Home Loan Interest Rates Surge to 4-Month High

For the second week, mortgage rates moved higher. This time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched above 3.5 percent for the first time since June.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Oct. 20:

’30-year fixed-rate’ mortgages: averaged 3.52 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.47 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.79 percent.

’15-year fixed-rate’ mortgages: averaged 2.79 percent, with an average 0.5 point, also rising from last week’s 2.76 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.98 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

The Computer Keyboard Is Getting a Makeover

Apple wants to change that QWERTY keyboard you’ve grown accustomed to. Apple reportedly has teamed up with Australian start up Sonder Design Pty Ltd. to transform the standard QWERTY keyboard so that it will not only contain any alphabet but also special commands and symbols.

The keyboards are to use “E Ink” displays, which are similar to those on Amazon’s Kindle devices. The keyboards will be fully customizable, and reportedly will make it easier for those who use software programs to outfit it with specialized commands. It also will apparently make it easier to swap out emojis and other symbol substitutes for words.

The new keyboards are set to debut and become standard on new MacBook laptops in 2018.

Source: “It’s Goodbye QWERTY, Hello Emojis as Apple Rethinks the Keyboard,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 19, 2016)

Are Home Owners Looking for a Rescue Plan?

Half of Americans say they currently have a dispute with a neighbor, according to a new survey from North American Van Lines.

In fact, 13 percent of Americans say they have moved just to get away from their next-door neighbor.

Take a look at these interesting infographics to see the conflicts home owners are having with their neighbors at: North American Moving Services

A Cost-Saving Perk to Selling a Smart Home

Insurance companies are offering discounts on home insurance policies for owners with Internet-connected devices. Seeing the perks of smart home tech helping to prevent leaks or burglaries.

Insurance companies nationwide are offering incentives to install one of numerous connected devices. The devices may include everything from moisture sensors, smart thermostats to video doorbells or home security monitoring systems.

Smart home devices in a home help create something like a “check-engine light for the home,” says Jon-Michael Kowall, assistant vice president of innovation at USAA. For example, the connected devices may help insurers warn home owners, based off data from their installed moisture sensors, that a pipe may fail soon.

Source: “Why Insurance Companies Want to Subsidize Your Smart Home,” MIT Technology Review (Oct. 12, 2016)

Rising Mortgage Rates Nip at Loan Demand

“As incoming economic data reassured investors regarding U.S. growth, and financial markets returned to viewing a December Fed hike as increasingly likely, mortgage rates rose to their highest level in a month last week,” says Michael Fratantoni, the MBA’s chief economist. “Total and refinance application volume dropped to their lowest levels since June as a result.”

Refinancings have been dropping for several weeks now, with an 8 percent drop last week. Mortgage applications for home purchases, on the other hand, posted a smaller drop at 3 percent week over week. Purchase applications are still 27 percent higher than a year ago.

Source: “Mortgage Applications Down 6% as Rising Rates Take a Toll,” CNBC (Oct. 12, 2016)

Mortgage Rates Are Staying Low

Fixed-rate mortgages were mostly in a holding pattern this week, keeping borrowing costs low for home buyers and refinancers.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Oct. 6:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.42 percent, with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 3.76 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.72 percent, with an average 0.5 point, also unchanged from last week’s average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.99 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Predictions Roll in: 2017 Housing Forecasts

We can expect a hot year for home sales in 2017, according to recent forecasts from the National Association of REALTORS®, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, etc!

NAR is predicting existing-home sales to reach 6 million in 2017, higher than its 5.8 million forecast for this year. But other entities are even more bullish. MBA is predicting home sales to eclipse 6.5 million next year, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are both predicting 6.2 million.

A huge wave of Generation Yers, who have delayed home buying, are emerging into their key buying years. They are predicted to keep home sales and condo sales strong well into 2020, according to economists.

Source: “Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2017,” Keeping Current Matters (Sept. 29, 2016) and “U.S. Housing Market Forecast – Strong 2017 to 2020,” GordinCollins.com (Sept. 24, 2016)

Home Loan Interest Rates Dip to 10-Week Low

“Investors flocked to the safety of government bonds causing the 10-year Treasury yield to continue its descent following the FOMC’s decision to leave rates unchanged,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage responded by dropping 6 basis points before landing at 3.42 percent — a ten-week low. The course of the economy is uncertain, yet consumers continue to be a bright spot. The September consumer confidence index is up 3 percent to 104.1, exceeding forecasts and reaching a new cycle high.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Sept. 29:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.42 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.48 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.85 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: average 2.72 percent, with an average 0.5, falling from last week’s 2.76 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.07 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

HUD Targets Housing-Related Health Hazards

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wants better identification and control of hazards in the home that could be impacting people’s health. Hazards they want addressed include everything from pest infestation and mold, which can trigger asthma and other illnesses, to poor indoor air quality to injury hazards.

HUD also announced its new Healthy Homes App, which provides consumers with information about potentially serious health and safety problems in the home. It also provides steps home owners can take to protect themselves.

Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Study: Real Estate Cheapest in Fall, Winter

The market tends to slow in the fall and sales prices start to dip. Sales prices drop nearly 3 percent, on average from summer (June through August) to fall (September through November).

Home sale prices tend to be cheapest in the winter. In January or February, for example, homes could potentially cost 8.45 percent less on average than in June through August.

Be able to choose the best time to look for the best buy and now is a great time to start the process.

Source: “House Shopping After Summer Ends? Buying Later in the Year Could Save You Thousands,” NerdWallet (Sept. 20, 2016)