Archive for Mortgage Information


How’s the Market – May 2015

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While Quarterly Sales Reports show closed activity for the previous quarter, monthly Contract Signed reports are the ‘crystal ball’ of closed sales to come. Granted, all contracts signed for any given month may not close in the next month, and some may not close at all but most (over 95%) will become closed sales which will become part of the next Quarterly Sales Report.

In the following charts and graphs you can see how the market stacks up against last month and this month last year.







Watch those Refinancing Expenses

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With interest rates still low, some New York homeowners are seeking to refinance their existing mortgage.  If refinancing is on your radar screen, and if you’re careful, you may not have to pay the mortgage recording tax again when you refinance.

New York state charges a recording tax on new mortgage debt.  In New York City, the rage is 1.8% of the loan amount for mortgages under $500k and 1.925% above $500k.  Borrowers who already “paid the tax on an existing mortgage is entitled to an exemption from payment of the tax with respect to an existing principal balance a second time” according to attorney Guy Arad, with Adam Leitman Bailey.

Watch out – if you’re switching lenders when you refinance, you might have to pay the tax anyway.    In order to skip the tax when switching lenders, you must get your existing lender to assign or transfer the mortgage to the new lender.  The new lender would then rewrite the mortgage to meet the new terms.  The catch is, some lenders don’t always agree to do the assignment.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • If the lender agrees to assign the mortgage, the extra paperwork will take more time.  Make sure your closing date is set with this in mind.
  • Both lenders must be present at closing.
  • There will likely be extra legal fees and assignment fees, which should be considered when figuring the tax savings.  Sometimes the savings is not worth the headache.
  • If the new loan is larger than the outstanding loan, you will be taxed on the difference.
  • If you think you will be refinancing sometime down the road, find out what the lender’s policy is on transfers before signing the mortgage.

Based on New York Times article by  Lisa Prevost.


In the News May 12, 2013

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5/7/13  Fannie, Freddie will only purchase ‘qualified mortgages’ starting next year:  Starting next January, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s federal regulator will no longer allow them to purchase interest-only loans, loans with 40-year terms, or those with points and fees exceeding thresholds for “qualified mortgages” established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Adoption of the new limitations on Jan. 10, 2014 “is in keeping with (the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s) goal of gradually contracting (Fannie and Freddie’s) market footprint and protecting borrowers and taxpayers,” FHFA said. SourceFHFA

5/8/13:  Hundreds Pack Upper East Side Church to Protest Marine Transfer Station:  Hundreds of residents blasted the planned East 91st Marine Transfer Station Tuesday, saying the project would leave poor and elderly residents vulnerable to high levels of pollution and vermin.  See full article at



Bigger Loans = More Hoops to Jump Through

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Jumbo loans, for most lending institutions, are defined as mortgages over $625,500, and they come in three sizes: small, medium and large. Face it if you’re buying in New York City and need a mortgage, you’ll likely be seeking one of these jumbo loans.

While several banks offer these Jumbo Loans, the may have different requirements.  For Example

  • EverBank offers a Jumbo Loan up to $1.5M and requires a 20% down payment, and 12 months of cash reserves; a loan from 1.5M to 2.5M requires a 30% down payment and 18 months cash reserves; and over $2.5M requires $35% down and 2 years of cash reserves.
  • Bank of America offers a jumbo loan up to $1M with a 20% down payment; a $2.5M to $5M loan with 30% down; and $5M+ loans require a 35% down payment.
  • Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has several tiers starting at $417,000 to $2M with 20% down payment and 12 months cash reserves.  After that, for every $1M above the $2M requires an extra 5% down and additional cash reserves.

While most lenders build in some flexibility to their loan programs, expect to see credit score requirements of 720 and above and debt-to-income ratios of 40% to 43%.  You might be able to get more favorable terms if you have a strong financial profile.

Some other things to think about:

  • Relationship:  The first place to look is the lender where you do the majority of your business.  If you have a strong relationship with your lender already, they may be more likely to relax their requirements.
  • Identify liquid assets:  Some lenders will accept assets such as stocks that can be liquidated easily if the borrower does not have sufficient cash reserves to meet the tier requirements.
  • Shop sooner rather than later:  The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules go into effect in early 2014.  These protections will tighten standards for verification of borrower income or assets and make interest-only loans difficult or impossible for many borrowers to obtain.

