VA vs. FHA: Which Government Product Is Best?


Nicole Carlson

Posted on: December 12, 2020

There are plenty of different home loan products that home buyers can choose from, with popular products including FHA and VA loans. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are both government-backed programs, but they have their own set of benefits and drawbacks.

When looking to buy a house, which is best: VA or FHA? The answer depends entirely on what the buyer is looking for.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the big differences between the two mortgage products:

Click to check today’s VA rates.

Downpayment

For home buyers looking to avoid a downpayment, it’s tough to beat VA loans. VA loans don’t require any type of downpayment – part of the program’s guarantee.

FHA loans will require a downpayment of at least 3.5%, but that’s still well below that traditional 20 percent that many home buyers assume they need.

In terms of getting the lowest downpayment possible, VA loans have FHA loans beat.

Insurance

If you make a downpayment of less than 20 percent on an FHA loan, you can expect to be paying a mortgage insurance premium, or MIP. This will be paid either upfront at the closing of the FHA loan or monthly, with the annual fee being spread over all 12 months.

Unlike other types of mortgage insurance, MIP will also last the life of the FHA loan. That means an FHA buyer with less than 20 percent down will be required to refinance their loan after they’ve established enough equity in their home.

VA loans, on the other hand, require no type of insurance regardless of how much the buyer puts down. This is another part of the VA’s guarantee – the VA insures the loan, so any type of insurance is moved away from the home buyer.

Mortgage Rates

It’s difficult to peg mortgage rates since they’re always changing, but one thing is clear: VA loans typically come with a lower mortgage rate than FHA loans.

Mortgage software giant Ellie Mae demonstrates this. Each month, they compile a report of all the loans that go through their software. That report is then released, giving home buyers valuable information to work with.

In October, the average mortgage rate for a VA loan was 26 basis points (0.26%) lower than the average rate for an FHA loan. October wasn’t a fluke, either; VA loans routinely have lower mortgage rates than FHA loans.

Check today’s VA loan rates.

Qualification

While VA loans have an edge with downpayment, mortgage rates and insurance, home buyers will still need to qualify for the loans. Here’s how different qualification requirements compare for both products:

Credit scores

Technically, VA loans have no minimum credit score and FHA loans can be approved with scores as low as 520. But in the real world, lenders will want to see a credit score of at least 580 for FHA loans, and usually around 620 for VA loans.

According to Ellie Mae’s October 2020 Origination Report, the average credit score for closed VA loans in October 2020 was 725, compared to 683 for FHA loans. Granted, this does not show what the minimum requirement is for either product. However, generally speaking, FHA loans are usually more flexible with credit scores than VA loans.

DTI

With the debt-to-income ratio (DTI), both VA and FHA home buyers will want to keep their total debt to income below 45 percent. This means that the total monthly amount spent on debt (including the mortgage you’re trying to get) needs to be below 45 percent of monthly income.

Neither product has an edge here, but it’s still an important part of qualifying to pay attention to.

Eligibility

Anyone can be eligible for an FHA loan, but only specific veterans and military members can get a VA loan. Usually, most veterans are eligible, so long as they’ve served for 2 years or more. Requirements for eligibility do change, though, depending on when the individual served, how they served and why they retired from the military.

For a more in-depth look at VA loan eligibility, click here.

Ease of using the product

VA loans have a reputation for going slower than other loan products, but that’s not entirely the case. According to Ellie Mae, the average VA loan closed in 51 days – just one day slower than the average FHA loan.

The longest part of the VA home buying process can be the VA appraisal. With some preparation, this process can go smoothly, as with all the other steps of buying a home with a VA loan. Click here to find out how to make the VA appraisal process go smoothly.

Which is best?

On paper, VA loans have more benefits than FHA loans. Each situation is different, though, so it’s impossible to say whether or not one product is definitively better than the other.

That being said, VA eligible home buyers will likely want to take advantage of the VA’s mortgage product.

Click here to check your VA loan eligibility.

Source: militaryvaloan.com

Mortgage Rates vs. Fed Announcements

Posted on March 3rd, 2020

File this one under “no correlation,” despite a flood of news articles claiming the Fed’s rate cut directly impacts mortgage rates.

Today, the Fed cut the federal funds rate by half a percentage point to a range of 1-1.25% due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, this despite a strong U.S. economy.

That sent mortgage rates trending and the media into overdrive, searching for possible angles.

You can’t blame them (the media) – it makes for a good headline, but much of what is thrown out there usually isn’t true or anything to worry about.

In most cases, it’s excitement-inducing or fear mongering, or simply something to fill the page.

It tends to be a regurgitated article that comes out around the time the Fed meets, which is every six weeks throughout the year (eight times annually).

Whenever a Fed announcement comes along, you’ll start to see an uptick in articles about what mortgage rates will do when the Fed speaks, with the most common ones being “rates expected to rise” or “rates could move even lower thanks to Fed rate cut.”

Or you’ll get straight up definitive articles warning you about the impending rate rise and what you should/can do to mitigate the damage.

The problem is it’s simply not accurate and these tend to do more harm than good.

The Fed Doesn’t Announce Mortgage Rates

  • The Fed doesn’t set or announce consumer mortgage rates
  • Regardless of the misinformation you’ll find out there
  • When they announce a Fed rate change
  • Mortgage rates may go up or down (or do nothing!)

When the Fed gets together to set the target rate for the Federal Funds Rate, financial markets (stocks, bonds, etc.) pay attention and react.

As does the media because it’s generally a big deal. But Jerome Powell and co. don’t sit down and decide which way mortgage rates will go.

Rather, they discuss the state of the broader economy, inflation, monetary policy, and so on.

They almost never mention mortgages explicitly, except for in recent years thanks to the remnants of the quantitative easing program known as QE3.

No Correlation Between Fed Funds Rate and Mortgage Rates

fed funds vs mortgage rates

Additionally, there’s no clear correlation between the Federal Funds Rate and mortgages.

In other words, one can go up while the other goes down. Or one can do nothing while the other does something. Or they can move in the same direction for a while.

But the spread between the two won’t remain in a certain range over time like mortgage rates and the 10-year bond yield do.

You can’t say the 30-year fixed should be X% higher or lower than the Fed Funds Rate at any given time.

As you can see from the St. Louis Fed chart above, the 10-year yield and the 30-year fixed (based on Freddie Mac data) move in relative lockstep.

You can see the blue line and red line move in a very similar fashion over the years with a pretty steady spread. Then there’s the green line (Fed Funds Rate), which is all over the place.

Sometimes you see a long-term trend, but other times you see no apparent correlation.

Check out the second graph below, from 2000-2010, which shows some similar movement between the FFF and mortgage rates, but at times no obvious relationship.

decade compare

In short, mortgage rates don’t necessarily follow the Fed, whether that’s up, down, or nowhere at all.

The Fed Indirectly Influences Mortgage Rates

  • A more accurate way of defining the relationship
  • Is that it might be an indirect, long-term one
  • If the Fed is raising rates over time
  • Long-term mortgage rates may eventually follow

Some may argue that the Fed indirectly influences mortgage rates. Really, the Fed is just trying to control inflation via short-term rates. This in turn dictates how longer-term rates may play out.

