Interest Rates Post Trump Election

Interest rates post Trump election have surprised just about everyone.

It’s been a long time since anyone lender was quoting conventional conforming 30-yr fixed mortgage rates at 4% or higher for their best customers, but as of yesterday, every mortgage lender is doing so.

images999888What a difference a week makes, last Monday, the day before the election, rates averaged 3.625%.  Over the past 3 days business day (Friday the markets were closed for Veterans Day), rates have moved higher and faster than the last big 3-day move back in 1987, where rates moved higher more quickly on an outright basis.

If you were on the fence for a refinance. You just lost, and should seriously consider locking now if it even remotely still makes sense.

If you were in the market to buy a house, rates are still great, and there is no reason not to buy a home. But consider the average $230,000 home here in Minnesota will cost you $50 more per month at a 4.00% rate versus a 3.625% rate.

Why have mortgage interest rates gone up?

There are a lot of factors, but the biggest is simply the markets are feeling good about the direction of the country with the Donald Trump election. This has sparked the stock market, which has seen very nice gains. When stocks are good, mortgage rates are bad.  When stocks are bad, mortgage rates are good.

 


Mortgage loans. Why all the paperwork?

Mortgage loans – Why all the paperwork?

Loan PaperworkAs a Loan Officer serving Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, I am constantly asked why is there so much paperwork required to get a mortgage loan today. It seems that the lender wants to know everything about you these days, and you would be correct. Your mortgage lender does want to know a lot about you.  If you were to give a complete stranger a huge loan, for a 30-year commitment, what would YOU want to know about them?

To make it feel worse than it really is, from about 1999 until 2007 during the housing boom, there were many programs available that allowed for limited documentation, or even no proof of income. Many people took advantage of those programs. Unfortunately, a large number of those people were allowed to bite off more loan than they would have been allowed if they proved income, contributing to the real estate collapse starting in 2007.

Loan Documentation Requirements Today

No one wants foreclosures and bad loans. It isn’t good for the home buyer, the neighborhood, or the economy.  For that reason, mortgage companies need to verify and double check everything on the application, and to make sure you are a good risk.

There are three very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

  1. The mortgage industry was a bit too trusting in the past. Lenders for example asked for a pay stub, but we took what you provided at face value, and there was no double check. This allowed fraud to become rampant. How hard would it be to scan a W2 that said you made $30,000 a year into a computer, then use Photoshop to change that the 3 to an 8, and now you make $80,000 a year income.
  2. Even without fraud, during the run-up in the housing market, many people qualified for mortgages that they realistically could never pay back. The government has mandated new guidelines that now demand that the mortgage lender  prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. The rule is called ATR, or the “Ability to Repay” rule. So no more stated income, or limited income loans.
  3.  The lenders have never wanted to be in the real estate holding business. Since the collapse, lenders suffered huge losses that came close to destroying the economy, and were were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures,  and negotiating millions of more homes in short-sales.

The Good News About Mortgage Loans

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process. If you got a loan ten to 20-years ago, yes, it was easier. But at the same time, if you never experienced that in the past, your fame of reference is that it really isn’t all that difficult today.

Instead of complaining about the paperwork required, be thankful that that you can get a loan, and get it at these amazingly low mortgage interest rates.


How Mortgage Rates Change

Minneapolis, MN:  Many people believe that if you call around to enough lenders, that you will find someone offering a great deal.  The reality is that it doesn’t really work that way.  We generally say that if you call around to enough lenders, you might find the biggest liar.

Are All Lender Essentially The Same?

First understand that for all your traditional loans; FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans, which encompass the vast majority of all mortgage loans done in this county, every mortgage lender follows the same rules, have the same underlying costs, and set rates based on the same thing.  If my rates go up, so do theirs.  If my rates go down, so do theirs.

worth_balanceEver notice that most of the time, when purchasing the same item at Target or Walmart, the price is virtually the same thing.  Maybe just a tiny difference?  The same thing goes with mortgage loans.

Are there minor differences in mortgage companies rate?  Yes, but generally, the difference between the best and the worst on any given day is about .25%, and really only has to do with overhead, not one being able to really offer something better.