Based on Wall Street Journal article by Anya Martin


Mortgage Update May 2013

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Unemployment Rate Falls

During a week packed full of major economic news, the big market mover was Friday’s stronger than expected Employment report, and mortgage rates ended the week higher. This week’s Fed and ECB meeting announcements produced some volatility but had little net impact.

Following a dismal March Employment report and weaker than expected first quarter GDP data, investors were concerned about another spring slowdown for the US economy. The April Employment report helped alleviate those fears, however. Against a consensus forecast of 155K, the economy added 165K jobs in April. The bigger news was that the figures for February and March were revised higher by 114K. With the revisions, the economy added an average of more than 200K jobs per month during the first quarter. The Unemployment Rate unexpectedly declined from 7.6% to 7.5%, the lowest level since December 2008. Without a doubt, the data was significantly stronger than expected, which is good news for the economy. But for mortgage rates, it was bad news for a couple of reasons. It increases future inflation expectations and it moves the Unemployment Rate closer to the 6.5% target which may cause the Fed to scale back its bond purchase program.

The Fed concluded its highly anticipated meeting on Wednesday. Prior to the release of its statement, investors, expecting to see clearer signs of support for an increase in the magnitude or the duration of the bond buying program, pushed up the price of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The Fed statement was little changed from the last statement, however, causing MBS prices to lose their earlier gains. The Fed will continue asset purchases until the labor market improves “substantially”. The primary change to the statement was the addition of the language that the Fed is “prepared to increase or reduce” the pace of its asset purchases based on changes in its outlook for the labor market and inflation.chart 050313

Also Notable:

  • Pending Home Sales increased to the highest level since April 2010
  • Weekly Jobless Claims fell to the lowest level since January 2008
  • As expected, the European Central Bank (ECB) cut rates by 25 basis points
  • Eurozone unemployment rose to a record high of 12.1%


Graph courtesy New York Times article and newsletter by Fred Ashe from Citi Financial Group.

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5 Tips for Buyers Who Use Down payment Gifts

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About a quarter of first-time home buyers use gifts from relatives to fund a down payment for a home purchase, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®. But lenders are carefully scrutinizing such gifts.

“Basically, the banks want to make sure that you’re not getting a second loan,” Ray Mignone of Ray Mignone & Associates, a financial planning firm, told The New York Times. “If all of a sudden $50,000 pops into your account, they want to make sure it’s not a loan against the property that they’re going to put a mortgage on.”

In a recent article, The New York Times provided some of the following tips in making make these lenders’ checks and balances go smoother for home buyers:

  • Have the money come in a check or wire transfer so that it’s traceable. Lenders often be-come cautious over cash gifts.
  • Have the giver provide the lender with a gift letter, which verifies the money is a gift, the specific amount being given, the relationship to the borrower, and that repayment is not required.
  •  Deposit any gift money into the borrower’s account a few months before applying for a mortgage so the lenders have fewer questions about it, Mignone says.
  •  Consider federal gift-tax regulations: Individual gifts of more than $13,000 must be reported to the IRS and are subject to tax.

Be aware that certain types of mortgages may limit how much of a down payment you can receive as a gift. For example, with conventional loans, lenders may require at least 5 per-cent in the borrower’s own money that is not a gift. However, Federal Housing Administration loans — which are popular among first-time home buyers — do not have any limits on gifts and borrowers can use gifts to cover the entire down payment.

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Trading up? Be prepared to wait

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You’ve decided to move up to a bigger or better apartment.  You have all your ducks in a row, credit score is near perfect, your broker is the best in the business, but you’re not getting anywhere.    Listings are scarce and credit is tight, so you end up sitting out because you can’t find what you’re looking for, have been outbid or you can’t get a good loan.

Two-bedroom apartments are particularly challenging since the market is shrinking in this area, according to Miller Samuel.  The available number of two-bedroom apartments is down by 28.4% from the same period a year ago.   This is largely due to low equity since the fall of prices in 2008; selling may not net enough extra cash to move to a bigger or better place at a price move-ups can afford.  The down payment requirements also come into play here as people need to dig for the cash to make their next move. 

Financing is another barrier to moving up.  Only the strongest borrowers with the best credit scores and income are being approved for loans with the favorable rates.  Others who are self-employed or receive a large portion of their income in commissions and bonuses are meeting resistance, and if they can get approved at all, the rates are appalling.  Without reasonable loans, buyers are watching their dream homes get snapped up by others.