Essentially, the market for longer-term rates such as 30-year mortgages (and mortgage-backed securities) might seek direction from Fed cues.

The Fed tends to telegraph its moves well in advance, so it’s pretty rare for anyone to get too surprised the day they release their FOMC statement.

Today was a little different since it was an “emergency rate cut,” but it still wasn’t totally unexpected. Again, the Fed is pretty conservative.

Anyway, they do give an indication as to which way we’re (the economy is) headed and what kind of monetary policy is in store, which can be important to longer-term rates, such as 30-year fixed mortgages.

That means the Fed statement can have an immediate impact on mortgage rates on the day it’s released, to the point where lenders may need to reprice ratesheets from morning to afternoon.

But that reprice can completely counter the Fed’s move. For example, the Fed can lower its key rate while mortgage lenders reprice rates higher. Or do absolutely nothing.

Mortgage Rates Can Go Either Way…

  • Pay attention to Fed announcements when they’re released
  • But don’t give them too much weight or worry about them
  • Or think you can predict what will happen to mortgage rates
  • Since there’s no clear short-term correlation

So, Fed announcements can affect mortgage rates, but how they’ll affect mortgage rates is mostly a crapshoot.

You can’t say oh, the Fed lowered rates so my 30-year mortgage will be lower too. And you can’t say oh no, the Fed raised rates, I should have locked my mortgage!

The mortgage rate trend lately has without a doubt been lower, but we’ve reached a point where rates are at/near all-time lows, making it increasingly difficult for them to get any better.

Ultimately, lenders don’t even have the capacity (staff, etc.) or the desire to lower rates because they’re probably already swamped.

Then there are the MBS investors to worry about, who won’t be thrilled about all the prepayments happening.

In summary, it can be a mystery as to how things will go post Fed statement, and you can always get hung out to dry. That’s why floating a mortgage rate isn’t for the faint of heart.

But again, the Fed’s move may have no bearing on your mortgage rate, at least not today, or tomorrow. Or even next week.

The Fed might just be good at telling us which direction mortgage rates are headed (eventually) based on policy and broader economic conditions.

If you’re wondering why mortgage rates haven’t improved after the announcement today, perhaps it was already baked in. And as noted, it’s getting really hard to move even lower.

I don’t know if lenders want to give you a 2% 30-year fixed.

You could argue that mortgage lenders were ahead of the Fed on this one, with rates marching lower for weeks on end lately.

Just remember this; lenders will use any excuse to raise mortgage rates, but take their sweet old time lowering them.

That means we could even see more improvement in coming days and weeks, but not because of the Fed. More so due to economic unknowns globally.

Tip: The only direct mortgage impact you’ll see from a Fed announcement is an increase or decrease in the prime rate, which affects the pricing of HELOCs, among other consumer loans. Everything else is indirect and not necessarily correlated.

(photo: Federalreserve)

Lock in a lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

When to Refinance a Home Mortgage: Now, Later, or Never?

Posted on October 28th, 2020

Mortgage Q&A: “When to refinance a home mortgage.”

With mortgage rates at or near record lows, you may be wondering if now is a good time to refinance. Heck, your neighbors just did and now they’re bragging about their shiny new low rate.

The popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 2.80% last week, per Freddie Mac, well below the 3.75% average seen a year ago, and much better than the 4-6% range seen years earlier.

Historically, mortgage interest rates have never been lower, making a mortgage refinance a veritable no-brainer for many homeowners out there.

In other words, there’s a good chance you won’t be holding off from refinancing because interest rates are too high (unless you just recently refinanced).

But even if you did, there’s a possibility it could make sense to refinance a second time.

Should I Refinance My Mortgage Now?

should i refinance

  • Consider your current interest rate relative to today’s available rates
  • Along with required closing costs and how long it will take to break even
  • Think about how long you plan to keep the mortgage/property
  • And any other factors like removing mortgage insurance or shortening your loan term

Well, the answer to that question depends on a number of factors that will be unique to you and only you.

First, what is the interest rate on your existing mortgage(s)? Is it higher or lower than current mortgage rates?

If it’s higher, how much higher? If it’s lower, is your current loan adjustable? Or do you want to refinance for another reason, perhaps to tap equity?

Once you’ve got those basic questions answered, let’s talk about the new loan. What will the rate and closing costs be on the new mortgage?

Have you started shopping rates yet? Do you even know if you qualify?

How long do you plan to keep this new mortgage? What about the house? Are you sticking around for a while?

Assuming you’re still here, it might be a good time to take a look at a common scenario to illustrate the potential savings of a refinance.

Let’s look at a quick home refinance example:

Loan amount: $200,000
Current mortgage rate: 4.25% 30-year fixed
Refinance rate: 2.75% 30-year fixed
Closing costs: $2,500

The monthly mortgage payment on your current mortgage (including just principal and interest) would be roughly $984, while the refinanced rate of 2.75% would carry a monthly P&I payment of about $816.

That equates to savings of roughly $168 a month if you were to refinance. Not bad. But we aren’t done yet.

Now assuming your closing costs were $2,500 to complete the refinance, you’d be looking at about 14 months of payments, give or take, before you broke even and started saving yourself some money.

Yes, you need to consider the cost of the refinance too…

So if you happened to refinance again or sold your home during that window, refinancing wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

In fact, you’d actually lose money and any time you spent refinancing your mortgage would be wasted as well.

But if you plan to stay in the home (and with the mortgage) for many years to come, the savings could be substantial. Just imagine saving $168 for 200 months or longer.

This “break-even” point is key to making your decision, at least financially speaking.

You also need to consider whether it makes sense to buy down your interest rate by paying points, which will increase the time to this break-even point.

For example, those who paid upfront points on their refinance a year ago might be kicking themselves, knowing they’ll benefit from a subsequent refinance thanks to today’s even lower rates.

So sit down and determine your future housing plans before you decide to refinance to determine if it’s the right move.

If you don’t know what your plan is for at least the next few years, you may want to hold off until you do.

[The refinance rule of thumb.]

How Long Have You Had Your Existing Mortgage?

when to refinance

  • You also have to consider how long you’ve had your current home loan
  • This can play a big role in determining whether a refinance makes sense
  • Take note of how much it has been paid down since that time
  • And how much of each payment is going toward interest

Here’s another consideration. If you’ve already paid down your mortgage substantially, it might not make sense to refinance, assuming you want to pay the thing off.

Even if rates are super low, as there’s a good chance you’ll pay more interest overall if you “reset the clock” and start your full loan term over again. But this isn’t always the case.

To determine if a refinance is still the right move, get your hands on an amortization calculator.

That way you can see what you’ll pay in interest if you keep your mortgage intact versus what you’ll pay in interest with the new mortgage, factoring in what you’ve already paid on the old mortgage.

You can also use my refinance calculator to plug in all the pertinent numbers, including what we discussed above, to get a quick answer.

If your calculations reveal that you’ll pay more interest over the entire term of the refinance mortgage, there’s an easy strategy to reduce both interest paid and the term of the new mortgage.

Simply make the same monthly mortgage payment you were making before the refinance, with the excess going toward principal each month.

This will shorten the loan term and could save you a lot of money. I explain this method on my mortgage payoff tricks page, which you can read about in more detail.

