wedding Registry

  • 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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Child Identity Theft is On the Rise

  • November 14, 2018

You know you need to protect your social security number, but did you know your children may be at risk too?  Credit-reporting bureau Experian announced more than $1 million children have their identities stolen each year and warned one in four children will be a victim of identity theft before adulthood.  Child identity theft can be especially detrimental to your children’s credit scores, because often it is not noticed or reported until much later, when they go to open their first bank account or apply for student loans. 

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As Boomers Age in Place, What Happens to Housing?

  • November 13, 2018

Less than a decade ago, housing professionals were expecting the “great senior selloff” when Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, started downsizing and selling their larger family homes.  However, a new report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies forecasts a growth in remodeling projects as more Baby Boomers choose to age in place.  According to the study, out of the 80% of Baby Boomers who own homes, two-thirds of them expect to stay in their homes and make modifications to accommodate them as they age.  Rather than a glut of housing for sale, today’s buyers are instead facing a tight market.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Consumer Price Index, and Retail Sales

  • November 12, 2018

Some markets are closed today in observance of Veterans Day, which was yesterday.  This week, the only significant housing news to report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market moving reports include the consumer price index and retail sales. 

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Market Recap: Federal Reserve Holds on Hiking Rates, Job Openings, Mortgage Apps

  • November 09, 2018

This year’s Midterm Elections boasted record turnouts, breaking the record set in 1966.  No significant mortgage rate movement this week, as the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged.  Job openings slipped slightly but continue to outnumber unemployment reports.  Mortgage application submissions declined.

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Saving for a Down Payment Might Take up to 7 Years or More

  • November 08, 2018

According to a new Zillow report, it will take an average American approximately seven years to save for a 20% down payment on an average-priced home.  This report assumes the worker earns the median income and saves 10% of their total earnings each month.  This seven-year saving period is the longest since early 2008.

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Soccer in the Streets Converts Unused Public Space into a Place to Play

  • November 07, 2018

Public transit, like Atlanta’s MARTA stations, tend to take up a lot of land, leaving vacant expanses.  In the late 70s, Atlanta’s public transit operator installed an amphitheater at the Five Points station with the hope of revitalizing the neighborhood and making the entertainment center accessible through public transit.  However, the amphitheater failed to draw crowds and sat largely unused for decades.  Today the space has been converted into a soccer field, the first of its kind to sit inside of a transit station, and the first of a network of fields sprouting up throughout Atlanta.

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How the Rust Belt is Attracting Millennial Home Buyers

  • 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 Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, and FOMC Meeting

  • November 05, 2018

Election Day is tomorrow, don’t forget to exercise your right to vote in the 2018 Midterm Elections!  Election results sometimes influence economic markets, so rates may experience some volatility this week.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets Wednesday and Thursday and will release a statement Thursday afternoon.  It will be a slow week for housing news, the only directly-related housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on Tuesday.   

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

  • 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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Should you get a 15-Year or a 30-Year Mortgage?

  • November 01, 2018

Mortgage loans are available with a variety of terms and interest rates to suit every financial situation.  Mortgage terms can range anywhere from 5, 7, 10, 15, and 30 years and usually have either a fixed interest rate or an adjustable interest rate.  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage tends to be the most common type of mortgage loan, a stalwart for home buyers since the 1930s and 1940s.  However, in some cases the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage might be the better option. 

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New FICO Scoring System Could Boost Millions of Credit Scores

  • October 31, 2018

The FICO credit score is the most widely accepted credit score used by banks and lenders to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a loan or line of credit.  The FICO credit score is influenced by five factors: payment history (35%), total amount owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), credit mix (10%), and new credit (10%).  Early next year, FICO plans to adjust their scoring system to include how consumers manage the cash in their checking, savings, and money market accounts, the most significant change to the scoring system since the early 1990s. 

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Could College Towns Be the Next Best Place to Retire?

  • October 30, 2018

Before flocking to Florida, Arizona, or another retirement hotbed, retiring Americans could consider relocating to college towns.  College towns could be the next best place to retire because they are known for affordable housing, walkability, arts, cultural, and sporting activities, plus accessible healthcare services.  The Balance evaluated college towns around the country to compile the top 10 for retirees. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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How many houses should buyers see in a day?

  • October 25, 2018

With words like “competitive” and “inventory crunch” in the news lately, home buyers may be feeling the pressure to look at as many listings as they can.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported it takes an average of 10 weeks for home buyers to find the right home, down from the average of 12 weeks five years ago.  While it’s always a good idea to keep your options open, real estate agents caution against viewing too many homes in one day.  Overdoing it with home tours may cause you to forget details about specific houses and mix properties up. 

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Denver Experiments with Accessory Dwelling Units

  • October 24, 2018

Denver is one of the most heated housing markets in the nation, consistently leading the Case-Shiller home price index with double digit rates of annual appreciation.  In 2016, over 1,000 families were reportedly moving to Denver every month.  Such a sustained influx of residents has put a crunch on available housing inventory.  As a result, the West Denver Renaissance Collaborative has proposed a new plan that creates more places to live without building more homes.  Through the initiative, homeowners become landlords by renting out detached units on their property known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or sometimes “granny flats.” 

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Generation Z Home Buyers Entering the Market with Help from Family

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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How to Be a Landlord When You Retire

  • October 18, 2018

Many Americans choose to downsize their home when they retire.  Larger homes tend to require more maintenance.  Aging Americans may have difficulty with the ongoing upkeep of a large home, especially when they face health changes.  Some retirees also choose to relocate, either to a warmer climate or to be closer to family.  A new trend is emerging among retirees who choose to downsize in retirement, converting their former home into rental properties.  According to a MarketWatch survey of 6,000 landlords, nearly 10% were of retirement age.

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Mortgage Fraud Risk Up 12% Since Last Year

  • October 17, 2018

In a recent report, CoreLogic found mortgage fraud risk increased 12% since last year.  Based on the data, one out of every 109 mortgage applications had indications of fraud ranging from undisclosed real estate liabilities to questionable down payment sources to income falsification. 

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What Judge Kavanaugh Confirmation Means for the Future of the CFPB

  • October 16, 2018

Earlier this month, the Senate voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, solidifying a conservative tilt.  The latest balance shift has many in Washington revisiting the question of what will happen to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) leadership structure. Previously, Kavanaugh has written that he believes the way the CFPB is currently structured is unconstitutional.   He also authored the Court of Appeals decision in the PHH Corp. vs CFPB case that declared the CFPB leadership structure unconstitutional in 2016. 

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Down, Unemployment Hits All-Time Low, Consumer Price Index Increases

  • October 12, 2018

Some markets were closed on Monday in observance of Columbus Day, thus it was a slow week for housing news.  The only housing-related report was the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports included the weekly jobless claims report and the consumer price index.

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Lowering Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

  • October 11, 2018

Debt-to-income ratio or DTI is one of the key components of your financial profile lenders review when evaluating whether or not you are a good candidate for mortgage financing.  DTI thresholds vary depending on the lender and the type of mortgage loan.  Generally, the lower your DTI the better, so lowering your DTI by paying down long-term debts and limiting credit card use is a good idea before you apply for mortgage financing. 

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Simple Street Change Saves Pedestrian Lives

  • October 10, 2018

Pedestrian traffic deaths reached a 25-year high last year.  According to the Governors Highway Safety Association almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2017.  The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is working to reverse this figure with a simple street redesign currently popping up at intersections in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.  By adding rubber bumpers to intersections, drivers who are turning left are forced to slow down, and even lessen the sharpness of their turn, reducing the risk of vehicle-pedestrian Collison. 

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Average FICO Credit Scores Climb Again

  • October 09, 2018

Nearly ten years into economic recovery, the average American FICO score climbed again, hitting a record high of 704.  2018 marks the eighth year of credit score increases, since the average FICO score hit an all time low of 686 in the wake of the Great Recession.  All age brackets saw their average FICO score increase, led by Baby Boomers and Generation Xers.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Jobless Claims, and Consumer Price Index

  • October 08, 2018

Some markets are closed today in observance of the Columbus Day holiday.  Mortgage rates have started to trend upward in reaction to last month’s Federal Reserve rate hike.  Mortgage applications reacted to the news, with new purchase application submissions increasing and refinance application submissions declining last week.  Other market-moving reports scheduled for release this week include the weekly jobless claims report and the consumer price index.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Gains

  • October 05, 2018

Mortgage rates were little changed this week, following last week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) rate hike.  US construction spending improved slightly.  Residential construction spending was down month-over-month but up year-over-year.  Mortgage application submissions showed little week-over-week change.  The ADP employment report exceeded expectations.