It seems that contracts are being landed by the most aggressive buyers.  They are the first in the door at an open house and can make up their minds quickly.


Consider a lease-back - making the sale of your current place contingent on the option of renting from the buyers for a few months to help you find a new place in a tight market.

Get in Early – be the first in the door at an open house.  Many websites like Douglas Elliman allow you to save searches and will send you an email for every new listing that meets your criteria.

Be prepared – Make sure all your paperwork is lined up including your mortgage pre-approval and your financials so you can make an offer on the spot.

Work with the right team – A responsive broker and real estate attorney can make all the difference in a hot market.


In the News – August 19, 2012

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08/15/12  In Manhattan Home Search, Some choose to Go Big:  There are a small, but growing group of New Yorkers with deep pockets and the stomach for renovations, some are creating single-family homes out of an apartment building.  Behold the return of the urban mansion.  See the full article in the Wall Street Journal 

08/16/12  Refinancing a Vacation Home:   Homeowners who want to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates and refinance a vacation home should be prepared for stricter loan requirement especially if they rent out the property.  See the full article in the New York Times

08/17/12  Rent or Buy?  Blanching at their rent bills, more New Yorkers are being forced to confront that age-old question, should I rent or does buying make more sense?  See the full article in the New York Times 

08/19/12 Upper East Side  fourth-grader Samuel Wohabe is cooking up quite a career in food: White House ‘State Dinner’ is next for the 9-year-old upper East Sider and co-winner of national Healthy Lunchtime Challenge  See the article in the New York Daily News


Mortgage Market Trends for June 2012

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Central Banks Prepared to Act

Following a large improvement in mortgage rates and a large decline in stocks last week, investors partially reversed direction this week. The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Fed were the main focus, providing a degree of comfort, and investors were a little more willing to take on risky assets. This was negative for bonds, however, and mortgage rates ended the week modestly above last week’s record low levels.

The high degree of uncertainty about the troubles in Europe and the pace of US and global economic growth remains a major influence on US mortgage rates. In general, the uncertainty causes investors to reduce risk, which supports low rates. In addition, it tends to produce a higher level of volatility, which was evident this week. Reports about potential actions by the ECB, the IMF, China, Greece, and Spanish banks all produced significant reactions, even though little of the news could be supported as more than speculation. There will be series of major events later in the month, including Greek elections, an EU summit, and a Fed meeting, so it is reasonable to expect that volatility will continue.

Highly anticipated statements from the President of the European Central Bank (ECB) and from Fed Chief Bernanke this week helped ease investor concerns a little. Neither the ECB nor the Fed is ready to provide additional stimulus right now, but they are open to further action if necessary. The ECB and the Fed have already taken extraordinary measures to ease the financial crisis. The leaders of both central banks pointed out that monetary policy alone will not be enough to solve all the problems. They suggested that decisive action by political leaders would be more effective than further central bank action at this point.

 Also Notable:

  • China cut rates for the first time since 2008
  • Fitch downgraded the debt of Spain
  • The Fed’s Fisher stated that weak job creation is a bigger concern than inflation
  • The Treasury will auction $66 billion in 3-yr, 10-yr, and 30-yr securities next week

Week Ahead

The most significant economic data next week will be the monthly inflation reports. The Producer Price Index (PPI) focuses on the increase in prices of “intermediate” goods used by companies to produce finished products and will come out on Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most closely watched monthly inflation report, will come out on Thursday. CPI looks at the price change for those finished goods which are sold to consumers. Retail Sales also will be released on Wednesday. Retail Sales account for about 70% of economic activity. Industrial Production, Consumer Sentiment, and Empire State will come out on Friday. In addition, there will be Treasury auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.


Graph Courtesy from NY Times in an article by Vickie Elmer June 7, 2012.  Data and Commentary provided by Fred Ashe, fromCitibank N.A.

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Real Estate Hurdles Leading to Contract Cancellations

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With the economy showing signs of recovery in many parts of the country, one would think that Real Estate deals would be smooth sailing.  Unfortunately that isn’t the case.  In a new national survey Almost one-third of real estate agents reported experiencing  deals falling through. 

According to the survey by the National Association of Realtors, the reported cancellation rate doesn’t mean that one of every three transactions are falling through, rather more than triple the number of agents are facing  deal-jeopardizing problems in 2011.