If you can afford it, you may also want to look into shortening the loan term by going with a 15-year fixed mortgage.

For example, if you’re already 10 years into your 30-year mortgage, reducing the term to a 15-year fixed will ensure you don’t extend the aggregate term.

And with mortgage rates so low, you may be able to retain your low monthly mortgage payment and pay the mortgage off even earlier than expected.

Lock in a lower rate.

Also, 15-year mortgage rates are lower than those on the 30-year fixed.

Other Mortgage Refinance Considerations…

  • Even if interest rates are comparable to what you already have
  • It could make sense to refinance out of an ARM or an interest-only loan
  • The same is true if you want to get rid of mortgage insurance
  • Or if you’d like to consolidate two mortgage loans into one

If you’re currently in an adjustable-rate mortgage, or worse, an option arm, the decision to refinance into a fixed-rate loan could make a lot of sense.

Even if the monthly savings aren’t tremendous, getting out of a risky product and into a stable one could pay dividends for years to come.

Or if you have two loans, consolidating the total balance into a single loan (and ridding yourself of that pesky second mortgage) could result in some serious savings as well.

You’ll have one less mortgage to worry about and ideally a lower combined monthly payment.

The same might be true if you have mortgage insurance and want to get rid of it. Many homeowners will execute an FHA-to-conventional refinance to drop MIP and reduce monthly payments once they’ve got some equity.

Additionally, you might be able to get your hands on a no cost refinance, which would allow you to refinance without any out-of-pocket costs (the rate would be higher to compensate).

In this case, if the rate is lower than your existing rate, you start saving money immediately.

As mentioned earlier, a cash-out refinance could also contribute to your decision to refinance if you are in need of money and have the necessary equity.

Heck, with mortgage interest rates this low you could even make the argument to tap equity and invest it elsewhere for a better return.

Again, you’ll want to aim for a lower rate and cash back, but there could be a scenario where borrowing from your home is the best deal, even if you don’t save much or anything mortgage payment-wise.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless reasons to refinance your home loan, including many seemingly unconventional ones you may have never thought of.

Whatever the reason, be sure to put in the time (and the math) to ensure it’s a good decision for you and not just the bank or a loan officer pushing you to do it!

Lock in a lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Why Are Mortgage Rates Different?

Mortgage rate Q&A: “Why are mortgage rates different?”

Why is the sky blue? Why are clouds white? Why won’t your neighbor trim their tree branches?

These are all good questions, and ones that often puzzle even the most savvy of human beings.

First things first, take a look at how mortgage rates are determined to better understand how banks and mortgage lenders come up with interest rates to begin with.

From there, you’ll need to consider why mortgage rates are different for consumer A vs. consumer B.

No One Size Fits All for Mortgage Rates

why mortgage rates different

  • Mortgages are kind of like snowflakes in that no two are exactly the same (not really)
  • The subject property and the borrower will always have unique characteristics
  • As such risk on the underlying loan will vary and so too will the interest rate received
  • Lenders also price their mortgages differently so even identical scenarios can result in variable pricing

Mortgages are complicated business, and there certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach in this industry.

First off, there are thousands of different banks, lenders, and credit unions that offer home loans, some of them entirely unique and proprietary.

These companies compete with one another to offer the lowest rate and/or the best customer service.

The well-known names might offer higher rates in exchange for their perceived trust and familiarity.

Meanwhile, the smaller guys might offer rock-bottom rates to simply stay in contention with the big players.

Along with that, every loan scenario is different (just like a snowflake), and must be priced accordingly to factor in mortgage default risk (risk-based pricing).

Simply put, the higher the risk of default, the higher the mortgage rate. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There also promotional rates, such as mortgage rates that end in .99%, and innovative marketing products like UWM’s Exact Rate that lets brokers offer strange rate combinations, including 2.541% or 2.873%.

So the possibilities truly are endless these days when it comes to different mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates Vary Based on the Loan Criteria

  • Mortgage lenders make a lot of assumptions when advertising rates
  • Your particular loan scenario may be quite different than their hypothetical loan
  • You have to take into account the many pricing adjustments applicable to your mortgage if it doesn’t fit inside that box
  • These adjustments have the potential to greatly increase or decrease your interest rate

Mortgage rates don’t exist in a bubble – the parts affect the whole.

Banks and lenders start with a base interest rate (par rate) and then either raise it or lower it (rarely) based on the home loan’s criteria.

There are loan pricing adjustments for all types of stuff, including:

· Loan amount (conforming or jumbo)
· Documentation (full, stated, etc.)
· Credit score
· Occupancy (primary, vacation, investment)
· Loan Purpose (purchase or refinance)
· Debt-to-Income Ratio
· Property Type (single-family home, condo, multi-unit)
· Loan-to-value / Combined loan-to-value

The more you’ve “got going on,” the higher your mortgage rate will be. And vice versa.

In short, an individual purchasing a single-family home with a conforming loan amount, 20% down payment, and a 800 FICO score will likely qualify for the lowest rates available.

Conversely, the individual requesting cash out on a four-unit investment property with a 640 FICO score will likely be subject to a much higher rate, assuming they even qualify.

And again, rates will vary from lender to lender, so it’s a multi-layered situation.

I’ve already covered a few related topics, including why mortgage rates rates are higher for condos and investment properties.

Mortgage rates also tend to be higher on jumbo loans and refinance transactions, especially those involving cash-out.

Advertised Mortgage Rates Are Best Case Scenario

  • Mortgage rates on TV and online are usually best-case scenario
  • They are intended to be super attractive to lure you in and snag your business
  • When the dust settles your interest rate might look nothing like what you saw advertised
  • This is why it’s important to shop around and better understand how risky your particular loan is

You know those mortgage rates you see on TV or on the Internet?

Those assume you’ve got an owner-occupied single family home, a perfect credit score, a huge down payment, and a conforming loan amount.

Not to mention a newborn golden retriever with an unmatched pedigree.

Most people don’t have all those things, and as a result, they’ll see different mortgage rates. And by “different,” I mean higher.

How much higher depends on all the factors listed above.  So take the advertised rates you see with a huge grain of salt.

Also, take the time to shop your home loan with different lenders, and in the process, get to better understand your risk.

Find out what lenders are docking you for and take steps to fix those things if you want the lowest rates available.

Do Mortgage Rates Vary By State?

  • Yes, they sure can! You might get a lower rate in California vs. Nebraska
  • Depending on lender appetite for a certain geographic region
  • Rates may vary from state to state, or even in certain counties
  • Make sure the lender you use offers the best pricing for the state in which you reside

One last thing. I’ve been asked if mortgage rates can vary from state to state, and the answer is actually YES. In fact, they can even vary by county in some cases.

As you can see from the image below, some states tend to have lower average mortgage rates for one reason or another.

States Lowest Average Mortgage Rates

This list is from February 2019, when the average rate for the 30-year fixed was 4.84% nationwide, per LendingTree.

While no state offered an average rate below 4.74% or above 4.96% (pretty narrow range), there was some divergence by locality.

California led the nation with an average rate of 4.74%, followed closely by the 4.75% average seen in New Jersey and the 4.76% average found in both Washington and Massachusetts.

Nothing earth-shattering, but still different nonetheless.

