After months of reports of slowing home price momentum and forecasts of a lagging housing market, we are pleased to report an increased volume of existing home sales as reported by the National Association of REALTORS®.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported rising prices for homes connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Here are the details.
Pedal to the Metal: Existing Home Sales Achieve Fastest Rate in a Year
September sales of previously owned homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million sales against expectations of 5.10 million sales and August’s reading of 5.05 million sales.
The National Association of REALTORS® reported that the national reading for sales of previously owned homes rose by 2.40 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million sales.
Analysts had expected September’s reading for existing home sales to reach 5.10 million based on August’s reading of 5.05 million existing homes sold.
Three of four regions posted month-to-month gains in existing home sales for September; only the Midwest showed a decline. Overall, September’s sales pace for existing homes was 1.70 percent lower year-over-year.
Steady home prices and lower mortgage rates contributed to a higher pace of existing home sales, but obstacles remain. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® said that September’s reading for existing home sales reflected ongoing economic uncertainty; he said that labor markets will need to strengthen in order to maintain the pace of existing home sales.
Mr. Yun also said that restoration of more “normal” lending standards would allow more first-time and moderate income buyers to qualify for mortgage loans and could potentially increase home sales by 10 percent.
FHFA: Home Prices Rise, Mortgage Credit Standards May Ease
FHFA reported that home prices of properties connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages rose by 0.5 percent in August as compared to a month-to-month revised increase of 0.20 percent in July. August’s reading represents a year-over-year increase of 4.80 percent as compared to July’s year-over-year increase of 4.60 percent.
In related news, FHFA Director Mel Watt hinted at some welcome news during a meeting on October 21 in Las Vegas.
Strict mortgage requirements are frequently cited as a cause of lukewarm home sales, but there is some hope that mortgage credit requirements may return to pre-housing bubble standards. Mr. Watt said that the agency is working on relaxing certain rules affecting how and when mortgage lenders are required to repurchase loans that they’ve sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
These changes are designed to clarify FHFA regulations and to narrow the criteria for when repurchasing loans is required. Lenders have been using strict mortgage approval standards as a protection against Fannie and Freddie requests to repurchase loans categorized as “early defaults.”
Are you thinking about buying a new home? If you’re going to apply for mortgage financing, you can rest assured that your lender will be checking in to your credit history, income and other items in order to assess your ability to manage this debt.
However, there also quite a few variables that they won’t inspect during the due diligence process. In today’s blog post we’ll look at five factors that a lender or mortgage underwriter won’t consider when assessing your suitability for a mortgage loan.
Your Family Status
It’s against the law for lenders to make any special considerations as to your family status, whatever it might be. Both the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act protect you from discrimination in regards to your family status.
Your Age or Race
Similarly, lenders cannot factor in your age or your race when assessing your suitability for a mortgage loan. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer who has just graduated from college or a retiree looking to purchase that dream condo on the beach, age will not be a factor in your mortgage application.
Shopping Around with Other Lenders
While you might have heard that checking your credit too often can cause issues with your credit score, this isn’t the case when shopping around with multiple mortgage providers.
Only the first “hard inquiry” on your credit by a mortgage lender in a two-week period will count against your score; after this, the credit agencies will assume that you’re doing comparison shopping with other providers and avoid factoring these checks in.
Unemployment and Other Unstable Income Sources
If you have sources of income that are deemed irregular or unstable, such as a small side business or unemployment income, it’s a safe bet that these will not be considered as income when your mortgage application is assessed. As the typical mortgage loan is repaid back over 10 to 20 years, lenders and underwriters are looking for stability in your ability to pay.
Any Non-Borrower’s Income
While it can certainly be helpful to have a spouse or other family member include their income along with yours to prove your repayment ability, unless they are listed on the loan as a co-borrower their income will not be counted.
If you have other questions, be sure to contact your local mortgage broker or other professional as they are an excellent source of quality information and expertise.
If you’re moving to a new city with children, one of your likely considerations is finding a family-friendly community where you can settle in and call home.
In this post we’ll share a handful of tips that you may find helpful if you’re searching for a family-friendly neighborhood in a new city.
Check Out The Quality Of Local Schools
Schools are one of the cornerstones of a community and high-quality schools are a sign that a community is suitable for your family. When you’ve made your short list of communities that you are considering, take some time to research the local elementary or high schools to see how they stack up against other schools in the surrounding area.
You may also want to connect with the school’s principal or dean to ask about the environment and whether or not it would be suitable for your children.
Look Around For Local Churches And Other Community Groups
Great communities are those which are filled with engaged citizens who are actively working to better the area for everyone. When you drive through a community that you’re considering, look around to see if there are churches and other groups that get local residents together on a regular basis.
You may find that these groups make for an excellent welcoming committee who can introduce you to the area and help to get your family settled.
Parks And Other Gathering Spaces Are A Good Sign
Another excellent way to determine if a community is suitable for raising a family is the number of nearby parks and public gathering spaces. You’ll want to ensure that your children have a nice area to run around and play with your family pet, or that you have a nice park in which to have the occasional picnic lunch to spend some quality time together.
When In Doubt: Ask The Locals
If you’re visiting a community or touring through homes, spend some time talking to the locals to hear their thoughts and opinions on how family-friendly the local area is. If you haven’t yet, you should also connect with a local real estate agent who can share the ups and downs of the community you’re thinking about moving to.
Follow these tips and trust your instincts, and you’ll be able to find a great new community that makes a perfect home for your family.
Are you buying a home for the first time? Congratulations! Buying your own home is an excellent way to build your net worth while living in a space that you can renovate and truly make your own.
If you’re going to be taking out a mortgage to help pay for the up-front costs of your home, you’ll want to get a head start on the approval process.
With that in mind, below are four handy tips to ensure that your mortgage application is approved on your first try.
Gather All Of The Necessary Information And Paperwork
You’re going to need as much financial data as possible so try to prepare your past two income tax returns, pay stubs and other details ahead of time. It may also be helpful to create a quick budget to show your lender how your income stacks up against your monthly bills.
Maintain A Clean Credit History
It likely goes without saying that you’ll need as clean a credit history as possible in order to ensure a quick mortgage approval. If you think that there may be some negative items on your report, try to have a copy pulled before you see your mortgage lender as they’ll be asking you about them.
Don’t Try To Fudge Any Facts On Your Application
Your mortgage lender is legally and professionally obligated to perform a significant amount of due diligence on you before they are able to process your approval. If you’ve lied on your application it is likely to be discovered and will be seen as a serious breach of trust on your part.
Even if your financial picture isn’t all that strong it’s far better to be honest than to try to hide or falsify your data.
Make A Down Payment Higher Than 20 Percent
Finally, if you can make a down payment on your home that is higher than 20 percent of the purchase cost you may find it easier to get approved. Placing more than 20 percent down typically eliminates you from various mortgage insurance requirements and can show the lender that you’re capable of paying the mortgage back in full.
The above tips are just a few ways that you can work to ensure that you have a better chance at being approved for your mortgage. If you have other questions or for more information, contact your local mortgage professional and they’ll be happy to share their expertise.