 Some of the issues reported:

  • Appraisals below contract price.   Appraisers hired by the mortgage company may have a different opinion of the value of the property, sometimes significantly below the price agreed in the contract.  Foreclosures being used as ‘comparables’ to value non-distressed properties are part of the problem here.  Inexperienced appraisers who are unfamiliar with local trends also contribute to this trend.
  • Stringent underwriting and documentation requirements.  Restrictive underwriting rules at the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can derail signed contracts or delay them for months.
  • Poor service by lender staff.  Agents report “lack of customer service” and “generally bad attitudes” as contributing factors to delays and some contract failures.  However, agents also need to be on the lookout when loan processing deadlines start to lag or communication breaks down, and facilitate the progress of getting it moving again.

The key to closing on a home is to make sure you choose the right agent, lender and other team members who will help you understand the rules and requirements before hand, and stay on top of the professionals involved in your transaction.

Based on Los Angeles Times article.

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Reverse Mortgages at a Younger Age?

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Once associated with homeowners in their 70s, a new report shows reverse mortgages are now being taken out by people nearing retirement.  While this may seem like a good idea to help pay off debts and remain solvent, consumer advocates warn of the consequences of exhausting their assets early.

 The reverse mortgage allows homeowners 62 and older to borrow against the equity of their home and continue to live in them without having to make payments, as long as the home remains their primary residence.  Interest is added to the loan balance which must be repaid after the borrower moves out or dies.  The borrower must keep current with property taxes and insurance.

 In a report released last month by Met Life Mature Market Institute and the National Council on Aging showed that:

  • Homeowners aged 62 to 64 are far more likely to take out a reverse mortgage than they were in 1999, even though they are borrowing less.
  • The average age of borrowers who took the federally required reverse mortgage counseling was 71.5, down from 76 in 2000 and nearly 77 in 1990.
  • Two-thirds of homeowners seeking reverse mortgages to lower debt levels.

 The majority of reverse mortgages come through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration through a program called Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.

 Some experts caution retirees against reverse mortgages especially early in their retirement because they run the risk of depleting their equity in their most important asset.  Homeowners at or near retirement should work with a financial planner or estate lawyer to make sure their plan is clear for the next 20 years of living expenses.

This article is for information purposes only.  It is not intended to be legal, financial or tax advice by the Real Estate Geezer.  Always seek the advice of a competent legal, financial and/or tax professional.

Based on New York Times article

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Mortgage Market Trends for Month ending March 31, 2012

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One week’s worth of data does not a trend make. We say that because of renewed concern the housing rally is set to peter out because of a burst of sub-par news.

The news on lower existing and new home sales was disappointing, to be sure, but hardly a foreboding omen. The news on pending home sales, which tracks contract signings for existing homes, wasn’t all that bad either. The index was down 0.5% in February, but the index has been up for the most part over the past six months. Sometimes a little perspective is needed.

Pessimism was further heightened by the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, which showed another price decline. Month-over-month, the average price declined 0.5 percent in January. Year-over-year, the average price is down 3.8 percent.

The fear properties in various stages of foreclosure and delinquency will continue to roil the market is on the rise. We are not terribly concerned though; the attenuating factor being foreclosed and delinquent properties are a well-vetted, well-understood variable. More important, it’s an improving variable. Data from CoreLogic show that faster REO-clearing rates and improving employment and low mortgage lending rates point to a sustained housing-market recovery.

In our opinion, frustratingly low appraisals and too-stringent lending standards are more pressing issues for many buyers and sellers. Loosening the tethers on both, and particularly the latter, would go a long way toward keeping the recovery on course.

A strong economy would also go a long way toward sustaining the recovery. The good news is the economy continues to grow. The final number on gross domestic product shows that the economy grew 3.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. This latest reported quarter was much stronger than the 1.8 percent growth reported in the third quarter of 2011.

The employment data support the notion the economy is growing. Yes, we are aware that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently warned that improvements in the labor market may not be sustained, but we think otherwise nonetheless: Job creation has accelerated in recent months. Concurrently, jobless claims have decelerated. In fact, the latest report on weekly jobless claims shows the four-week moving average falling to its lowest level in four years.

Of course, the state of the economy always impacts credit markets. Interest rates dropped this past week when Bernanke stated he thought the economy has yet to reach full-recovery mode. Investors equivocated and money moved from stocks and commodities into U.S. Treasury securities. The mortgage market responded in kind, and we saw lending rates drop five to 10 basis points across most offerings.