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What does your home insurance cover?

  • 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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Update: Credit Freeze Now Free in All States

  • October 03, 2018

In the wake of last year’s Equifax data breach, a new federal law will allow consumers to freeze and unfreeze their credit for free with all major credit bureaus.  Previously, credit freezes and unfreezes cost consumers anywhere between $3 and $12 each.  A credit freeze prevents lenders from pulling a credit report, thus preventing criminals from taking out new lines of credit with a stolen identity. 

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Why Millennials Are Making This Huge Money Mistake

  • October 02, 2018

An alarming trend is emerging among young Millennial workers around the country.  According to a recent survey from ETrade, over a third of Millennials are making withdrawals from their 401(k) plans or retirement accounts.  They are using the money for everything from paying down debts, making large purchases, and going on vacations.  401(k) and other retirement plans compound interest overtime, thus increasing in value.  When young workers withdraw from retirement accounts prematurely they are losing the interest they could have gained. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and the ADP Employment Report

  • October 01, 2018

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise the benchmark interest rates, and mortgage rates reacted accordingly.  This week in housing news, US construction spending report comes out on Monday and the weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.  The ADP employment report comes out on Wednesday.

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

  • 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

  • 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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Improving Shared Spaces Starts with Keeping Sidewalks Clean

  • September 26, 2018

Many metros across the country from the Bay Area to our nation’s capital have experienced a recent influx of new sidewalk clutter in the form of dockless electric scooters.  Bird, Lime, and other startups have “dropped” e-scooters in urban areas to relieve busy public transportation and give pedestrians a new, more efficient way to commute.  Curbed correspondent, Sarah Goodyear, describes the dropping of these scooters to the way an unruly teenager drops laundry around the house.  The new trend of “docklessness” revives the question as old as cities themselves, “who owns the sidewalk and who is responsible for keeping it clean?”

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Rushing to Pay Off Your Mortgage? Why New Tax Laws Might Make You Want to Wait.

  • September 25, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted earlier this year provided the most sweeping changes to the tax code in decades.  One of the most relevant changes for homeowners was the new cap for mortgage interest deductions.  With tax cuts increasing wages, the savings rate improving, and the economy booming, some homeowners may consider paying off their mortgage sooner, especially with the changes to the mortgage interest tax deduction.  MarketWatch columnist, Peter Morici, suggests, “The new tax law should cause many folks to consider paying off their mortgages but that is hardly best for everyone.”

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

  • 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

  • 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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More Bike Lanes and Trees Make Greener Cities

  • September 21, 2018

City streets and sidewalks in the United States have been engineered for decades to keep vehicle occupants and pedestrians safe. If streets include trees at all, they might be planted in small sidewalk pits, where, if constrained and with little water, they live only three to 10 years on average. Until recently, U.S. streets have also lacked cycle tracks—paths exclusively for bicycles between the road and the sidewalk, protected from cars by some type of barrier.

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Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos's Fortune Compounding Faster than He Can Donate It

  • September 20, 2018

Amazon.com Inc.’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man in modern history, on Thursday stepped up his plans for major philanthropic giving by pledging $2 billion to set up the charitable “Bezos Day One Fund.”

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Low Down Payment Mortgage Options

  • September 20, 2018

As home prices rise, so do mortgage down payments.  Many potential home buyers are dissuaded from starting their home search because of the myth of the 20% down payment.  According to Down Payment Resources, home buyers younger than 37-years-old put down an average of 7%.  Looking to buy a home but lacking the 20% down payment?  Consider one of these popular low down payment mortgage options.

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Buyer Beware: How to Spot Down Payment Wire Transfer Fraud

  • September 19, 2018

Buying a home is the biggest purchase most Americans will make in a lifetime and saving for a down payment is the biggest obstacle to making that purchase.  Often, the down payment will include a significant portion of the home buyer’s life savings, especially for first-time buyers. Earlier this month, CNBC reported on a new variant of wire transfer fraud schemes targeting home buyers at the time of closing, in some cases wiping out their entire down payment savings with no chance of recouping the funds.

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How This San Francisco Homeowner Sold for Twice the Purchase Price

  • 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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Compare and Contrast: How Much Money Each Age Group Has in Their 401(k)s

  • September 18, 2018

Contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan is an effective way to save for retirement: You get significant tax advantages, the money is automatically taken from your paycheck before you have the chance to spend it and, often, companies offer a match, which is essentially free money.

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Millennials Delay Marriage, Not Homeownership

  • 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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New Apple iPhones Designed to Reduce E-waste

  • September 17, 2018

 

After completing a switch to 100% green energy earlier this year, Apple is trying to pack more renewable materials into its latest iPhones.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, Job Openings Up, Mortgage Apps Mixed

  • September 14, 2018

Average mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, trending downward according to Mortgage News Daily.  Both revolving and nonrevolving consumer borrowing increased.  Job openings surged to a record high.  New purchase applications were up but refinance applications were down.

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What to Look for in Your New Neighborhood

  • September 13, 2018

The famous line Location, Location, Location is not a joke when it comes to choosing the right neighborhood for your new home.  Whether you are a first-time home buyer or moving up into your forever home, where you buy matters.  Before you start your home search, determine where you want to buy.  Narrow down the right neighborhood by reviewing these major influencers.

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Girl Scouts Swap Cookies for Tiny Houses

  • September 12, 2018

A new five-day Girl Scout Camp in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota resulted in two habitable tiny houses built entirely by Girl Scouts in grades 6 to 12.  The first Power Girls camp was hosted by the Girl Scouts River Valleys and Dunwoody and took place in Camp Lakamaga.  The goal of the camp was to teach girls the skills they needed to build a home from start to finish.  The products of the camp will be donated to an organization chosen by the proud Girl Scouts.

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1 in 4 American Homes Now Equity Rich

  • 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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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Job Openings, and Mortgage Apps

  • September 10, 2018

Market-moving reports this week include consumer credit, scheduled for Monday, and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), scheduled for Tuesday.  Both consumer borrowing and job creation drive economic and housing market momentum.  In housing news, the weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

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How to Dispute a Low Home Appraisal

  • 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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Trees Do More Than Lower Heat in Dallas Neighborhood

  • September 05, 2018

After an exceptionally hot summer, urban planners are investigating more ways to reduce temperatures in cities around the country.  Because of the “heat island” effect, urban areas tend to be 10 to 20 degrees hotter than surrounding rural areas.  AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist, Tom Kines, explains, “it’s kind of like a brick fireplace; even when the fire goes out, the heat is still in the bricks.  This is the same thing in a city.” 

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First-Time Home Buyers Outnumber Repeat Buyers

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

  • 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

  • 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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If You Live in a Flood Zone, Read This

  • August 22, 2018

Even if your home is not located on a shore or beach, you may be living in a flood zone.  According to the Environmental Research Letter, over 41 million Americans are currently living in flood zones, and this includes seemingly landlocked locations.  In the wake of last year’s particularly devastating hurricane season, Flood Insurance is at the forefront of many homeowners’ minds.  The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid over $8 billion to homeowners with flood insurance policies in 2017. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Builder Confidence Wanes, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Housing Starts and Building Permits Increase

  • August 17, 2018

Mortgage rates trended downward this week.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index dropped by one point, but builders remain largely optimistic.  New purchase mortgage applications declined, and refinance mortgage applications were unchanged.

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Should you buy first or sell first?

  • August 16, 2018

Most home sellers are concurrently looking for a new place to live.  Before you put your home on the market, the big question to answer is “should you buy first or sell first?”  Each route has its own advantages, depending on your situation.  If you have plans to sell your home soon, consult a mortgage loan officer to see if you should buy your new home first or sell your current home first.

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Millennial Home Buyers’ Biggest Regret

  • 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 Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Housing Market Index, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • August 13, 2018

Mortgage rates continued to hold steady last week.  This week, the home builders’ sentiment index will come out on Tuesday, along with the weekly mortgage application survey.  Housing starts and building permits are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings Up, Consumer Credit Mixed, Mortgage Apps Decline

  • August 10, 2018

Mortgage rates have not shifted significantly this week.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed job openings have increased to the third-highest level in the report’s 18-year history.  Revolving consumer credit fell slightly after last month’s surge, and nonrevolving credit increased.  Both new purchase and refinance applications declined.

