Home Loan Payments Up 13% This Year

Monthly mortgage payments have risen an average of nearly 13 percent nationwide over the last year—or an extra $168—as buyers grapple with both higher home prices and increasing mortgage rates, according to a realtor.com® analysis. Luxury buyers are feeling the worst sticker shock, paying double the rate. In the top 10 percent of the market, owners are now paying an average $241 more per/mo.

Mortgage interest rates are about a half of a percentage point higher than they were at the beginning of the year, and the Federal Reserve has signaled there are more hikes to come.

Different generations of home buyers may have varying tolerance levels for mortgage rate fluctuations. Millennials are pursuing homeownership at a time when interest rates are at historic lows, averaging in the 4 percent range, while older buyers remember when they were in the double digits. So for millennials, “even a minor upswing [in interest rates] may seem significant,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Source: “Rising Interest Rates Squeeze Homeowners’ Budgets,” The Wall Street Journal (April 4, 2018) [Log-in required.]

Could This Home Loan Product Change Lending?

Two mortgage executives are hoping to overhaul the 15-year mortgage, making it more readily available to low and moderate-income people. They say the changes will help borrowers build equity at a much faster pace than they would with a standard loan.

Edward Pinto, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Bruce Marks, who heads the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, have created a new product called the Wealth Building Home Loan. The new product has generated buzz since being introduced at a mortgage conference in North Carolina in early September. The loan will initially be available through NACA’s 37 offices, with plans to pilot it at other institutions in the coming months. NACA acts as mortgage originator for Bank of America.

The Wealth Building Home Loan is a 15-year mortgage with a fixed interest rate that requires little or no down payment and has no additional fees. In originating the loans, underwriters pay more attention to a borrowers’ income than the borrowers’ credit score. They will also ensure that borrowers have enough money left over after they make their mortgage payment to cover other monthly expenses, reducing the risk of foreclosure in case a financial setback strikes.

Typically, the monthly payment on a 15-year loan is higher than a 30-year loan, since the loan amortizes faster. In order to make the monthly payments more affordable, however, the Wealth Building Home Loan will have an offering rate that is about three-quarters of a percentage point below the 30-year FHA rate. Borrowers can bring the rate down even further. For example, for every 1 percent of the loan amount the borrower has as a down payment, the interest rate will be lowered by half a percentage point, with the possibility of bringing it to zero. Your comments?

Source: “Loan Gives Low-Income Borrowers a Chance to Build Equity Fast,” The Los Angeles Times (Oct. 5, 2014)

When Mortgage Rates Rise…

Mortgage rates have hovered around yearly lows for weeks. But with rate-hike forecasts looming, can buyers count on borrowing costs to stay low?

Many economists are predicting the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to reach 5% by the middle of the next year, The New York Times reports.  Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.20 percent. The hike in rates is partially due to the Federal Reserve’s plan to withdraw from buying mortgage-backed securities.

Economists note that while a 5 percent mortgage rate is low by historical standards, such an increase still has the potential of reducing buying power in a home purchase. According to some estimates, a 1 percent increase in interest rates can raise a monthly mortgage payment on a typical home by more than $700 in pricier parts of the country. The increase would likely be much more modest in other, less expensive markets.

Source: “When Mortgage Rates Rise,” The New York Times (Sept. 25, 2014)