If my cost is the same as their costs, but they have to pay for advertising on all TV channels, radio stations, and all over the Internet.  If they have to pay for stadium sponsorships, and the brink and mortar buildings on every corner, but I don’t… Who do you think can then offer better deals?  Yes, it is that simple.

So What Changes Mortgage Rates

Long term fixed rate loans, like Conventional fixed rate loans and Government back VA Loans and FHA Loan lenders all set their rates based on the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities.  These mortgage bonds are traded in real time, all day in the bond market.

This means rates or loan fees (mortgage pricing) moves constantly throughout the day, being affected by a variety of economic or political events.  The bond market most days trades in a small zone. So the mortgage rate the lender sets in the morning, is usually good all day long.  But sometimes, the bond market has bigger changes though out the day, meaning a mortgage lender could potentially change rates during the day, sometimes even multiple times in one day.

This can be very frustrating for mortgage shoppers.  You call this morning to get a mortgage quote. Quote in have, you talk to your spouse about it, calling back in the afternoon, just to get a different quote.  Sometimes this change is in your favor.  Sometime it is not.

Therefore tracking these securities in real-time is critical. When MBS pricing goes up, mortgage rates or pricing generally goes down.  When they fall, mortgage pricing goes up. Click this link to track our live mortgage rates for MN, WI, and SD.

Working with a mortgage loan officer who knows and understands the mortgage back security market, someone who can help you understand when to lock your interest rate, or if you should float your interest rate it critical.

I am one of those Loan Officers, not just your typical Loan Application Clerk.  I lend in MN, WI, and SD.


Twin Cities Home Prices Rise

The Twin Cities real estate market continues to defy the traditional assumptions of supply and demand as year-on-year home prices rise while supply also increases.

worth_balanceOne reason for this is that so-called distressed properties, short sales and foreclosures, continue to disappear from a market they once dominated. These properties — where the mortgage balance due exceeds the home’s value — artificially depressed home prices. Now, it’s the resurgence of so-called traditional sales that is inflating prices.

St. Paul and Minneapolis Realtors’ associations reported recently that the local median sales price rose 7.2 percent, year-on-year, to $209,000 in October. Inventory rose 4.3 percent. The median was$205,000 in September.

The local trade associations also noted a decline in deal activity, with pending sales down 1.3 percent from last year. This also can result in higher inventory. New listings decreased 2.3 percent.

Traditional new listings rose 6.7 percent, while foreclosure and short-sale new listings were down 42.4 and 31.3 percent, respectively.

Months’ supply of inventory was up 10.8 percent to 4.1 months. Days on market is down 4 percent to 72 days.

Both associations counted the developments as a positive, citing greater inventory for buyers, with better prices for traditional home sellers, super low Minnesota mortgage rates, and plenty of loan programs for first time home buyers.


Mortgage rates – Should I Float or Lock

Float or Lock your Mortgage Loan Interest Rate?

Minneapolis, MN:  I get asked the should I float or lock question many times every week, and I generally have the same answer. Lock.

Watching the markets, and trying to figure out what the markets will do is an exercise in futility. There are simply too many reports, commentary, and data constantly being analyzed from every angle and perspective. The last 10-years, much of the talk has not matched the actual trading of bonds.

Interest rates change daily

During the time most home owners are in what lenders call a lockable position, which generally speaking, this means the timeframe after you’ve signed a purchase agreement, and about 10-days before your closing. You can’t lock a rate until you have the exact house, and eventually the lender has to finalize your approval and send out documents for your closing.

Mortgage Interest Rates Minneapolis, MNMortgage interest rates are likely to move up and down many times during this lockable period, which is usually 60-days or less. Rarely do we see rates make big moves, rather just small moves of 1/8th to 1/4 percent higher or lower during that period.  A typical example week may be something like 4.625% on Monday, 4.75% on Tuesday, 4.625% on Wednesday, 4.50% of Thursday, and 4.625% again on Friday.

Now if we KNEW what rates were going to do, we could easily just lock on this example Thursday. Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball, and no one knows what mortgage rates are going to do.

Therefore my float or lock advice is to always lock your rate the moment you are able to lock, and never look back.