But it might not be for any one reason, such as a higher default rate in state X or fewer natural disasters in state Y. Or more regulations in another state.

It could be more to do with the fact that lenders want to increase their business in a certain part of the country, and thus they’ll offer some sort of pricing special or incentive to drive rates down in say California.

So you might see a rate sheet that says .50% rebate state adjustment for loans in CA and FL, for example. This will give them a competitive advantage in those regions.

How about states where mortgage rates tend to be slightly higher, such as New York, Iowa, and Arkansas, which averaged 4.96%, 4.93%, and 4.92%, respectively?

States Highest Average Mortgage Rates

It’s possible you might see a pricing adjustment of say .25% for one of these states that may drive the interest rate up somewhat.

In other words, rates can be priced both higher or lower depending on the state where the property is located.

Of course, if this results in unfavorable pricing you can just move on to a different lender that doesn’t charge more for the state in question.

All the more reason to shop around, compare mortgage rates online, and speak with a mortgage broker or two.

Once you’ve done that, check mortgage rates with your local bank or credit union as well.

Don’t be one of the many who obtain just one mortgage quote because you may wind up paying too much.

Read more: What mortgage rate can I expect?

Lock in a lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Buying a Home in 2021? 11 Tips to Get It Done!

If you’ve yet to enter the housing market, but are thinking of buying a home in 2021, there’s a lot you need to know.

As I once pointed out, this isn’t your older sibling’s housing market. Not just anyone can get a mortgage these days. You actually have to qualify. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Let’s start by talking about home prices, which have soared in recent years. The good news is mortgage rates remain very low, and may even break new record lows this year, which can keep affordability within reach.

1. Prepare for More Sticker Shock

Yes, if you’re prepping to buy a home in 2021, expect to be shocked, and not in a good way. At this point in the cycle, home prices have eclipsed old all-time highs in many parts of the country.

And even if they haven’t yet, there’s a good chance you’ll be paying more than the Zestimate or Redfin Estimate for the property in question due to limited inventory and strong home buyer demand.

The bad news for renters is home prices are expected to rise another 10% this year, so things are just getting more and more expensive.

In short, expect to shell out a lot of dough if you want a home in 2021, and that could often mean paying over asking price, even if the original list price seems high.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan Early

Speaking of that home being out of your price range, you may want to get pre-approved with a bank or mortgage lender ASAP.

First off, real estate agents won’t give you the time of day without one, especially in a red-hot market.

And secondly, if you don’t know how much house you can afford, you’re basically wasting your time by perusing listings and going to open houses.

This is especially true if the homes you’ve got your eye on are consistently going above asking since you’ll need even more purchasing power.

It’s not hard or all that time consuming to get a mortgage pre-approval, and it’ll give you more confidence and perhaps make you more serious about finally making the move.

Tip: Look for an online mortgage lender that lets you generate a pre-approval on the fly in minutes (and know you don’t have to use them if and when you proceed with a purchase!).

3. Check Your Credit Scores and Put Away Your Credit Cards

While you’re at it, you should check your credit scores (all 3 of them) and determine if anything needs to be addressed.

As I always say, credit scoring changes can take time, so give yourself plenty of it. Don’t wait until the last minute to fix any errors or issues.

And while you’re addressing anything that needs more attention, do yourself a favor and put the credit cards in the freezer (or somewhere else out of reach).

Lots of spending, even if you pay it back, can ding your scores, even if just momentarily. It can also increase your DTI ratio and limit your purchasing power. Ultimately, bad timing can create big headaches.

Additionally, pumping the brakes on spending might give you a nice buffer for closing costs, down payment funds, moving costs, and renovation expenses once you do buy.

4. Housing Inventory Will Be…Limited

It’s the same story in 2021 as it was in 2020, 2019, 2018, and heck, even as far back as 2012. There’s really been a lack of inventory since the housing market bottomed because homes were never for sale en masse.

During the prior housing crisis, borrowers got foreclosed on or deployed real estate short sales to move on, and banks made sure all that inventory never flooded the market.

Now we’ve got would-be sellers with nowhere to go, thanks to the massive price increases realized in the past few years. It’s hard to move up or downsize, so a lot of folks are staying put. That means less choice for you.

While we saw an uptick in inventory in 2019, it appeared to be short-lived and now housing supply is at an all-time low!

With near-record low interest rates and lots of Americans hitting the ripe first-time buyer age of 34, expect competition to intensify.

Again, this supports the argument of being prepared early so you’re ready to make an offer at a moment’s notice!

5. That Home Might Be a Fixer

You probably don’t have the same skill set as Joanna and Chip Gaines, but you might still wind up with a fixer-upper thanks to those inventory constraints. And that’s totally okay.

What I’ve learned from buying real estate is that you’ll typically never be content with the upgrades previous owners or developers make, even if they were super expensive and high quality. So why pay extra for it?

There’s a good chance you’ll want to make the home yours, with special touches and changes that distance yourself from the previous owner.

Don’t be afraid to go down that road, but also know the difference between superficial blemishes and design challenges, and even worse, major problems.

Especially this year, watch out for money pits that sellers can finally unload because real estate is just so very hot.

Those properties that could never sell may finally find a buyer, and you might not want that buyer to be you.

6. You May Have to Fight for It

What’s even more annoying is that you may have to fight to get your hands on the few properties that are out there, depending on the housing market in question.

In popular metros, bidding wars will still take place, and they even become the norm again as they were in previous years.

If the property is popular, there will always be someone willing to outbid you for that home they just must have. This is another reason why the fixer can be a winner, the hidden gem if you will.

That being said, it’s okay to pay more than asking (or even the fully appraised value), just keep in mind that there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Well, perhaps not plenty right now, but there’s always another opportunity around the corner.

Stay poised and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Like anything else, it’s okay to walk away. Trust your gut.

7. Still Negotiate with the Seller

Just because 2021 will be a seller’s market once again, at least in popular markets, doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. You can still get into a bidding war, win the thing, and then inspect the heck out of the house.

Inspections are key to determining what will need to be addressed once the home changes hands, and what the seller will need to do to compensate you for those issues.

If you don’t get a quality inspection (or two), you will have a difficult time asking for credits for closing costs or even a lower purchase price. Take it very seriously, the return on investment can be staggering.

Also know that in some markets, buyers may have the upper hand in 2021. Not all real estate markets are red-hot anymore, so you might be able to bid below asking and still get money for repairs.

Lock in a lower rate.

8. Do Your Mortgage Homework

While you might have your hands full with an overzealous real estate agent, it’s important not to neglect your mortgage homework.

Mortgages are often just mailed in, with little attention given to where they are originated.

Your real estate agent will have their preferred lender that you “really should consider using because they’re the best,” but you don’t have to use them or even speak to them.

I’ll typically say get a quote from them as a courtesy to keep things amicable, and to appease your agent, but also shop around with other banks, credit unions, lenders, and mortgage brokers.

At the same time, think about how you want to structure the mortgage, including down payment, loan type (FHA or conventional), and loan program.

The 30-year fixed isn’t always a no-brainer, though right now it’s a tough argument to go against it.

There are other loan programs that can make sense too, such as the 5/1 ARM, which often get swept under the rug. Make the choice yourself.

