Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Are A Relative Bargain Today

January 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Rates 

Comparing 30-year fixed to 5-year ARMFor buyers and refinancing households throughout Kentucky , adjustable-rate mortgages are a relative bargain as compared to fixed-ones.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of more than 125 banks nationwide, Madeira mortgage applicants electing for a conventional ARM over a conventional fixed-rate mortgage will save 105 basis points on their next mortgage rate.

“Conventional” loans are loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Today’s average, conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is 3.91% plus points and closing costs. The average rate for a comparable 5-year ARM is 2.86%, plus points and closing costs.

In other words, for every $100,000 borrowed, a conventional 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage will save you $58.15 per month, or $698 per year.

That’s a 12 percent savings just for choosing an ARM.

12 percent is a big figure that adds up over 5 years — especially for households that plan to sell within those first 60 months anyway. There is little sense in paying the mortgage rate premium for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage when a 5-year ARM is perfectly suitable.

For the reason why adjustable-rate mortgages continue are so much lower than their fixed-rate counterparts, look no further than the U.S. economy. ARMs reflect Wall Street’s short-term economic expectations; whereas fixed-rate mortgages reflect medium- to long-term expectations.

In the short-term, analysts expect the U.S. economy to grow slowly, with low levels of inflation. This supports the U.S. dollar, the currency in which mortgage bonds are denominated. When the dollar is strong, demand for mortgage bonds tends to increase.

This supports lower interest rates.

Conversely, over the longer-term, inflation is expected to return, which devalues the dollar and everything paid in it (e.g.; mortgage-backed bonds). This is why inflation is linked to higher mortgage rates. When inflation is present in the economy, mortgage bonds lose value, driving mortgage rates up.

Adjustable-rate mortgages aren’t perfect for everyone, but in the right situation, they can be a big money-saver and a helpful tool for stretching a household budget. Given today’s rates, the money-saving potential is larger than usual.

Before you choose an ARM, discuss your options with your loan officer.

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Mortgage Payments Fall 12% Since February 2011

December 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Rates 

Mortgage payments in 2011

As mortgage rates drop, so do housing payments. It’s a good time to consider refinancing your home, or making an offer on a new one. Mortgage payment affordability has never been so high in history.

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is now 3.94 percent — an all-time low — with an accompanying 0.8 discount points. This means that in order to get access to the 3.94 percent rate, Mason  homeowners and home buyers should expect to pay a loan fee equal to 0.8% of the borrowed amount, plus “normal” closing costs.

Last week, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate was 3.99 percent with an accompanying 0.7 discount points.

Mortgage rates in Kentucky have been in decline for most of the year. Since peaking in early-February, the average home owner’s principal + interest payment on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage had now dropped by 12.2 percent.

Here is how mortgage payments compare, then and now, not accounting for your individual tax-and-insurance escrow :

  • February 10, 2011 : Payment of $539.88 per $100,000 borrowed
  • December 15, 2011 : Payment of $473.96 per $100,000 borrowed

For existing homeowners, the dramatic drop in payments is reason to reach out to your loan officer. A refinance could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan — especially if you chose to refinance your mortgage into a 15-year program.

The 15-year mortgage, says Freddie Mac, is also at an all-time low, registering 3.21 percent with 0.8 discount points, on average.

For home buyers, today’s low rates present an interesting opportunity.

Mortgage rates are the key factor in determining your monthly housing payment so, with average mortgage rates below 4 percent, it’s no wonder home affordability is cresting. However, the housing market is showing signs of recovery. Home supplies are dwindling, buyer demand is rising, and the economy appears to be mending.

Home prices are expected to rise in 2012 and, as they do, they’ll take housing payments with them. The best time to buy a home may be now; before the recovery completes.