If you lock:  You are OK with where mortgage rates are today, and how they relate to your loan payment.  You are all done with this part of the home buying process, and don’t have anything to worry about. You can focus on other aspects of your new home. While rates may go down before you close, generally speaking it might only be 1/8th percent.

If you float: Mortgage Rates can go up, or rates can go down. If they go down, great – you win.  If they go up, you lose. While rates may move before closing, generally speaking it is rare to see it move more than about 1/8th percent before closing.  Sure, you would like a little lower rate, but you are stressing yourself worrying about rates.  If 1/8th to 1/4 percent makes that much of a difference, you are probably buying a house you really can’t afford.

No one knows what interest rates are going to do. Lock, be happy, and don’t worry about it.


Refinancing activity down 55% – Rates still awesome

Mortgages Rates in Minneapolis, MNAccording to recent surveys from the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinance applications are down 55% from recent highs. The latest survey shows the smallest amount of refinance activity in years, yet refinances still account for 63 percent of all mortgage applications.

Clearly the uptick in interest rates from the lows we say back in May 2013 are having an effect on activity. As mortgage rates move higher, refinancing makes less sense for more and more people.  Current best execution on 30-year fixed mortgage rates is running +/- 4.50%, which is about 1% higher than the recent lows.

From a historical perspective, interest rates are still fantastic, and surveys show there are still millions of people who could benefit be refinancing to today’s current interest rates.

HARP Refinance MNThere is also a huge mental aspect to refinancing. When people “hear” rates have gone up, many don’t even both to check with their local mortgage professional to run numbers.   But interest rates are only one aspect of refinancing.  Getting a short term, like a 15-year mortgage, can easily save many people well in excess of $100,000 or more.  That is nothing to ignore.   For others, refinancing back to a new 30-year fixed mortgage could save them hundreds of dollars a month.

Finally, many people still are under the belief that that can not refinance because of underwriting rules, or because their home has lost value.  But programs like HARP 2, the Home Affordable refinance Program for underwater home are working well for millions of people.

My advice is to never assume.  Call your local licensed mortgage professional for a quick review.  You may be surprised at what you hear!

 


St Paul Home Price continue to climb

Minneapolis and St Paul area home owners continue to see an upward climb in the value of their homes. The median sales price soared up 17.5 percent over last year.  According to the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®, the June 2013 average value was $210,000, the highest it’s been since December 2007, just as the market was starting to crash.  By the way, mortgage interest rates at the time were about 6.10%.

house_from_wordLess homes for sale than what we’d like to see, combined with fewer foreclosures, and low mortgage rates continue to fuel these price increases.  New listings were up in June by over 20% from last year, but still there are more buyers than sellers,  sparking competition amongst buyers.

While mortgage interest rates are still historically low, they have increased about 1% from the lows back in May 2013 to around 4.50% today. This increase has put more pressure on the home prices as those who were sitting on the fence are jumping into the water before rates go even higher.

In the sub $250,000 price range, considered the “most affordable”, many homes are selling very quickly with multiple offers just days on the market.  Therefore all prospective buyers need to be fully lender pre-approved and ready to make an offer the moment they see a house they love.

Rising home prices and higher mortgage rates caused housing affordability to decrease by 15.9 percent from last year. However, home prices remain well below pre-housing-crisis levels and mortgage rates remain historically low, even after the rate increase.

 


Homebuyer jump into market as rates rise

Mortgage rates have risen about 1% since May 2013, and that is clearly making potential home buyers jump into purchase contracts more sooner than later according to a recent Fannie Mae housing survey.
Real Estate, Minnesota, Minneapolis, for sale, mortgage rates, interest rates
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The survey shows 57% of people expect mortgage rates to rise in the next 12 months, with just 7% responding that rates will remain stable. The previous survey indicated only 46% of people expected mortgage rates to rise.

Potential home buyer clearly see the writing on the wall, and anyone even close to purchasing a home realize interest rates, while up from previous lows, are still historically good.  Given the fact home prices are rising and rates are rising, homebuyers have decided that now is time to get off the fence and get serious about buying real estate.
Americans’ outlook on the economy deteriorated slightly, though many were more optimistic about their personal situation. The share of people who expect their own personal financial situation to improve over the next year jumped to 46%, its highest level in three years, while  16% said they expect their situation to worsen, unchanged for the third consecutive month.