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What determines your mortgage interest rate?

  • August 09, 2018

If you’re shopping for a home, you’re probably paying attention to what interest rates are doing.  There are numerous resources available to check average mortgage rates in your area.  Researching rates can give you an idea of what to expect, but the mortgage rate for your specific mortgage loan depends on several key factors. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Consumer Credit, Mortgage Applications

  • August 06, 2018

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged and mortgage rates did not move much following the news.  This week, the Labor Department will release its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).  Consumer credit is also on the schedule.  The only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.

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

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

  • 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

  • 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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Is it time to see a Financial Advisor?

  • July 26, 2018

When it comes to money matters, expertise counts.  You wouldn’t buy a home without working with a mortgage loan officer and you probably see a tax professional at least once a year to do your taxes.  But when does the average consumer need to consult a financial advisor?  When it comes to protecting your assets and planning for you and your family’s future, a financial advisor can help you chart your path.  Some major milestones where you should consider consulting a financial advisor include marriage or divorce, family expansion, wealth changes, and retirement. 

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Don’t Believe This Big Credit Card Myth

  • July 25, 2018

Lenders use the credit score to evaluate a potential borrower’s ability to repay the loan.  Your credit score is integral to your ability to qualify for a mortgage.  It can take years to build up your credit score and just a few mistakes to damage it.  One pervasive credit card myth many consumers believe could actually be hurting your credit score.  According to a report by CreditCards.com, over 43 million Americans, 22% of all consumers, have carried a balance on their credit card under the impression it will improve their credit score.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Steady, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Housing Start and Building Permits Fall

  • July 20, 2018

Mortgage rates were largely unchanged again this week, not trending significantly up or down.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index did not move up or down, with builders staying positive about buyer demand.  Mortgage application submissions flipped, with new purchase applications down and refinance applications up.  Housing starts and building permits each declined. 

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For Sale by Owner: Proceed with Caution

  • July 19, 2018

Home sellers choose the “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) route because they believe they will earn a larger profit by not having to pay their real estate agent a commission fee.  FSBO transactions tend to become even more popular in a seller’s market.  In 2016, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported the average FSBO sales price was $185,000, compared to the average $245,000 for a home represented by a real estate agent.  A staggering $60,000 difference, even despite the commission cost for the real estate agent. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Mortgage Apps, Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • July 16, 2018

With no significant mortgage rate movement to report, rates are holding steady this month.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its housing market sentiment index on Tuesday.  Housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release on Wednesday, along with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, More Job Openings, and Mortgage Apps Rebound

  • July 13, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly up or down this week.  It was a light week for housing news, but the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey showed a surge in new purchase mortgage applications.  Consumer credit also increased substantially.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) cooled down after reaching a record level in April.

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

  • 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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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Job Openings, and Mortgage Applications

  • July 09, 2018

With the short week last week, mortgage rates did not move much up or down.  There are no significant housing reports scheduled for this week, other than the weekly mortgage application survey set for release on Wednesday.  The consumer credit report comes out on Monday and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) will be released on Tuesday.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Gains

  • July 06, 2018

Markets were closed on Wednesday of this week, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.  Mortgage rates did not move significantly up or down.  Construction spending increased, driven by spending on public projects.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey showed an increase in new purchase applications, but a decrease in refinance applications.  The ADP employment report was gainful, but less than expected.

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Should you work with a Real Estate Agent?

  • July 05, 2018

In the digital age, many home buyers feel they can skip partnering with a professional Realtor or real estate agent because of their access to listing websites and other online tools.  While listing sites like Zillow and Trulia can help a home buyer find out what’s for sale in their area and start shopping, there are still many advantages to continuing your search with an established Realtor or real estate agent. 

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How to Spot What’s Hiding in a Staged Home

  • 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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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report

  • July 02, 2018

Mortgage rates held steady last week, not moving much in either direction.  This week, markets are closed on Wednesday in observance of Independence Day.  In housing news, US construction spending comes out on Monday and the weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.  The ADP employment report is also scheduled for release. 

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Money-Saving Tips Everyone Can Try

  • June 27, 2018

Saving for a down payment is one of the biggest challenges first-time home buyers around the country face.  Whether you are getting ready to buy a home, or saving for something else, everyone could use some fresh ideas to save more effectively.  Lifestyle blog Refinery 29 partnered with Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, Mint, and TurboTax, to compile this list of money-saving tips everyone can try.

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

  • 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

  • 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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Mortgage Application Denied? What to do Next.

  • June 20, 2018

A mortgage application can be denied for a number of reasons.  There is nothing more heartbreaking than going through the home shopping process only to have financing fall through.  LendingTree reports approximately 8% of mortgage loan applications are denied nationwide.  While it’s a setback, mortgage application denial does not have to mean the end of your home search.  Taking these proactive steps after having a mortgage application denied can help you with your future home search.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Down, Retail Sales Surge, and Fed Raises Rates

  • June 15, 2018

In a highly-anticipated move the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the benchmark interest rate on Wednesday to a range of 1.75-2.0%.  Mortgage rates reacted by trending upward.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage applications took a downturn this week, after rising the previous week.  Retail sales were especially strong, suggesting sustained Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth into second quarter.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Retail Sales, and FOMC Meeting

  • June 11, 2018

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week for their fourth semiannual monetary policy meeting of the year.  So far this year, the Federal Reserve has raised the benchmark interest rate once.  Earlier projections had slated three interest rate hikes this year.  Mortgage application submissions jumped last week, as interest rates started to subside.  Other market moving reports scheduled for release include retail sales, coming out on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: More Job Openings, Mortgage Apps Jump, Consumer Borrowing Slows

  • June 08, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, leveling off this month after climbing in May.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed recorded growth in job openings.  Both new purchase and refinance applications turned around after several weeks of declines.  Consumer credit growth was modest. 

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Demand for Down Payment Assistance on the Rise

  • June 05, 2018

Saving for a down payment is the most commonly reported obstacle to homeownership.  With rents rising and student debt accumulating, the problem is even more exacerbated with first-time home buyers trying to enter the market.  As the down payment obstacle persists, the demand for down payment assistance has also continued to increase.  According to a Scotsman Guide interview with Down Payment Resource CEO Rob Chrane, as of the first quarter of 2018 there are approximately 2,503 down payment assistance programs nationwide, and the demand for down payment help is likely to continue.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, and Consumer Credit

  • June 04, 2018

Mortgage rates have started to level off after climbing most of the first half of the year. This week will be a slow week for economic news, the only housing report scheduled is the weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.  In employment news, the Labor Department will release its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on Tuesday.  The consumer credit report comes out on Thursday.

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

  • 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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Your Mortgage Shouldn’t be One Size Fits All

  • May 31, 2018

At this year’s Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Secondary Marketing conference, one of the most prevalent topics of discussion was the growing market for different types of mortgage loans besides common options like the 30-year fixed rate mortgage.  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the cornerstone of American homeownership and has helped families nationwide become homeowners for almost a century.  As the housing market changes, interest rates fluctuate, and regulations evolve, newer, more innovative mortgage products are starting to emerge.  In today’s mortgage market, your mortgage should not be “one size fits all.” 

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Mortgage Applications, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • May 14, 2018

Mortgage rates started to level off last week, amidst influence from global economic changes.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its housing market sentiment index on Tuesday and it’s likely to remain positive.  Housing starts and building permits come out on Wednesday.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will also release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Consumer Borrowing Slows, Job Openings Up, and Mortgage Applications Decline

  • May 11, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week and then leveled off.  Consumer credit expanded more slowly than in recent months, suggesting consumers have enough assets and saving to offset borrowing.  Job openings exceeded expectations, and hirings dropped.  The weekly mortgage application survey decreased, driven mostly by a drop in refinance application submissions. 

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Why is renting perceived as the more affordable option?

  • May 10, 2018

A home is the first appreciating asset most Americans will own and the first step many will take toward building wealth.  With rents skyrocketing around the country, the average monthly mortgage payment is typically less than the average monthly rental payment in most regions.  According to a new Freddie Mac report, 67% of renters continue renting because they believe it is more affordable than buying a home. 