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Reduce Long-Term Loan Costs With A 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

December 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Rates 

Comparing 30-year fixed rate mortgage to 15-year fixed rate mortgages

For as low as 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates are in Kentucky today, 15-year fixed rate mortgage rates are even lower.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average 15-year fixed rate mortgage rate is now 3.27% nationwide with an accompanying 0.8 discount points. 1 discount point is a closing cost equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

The current 15-year fixed rate reading is just one tick above the all-time, 15-year fixed rate mortgage low of 3.26% set in October 2011.

If you’ve ever thought of “going 15”, it’s a terrific time to talk to your lender.

The primary benefit of using a 15-year fixed rate mortgage as opposed to a 30-year fixed rate one is that a 15-year fixed rate mortgage dramatically cuts the long-term interest costs of your loan. The downside is that monthly payments are relatively large.

At today’s mortgage rates, per $100,000 borrowed :

  • 15-year fixed rate mortgage : $704 principal + interest monthly
  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage : $477 principal + interest monthly

So, for homeowners opting for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, the monthly principal + interest payments will be 48% higher as compared to a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of the same loan size. Long-term, however, because the 15-year fixed rate mortgage interest rate is lower and because it pays off in half the time of a 30-year loan, a homeowner will save $45,000 in interest costs per $100,000 borrowed.

$45,000 per $100,000 borrowed is a huge amount of savings. It’s monies that can be used for college tuition, home improvement projects, retirement savings, or anything else. 

That said, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage is not ideal for everyone.

Because it requires higher monthly payments, a 15-year fixed rate mortgage may add stress to your household budget. Furthermore, once you commit to a 15-year loan term with your lender, you can’t revert back to a 30-year loan term without a refinance and refinances can be costly.

Therefore, be sure of yourself when selecting a 15-year fixed rate loan. The rewards are great, but the risks can be, too.

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Reduce Long-Term Loan Costs With A 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

December 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Rates 

Comparing 30-year fixed rate mortgage to 15-year fixed rate mortgages

For as low as 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates are in Ohio today, 15-year fixed rate mortgage rates are even lower.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average 15-year fixed rate mortgage rate is now 3.27% nationwide with an accompanying 0.8 discount points. 1 discount point is a closing cost equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

The current 15-year fixed rate reading is just one tick above the all-time, 15-year fixed rate mortgage low of 3.26% set in October 2011.

If you’ve ever thought of “going 15”, it’s a terrific time to talk to your lender.

The primary benefit of using a 15-year fixed rate mortgage as opposed to a 30-year fixed rate one is that a 15-year fixed rate mortgage dramatically cuts the long-term interest costs of your loan. The downside is that monthly payments are relatively large.

At today’s mortgage rates, per $100,000 borrowed :

  • 15-year fixed rate mortgage : $704 principal + interest monthly
  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage : $477 principal + interest monthly

So, for homeowners opting for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, the monthly principal + interest payments will be 48% higher as compared to a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of the same loan size. Long-term, however, because the 15-year fixed rate mortgage interest rate is lower and because it pays off in half the time of a 30-year loan, a homeowner will save $45,000 in interest costs per $100,000 borrowed.

$45,000 per $100,000 borrowed is a huge amount of savings. It’s monies that can be used for college tuition, home improvement projects, retirement savings, or anything else. 

That said, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage is not ideal for everyone.

Because it requires higher monthly payments, a 15-year fixed rate mortgage may add stress to your household budget. Furthermore, once you commit to a 15-year loan term with your lender, you can’t revert back to a 30-year loan term without a refinance and refinances can be costly.

Therefore, be sure of yourself when selecting a 15-year fixed rate loan. The rewards are great, but the risks can be, too.

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Have Mortgage Rates Bottomed Out?

December 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Rates 

Mortgage Rates Bottomed Out?

Mortgage rates have troughed. Or, so it seems.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 4.00 percent nationwide — roughly the same rate as it’s been for 5 weeks. 

During that times, rates have ranged between 3.97 and 4.02 percent with an accompanying 0.7 discount points, plus “typical” closing costs. Closing costs vary by state and 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

In other words, to get the weekly, published Freddie Mac rate, borrowers in Kentucky should expect to pay a complete set of fees to their respective lenders. The larger the loan, the higher the costs. “Low-fee” and “no-fee” loans are available, too — typically in exchange for a slightly rate.