9. Expect a Very Good Mortgage Rate

If you’ve done your homework and are in good financial shape, you should be able to get your hands on a very low mortgage rate in 2021.

In fact, mortgage interest rates are historically amazing at the moment and could even reach new depths depending on what transpires this year.

Once again, the 2021 mortgage rate forecast looks excellent, so they may stay put for awhile longer or even hit new all-time lows.

In terms of financing, it’s still a great time to buy a home. Consider that the silver lining to an otherwise pricey and competitive housing market.

Of course, with home prices creeping higher and higher, even a low interest rate may not be enough to offset that growing monthly payment.

So always make time to shop to ensure you get the best rate and the lowest fees, even if financing is on sale.

Just because rates are cheap doesn’t mean you should just accept what’s thrown in front of you. Still complain, still negotiate, still ask for more!

10. The Best Time to Buy Might Be Later in the Year

Before you get too excited, or worried that time is running out, it might actually be in your favor to slow play this one.

Per Zillow, the best time to buy a home may be in late summer, including the months of August and September.

Basically, you’ve got the slow, cold months at the start of the year where there isn’t much inventory, followed by the strong spring housing market where everyone and their mother wants to buy.

Then you get a lull and perhaps even a dip in home prices during summer, which could be an attractive entry point.

You might even get lucky and snag a price cut with a lot less competition while other prospective buyers are on vacation.

That being said, get pre-approved NOW and set up your alerts for new listings ASAP and just be ready to pounce whenever.

11. Are You Sure You Want to Buy a Home?

Lastly, take a moment to ensure you actually want to buy a home as opposed to continuing to rent.

I constantly hear the old “throwing away money on rent” line and it never gets old. Then I proceed to fantasize about renting with not a care in the world.

Are you sure you’re throwing away money on rent? Renting can be pretty awesome.

You don’t pay property taxes, homeowners insurance, HOA dues, PMI, or mortgage interest. And you can leave whenever you want. That sounds like a sweet deal too.

Oh, and if anything goes wrong, you can just call your landlord or property management company.

With a home, the problem is yours, and yours alone to deal with. Broken water heater? You’re paying thousands out of pocket, not the landlord.

Consider the Effects of COVID-19

One extra thing to consider given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that reared its head last year.

As you might expect, it’s making the home buying and selling process a bit more complicated than usual, despite companies learning to adapt.

For example, home sellers are more reluctant to hold open houses or let anyone in their home, and prospective buyers are probably also a bit apprehensive entering a stranger’s house.

But it’s still very important to get a good look at a property you’re considering buying. The same goes for the home inspection and the home appraisal.

Both should still be taken very seriously, even if more difficult to complete.

A home purchase doesn’t necessarily have to be put on hold due to COVID-19, but it might require more thought given the increased uncertainty with the economy, demographic shifts (city vs. suburban living), and so on.

Also, think before you make a complete lifestyle change like moving out of the city and into the country, just because it’s on-trend. You might look back in a year or two and say what was I thinking?!

Ultimately, you should always give a home purchase a ton of thought though, so for me not much has changed.

Read more: When to look for a house to buy.

Lock in a lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Don’t Freak Out About the Recent Mortgage Rate ‘Spike’

Posted on January 15th, 2021

Queue the panic. Mortgage rates have officially spiked and the media is all over it.

Yep, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage increased from 2.65% to 2.79% this week, per Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater noted in the weekly news release that mortgage rates have been under pressure as Treasury yields have risen.

But he did stress that “while mortgage rates are expected to increase modestly in 2021, they will remain inarguably low.”

So he’s not panicking, even though the Washington Post and other news outlets are leading with articles about “mortgage rates spiking.”

When it comes down to it, a 14-basis point move isn’t what I’d refer to as a “spike,” but yes, mortgage rates are higher than they were last week.

But they are still well below the 3.65% average seen at this time a year ago.

Why Have Mortgage Rates Increased Lately?

rates

  • 30-year fixed mortgage rates have fallen to and hovered close to record lows for months
  • It’s inevitable to see some upward pressure after such a long period of record-breaking movement
  • One driver could be the bond selloff, which lower prices and increases yields
  • This might relate to the Democrats winning the Senate and increasing stimulus spending

As noted, mortgage rates are no longer at record lows, and are in fact closer to 3% than 2%. So should we all freak out?

I’m going to go with no. While the media is using the word “spike” in their articles, perhaps to make its relatively boring weekly report a little more interesting, things aren’t that bad.

Remember, mortgage rates are only marginally higher, and probably not high enough to change anyone’s position on buying a home or refinancing their mortgage.

Sure, there’s a chance someone’s monthly mortgage payment now exceeds the max DTI allowed for the loan, but if you were cutting it that close, you’re probably buying too much home.

As to what’s causing the recent upward reversal, mortgage rate watcher Matthew Graham seems to think it relates to the bond sell-off as a result of the Democrats taking over the Senate.

Simply put, the government issues Treasuries to fund additional COVID-related stimulus, which while good for the economy and struggling households, increases bond supply.

The result is lower bond prices, which forces the accompanying yields (or interest rates) higher.

And because Treasuries correlate with long-term mortgage rates like the 30-year fixed, borrowers will pay more to finance their homes.

Is This the End of Low Mortgage Rates Forever?

  • Let us remember that mortgage rates started off 2021 at all-time record lows
  • So it’s not surprising for them to rise off those levels if there’s any pressure whatsoever
  • I fully expect mortgage rates to hit new lows at some point this year
  • But you’re always going to see ebbs and flows over the course of 365 days

While it’s easy to let your fears and emotions get the best of you, perhaps we shouldn’t call an end to the low-rate party just yet.

Ultimately, mortgage rates ebb and flow, similar to how stocks go up and down from day to day, or week to week.

Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the psychology of it all and panic, but I just don’t believe we’ve seen the end of the low rates.

Additionally, there may even be more record lows in store for 2021.

Remember, the first week of 2021 resulted in new all-time lows for both the 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed, so it’s kind of far-fetched to sound the alarm.

This isn’t to say we don’t experience a period of relatively higher rates, it’s just that it could be short-lived.

Remember, the presidential inauguration is next week and there are thousands of National Guard protecting the Mall in Wasington D.C and holed up in the Capitol Building.

If that gives you confidence that good times are ahead, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

Not trying to be an alarmist, but there’s just too much uncertainty in the air for interest rates to flourish.

In short, bad news tends to lower rates, while good news increases them. I don’t see much good news, even with all that proposed government spending taken into account.

A month ago, the Federal Reserve said it would be keep its short-term interest rate near zero for the foreseeable future as the economy attempts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also indicated that they’d continue to buy Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) at the current pace until “substantial progress” is seen in the economy.

Call me a pessimist, but I don’t see anything positive happening with the economy this year, or even next year.

I think we’ve all been ignoring the elephant in the room while watching the stock market reach new all-time highs. At some point, reality will hit.

Ultimately, as long as they’re continuing to buy the mortgages this month and next, lenders will continue to make them at low, low rates.

Time will tell if rates will need to rise on long-term fixed mortgages as the Fed eventually exits the marketplace.

Is It Best to Lock Now or Wait?