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NEVER Put These Expenses on Credit Cards

  • May 09, 2018

Credit cards are no longer the “emergency use only” tools they once were.  Outstanding consumer credit card debt surpassed $1 trillion in 2017, the highest it has ever been.   Unfortunately, not all consumers are borrowing responsibly.  According to NerdWallet, 86% of Americans who had or currently have credit card debt regret it.  Using a credit card responsibly is one way to positively influence your credit score.  However, not every expense should be put on credit cards.  Here are some of the big-ticket expenses Experian warns, should never be put on credit cards.

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Job Openings, and Mortgage Application Survey

  • May 07, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, holding steady after the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to leave interest rates unchanged.  The consumer credit report comes out on Monday, and though the report excludes mortgage financing, it analyzes other consumer borrowing habits and consumer spending.  In employment news, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) will come out on Tuesday.  There are no significant housing reports scheduled for release this week, besides the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, ADP Employment Report, and FOMC Meeting

  • April 30, 2018

Average mortgage rates reached year-long highs last week, ahead of this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  The Federal Reserve is expected to continue raising rates this year, but not at the upcoming meeting on May 1st and 2nd.  The US construction report comes out on Tuesday, followed by the ADP employment report on Wednesday.  Strong jobs reports are supportive of continued rate hikes, but core inflation has yet to break the targeted 3.0% threshold. 

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

  • 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

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Retail Sales Surge, Housing Market Index Dips, and Housing Starts and Building Permits Rise

  • April 20, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, trending slightly upward according to some sources.  Retail sales rebounded with strength after several months of ticking downward.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index dropped by one point, but the reading was still positive.  Housing starts and building permits each increased.

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Market Forecast: Retail Sales, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • April 16, 2018

Last week, there was no significant mortgage rate movement to report.  This week’s important housing reports include the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index on Monday and housing starts and building permits on Tuesday.  Other market moving reports include the retail sales report, scheduled for release on Monday. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Down, FOMC Positive, and Job Openings Fall

  • April 13, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.   The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released the minutes from its March meeting and the overall tone was optimistic.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed job openings dipped.

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Benefits of Downsizing in Retirement

  • April 12, 2018

As a large share of the population approaches retirement, one of the recurring debates is whether or not to downsize.  Americans are living longer than previous generations, and with that comes more expenses for medical, travel, and cost of living.  These expenses combined with the upkeep and maintenance of a large home could easily exceed retirement savings.  To ensure a more financially comfortable retirement, many Americans are choosing to downsize from larger homes to smaller homes.  TD Ameritrade reports 42% of Americans plan on downsizing when they retire. 

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How Student Loan Debt Prevents Homeownership

  • 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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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, FOMC Minutes, and Job Openings

  • April 09, 2018

This week will be a light week for housing news.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.  The Federal Reserve will also release the minutes from its March Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday.  In employment news, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) will come out on Friday.  

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Apps Down, ADP Employment Strong

  • April 06, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week, amidst some stock market-related uncertainty.  Construction spending improved after last month’s flat numbers.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  The ADP employment report showed strength.

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Advantages of Energy Efficient Upgrades

  • April 04, 2018

Adding energy efficient appliances, fixtures, and other systems to your home can not only cut utility costs, but also increase the value of the home.  With a continuously emerging energy efficient marketplace, plus the advent of smart home technology, some homeowners may be wondering where to start and which energy efficient upgrades will yield the best results. 

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

  • 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 Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and the ADP Employment Report

  • April 02, 2018

Mortgage rates have trended slightly downward in recent weeks, reacting to uncertainty surrounding global trade and plunging technology sector stocks.  This week, the US construction spending report comes out on Monday and the weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.  The ADP employment report is also scheduled for release on Wednesday. 

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

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

  • 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

  • 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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How to Raise Your Credit Score Before Home Purchase

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Retail Sales Drop, Housing Market Index Down, Construction Stalls

  • March 16, 2018

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week after a multi-week climb.  Some market analysts attribute the rate drop to this week’s tariff proposals and other political news.  Retail sales scaled slightly back in February, as is expected following the holiday season.  The housing market index dropped from last month’s 19-year high.  Housing starts and building permits slipped.

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Buyer Beware: Spot These Small Problems Before They Cost You Big Time

  • March 15, 2018

Shopping for a home is an exciting experience.  When a home buyer finds a home they love, it can be easy to get attached or even emotional about the home.  However, what seems like a dream house can turn into a money pit without a thorough inspection.  The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates a typical home inspection can cost anywhere between $300 to $500, depending on the region and condition of the home.  Before spending money on one or more home inspections, watch out for these simple clues that can be signs of costly damage beneath the surface. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • March 12, 2018

Mortgage rates did not fluctuate greatly last week, leveling off after an upward trend.  Refinance mortgage applications picked up, but new purchase applications pulled back slightly.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its housing market sentiment index and housing starts and building permits will come out on Friday. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Growth Strong, Consumer Borrowing Slows

  • March 09, 2018

Mortgage rates are not moving much this week, leveling out after inching slightly upward.  New purchase mortgage application submissions declined, but refinance application submissions improved.  The ADP employment report strengthened again, as the job market nears full employment.  Consumer credit expanded in January, but at a slower pace than in December, as expected.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report, and Consumer Credit

  • March 05, 2018

Last week, mortgage rates trended slightly upward.  This week, there are no significant housing reports, aside from the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other notable economic reports include the ADP employment report and consumer credit.  Job creation and consumer spending strengthen the overall economy, including housing activity. 

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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FYI: What's PITI?

  • February 22, 2018

New to the mortgage process?  You are probably seeing a lot of new acronyms you may not be familiar with.  The monthly mortgage payment, for example, is comprised of “PITI” or Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance.  When budgeting for the cost of a monthly mortgage payment, home buyers should consider the cost of each of these components.

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

  • 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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Low Down Payment Option: 100% Yours with as Little as 3% Down

  • February 19, 2018

Saving for a down payment is one of the most commonly reported obstacles to homeownership and continues to slow down the home buying process for creditworthy borrowers.  As rents and home prices continue to rise, almost every demographic, especially first-time home buyers, are experiencing difficulties in saving for a down payment. 

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Market Recap: Retail Sales Pull Back, Housing Market Index Unchanged, Housing Starts and Building Permits Up

  • February 16, 2018

Mortgage rates continued to rise this week.  Next week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release the minutes from its January meeting, the last meeting with Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair.  Retail sales slumped slightly in January, after a gainful holiday season.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index was unchanged and housing starts and building permits surged.

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Market Forecast: Retail Sales, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, and Building Permits

  • February 12, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move much last week, and the likelihood of a March rate hike has dropped following some stock market volatility.  This week’s important housing reports scheduled for release are the home builders’ sentiment index and housing starts and building permits.  Though home builder confidence declined last month, home builders were setting record confidence levels most of the past year.  Housing starts and building permits were hurt last December by frigid winter weather.  Other market-moving reports include retail sales and retail sales excluding auto; consumer spending is a big driver of economic momentum.  

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Market Recap: More Job Openings, Mortgage Applications Mixed, Consumer Credit

  • February 09, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move significantly either way this week.  Most market volatility took place in the Stock Market sphere, when after months of record-setting highs the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped the most points ever in a single day, and then proceeded to rebound the next day.  Job openings declined slightly, and the unemployment level remains historically low.  Refinance mortgage application submissions increased but new purchase applications were unchanged week-over-week.  Consumer credit expanded less significantly than it did the previous month. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, and Consumer Credit

  • February 05, 2018

Mortgage rates did not move much last week, after the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave interest rates unchanged.  This week, there will be no significant housing reports other than the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) comes out on Tuesday and consumer credit comes out on Wednesday.  Though they are not housing specific reports, labor market and consumer spending activity spur economic momentum and impact housing.

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

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Up, Housing Market Index Down, Housing Starts and Building Permits Mixed

  • January 19, 2018

Mortgage rates trended upward this week, reaching the highest average level in the past 10 months.  New purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions each increased, home builder confidence scaled back, and housing starts and building permits felt the winter freeze.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • January 15, 2018

Markets are closed today in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Mortgage rates are trending upward, heading into 2018.  This week’s important housing reports include the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index, and housing starts and building permits.

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, Job Openings Drop, and Retail Sales Increase

  • January 12, 2018

Mortgage rates trended upward this week and both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions rebounded after a few slowed weeks.  Consumer credit expanded for the third straight month.  Job openings dropped off, as the market nears full employment.  Retail sales improved.