Sorry, Minneapolis rates are NOT going back down!

Minnesota mortgage ratesMinneapolis, MN:  This isn’t easy to say, but understand…  rates are NOT going back down to where they were last month.

Today’s mortgage rates for the best customers at about 4.625%, but range up to  above 5%, based on lender, credit score, program, down payment, etc..  Our quoted rates today are 1/2% higher than just last Monday. Volatility is the name of the game, as we have seen rates  jump by as much as .25% in interest rate in a single day. What we quote in the morning may be long gone by the afternoon.

With the drastic and dramatic jump we’ve seen since May 3rd, consumers may have thrown the brakes on for looking at houses, or refinancing  – waiting for rates to come back down.  It is important that you a work closely with your favorite Mortgage Loan Officer to understand rates, what they are, why they move, and if you should lock in a rate.

While I don’t know for sure, I believe the 4.50% – 4.75% range is our new floor of support for a little while.  We may see a slight uptick, and we may also see a minor drop as the market players settle into the new reality, but the 30-year fixed rate loan in the 3’s is now just a memory.

 


As mortgage rates climb, beware of not accurate quotes

Fed Chairman Bernanke

St Paul, MN: Mortgage rates the last few weeks have climbed steadily on the statement from the Federal Reserve that they plans to scale back, and ultimately end the buying of Mortgage backed Securities by the middle of 2014.
This news translated into mortgage rates having one of the worst weeks in history, with Friday alone generating a 1/4% rise in interest rates. While 1/4% isn’t a killer by itself, combined with the rate increases from the earlier part of the week, the combination proves to be a nightmare for mortgage rates. Real mortgage rates ending Friday for the best clients are now about 4.625%.  This compares to 3.50% just a month ago.

BEWARE OF WHAT YOU READ – Not all Mortgage Quotes are current

I took numerous calls this week, where clients complained about the rate I was telling them compared to what they were reading elsewhere for “average rates.”  Most of the average rate information published on web sites, newspapers, and reported by the media comes from the weekly rate report published by Freddie Mac.  While the report is great for tracking averages over time, it is the AVERAGE of rates compiled through the end of the previous week, then reported on the following Thursday.

freddieAnother problem is many web sites don’t update daily, or even weekly.  Newspapers, and other print media may have collected rate information on Wednesday morning for publication in Sundays paper. This week, that would leave people with quotes at least .375% to .500% lower than reality.

If you are buying Google stock, does it matter what last week average price was, or what you can buy if for today?  Only rely on constantly updated and accurate rate reporting system, or while a phone call to a Loan Officer.

Check LIVE and CURRENT MN and WI Mortgage Rates 24/7

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Mortgage Rates Annihilated

Minneapolis, MN: Mortgage rates continue to creep higher, as the Fed has announced a plan to scale back their buying of mortgage backed securities.

lmrWhat is causing rates to rise?

The Mortgage-backed-securities (MBS) market is what dictates loan pricing.  Simply put, the government has been artificially holding down rates by buying billions of dollars worth of mortgage backed securities. The ideal is simply to stimulate the economy and job growth with cheap money.  As the economy and job markets improve, the FED has said it would start to taper, then completely end their purchasing of mortgage bonds.

Without the FED buying bonds, fear has taken over.  Fear is never in the markets favor, as one can clearly see in the run up of mortgage rates.

As many of you know, we are currently in round three of the Fed buying bonds.  At the end of round one, when the Fed backed off of buying bonds, rates started moving higher, and quickly.  At that time, the Fed quickly jumped back in to settle things down. We don’t see that happening this time around.  As a matter of fact, the Fed has clearly noted that rising interest rates is something they want.

Actual Effect

The past two month, we have good from best execution 30-year fixed rates about 3.50%, to today, best execution 30-year fixed rates about 4.25%. That is the highest we’ve seen since late 2011. This is also the sharpest rise in rates in 10-years.

If you are even remotely thinking of refinancing, you’d better do it now.  If you are thinking of buying a house in the very near term, you should do it now.  If you are thinking of buying somewhere down the line, you are likely to see higher mortgage rates…  But nothing that should ever stop anyone from buying a home.