  • Times like this exemplify the importance of locking in your mortgage rate
  • You are typically given the choice to lock or float your interest rate once you apply for a home loan
  • If you like what you see, lock it in and don’t give it another thought
  • If mortgage rates shoot up quickly, it could be wise to float and wait for things to calm down

My guess is fixed-rate mortgages will settle down and begin making their way back to lows seen earlier this month.

Of course, mortgage lenders are always quick to raise rates, and a lot more patient when it comes to lowering them (at our expense).

You can’t blame them though – they don’t want to get caught out if volatile rates change direction and they’re on the wrong end of that.

Times like these really exemplify the importance of locking in your mortgage rate. No one cares or complains until rates increase.

If you’re happy with your quoted rate, lock it in and forget about it.

If you’ve got some time before funding, maybe float a bit and wait for some improvement.

After all, the more time you have, the more chances you’ve got for rates to move lower.

And you can always lean on your loan officer or mortgage broker if you’re not sure what to do. Most of the experienced ones keep a keen eye on rates.

In summary, you don’t need to panic, but you should be aware of the fluid situation if you’re looking to refinance or buy a home in 2021.

It might also be a good time to consider how long you plan to stay in your home as well.

That could dictate your mortgage decision and whether or not to pay mortgage points for an even lower rate.

Lock in a lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Mortgage Rates Continue to Rise

Mortgage rates are continuing to move higher this week. We’ve now seen them rise for two consecutive weeks in the Freddie Mac PMMS. The consensus is for them to continue rising for the foreseeable future. Read on for more details.

Where are mortgage rates going?                                             

Mortgage rates rise in the Freddie Mac PMMS again

Mortgage rates have moved higher for the second straight week according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS). Here are the numbers:

  • The average rate on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage moved two basis points higher to 4.54% (0.5 points)
  • The average rate on a 15-year fixed rate mortgage ticked up two basis points to 3.99% (0.4 points)
  • The average rate on a 5-year adjustable rate mortgage moved up eight basis points to 3.93% (0.3 points)

Here is what Freddie Mac’s Economic and Housing Research Group had to say about mortgage rates this week:

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched higher for the second straight week.

Borrowing costs may be slowly on the rise again in coming weeks, as investors remain optimistic about the underlying strength of the economy. It’s important to note that mortgage rates are now up three-quarters of a percentage point from last year and home prices – albeit at a slower pace – are still outrunning rising inflation and incomes.

This weakening in affordability is hindering many interested buyers this fall, even as the robust economy brings them into the market. The good news is that purchase mortgage applications have recently rebounded to above year ago levels.”

Rate/Float Recommendation                                    

Lock now before rates move even higher         

Mortgage rates have risen these past few weeks and that trend is expected to continue over the coming months as the Federal Reserve gets ready to, and does, increase the nation’s benchmark interest rate.

If you are planning to buy a home or refinance your current mortgage, we strongly recommend that you lock in a rate sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that you’ll get a higher rate.

Learn what you can do to get the best interest rate possible.  

Today’s economic data:             

ADP Employment Report

The ADP employment report showed 163,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy in August.

Jobless Claims

Applications filed for unemployment benefits in the U.S. came in at 203,000 for the week of 9/1/18. That’s 10,000 fewer than the previous week, bringing the four-week moving average to 209,500.

Productivity and Costs

Nonfarm productivity rose 2.9% Q/Q in the second quarter of 2018. Unit labor costs fell 0.1%.

PMI Services Index

The PMI Services Index came in at 54.8 for August.

Fedspeak

San Francisco Fed President John Williams is set to speak at 10:00am.

Factory Orders

Factory orders fell 0.8% month over month in July.

ISM Non-Mfg Index

The ISM Non-Mfg index hit a 58.5 in August, up a little from July.

EIA Petroleum Status Report

For the week of 8/31:

  • Crude oil: -4.3 M barrels
  • Gasoline: 1.8 M barrels
  • Distillates: 3.1 M barrels

Notable events this week:     

Monday:   

  • Markets Closed

Tuesday:   

  • PMI Manufacturing Index
  • ISM Mfg Index
  • Construction Spending

Wednesday:         

Thursday:     

  • ADP Employment Report
  • Jobless Claims
  • Productivity and Costs
  • PMI Services Index
  • Fedspeak
  • Factory Orders
  • ISM Non-Mfg Index
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report

Friday:          

  • Employment Situation
  • Fedspeak

*Terms and conditions apply.

Carter Wessman

Carter Wessman is originally from the charming town of Norfolk, Massachusetts. When he isn’t busy writing about mortgage related topics, you can find him playing table tennis, or jamming on his bass guitar.

Source: totalmortgage.com

How to Know if That Fixer-Upper Is a Money Pit

So, you’ve finally found your dream house. Sure, it may need a little work — okay, a lot of work — but you’re confident it will all be worth it in the end. That is, until your home renovation projects start to go down the toilet (or worse, the toilet starts falling through the floor). Here’s how to know if the home you are considering could be a great investment, or just a great way to empty your wallet.

Is A Fixer-Upper the Right Choice For You?

The right fixer-upper can be a great investment and a lot of fun.

The rise of seemingly simple, yet stylish home renovation television shows has made many homeowners eager to transform rough diamonds into neighborhood jewels. Couple this with the improved job market and an upswing in home values, and you have a tidal wave of homeowners willing to invest in fixer-upper dwellings.

In 2018, homeowners reported an average of $7,560 or more on major home improvements, up 17% over the previous year. But that doesn’t mean that these projects always go as planned — not everything gets wrapped up as quickly and neatly as it does on television. The same Home Advisor study shows an average of $416 on emergency spending. What many homeowners believe to be a simple “fixer-upper” can quickly turn into a “money pit,” transforming a dream project into an expensive nightmare.

Denise Krogman is a general contractor, designer and co-owner with her husband Rob, at RDK Design and Build, LLC. Krogman knows that whether you’re looking to buy a fixer-upper in the near future or remodel your current home, it’s worth paying attention to what separates a fixer-upper from an endless money pit.

The right fixer-upper can be a great investment and a lot of fun. But with every remodel there will be the unplanned, unforeseen incidentals that arise. If it needs more than a little ‘fixing up,’ you could find yourself in the midst of a complete remodel or a total scrap.

Fixer-Uppers vs. Money Pits

The first step to understanding what makes a home a fixer-upper is defining the term. Generally speaking, a fixer-upper is a house that doesn’t have serious problems and can be quickly and inexpensively refreshed, says Thomas Baker, building technology editor at This Old House.

Homeowners who have a big budget, a high level of DIY skills, and plenty of free time may reasonably see any house in deplorable condition as a “fixer-upper.” However, even these skilled, experienced homeowners who are initially excited about a big project may fail to properly plan for a remodel.

Without thorough research and planning, many homeowners are likely to exceed their spending limit and wind up with a money pit. Baker separates remodel-ready homeowners into two personas: the visionary and the accountant.

A visionary homeowner is someone who is emotionally invested in their property and can tolerate higher expenditures in order to execute their ‘vision.’ He or she isn’t worried about the resale value. An accountant weighs each cost of improvement against the likelihood of getting a return on investment at the time of sale. Ideally, homeowners should strike a balance between these two extremes, taking care not to risk their financial futures with unsustainable expenditures on improvements, but also acting as a steward, putting something back into the house so that future generations can enjoy what it has to offer.