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CMG Financial Attends NAHB International Builders' Show January 9-11

  • January 09, 2018

CMG Financial is attending the NAHB International Builders' Show in Orlando, FL from January 9th - 11th.  Visit us in the South Hall Booth S2640 and check out our new service HomeFundItTM, the first and only approved down payment crowdfunding platform.

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Job Openings, Retail Sales

  • January 08, 2018

Last week, mortgage rates started to trend slightly upward.  This week, there are no significant housing reports scheduled, other than the weekly mortgage application survey.  Market-moving reports include consumer credit, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), and retail sales. 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Strong, ADP Adds Jobs, Mortgage Apps Mixed

  • January 05, 2018

This week was another short week with markets closed on Monday in observance of New Year’s Day.  Mortgage rates did not move much this week, starting their upward trend following the end of the year rate hike.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) resumed the release of the mortgage application survey.  US construction spending improved and the ADP employment report strengthened.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and ADP Employment

  • January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!  Markets will be closed today in observance of New Year’s Day.  This week’s important reports include US construction spending, the ADP employment report, and the weekly mortgage application survey.

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

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

  • 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

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Job Openings Down, Fed Rate Hike, and Retail Sales Strong

  • December 15, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week, though there was no significant movement to report.  Job openings were down slightly from September to October.  As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the benchmark interest rate for the third time this year, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave the final press conference of her term.  Retail sales surged ahead of the holiday season.

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Rebounding from Record Low Housing

  • December 15, 2017

One of the most persistent problems in the housing industry is lack of availability. At the recent congressional hearing with US House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Representative Dennis Heck stated that although 2017 had been the strongest year for construction in over a decade, it was still only at the level of 1994.  Over a decade after the housing boom, the homebuilding industry is a third smaller than it was in 2005, while new household formation continues to outpace supply.  Supply constrictions are driving home prices up, and pricing more and more potential home buyers out of the market. 

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Legislative Proposals for a More Efficient Federal Regulatory Regime

  • December 12, 2017

Since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), mortgage lenders and other financial institutions have faced increased precautionary regulation.  Almost a decade after the Financial Crisis, and many of these regulations remain intact without any adjustment or review, despite economic recovery.  Last week, CMG Financial President and CEO Christopher M. George testified on behalf of the Mortgage Bankers Association before the US House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit in support of the Mortgage Fairness Act of 2017 and the Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act of 2017.

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meeting, JOLTS, and Retail Sales

  • December 11, 2017

Last week, the Senate passed their version of the Republican tax reform bill.  The House and Senate will now go to a conference committee to discuss the differences between the bills and edit one version to send to President Trump.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.  On Monday, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) comes out and on Thursday the retail sales report will be released.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Up, ADP Employment Slower, Consumer Credit Surges

  • December 08, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  On Saturday, the Senate approved their version of the tax reform bill.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage applications increased.  The ADP employment report increased, but slightly less than last month.  Consumer credit expanded to one of the highest levels all year. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, ADP Employment, and Consumer Credit

  • December 04, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, ahead of December’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  With a low unemployment rate and steady inflation, the FOMC is expected to raise rates once more this year.  The only housing report this week is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  The ADP employment report will come out Wednesday and consumer credit is scheduled for release on Thursday.

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Up, Housing Starts Surge, Building Permits Increase

  • November 17, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, ahead of next week’s holiday.  Retail sales activity slowed, but remains positive.  The housing market index surged, despite some home builders’ reservations regarding the proposed tax plan.  Housing starts soared and building permits increased as well.

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Market Forecast: Retail Sales, NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, and Building Permits

  • November 13, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week.  The new GOP House tax proposal saw a few iterations as well as the release of the GOP Senate tax proposal.  This week, the retail sales report comes out on Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders’ releases their housing market index on Thursday, and housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release on Friday. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings are Up, Consumer Borrowing Expands, New Purchase Apps Improve

  • November 10, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week.  There were no market moving housing reports released.  September’s job openings report showed little change.  Consumer credit greatly exceeded market expectations.  New purchase mortgage applications improved, but refinance applications declined.

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Market Forecast: JOLTS, Consumer Credit, Mortgage Apps

  • November 06, 2017

Housing activity typically slows down during the fall and winter seasons, with predictions for next year starting to come in.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) forecast that new purchase origination volume will increase next year and refinance origination volume will start to decrease.  Coming up this week are job openings, consumer credit, and the weekly mortgage application survey.

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

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

  • 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

  • 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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Rising Sea Levels Threaten Coastal Properties

  • October 25, 2017

This year’s particularly active hurricane season brought to light the issues with coastal communities.  Coastal dwelling is not just limited to luxury homeowners.  Many homes along the coasts of the Southeastern United States, and along coastlines across the country, fall into the median or low-cost price ranges.  However, rising sea levels threaten many coastal and even inland properties.

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Job Openings Slide, Mortgage Applications Drop, and Retail Sales Recover

  • October 13, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week, though there are no significant changes to report.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) declined slightly as the unemployment rate dropped to a historical low.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported both new purchase and refinance applications declined last week.  The Commerce Department reported that retail sales are up.

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Generation Z Renters Gearing Up for Homeownership

  • 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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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, JOLTS, and Retail Sales

  • October 09, 2017

Markets will be closed today in observance of Columbus today.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release the minutes from its September meeting.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) comes out Wednesday.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will also release its weekly survey of mortgage applications on Wednesday.  The retail sales report comes out Friday. 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, New Purchase Apps Improve, ADP Employment Grows

  • October 06, 2017

Mortgage rates held steady this week.  Construction spending improved after the previous month’s declines.  New purchase applications increased, but refinance applications declined.  The ADP employment report was not hurt greatly by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but still trended downward.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and ADP Employment Report

  • October 02, 2017

There was no significant mortgage movement last week.  This week, US construction spending will be released on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey and the ADP employment report comes out.

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

  • 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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Simple Adjustments to Save Big on Your Electric Bill

  • September 27, 2017

Electric bills tend to rise during the summer months because of hot weather and air conditioners working overtime.  Energy efficient appliances and other home renovations can reduce electricity consumption, but may be costly to install.  Before splurging on energy efficient upgrades, make a few changes to daily behaviors.  

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

  • 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 Recap: Rates Hold Steady, Housing Activity Slows

  • September 22, 2017

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave rates unchanged at its September meeting, last Tuesday and Wednesday.  Housing activity has slowed across the board, with almost every report showing declines.  The housing market index dropped, housing starts and existing home sales declined, but building permits increased.

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

  • 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: Job Openings Up, Mortgage Applications Surge, Inflation Slow

  • September 15, 2017

Mortgage rates are starting to increase, after dropping to year-long lows earlier this month.  Mortgage applications reacted with both new purchase and refinance submissions increasing significantly.  Job openings increased again, but the labor market remains tight.  The consumer price index exceeded expectations but inflation subdued.

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Market Forecast: JOLTS, Mortgage Applications, and the Consumer Price Index

  • September 11, 2017

Mortgage rates are trending downward and mortgage application submissions are up.  Homeowners and home buyers are looking to lock rates ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting next week.  This week, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) comes out on Tuesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday, and the Consumer Price Index comes out on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Hurricane Watch Continues, Fed Beige Book, and Mortgage Applications

  • September 08, 2017

Mortgage rates dropped slightly this week.  Hurricane Harvey recovery is underway in Texas and the government agreed to a short-term debt ceiling extension, in part to help fund the relief effort.  Additional hurricanes are forming in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.  Mortgage application submission increased amidst rising rates.  The Federal Reserve released its Beige Book on Wednesday.

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Small Business Administration to Issue Hurricane Harvey Disaster Loans

  • September 06, 2017

Earlier this week, Houston’s mayor announced that many Houston-area businesses are starting to reopen.  With floodwaters receding, Houston residents are returning home also.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) is actively coordinating with other federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to distribute loans to aid hurricane victims.  The agency announced it would distribute $3.3 billion in disaster loan funds to help uninsured residents and business owners rebuild.

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Market Forecast: Hurricane Harvey Cleanup, Fed Beige Book, Mortgage Applications

  • September 04, 2017

Last week, Hurricane Harvey caused major damage across the Gulf Coast.  Southeastern Texas and the Houston metro area suffered heavy flooding and parts of the region are still underwater.  American Red Cross President Brad Kieserman expects cleanup to last through December.  Markets are closed today in observance of Labor Day.

