Wildfire Victims Get ‘Mortgage Reprieve’

Homeowners affected by the California wildfires may be eligible to defer their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued guidelines for wildfire victims with single-family mortgages.

Victims may be eligible to stop making mortgage payments in three-month intervals, up to 12 months. They also may be eligible to avoid late fees during this temporary payment break, and to not have delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus.

Mortgage servicers have been authorized by Fannie and Freddie to suspend or reduce a homeowner’s mortgage payments immediately for up to 90 days without any contact from the homeowner if the servicer believes the homeowner has been affected by the disaster. For any additional payment forbearance of up to 12 months, homeowners will need to reach out to their lenders. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide disaster relief information.

Also, HUD’s Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and now face the task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers with FHA-approved lenders may be eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs.

Source: “HUD Announces Disaster Help for Wildfire Victims,” Napa Valley Register (Oct. 19, 2017); “Fannie Mae Reminds Homeowners and Servicers of Mortgage Assistance Options for Areas Affected by California Wildfires,” Fannie Mae (Oct. 13, 2017); “Freddie Mac Confirms Disaster Relief Policies Amid California Wildfires,” Freddie Mac (Oct. 13, 2017)

‘Mortgage Rates Fall’ to Four-Month Lows!

Fixed mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels since this summer, giving a lift this week to the housing recovery.

“Mortgage rates slid this week as the partial government shutdown led to market speculation that the Federal Reserve will not alter its bond purchases this year,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Mortgage rates have been dropping since September when the Federal Reserve decided to delay tapering its $85-billion per month bond purchasing program, which has been keeping rates low.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Oct. 24:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.13 percent, with an average 0.8 point, dropping from last week’s 4.28 percent average. That’s the lowest average for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage since June 20. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.41 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.24 percent, with an average 0.6 point, falling from last week’s 3.33 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.72 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.07 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.75 percent.
Source: REALTOR(R) Magazine Daily News

Thomas Kinkade Gallery in Placerville, CA’s photo.

Real Estate-Related Searches “Up 253%”

Real estate-related searches on Google.com have grown 253 percent over the past four years, according to a joint study from the National Association of REALTORS® and Google.

“Increasingly, online technologies are driving offline behaviors, and home buying is no exception,” said Google Head of Real Estate Patrick Grandinetti. “With 90 percent of home buyers searching online during their home buying process, the real estate industry is smart to target these people where they look for and consume information—for example through paid search, relevant websites, video environments, and mobile applications.”

The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate leverages NAR’s custom research and Google’s proprietary and third-party research. Google’s research focused on consumers who had completed an online “conversion”– taking the next step of contacting an agent or requesting additional information from a real estate company’s website.

The study also uncovered some trends in buyers who search for homes online.

More details of joint study at source: National Association of REALTORS®

Buying or Selling a Home?

We are introducing our updated National Listings Distribution Program (NLDP).

The updated system provides a number of enhanced tracking and statistical data including:

• A new back end system providing robust online buyer search analytics on all our listings

• The list of the 800 national websites are viewable under the marketing choices tab to show our sellers where their property is being displayed

• A summary of the top websites, cities from where online buyers are searching from, number of views, number of inquiries, inventory and properties by price range

• Online marketing summary reports for every listing, which now include property views on most of the 800 national sites, click-through (visits) down to our listing on Homeresearch.com, and the source of the top-cities where buyers are viewing our listings online

• The ability to setup an automated seller report by email

For more information, please click the above tab “National Listings Distribution”

Home Loan Mortgage Rates “Back to Near All-Time Lows”

Under signs of a growing economy and low inflation, fixed-rate mortgages inched down this week and are hovering near their record lows, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

Here’s a closer look at average mortgage rates for the week ending Nov. 1:

•30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.39 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 3.41 percent average. The record low for the 30-year mortgage, set in recent weeks, was an average of 3.36 percent.

•15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.70 %, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 2.72 % average. The 15-year rates record low average is 2.66 %, in October.

•5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.74 %, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 2.75 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.96 %.

Source: Freddie Mac

“Walking Out” on Home Mortgage OK?

Interesting news to share! Thirty-two percent of Americans surveyed say home owners should be able to strategically default on their mortgages without facing any consequences for doing so, according to data compiled by JZ Analytics.

What’s more alarming, 13 percent say they would likely strategic default. Another 17% say they know others who have already walked away from their mortgage obligations.

“What jumped out is how many Americans feel it is acceptable for home owners to walk away from a mortgage and go into foreclosure,” says John Zogby, a senior analyst at JZ Analytics and creator of the Zogby Poll. “If Americans carry on with that mindset, it will continue to cause problems as the economy undergoes a slow recovery.”

More information at source: “More Americans Consider Strategic Default on Mortgages an Acceptable Option,” Credit.com (Oct. 8, 2012)

What ‘Foreclosure Wave?’ Not in the Western U.S.

The West coast has been one of the epicenters to the foreclosure crisis. But lately, several western states are seeing big drops in distressed properties and foreclosure starts.

Foreclosure starts in California, for example, were down 23.6 percent from July to August and decreased nearly 50 percent from one year ago, according to ForeclosureRadar, which monitors foreclosures in five Western states. In Arizona, foreclosure starts were down 16.1 percent from a year ago.

“We continue to see reports that there will be a wave of foreclosure sales after the election or at the start of the year,” says Sean O’Toole, ForeclosureRadar CEO. “The lack of foreclosure starts this month puts a nail in the coffin of this theory. There will be no wave of foreclosures for at least five months. The good news for investors and first-time buyers is that foreclosure sales have at least remained flat, continuing to provide some opportunities in the meantime.”

Source: ForeclosureRadar and “Western states see decline in foreclosure starts,” Inman News (Sept. 11, 2012)

Survey: Americans’ Attitudes Shift About Housing!

Americans are increasingly more optimistic about the direction of the housing market, according to a monthly survey of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by Fannie Mae. 

The majority of those surveyed expect home prices to rise 1.6 percent in the next year. Also, about 18 percent of those surveyed say now is a good time to sell, which is the highest percentage since the survey was initiated. 

“Consumer attitudes toward the housing market remain modestly positive, despite signs of increased concern over the direction of the economy,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. “While the latest results showed a pickup in the share of consumers expecting mortgage rates to rise, reflecting the uptrend of long-term interest rates since mid-July, that may soon change.”

About 40 percent of those surveyed expect mortgage rates to rise in the next year. 

While the majority were upbeat about housing, they are increasingly pessimistic about the direction of the economy. Sixty percent of those surveyed say they think the economy is heading in the wrong direction. What are your thoughts about this survey?

Source: “Fannie Mae: Housing Market Attitudes Improve Despite Increased Concern About Economy,” Dow Jones (Sept. 10, 2012)

Refinancing Hits High, other Loan Applications Fall?

The “Real World” of this new report reflects our region! Applications for government mortgage refinancing more than doubled last week, soaring 121.3 percent and reaching an all-time high, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports. The Federal Housing Authority lowered its premiums, contributing to last week’s big jump in FHA refinance volume, MBA said. FHA refinance volume was up 410.9 percent from a year ago.

“New, lower FHA premiums on streamlined refinance loans came fully into effect, and borrowers seized the opportunity to lower their mortgage rates without increasing their FHA premiums,” per Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of reserach .

Meanwhile, conventional applications for refinancing and applications for purchasing dropped 0.8 percent for the week ending June 15, despite continued low mortgage rates, the MBA reported. Loan requests for home purchases dropped 8.5 percent last week.

Source: “U.S. Mortgage Applications Fell Last Week,” Reuters (June 20, 2012)