A breakdown of the Freddie Mac survey shows that interest rates and discount points vary by region. Typically, states in the West Region offer the lowest rates but with the highest costs. East Region states work in reverse; rates are often highest but the accompanying points are fewest.

The most recent mortgage rate breakdown by region shows :

  • Northeast Region : 4.00% with 0.7 discount points 
  • West Region : 3.96% with 0.8 discount points
  • Southeast Region : 4.06% with 0.9 discount points
  • North Central Region : 3.97% with 0.7 discount points
  • Southwest Region : 4.04% with 0.7 discount points

What’s most notable, though, is that in all 4 regions, rates are well below their 2011 highs. Since mid-April, mortgage rates have been in descent, dropping for 5 consecutive months before reaching to their current, “rock-bottom” levels in early-November.

Since then, however, rates have idled and the forces that combined to make rates low throughout Cincinnati are subsiding. The U.S. economy is showing signs of a rebirth; the Eurozone is edging closer to solvency; and the housing market is recovering.

So, if you’ve been wondering whether now is a good time to refinance, or whether higher rates will harm home affordability, the answer is yes. Get in touch with your loan officer to review your home loan options because, looking ahead to 2012, mortgage rates look poised to rise.

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Conforming Loan Limits Unchanged For 2012

November 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Guidelines 

Conforming loan limits (1980-2012)

A conforming mortgage is one that, literally, conforms to the mortgage guidelines as set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Conforming mortgage guidelines are Fannie’s and Freddie’s eligibility standards; an underwriter’s series of check-boxes to determine whether a given loan should be approved.

Among the many traits of a conforming mortgage is “loan size”.

Each year, the government re-assesses its maximum allowable loan size based on “typical” housing costs nationwide. Loans that fall at, or below, this amount meet conforming mortgage guidelines. Loans in excess of this limit are known as “jumbo” loans.

Between 1980 and 2006, as home values increased, conforming loan limits did, too, rising from $93,750 to $417,000. Since 2006, however, despite falling home prices in many U.S. markets, the conforming loan limit has held steady.  This will remain true for 2012 as well. 

In 2012, for the 7th straight year, the national, single-family conforming mortgage loan limit will remain at $417,000.

The complete 2012 conforming loan limit breakdown, by property type :

  • 1-unit properties : $417,000
  • 2-unit properties : $533,850
  • 3-unit properties : $645,300
  • 4-unit properties : $801,950

However, there are some areas nationally that have earned “loan limit exceptions” based on the local median sales prices. These areas are known as “high-cost” areas and loan limits within these regions range from $417,001 to a maximum of $625,500.

Some examples of high-cost areas include San Francisco (along with a most of California), New York City, and most of Hawaii and Alaska. Nationally, there are approximately 200 such “high-cost” areas.

Verify your local conforming loan limit and loan limits across Ohio via the Fannie Mae website. A complete county-by-county list is published online.

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Freddie Mac : Mortgage Rates Sub-4 Percent

October 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Rates 

Freddie Mac PMMS average rates

Mortgage rates have dropped past 4 percent.

For the first time in more than 40 years, data from Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage falling below 4 percent, dropping to 3.94 percent nationwide. It’s the lowest average 30-year fixed reading in the survey’s history.

In addition, Freddie Mac shows the 15-year fixed and 5-year ARM making new all-time lows, too, falling to 3.26% and 2.96%, respectively.

It’s a great time to be shopping for a mortgage or buying a home in Mason. Because mortgage rates are dropping, housing payments are dropping, too. As compared to 8 months ago, for every $100,000 borrowed, homeowners now pay $66 less principal + interest each month.

On a $300,000 mortgage, that’s $71,280 saved in 30 years.