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

  • 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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How to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

  • August 30, 2017

Last weekend, Texans faced the worst hurricane in recorded history when Hurricane Harvey ravaged the coast.  Weather analysts are reporting over 11 trillion gallons of rain fell across over Southeastern Texas.  Thirty-three counties are under a disaster declaration, and 30,000 people are expected to be seeking temporary shelter due to flood damage.

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File Your Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claims before Friday

  • August 29, 2017

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Harvey throughout the Texas area.  If you or someone you know has had a home or business impacted by Hurricane Harvey, it is imperative that you file an insurance claim before Friday.

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

  • 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

  • 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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More Trees Improve Local Weather and Save Energy

  • August 23, 2017

Adding greenery to cities and neighborhoods is more than just an aesthetic choice.  According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, adding trees to neighborhoods actually improves the weather by reducing the impact of wind.  Researchers designed a computer model and tested the impact of trees on a Vancouver neighborhood.  Based on the data, trees could save the neighborhood modeled up to 15% on energy bills in the summer and 10% on energy bills in the winter.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Retail Sales Improve, Housing Market Index Up, Housing Starts and Building Permits Down

  • August 18, 2017

Mortgage rates dropped to a new post-election low, but did not translate into increased housing market activity.  Housing starts and building permits each dropped, but the housing market index improved.  Retail sales exceeded expectations.

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How Greensburg, IN Crowdfunds Community Projects

  • August 16, 2017

Faced with budget restrictions, Greensburg, IN residents found a new way to make their city beautiful.  The residents wanted more art and streetscape items like benches to improve their community’s aesthetic.  According to Wendy Blake, executive director of Main Street Greensburg, “if there are things that we want, we might have to make them happen on our own.”

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Retail Sales, Housing Starts and Building Permits

  • August 14, 2017

Mortgage rates are trending slightly downward.  On Tuesday, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its August housing market index and the July retail sales report also comes out.  On Wednesday, July’s housing starts and building permits data will be released.  

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, Job Openings Increase, Mortgage Apps Improve

  • August 11, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly downward this week.  Consumer credit expanded more modestly than the previous month.  Job openings surged to a record high.  Mortgage applications improved after declining last week.

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Sustainable Real Estate

  • August 09, 2017

As a leading real estate industry trade association, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is at the forefront of sustainable real estate practices.  Last year, the NAR launched the official NAR Sustainability Program to spearhead sustainability research and collaborate with other organizations like the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the Council of MLS (CMLS). 

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, JOLTS, and Mortgage Apps

  • August 07, 2017

Mortgage rates slid slightly last week, as expectations for additional 2017 rate hikes have dropped.  This week, there are no significant housing reports scheduled other than the weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.  On Monday, consumer credit comes out and on Tuesday the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) will be released. 

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

  • 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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The Self-Building House

  • August 02, 2017

As hype builds around self-driving cars, one UK engineering firm took the concept of autonomous construction a step further with self-building houses.  The uBox by Ten Fold Engineering assembles itself automatically without the use of tools or machinery.  Once unfolded, the homes measure up to 645 square feet.  When folded, the homes are easily stackable and shippable. 

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

  • 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

  • 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%

  • 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

  • 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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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications, Housing Starts, and Building Permits Rebound

  • July 21, 2017

Mortgage rates started to trend downward this week, following Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s dovish remarks at her semiannual testimony last week.  The housing market index dropped slightly, but remains positive.  Mortgage applications turned around after last week’s Independence Day slow down.  Housing starts and building permits also rebounded.

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Texas Town 100% Powered by Renewable Energy

  • July 19, 2017

A little change goes a long way in Georgetown, Texas, located about thirty miles north of the state capital, Austin.  Georgetown is one of the first cities in the United States to be completely powered by renewable energy.  To date, Texas produces more wind energy than the next three leading states combined. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, and Building Permits

  • July 17, 2017

Mortgage rates were trending upward last week, then edged downward after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s semiannual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) releases its housing market index on Tuesday.  Housing starts and building permits come out Wednesday, along with the weekly mortgage application survey. 

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, JOLTS Increases, Retail Sales Drop

  • July 14, 2017

This week, mortgage rates started to fall after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s remarks at her semiannual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.  Expectations of a September or December rate hike have dropped.  Consumer credit expanded at the fastest pace in seven months, there were fewer job openings than expected and retail sales declined.

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“Smishing” Scams Target Texters

  • July 12, 2017

Smishing scams are similar to email phishing scams, but they are delivered through SMS text messages.  Unsuspecting recipients tend to trust text messages more than emails.  However, responding to a smishing text that looks like it is from a bank, store, or other official organization can lead to financial fraud.

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, JOLTS, and Retail Sales

  • July 10, 2017

Mortgage rates started to increase last week.  This week, there are no monthly housing reports scheduled, but several other important reports on consumer activity and job openings.  On Monday, the consumer credit report comes out, on Tuesday, job openings will be released, and retail sales comes out on Friday. 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Unchanged, Mortgage Apps Up, ADP Employment Numbers Positive

  • July 07, 2017

Mortgage rates started to trend upward after a few weeks of holding steady.  This month, US construction spending remained unchanged and private-sector jobs grew less than anticipated.  New purchase mortgage applications rebounded after last week’s declines, and refinance applications decreased slightly. 

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5 Affordable Locations for Vacation Homes

  • 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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Average American Credit Score Highest in 12 Years

  • July 04, 2017

The FICO credit score ranks consumers’ credit-worthiness on a scale of 300 (poor credit) to 850 (excellent credit).  The FICO score is the most widely accepted credit score used by lenders and other financial institutions.  The average FICO score hit a record-high, reaching 700 for the first since tracking began 12 years ago. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and ADP Employment Report

  • July 03, 2017

Mortgage rates trended slightly higher last week, but there are no significant changes to report.  This week, markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of Independence Day.  In housing news, US construction spending comes out on Monday and the weekly mortgage application survey comes out Wednesday.  It will also be a big week for job news with the ADP employment report scheduled for release on Thursday and several other employment reports on Friday.

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CMBA 45th Annual Western Conference

  • June 30, 2017

Meet Us In San Francisco at the CMBA 44th Annual Western Conference July 19-21, 2017!

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

  • 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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Beware: Home Improvement Scams

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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How the High Line Network Helps Cities

  • June 21, 2017

The High Line is a public park that spans along an elevated former freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side.  The urban oasis stretches from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues and is a popular destination for tourists and local New Yorkers. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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Rental Risks You Could Face This Summer

  • June 14, 2017

Considering renting a beach-house this summer? Summer is the prime season for rental homeowners to make some extra income, especially in vacation hotspots like Florida and California.  According to Airbnb, reservations in Destin, FL are up 232% from this time last year.   Before venturing into the short-term rental market, consider these five common risks hosts face.

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

  • 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: Mortgage Apps Rebound, Job Openings Surge, Consumer Credit Slows

  • June 09, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward this week.  There were no major housing reports scheduled, aside from the weekly mortgage application survey.  Job openings surged and consumer credit growth was sluggish.  The labor market and consumer spending patterns influence the housing market.  When consumers are gainfully employed and confident in the labor market, they are more inclined to spend and borrow.

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The Case for the 10% Down Payment

  • June 08, 2017

One of the most common misconceptions home buyers face is the iron clad 20% down payment.  There are many flexible mortgage financing programs available that do not require a 20% down payment.  Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan offered his thoughts on the 20% down payment in an interview with CNBC.

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CMG Financial Ranked as One of the Nation’s Top Mortgage Lenders

  • June 07, 2017

Scotsman Guide, the leading resource for mortgage originators, named CMG Financial one of the top mortgage lenders of 2016. CMG Financial was ranked among entries from hundreds of mortgage companies across the country, in three categories: Top Overall Volume (15), Top Wholesale Volume (9), and Top Correspondent Volume (7).

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Financial Incentives of Going Green

  • June 07, 2017

Following last week’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, there have been many discussions on energy efficiency and housing sustainability.  Environmental preservation and protection efforts are not limited to international decrees, and can start right at home.  Here are three ways homeowners can reduce carbon emissions and also save some money.

