Is Market Volatility Giving Buyers Cold Feet?

It seems a 1,000-plus point drop in the stock market last week mixed with rising interest rates may have been enough to give homeowners and buyers the jitters. Overall mortgage applications last week dipped 4.1 percent week over week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

Broken out, mortgage applications for home purchases plunged 6 percent last week. However, that number is still 4 percent higher than last year. Home buyers complain of weakened affordability and lengthier home searches in research released this week by the National Association of Home Builders. Refinance applications dipped 2 percent last week, but they remain 2.8 percent higher than the same week a year ago.

Mortgage rates continue to move upwards. Last week the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest rate since January 2014, averaging 4.57 percent, the MBA reported.

Source: “Stock Jitters and Higher Interest Rates Drive Weekly Mortgage Applications Down 4.1%,” CNBC (Feb. 14, 2018)

Mortgage Rates Are Inching Back Up

Fixed mortgage rates were on the rise this week, “applying additional pressure for those markets that are already feeling an affordability pinch,” Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

“Mortgage rates rose following the uptick on the 10-year Treasury note after comments by the Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated a possible increase on interest rates as soon as early 2015,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, explains.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending March 27:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.40 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 4.32 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.57 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.42 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.32 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.76 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.10 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.02 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.68 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Teachers Can Afford Only 17% of Calif. Homes

Housing affordability for teachers is in dire straits in the Golden State, according to a new study by real estate brokerage Redfin. The study found that 83 percent of homes in California are unaffordable on a teacher’s salary. Redfin analyzed average teacher salaries in markets in California and compared them with the median home price.

Only 17 percent of all homes for sale in the state are affordable to teachers. In some cities, the problem is even worse. In San Francisco, there isn’t one house on the market that teachers can afford on their average salary, the study showed.

According to Redfin’s data, the median list price in California is $485,000. The state’s 300,000 elementary, middle, and high school teachers have an average annual salary of $69,300. Using a general guideline that a monthly home payment should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income, Redfin says that a teacher would likely not want to pay more than about $1,600 a month for a home.

“Given current interest rates, property taxes, home insurance, and home owners association expenses, a teacher can afford a $260,000 single-family home or condo,” Redfin says in its report. “Of the 50,559 for sale in California, just 17.4 percent are listed below $260,000.”

Redfin says that tight housing inventories are causing home affordability to slip in California. Its report breaks down what teachers can afford by county at:  “83 Percent of California Homes Unaffordable on a Teacher’s Salary,” Redfin Research Center (Feb. 25, 2014)

“Home Affordability” Pushed Higher as Rates Fall!

Great news to share! For the fifth week, fixed-rate mortgages reached new all-time lows. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped below 3 percent, settling into uncharted territory, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages also reached new record lows, continuing to stay under 4 percent and pushing home buyer affordability even higher.

“Compared to a year ago, rates on 30-year fixed mortgage rates are almost 0.9 percentage points lower, which translates into nearly $1,200 less in annual payments on a $200,000 loan,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Here’s a closer look at rates for the week ending May 31:

•30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.75 percent, with an average 0.8 point, dropping from last week’s previous all-time low of 3.78 percent. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.55 percent.

•15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.97 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s previous record low of 3.04 percent. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.74 percent.

•5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.84 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising slightly from last week’s 2.83 percent average. A year ago at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.41 percent.

•1-year ARMs: averaged 2.75 percent, with an average 0.4 point, holding steady at last week’s average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 3.13 percent.

Source:  Freddie Mac

Mortgages Rates near “Record Lows”

Great news to know about home affordability! Fixed-rate mortgages dropped slightly this week, nearing their average all-time lows and helping to lift home buyers’ purchasing power, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey. 

For every week but one this year, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the most popular choice among home buyers, has been below 4 percent. We recommend you check with a couple of  local lenders to see what your qualifying guidelines are before rates go up! 

Here’s a closer look at average rates for the “week ending” April 26: 

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.88 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 3.90 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.78 percent. The record low for 30-year rates averaged 3.87 percent, a record reached in February. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.12 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.13 percent. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.97 percent. The all-time record low is 3.11 percent, a record reached recently during the week ending April 12. 
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.85 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, rising slightly from last week’s 2.78 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.51 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Home Affordability is at “1971 levels”

Due to falling home prices and record low mortgage rates, pushing home ownership in reach to more families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Home owners are bringing in nearly double the median income they need to cover the cost of an average home, HousingPredictor reports. 

“With interest rates at historically low levels and markets across the country beginning to improve, home ownership is within reach of more households,” Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement.

However, some consumers are finding more stringent lending standards for getting a mortgage a roadblock to home ownership, and some housing experts have blamed tighter underwriting standards in recent years for continuing to hold back the housing market. 

Source: “Home Affordability Reaches 1971 Level,” HousingPredictor (Jan. 11, 2012)

More news from the “Sierra Foothills” of El Dorado, Placer, Amador and Sacramento Counties of California at: www.sierraproperties.com or www.dougandbudzeller.com