Mortgage rates have been lower for several reasons, some of which include :

  • U.S. economic growth has been slower-than-expected
  • Uncertainty surrounds Greece and the Eurozone
  • The Federal Reserve’s “Operation Twist

In general, demand for mortgage bonds has been high and that’s caused mortgage rates to fall. It should be noted, however, that although the 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell below 4 percent this week, the amount of discount points required to lock that rate rose by 10 basis points, or $100 per $100,000 borrowed.

Homeowners in Kentucky are paying bigger fees for these lower rates. If you plan to move within a few years, these fees may wipe out your low-rate savings.

As you shop for a mortgage, pay attention to more than just rates. Low rates are great, but not when they come with high costs. Talk to your loan officer for help with making a plan than works for you.

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Conforming Loan Limits Drop In High-Cost Areas

October 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Guidelines 

Conforming Loan Limits lowered in 2011

For homeowners in high-cost areas nationwide, conforming and FHA loan limits have dropped by as much as 14 percent.

Effective October 1, 2011, the temporary mortgage loan limits that allowed for non-jumbo loan sizes of up to $729,750 are no longer.

$729,750 is above the “normal” loan limit of $417,000.

The elevated limits were put in place in 2008 as the economy and financial sector entered its crisis. At the time, there was little private money to serve buyers and would-be refinancers whose loan sizes exceeded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s maximum $417,000 loan limits.

For most people whose loan sizes exceeded that threshold, mortgage financing was unavailable. There were no lenders to back the loan size.

This was of particular importance in places such as New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. where home prices routinely top $1 million. For people in these areas, unless they had a downpayment that could lower their respective loan sizes to $417,000 or lower, mortgages were mostly unavailable.

Congress recognized this and, as a result, gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac temportary authorization to purchase and securitize home loans of up to $729,750 in value, depending on where the subject property was located.

The program helped housing, leading Congress to pass more permanent, location-specific loan limits. Later that same year, Congress passed the Housing and Recovery Act of 2009 which, in part, made high-cost loan limit pricing permanent, albeit at $625,500.

The $729,750 temporary limits expired Friday, September 30, 2011. Today, the maximum allowable conforming loan size is $625,500.

If you live in a high-cost area, therefore, take note. Mortgage rates may be low, but the amount of loan for which you qualify may be less than you expect, and you may find yourself ineligible.

The complete list of high-cost areas is available online.

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Mortgage Rates Bounce Off All-Time Lows; The Start Of A Trend?

August 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mortgage Rates 

Freddie Mac Weekly Rates

Low mortgage rates are terrific — if you can get them.

One week after posting its lowest mortgage rate in 50 years, Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by an average of 7 basis points nationwide this week to 4.22%. To get the rate, you’ll pay an average of 0.7 “points”.

This week’s rise in the 30-year fixed rate mortgage pulled rates off their all-time lows so either you locked last week’s rock-bottom rates, or you missed it.

Mortgage rates are rising.

As a refinancing homeowner or home buyer in Mason , rising mortgage rates are something to watch. This is because, as mortgage rates rise, so do the long-term interest costs of giving a mortgage, increasing your homeownership costs.

For example, if you failed to lock a rate last week when rates were bottomed, and then decided to lock-in only after rates had climbed 0.25 percent, at the new, higher rate, over the life of your loan, you would have responsibility for an extra $5,300 in interest costs for every $100,000 you borrowed.

Rising mortgage rates can be expensive.

For home buyers, rising mortgage rates pose a second problem — they erode your purchasing power. A home that fits your budget at today’s rates may not fit your budget at next week’s rates. And because mortgage rates change quickly, you can sometimes feel ilke you’re racing the clock.

The hard part about mortgage rates, though, is that we can never know what they’ll do next. On some days they rise, on some days they fall, and on some days they stay the same. Instead of trying to “time the bottom”, therefore, a good strategy can be to lock the first, low rate that fits your budget. Then, if rates are lower in the future, you can look to refinance at that time.

Mortgage rates remain at historical lows. It’s a good time to lock a rate.

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