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Market Forecast: JOLTS, Mortgage Apps, and Consumer Credit

  • June 05, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move much last week, hovering the year-long low.  This week will be light on housing news, aside from the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other significant economic reports include the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and the consumer credit report.

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

  • 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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Fannie Mae Offers Healthy Housing Rewards

  • May 31, 2017

Last week, Fannie Mae announced a new program designed to give price breaks to developers who provide healthier living options for tenants in multifamily rental properties.  Multifamily housing faces unique challenges in sustainable design.  The Healthy Housing Rewards program’s goal is to encourage innovation to improve housing conditions and communities.

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CMG Financial Recognized as 2017 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area

  • May 30, 2017

This month, CMG Financial was named one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area.  CMG attributes this honor to its strong culture of success.  CMG’s culture depends on all team members working together to deliver the right loans, for the right reasons, in a way that exceeds all expectations. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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Tesla’s Solar Roof System for Consumers

  • May 24, 2017

Advancements in engineering and energy-saving incentives has prompted companies like Tesla and Solar City to improve the upon the concept of solar roof panels.  Earlier this month, Elon Musk announced the launch of Tesla’s solar roof tile system for consumer purchase.

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

  • 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

  • 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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Increase in Credit and Debit Card Fraud Alerts

  • May 17, 2017

A new survey reports that the number of credit and debit card fraud alerts received by cardholders has spiked from 2015 to 2016.  This increase is not necessarily a result of more fraudulent activity, rather more diligent fraud reporting.

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Home Builders Swap Luxury for Starter Homes

  • 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 Forecast: Housing Starts, Building Permits, and Housing Market Index

  • May 15, 2017

Mortgage rates trended upward last week following continued uncertainty surrounding tax and healthcare reform.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release their monthly housing market index, housing starts and building permits come out Tuesday, and the weekly mortgage applications survey comes out Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Up, Retail Sales Up, Job Openings Stall

  • May 12, 2017

Mortgage rates trended upward this week, but remain near year-long lows.  Both new purchase and refinance applications increased, after last week’s lack of rate movement.  Job openings remained unchanged from February to March.  Retail sales improved, but were less than expected. 

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MIT Debuts 3D Printer for Buildings

  • May 10, 2017

Since their inception, 3D printers have been used to recreate everything from household objects to prosthetic limbs.  Recently, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a large enough 3D printer to build the basic structure of a building in less than fourteen hours.

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Renovation Resurgence

  • May 09, 2017

Millennials are delaying buying a home for numerous reasons including student loan debt, home price appreciation, and housing availability.  Until new home construction offsets heightened demand, many prospective homeowners are facing inventory constraints.  According to the 2016 Houzz and Home Survey, millennials and first-time homebuyers are spending more on renovations after home purchase. 

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Market Forecast: No Rate Hike, JOLTS, Mortgage Apps, and Retail Sales

  • May 08, 2017

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) left rates unchanged after their meeting.  As a result, mortgage rates trended slightly downward.  This week, the Labor Department releases its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) puts out a weekly mortgage applications survey, and the retail sales report comes out Friday. 

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, Construction Spending Drops, ADP Falls Short

  • May 05, 2017

Mortgage rates decreased slightly, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to not raise the benchmark interest rate.  US construction spending showed gains in residential construction, but not much elsewhere and the ADP employment report posted modest gains.

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MBA Supportive of PACE Loan Regulation

  • May 03, 2017

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans are a type of financing homeowners use to fund the installation of solar panels or other home efficiency improvements, like air conditioning and window insulation.  The loan is a lien paid back through property tax payments, requires no underwriting, and often has high fees and interest rates.  Currently, these loans are not subject to federal consumer protection requirements, even though they have all the attributes of a mortgage product.

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meeting, Construction Spending, and ADP Employment

  • May 01, 2017

Mortgage rates trended upward last week, after hitting year-long lows earlier in the month.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet for the third time this year.  There is not a press conference scheduled after this meeting, but there will be an official announcement released on Wednesday at 2 PM.   Also scheduled for release this week, are the US construction spending report and the ADP employment report.

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

  • 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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Secretary Carson’s Listening Tour is Underway

  • April 26, 2017

In an effort to better understand the state of American public housing, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson is traveling the nation to get an up close look at local communities.  

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

  • 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

  • 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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Beware! Common Real Estate Scams

  • April 19, 2017

Scammers target homebuyers or sellers because of the amount of money at stake during the real estate transaction.  Using trusted real estate professionals, keeping communication open, and staying aware throughout the process can help reduce the risk of fraud. 

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MBA National Secondary Conference & Expo 2017

  • April 18, 2017

It’s time for one of the biggest Mortgage Conferences of the year in the biggest financial center in the country: the MBA National Secondary Market Conference & Expo 2017 in New York, New York.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: Mortgage Rates Drop, Consumer Sentiment Soars, and More

  • April 14, 2017

This week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate average interest rate dropped to the lowest level of the year so far, driven down by the political climate.  Job openings increased, but hiring declined.  The consumer sentiment index continued to surge and retail sales dropped.

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April is National Fair Housing Month

  • April 12, 2017

The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) was established on April 11, 1968, when President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law.  This act prohibits the discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on the race, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, and family status of the buyer or renter. 

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Market Forecast: JOLTS, Consumer Sentiment, Retail Sales

  • April 10, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward last week.  This week, economic reports of significance include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), the consumer sentiment index, and retail sales report. 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending and ADP Employment Improve

  • April 07, 2017

Mortgage rates trended downward this week after an uptick last week.  US construction spending increased, mortgage applications returned mixed numbers, and the ADP Employment report posted a sizable gain.

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Joining the 800+ Credit Club

  • April 05, 2017

Lenders use credit scores to determine a borrower’s ability to repay debt like mortgages and vehicle loans.  Credit scores impact lending terms, mortgage rates, and financing eligibility.  Typically, scores above 700 are considered good.  TransUnion reports only about 20% of Americans have a score above 780 and even fewer rank above 800.  How can consumers improve their credit score and reach these elite ranges?

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and ADP Employment Report

  • April 03, 2017

Mortgage rates continued to hold steady last week, trending slightly upward according to Mortgage News Daily.  This week will be light on housing news and heavy on jobs reports.  Jobs reports, like this week’s ADP employment report, are still relevant to the housing market because labor market growth triggers spending and borrowing by gainfully employed consumers.

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

  • 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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Pros and Cons of Paying Points

  • March 30, 2017

Points, also known as discount points or origination points, are fees paid to the lender to secure a reduced interest rate for the life of the mortgage loan.  Points are an optional fee that are beneficial to some buyers, especially those who will be living in the home long-term. 

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MBA Opens Doors Foundation

  • March 29, 2017

We truly believe home is where the heart is.  For those suffering from illnesses, having a place to call home can be just as healing as the hospital.  Unfortunately, unexpected medical expenses have the potential to cause major financial damage to families.  The MBA Opens Doors Foundation is here to help. 

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

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • 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

  • 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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Warning: Four Common Household Fire Starters

  • March 15, 2017

House fires are devastating tragedies that may lead to substantive loss of property and even injury or fatality.  The National Fire Protection Association attributes electrical failure or malfunction as the cause of over 47,000 fires annually. 

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Market Forecast: Federal Open Market Committee Meets Tuesday and Wednesday

  • March 13, 2017

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet this Tuesday and Wednesday and vote on whether or not to raise the benchmark interest rate.  Last week, the European Central Bank voted to leave interest rates unchanged.  In the United States, Mortgage rates were on the rise last week as the market priced in a federal interest rate hike.

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Market Recap: Will Robust Job Growth Lead to Rate Hike Next Week?

  • March 10, 2017

Mortgage rates were on the rise this week, ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  After this week’s positive job numbers from the ADP employment report, many economists are predicting a rate hike will take place next week.

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How to Protect Personal Information When Filing Taxes

  • March 08, 2017

Tax season is an opportune time for hackers to gain access to an abundance of secure information.  Consumers are transmitting sensitive data and many are anticipating refund payments.  The IRS estimated that it halted more than $4 billion in fraudulent refunds, on 787,000 tax returns during the first nine months of 2016.

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Market Forecast: MBA Mortgage Applications, Consumer Credit, and ADP Employment

  • March 06, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move much last week, trending upward according to some surveys.  There are no major housing reports scheduled this week, except for the weekly Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) purchase application survey.  Other notable economic reports include consumer credit and the ADP employment report.