A professional home builder, general contractor, or home inspector can help a homeowner assess the condition of the home before breaking ground and help keep a project in line once it’s begun.

Having that person come aboard your planning process is a great step to take. But what should they, and you, be looking for when it comes to fixer-upper warning signs?

Looking to get started with your dream home project? Check out our guide to the financial documentation and other paperwork you’ll need to begin the home loan process.

Fixer-Upper Red Flags

If you are committed to buying a home with a few imperfections, how do you know when those imperfections go from fixable to serious deal-breakers? When purchasing a fixer-upper, a homeowner should always look beyond the surface, says Sarah Boardman-Miller, an interior designer and construction consultant. It’s important to distinguish between a home with a lot of “cosmetic” needs, as opposed to those that need major (think structural) overhauls.

Depending on the ‘fix-up’ budget, one can look past a dated or poorly laid out kitchen or bath. I like a house that has not been touched. It might be dated and original everything, but these are usually good houses. Do your homework. Was the previous owner there for 40 years? Is it clean? Well-kept?

When most people watch the [TV] shows, so much of the process is cosmetic … from new cabinets, to counter tops, lighting and tile. Often homes are simply outdated, are decorated in poor taste, or just in need of a little TLC. Cosmetic fixes can be quick and cost-effective, and completely change the look of the house.

That being said, homeowners should stay on the lookout for any red flags. Both Krogman and Boardman-Miller say foundational issues, roofing repairs or replacement, and electrical or plumbing problems may require “gutting,” which can send a home remodeling project into an expensive tailspin.

Krogman adds that her team is careful about homes that need footprint changes, such as the removal or addition of walls or entire rooms. It’s best if the changes are minor. To avoid any surprises, it’s important to invest in a thorough home inspection, says Krogman.

Always request an inspection from a highly reputable company. It’s worth the extra expense. Be sure to ask a lot of questions and get documentation. When was the roof last replaced? Have there been any electrical or plumbing fixes? If there was any previous remodeling done, was it done by a reputable general contractor? And look for cracks in the foundation, sinking sidewalks, water spots or damages in the drywall. Those fixes or changes are rarely minor and can become quite costly.

Frank Lesh, an experienced home inspector who works for the certifying agency American Society of Home Inspectors, has two potential problems he wants homeowners to check for within their possible fixer-upper.

First, he says, examine the exterior. Take a look at the big picture. If it’s sitting in a valley, the home may be at risk for water problems.

Then I look at the general maintenance of the house exterior. Not whether there’s new paint, or flowers, but if the gutters and downspouts are in good condition and directed away from the house and if the roof is in reasonable shape.

Next, inspect for insects. Termites and carpenter ants can gnaw away at the bones of a home. It takes an expert insect inspection to discover the extent of the damage, to check behind finished walls and ceilings and to see if bugs are in the walls and subfloors.

A house is made of wood, and that’s what they eat. A good pest inspector can hear them or use infrared to see if they’re giving off heat behind the walls.

Manage Your Remodeling Expectations

One of the biggest dilemmas homeowners face when dealing with a fixer-upper is managing their expectations. Even when a home remodel is expertly planned, problems may still arise, Boardman-Miller says.

It is all about expectations and the ability to roll with what is happening. You have to focus on what needs to be done and cut out the extras that you may have been planning. Be realistic and stay on budget. If you do your homework, you could end up with a fair amount of equity in the finished house and get what you really want.

Baker says one of the most important things homeowners can do to avoid these costly issues is research, first into the home purchase process, then into contractors, home designers, and home improvement costs.

Find a contractor/carpenter who loves to work on houses and whom you can trust to make good decisions on your behalf. Without trust, these projects can become a nightmare. Take your time. Watch home TV shows, read magazines, talk to contractors, and go to the web to become an expert on the topic [of remodeling].

When homeowners embark on a home renovation the risks are great, but the rewards are even sweeter when everything is well planned and executed, Krogman says.

One man’s junk is always another’s treasure, so not only can you benefit financially, but you can give back by creating a beautiful home for your own family, or for someone else.

CHECKLIST: Tricks for Separating Fixer-Uppers from the Money Pits

  • Get a thorough home inspection
  • Determine whether improvements are structural or cosmetic
  • Do your research on what you’d specifically like done
  • Talk to your contractor/designer and get a plan in writing
  • Financially prepare for unforeseen issues
  • Manage your expectations and stay on budget

How do you know a home’s true value? Get a fast, no-obligation home estimate using our free tool.

Getting From ‘Before’ to ‘After’ Without Going Broke

At the end of a well-planned remodeling project, you can end up with the home features you want for a lower cost than the amount of equity you gained. It’s also possible that a lack of insight into your process and potential costs could leave you with an underwater (and maybe even unfinished) home, so it’s essential to make sure you know the facts before you swing a single hammer. But don’t let those potential pitfalls scare you away from a great opportunity for a smart investment. Just make sure you follow the checklist above and do the necessary homework to give yourself the best chance to come out ahead of the game.

Have you done your research and know of a great home you can benefit from investing in? If you are ready to explore buying your own fixer-upper, take the first step and get pre-approved online or contact a PennyMac Loan Officer today to discuss your options.

The views, information, or opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of PennyMac Loan Services, LLC and its employees. The inclusion of links to third party sites is not intended to assign importance to those sites or to the information contained therein, nor is it intended to endorse, recommend, or favor any views expressed, or commercial products or services offered on these third party sites, or the vendors sponsoring the sites.

Source: pennymacusa.com

Hotel mortgage delinquencies rise in December, but retail improves

Delinquency rates for mortgages secured by hotels rose during December compared with November, but the performance of retail property loans improved, a trio of reports noted.

But when it comes to late payments for all property types, the three reports — from Fitch Ratings, Trepp and the Mortgage Bankers Association — diverge in their results due to differences in methodology and scope. Fitch and Trepp only measure commercial mortgage-backed securities while the MBA includes other capital sources.

As a result, Fitch reported a 4-basis-point decline to 4.69% in December 2020 among the deals it rates, from 4.73% in November. However, that number was a sharp increase from the 1.45% recorded at the end of 2019. This was due to strong new issuance volume during the month, Fitch noted, adding it was the second consecutive month of decline.

In the universe of deals tracked by Trepp, the delinquency rate fell to 7.81% in December from 8.17% in November. This marks six consecutive months of decline among this group. In December 2019, the delinquency rate was 2.34%.

Previously, Kroll Bond Rating Agency also reported that December was the sixth consecutive month of declines in CMBS delinquencies.

The MBA’s CREF Loan Performance Survey reported that approximately 6% of these loans were late on their payment in December, up from 5.7% in November. However, the increase was almost entirely from newly delinquent loans, as those reported less than 30 days late on their payments rose to 1.5% in December from 1% in November. The MBA started surveying this data in April.

“For several months, delinquency rates declined as the economy stabilized. But more recently, the added stress from a winter wave of the virus has weakened the economy and challenged some owners, as property income has been disrupted,” Jamie Woodwell, the MBA’s vice president of commercial real estate research, said in a press release. “The roll-out of multiple COVID-19 vaccines is good news for the long-term, but last month’s rise in commercial mortgage delinquencies reinforces that many challenges remain between now and when the economy can fully reopen.”