For perspective, read this previous article of mine on mortgage rate history.

Should you float of lock?  Read this daily rate lock advisory


Mortgage Rate Perspective

balance_ratesMinneapolis, MN:  With rates having moved up slightly recently, it is good to keep current mortgage rates in perspective.

Here is a mini historic look at conventional 30-yr fixed loan rates

  • In the early 1960’s = 5.25%
  • In June 1971, about 7.53%
  • In June 1981, about 16.70%
  • In June 1990, about 10.16%
  • In June 1998, about 6.99%
  • In June 2000, about 8.29%
  • In June 2005, about 5.58%
  • In June 2009, about 5.52%
  • In June 2010, about 4.75%
  • Last month (May 2013) about 3.54%
  • Today… about 3.91%

I bought my first house in 1981.  I paid 16% for my FHA 30-year fixed!  That same loan today is 3.50%


Rates Tick Up – Buyers Want to Lock Low Rates

Minneapolis, MN: Mortgage interest rates have been near historic lows for a long time. Home buyers have fallen into a feeling that low mortgage rates are normal.  That attitude changed a bit recently as mortgage rates jumped up to the highest level in over a year.
lmrInterest rates on baseline  30-year fixed mortgage  surged 12 basis points to average 3.9% in the week ended May 24, the highest level since May 2012. The upward trend went even slightly higher this week, with most lenders reporting best execution rates at 4.00%
The slight up-tick in rates has caused many potential buyers to jump off the fence, and act now before interest rates go any higher.

So why are rates moving higher?  It is complicated, as there are many factors, but the simplest explanation is that the economy is slowly getting better.

Another big reason is that the FED has been propping up mortgages by being the primary buyer of mortgage backed securities. Without them buying these securities, the entire mortgage system would collapse. While they have, and continue to say they will buy the securities for the immediate future, there are signs that this policy may be changing, with a pull back of the buying because of the improving economy

Simply put, rates may be slowly starting to return to where the market should be if supporting itself, and not being propped up by the Fed.


Rates jump up after jobs report

lmrMinneapolis, MN:  Mortgage rates jumped up  at their fastest pace in two months after this weeks employment report, which showed that more jobs than anticipated were created in April.  Anytime we see good economic news, it tends to cause long-term mortgage interest rates to move higher.

Not only were April’s numbers good, the report also revised March’s numbers higher – which combined, added to the increase in mortgage interest rates.

While this all sounds like doom and gloom for anyone looking to buy a new home, or refinance their existing mortgage to save money – it just means that for a perfect customer, a 30-year fixed rate is back up to about 3.50%…  Hardly terrible news!

While we never know what mortgage interest rates will do, today’s rates are awesome.  There is very little room for downward improvement, and lots of room to move up.  I suggest locking in these great low rates, and never look back.


Weekly Mortgage Rate Report for April 27, 2013

ir-2Mortgage Rates Hit 2013 Lows, Big Week Ahead

Market Summary
Minneapolis, MN:   Mortgage rates finally made a break from a narrow range that’s persisted since April 15th.  They’d edged up to the top of that range by Thursday, but then made their first authoritative move lower to end the week at the best levels of 2013.

READ THE FULL REPORT

 


Minnesota Real Estate – A Sellers Market

St Paul, MN:  The latest report from the Minnesota Association of Realtors shows what we mortgage lenders already knew… That lower quality inventory is sparking higher prices across the state, but primarily in the Minneapolis / St Paul area.

real1The report for March showed the lowest number of homes currently on the market, at 11,784, since 2005. The report also shows the highest March average price for homes in four years, at $155,000 statewide.

The low inventory, combined with increased consumer confidence, and historically low mortgage rates, has created bidding wars on many properties, with the homes selling quickly, and ABOVE asking price.  This goes against the grain of what many home buyers think, that they can still make low ball offer on homes.  For the most part, low ball offers are a thing of the past.

More homes are expected to come on the market as we finally get some spring weather, but expect the fury of multiple offers on great, well priced homes to continue.

Your best bet to make a successful competitive offer is to be fully Pre-Approved, from a LOCAL reputable lender, and to be working with experienced knowledgeable real estate agents.