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

  • 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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Ikea’s Build Your Own Urban Garden

  • March 01, 2017

Furniture retailer Ikea, popular for its do-it-yourself assembly, released a new structure through its innovation lab Space10 called Growroom.  This spherical, wooden planter is designed to facilitate gardening in dense urban areas where many residents do not have backyards. 

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

  • 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

  • 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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No Substitute for the FICO Score

  • February 23, 2017

One of the first steps in securing a home loan is determining the borrower’s credit score.  With multiple credit bureaus reporting on different factors, the borrower may see multiple versions of their credit score.  Additionally, lead generation websites are constantly phishing consumers to get their free “credit scores.”  HousingWire reports that new research suggests that the VantageScore is not the same as a FICO score despite claims asserting otherwise.

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Alert: Increase in Utility-Related Phone Call Scams

  • February 22, 2017

The number of phone scammers posing as heating or electric companies increased 109% in 2016.  The top five companies phone scammer claim affiliation with are General Electric, Duke Energy, ConEd, Georgia Power, and Consumers Energy.

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

  • 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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Market Recap: NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, and Building Permits

  • February 17, 2017

This week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivered her semiannual testimony on the Fed’s monetary policy.  Because of her hawkish tones, economists have increased March’s rate hike expectations to 35%.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index dropped this month and housing starts declined, but building permits increased.  Retail sales posted modest increases as well.  

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Homes for Hope Designed to House Homeless Population

  • 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: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts, and Building Permits

  • February 13, 2017

Mortgage rates dropped somewhat last week.  Rates in 2017 have stayed relatively unchanged following volatility toward the end of 2016.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release a housing market index.  Other scheduled reports include retail sales, housing starts, and building permits. 

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit and Mortgage Apps Up, JOLTS Down Slightly

  • February 10, 2017

After some volatility earlier in the month, mortgage rates started to drop this week.  Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave interest rates unchanged.  This week, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) dropped slightly, and consumer credit posted modest gains.  Mortgage applications also increased this week, following a drop last week.

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Pittsburgh Area Mall Sold for $100 at Foreclosure Auction

  • February 08, 2017

Pittsburgh Mills, a 1.1 million-square-foot mall in Frazer, Pennsylvania, sold at auction for just $100.  The sprawling shopping center once valued at $190 Million in 2007 was foreclosed by Wells Fargo in November 2015, when its developers did not pay back the $143 Million owed.  

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Market Forecast: No Rate Hike, Jolts Report, and Consumer Credit

  • February 06, 2017

Mortgage rates fluctuated only slightly last week, and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to not raise interest rates.  This week, the Labor Department releases its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), the consumer credit report for December comes out, and the MBA releases its weekly mortgage purchase application index.

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Market Recap: Housing Numbers are Up and No Rate Hike, Yet

  • February 03, 2017

Mortgage rates did not move much this week, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision not to raise interest rates.  Despite a week-over-week drop in new purchase and refinance mortgage applications, monthly housing numbers posted strong gains.

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Ultra-Affordable Housing

  • February 01, 2017

Hex House, not to be confused with the Tulsa’s most terrifying haunted attraction of the same name, is an affordable housing solution that reduces the cost of design and construction.  Each home is assembled on-site, by the buyer, much like do-it-yourself furniture.

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

  • 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 Recap: Carson Approved, Dow20K, and Mortgage Movement

  • January 27, 2017

Mortgage rates experienced some volatility this week, opening with a decline and then climbing throughout the week.  The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee approved Dr. Ben Carson’s nomination for the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The next step in his proceedings will be facing the entire Senate vote.  On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 20,000 for the first time ever.  Important housing reports that were released this week include existing home sales, new home sales, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index.

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How ReGen Village is Pioneering Sustainability

  • January 25, 2017

Self-sufficiency is not a new concept.  Before the modern age communities thrived for centuries without relying on trade and export from around the world.  Today, disconnecting from the grid is a new concept and one that challenges the idea of sustainability in housing and development.

 

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

  • 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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Market Recap: New Administration Overturns Mortgage-Fee Cut

  • January 20, 2017

The Federal Housing Administration had planned to reduce annual Mortgage Insurance Premium starting January 27th.  However, the new Trump administration suspended this change.  Still, homebuilders remain confident, and housing starts are up but building permits dropped slightly. 

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Benefits of More Walkable Neighborhoods

  • January 18, 2017

As the car-centric world starts shifting toward the walkability trend, neighborhoods are seeing property values rise and quality of life improve.  Enabling pedestrianization of a neighborhood is the first step toward urban renewal, commitment to a better environment, and a revamped sense of community. 

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Market Forecast: Short Week with Big Housing News

  • January 16, 2017

It is going to be a short news week with markets closed today in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and no major events scheduled on Friday because of Inauguration Day.  Looking ahead there will be important housing numbers released with the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index, and housing starts and building permits.  The consumer price index is scheduled for release Wednesday morning.

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Market Recap: Consumers Confident, Job Openings are Up, and Retail Sales are Soft

  • January 13, 2017

Mortgage rates opened the week with a slight week-over-week decline and did not change much from Monday to Friday.  This week, the Federal Reserve released its consumer credit report, the Bureau of Labor released the JOLTS Survey, and the retail sales report for December came in.  Several incoming cabinet members sat for their confirmation hearings this week including Dr. Ben Carson for Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Job Openings, and Retail Sales

  • January 09, 2017

Last week, mortgage rates opened the year with a week-over-week decline.  This week is the first full week of the new year with several important economic reports including consumer credit, JOLTS, and retail sales.

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Market Recap: ADP Employment Gains and Increase in Construction Spending

  • January 06, 2017

Mortgage rates started the New Year with a drop from the previous week and dropped further by the end of the week.  In housing news, US Construction spending increased somewhat and mortgage applications dropped.  The ADP Employment report was also released this week, showing continued steady job growth.

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New York Pledges $8 Million for Community Redevelopment

  • January 04, 2017

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York and former HUD Secretary, announced Tuesday the disbursement of $8 Million for the construction, rehabilitation, and repair of homes across the state of New York.  The funds will be administered by the state’s Affordable Housing Corporation to make improvements to existing owner-occupied homes, to acquire and rehabilitate homes for sale, and to construct new homes for sale.  

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Market Forecast: Rates Drop, US Construction Spending, and ADP Employment Report

  • January 02, 2017

Happy New Year!  Mortgage rates started to drop last week, after a steady climb following the election and the FOMC rate hike.  This week is a short week with markets closed on Monday in observation of New Year’s Day.  US construction spending comes out Tuesday, the weekly MBA purchase applications survey comes out Wednesday as well as the ADP employment report.  

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Breaking News: First Increase in Loan Limits Since 2006

  • December 09, 2016

Since the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 established the baseline loan limit of $417,000 there has not been an increase in loan limits.  When instituted, HERA stated the baseline loan limit would not rise until the average US home price rebounded to a pre-decline level.  Until this year, the average US home price was below the level achieved in Q3 of 2007. 

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Rent vs. Buy: 3 Questions to Consider

  • November 17, 2016

Do you build equity with every home purchase?  Is renting just throwing money away?  How long do you have to stay in a home to build equity?  Are rents more stable than mortgage rates?

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CMG Financial Correspondent Lending Sponsors the MBA’s Annual Convention & Expo 2016 #HEROES

  • October 07, 2016

CMG Financial Correspondent Lending is proud to be a Diamond Sponsor at the MBA’s Annual Convention & Expo 2016 #HEROES

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6 Reasons to Buy in the Fall

  • October 06, 2016

According to research conducted by Realtor.com, fall might actually be a better season to buy a new home.  Traditionally shoppers have considered spring and summer as the first choice seasons for new homebuyers.  Fall and winter bring colder weather and family holidays that deter shoppers from browsing potential new homes.  However, there are some advantages to buying a home during the fall season.

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CMBA 44th Annual Western Conference

  • July 18, 2016

Meet Us In San Francisco at the CMBA 44th Annual Western Conference July 25-27, 2016!

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Featured in California MBA's Finance News Magazine

  • June 17, 2016

CMG Financial on the Future of the Industry

 

In this special edition of our Roundtable series, we interviewed three top executives with one of our President’s Council sponsors, CMG Financial, a top residential mortgage lender based in San Ramon. The future of the industry will be determined by how innovative companies like CMG Financial respond to new regulatory realities, market disruptions, and more.

 

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