For mortgages in CMBS only, the MBA’s survey found a slight increase in delinquencies, to 10.5% in December from 10.4% in the prior month.

Hotel property delinquencies among Fitch-rated CMBS transactions rose to 18.38% in December, up from 17.33% in November and 1.41% at the end of 2019. According to the MBA, 22.5% of the balance of lodging loans were not current in December, up from 22.1% in November. For Trepp, 19.8% of these loans were 30 days or more late in December, compared with 19.66% in November and 1.53% 12 months prior.

But for retail, the other property type hardest hit by the pandemic, all three measures reported an improvement in performance on a month-to-month basis.

Fitch’s December delinquency rate for retail was 10.98%, down from 11.11% in November, while the MBA had it at 11.9%, down from 12.9%. Trepp reported a 12.94% delinquency rate for retail properties in December, compared with 14.21% for the prior month.

Source: nationalmortgagenews.com

Mortgage and refinance rates today, Jan. 9, and rate forecast for next week

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates edged upward again yesterday. So they ended the week appreciably higher than they started it. Still, even after that poor period, they’re still in a range that counts as ultralow.

But, if last week’s trend continues for long, that will stop being the case. So will it? Nobody can be sure. But the risk is very real. And I wouldn’t wager years of higher payments when the likely winnings are so low.

So I’d lock my rate as soon as possible, certainly if I were due to close in the next 30 days. Read on for details.

Find and lock a low rate (Jan 11th, 2021)

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.75% 2.75% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.313% 2.313% Unchanged
Conventional 5 year ARM 3% 2.743% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 2.5% 3.478% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA 2.438% 3.38% +0.06%
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.226% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.375% 2.547% +0.07%
15 year fixed VA 2.125% 2.445% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.406% Unchanged
Rates are provided by our partner network, and may not reflect the market. Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.

Find and lock a low rate (Jan 11th, 2021)


COVID-19 mortgage updates: Mortgage lenders are changing rates and rules due to COVID-19. To see the latest on how coronavirus could impact your home loan, click here.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

If I were waiting to close, I’d lock now. But I’m naturally cautious. And, if you’re more comfortable with risk than I am, you could wait to see how things play out, especially if you’re not due to close for a month or so.

Before you decide, read the next section, which lays out what’s going on. But, for now, my personal recommendations are:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

However, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So be guided by your gut and your personal tolerance for risk.

What’s moving current mortgage rates

We’re about to see a conflict between two opposing forces. On one side, the new administration — largely unconstrained by Congress — will likely spend and borrow more money than the previous one. And that is very likely to exert upward pressure on Treasury yields and mortgage rates.

But, on the other side, the economy faces many months during which the pandemic, now raging at record levels, will inflict continuing economic damage. And that should exert downward pressure on mortgage rates.

But nobody knows which of those forces will be more influential. And just because the former won last week doesn’t mean it will continue to do so.

More than ever, there are no right or wrong answers over when to lock. And your appetite for risk might legitimately be the basis for your decision.

Spending

The incoming administration plans to provide much more generous pandemic relief, especially to poorer folk and small businesses. And, in the longer term, it has plans for spending on an infrastructure program as well as improved health care provision, universal pre-K, tuition-free community college classes and clean energy initiatives.

Don’t think that the Democratic Party’s control of the US Senate will make all that spending a given. Because much legislation requires a 60-40 majority to pass. And, with a wafer-thin advantage, the party can only be as left-wing as its most right-leaning senator. Assuming Republicans remain solid, losing just one vote will defeat any proposal.

Pandemic’s economic damage

Yesterday’s official employment situation report showed, for the first time since April, more jobs lost in a month (December) than gained. There are now “roughly 10 million fewer jobs than before the coronavirus pandemic struck,” according to Reuters.

And the economy is likely to take more pandemic-related hits for some time to come. Because COVID-19 is spreading faster than ever. Overnight, The New York Times painted this picture:

At least 3,895 new coronavirus deaths and 300,594 new cases were reported in the United States on Jan. 8. Over the past week, there has been an average of 259,564 cases per day, an increase of 40 percent from the average two weeks earlier. As of Saturday morning, more than 21,990,300 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus according to a New York Times database.

Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count — Updated January 9, 2021, 1:09 A.M. E.T.

And, sadly, other metrics have also been on upward trends, with 14-day changes of +29% for deaths and +11% for hospitalizations, according to the Times. COVID-19 and its economic effects are going nowhere until a large proportion of the population is vaccinated. And the rollout of vaccines has so far been painfully slow.

Economic reports next week

Here are the big economic reports to watch out for this week (all for December unless otherwise indicated):

  • Wednesday — Consumer price index
  • Thursday — Weekly new claims for unemployment insurance
  • Friday — Retail sales. Plus industrial production and the first reading of January’s consumer sentiment index

Chances are, any of those would have to be shockingly good or bad to gain visibility amid the larger issues described above.

Find and lock a low rate (Jan 11th, 2021)

Mortgage interest rates forecast for next week

This coming week is highly unpredictable for mortgage rates. I’d like to be more helpful. But it’s just not possible right now.

Mortgage and refinance rates usually move in tandem. But note that refinance rates are currently a little higher than those for purchase mortgages. That gap’s likely to remain constant as they change.

How your mortgage interest rate is determined

Mortgage and refinance rates are generally determined by prices in a secondary market (similar to the stock or bond markets) where mortgage-backed securities are traded.

And that’s highly dependent on the economy. So mortgage rates tend to be high when things are going well and low when the economy’s in trouble.

Your part

But you play a big part in determining your own mortgage rate in five ways. You can affect it significantly by:

  1. Shopping around for your best mortgage rate — They vary widely from lender to lender
  2. Boosting your credit score — Even a small bump can make a big difference to your rate and payments
  3. Saving the biggest down payment you can — Lenders like you to have real skin in this game
  4. Keeping your other borrowing modest — The lower your other monthly commitments, the bigger the mortgage you can afford
  5. Choosing your mortgage carefully — Are you better off with a conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, jumbo or another loan?

Time spent getting these ducks in a row can see you winning lower rates.

Remember, it’s not just a mortgage rate

Be sure to count all your forthcoming homeownership costs when you’re working out how big a mortgage you can afford. So focus on your “PITI” That’s your Principal (pays down the amount you borrowed), Interest (the price of borrowing), (property) Taxes, and (homeowners) Insurance. Our mortgage calculator can help with these.

Depending on your type of mortgage and the size of your down payment, you may have to pay mortgage insurance, too. And that can easily run into three figures every month.

But there are other potential costs. So you’ll have to pay homeowners association dues if you choose to live somewhere with an HOA. And, wherever you live, you should expect repairs and maintenance costs. There’s no landlord to call when things go wrong!

Finally, you’ll find it hard to forget closing costs. You can see those reflected in the annual percentage rate (APR) you’ll be quoted. Because that effectively spreads them out over your loan’s term, making that higher than your straight mortgage rate.

But you may be able to get help with those closing costs and your down payment, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Read:

Down payment assistance programs in every state for 2020

Mortgage rate methodology

The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

Source: themortgagereports.com