We can’t say for sure how long rates will stay down. We’ve seen a marked increase in volatility in lending rates in March. We think volatility will remain high going forward, which is why we feel impelled to say that the risk of waiting for lower lending rates outweighs the benefit of substantially lower lending rates materializing.

The Most Persuasive Sign it’s Time to Lock and Load

Economist Hyman Minsky is the author of a persuasive short monograph titled “The Financial Instability Hypothesis.” Minsky basically states that the longer a market appears stable, the less stable it actually is because of excessive speculation and leveraging of that market.

We’ve been in a 31-year bull market in U.S. Treasury securities. That is, long-term real yields – yields adjusted for inflation – have been trending down since the early 1980s. A recent analysis by Credit Suisse shows that real rates on long-term Treasury securities are down to 50 basis points, or 0.5%.

Such a low rate doesn’t compensate for opportunity cost and time value. In fact, the real interest rate is so low today, even the early 1900s can’t boast of such low rates.

We’ve been in a very long bull market in bonds. Long sustained trends tend to lull participants into complacency. In turn, complacency tends to ratchet up the use of leverage. We don’t know how much leverage there is behind this lending market, but we suspect more than there was 30 years ago Carry trade – borrowing short term to buy long-term credit instruments – has been a very lucrative, easy-money trade over the past decade.

The point is, 31 years is a long time, record lows don’t last forever, and neither does easy money. If Minsky’s hypothesis holds, the odds interest rates could rise in the near future is much higher than many borrowers think.

Graph Courtesy from NY Times in an article by Vickie Elmer April 1, 2012.  Data and Commentary provided by Fred Ashe, from DE Capital Mortgage.

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Mortgage Market Trends for Month ending February 29, 2012

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Home sales have developed a positive up trend in the past six months, and it appears that trend will be sustained at least into the near future.

The pending home sales index rose 2.0 percent in January to hit 97, the highest reading in nearly two years. New contract signings were particularly strong in the South, which posted an impressive 10.5-percent gain. The good is that the rest of the country isn’t lagging far behind: national year-over-year contracts are up 8.0 percent.

Lower prices are an obvious factor in driving sales volume. While lower prices drive demand, they also reduce supply. Home supply has been dropping nationally for some time now, though concrete numbers are tough to gauge given the uncertainty over the hidden inventory of foreclosed properties. The estimates we’ve seen on these shadow homes range between two million to four million nationally.

Whatever the actual numbers are on distressed properties, it appears many markets have already reached peak saturation, which means levels should begin falling. According to analysts at Clear Capital, Atlanta and Tuscon, Ariz. are two regions likely to see a drop in REO properties during the year. We wouldn’t be surprised to see similar prognostications forthcoming for Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Central California.

The fact markets are reaching an REO saturation point is one sign that housing is reaching a tipping point. Affordability is another. In many parts of the country, affordability is at a multi-decade high.

We’ve been preaching over the past year that residential real estate is the investment for the next decade. We stand by our exhortations. Unfortunately, many potential buyers still feel otherwise. They are weary of catching a falling knife; that is, buying a property that will continue to depreciate.

Falling knives were a very real concern three years ago; that’s not the case today. Yes, home prices nationally could continue to fall, but you always have to look past national numbers to the local market – many of which are rebounding.

Mortgage rates are another reason we like real estate. Rates continue to skim along a 60-year low. But the economy is improving – GDP posted a better-than-expected annual 3.0-percent growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2011. What’s more, job growth has accelerated and unemployment has dropped. In other words, rates are unlikely to go much lower.

Costs associated with mortgages could go higher, though. The buzz on the new HARP 2.0 is growing louder and attracting many underwater borrowers keen to refinance. The buzz will grow even louder over the next month as interest intensifies.

Rising loan demand tilts the table toward lenders, so we think its prudent for potential buyers to not wait and to take advantage of what remains a very low-cost mortgage financing market.

The Foreclosures-to-Rental Solution

We tend to become more cautious when a theme grips the market. Residential rental property is the hottest theme these days. Even the great Warren Buffett is bullish on rentals, declaring that he would buy a couple hundred thousand single-family homes and rent them, if only he had a way to manage them.

Another prominent supporter of rentals, Lewis Ranieri, the co-inventor of the mortgage-backed security, lays out the case in a research paper for using federal entities to support converting foreclosed properties into rentals. According to Ranieri, his foreclosure-to-rental model can be developed in “most every market in the United States,” and thus help clear the distressed-housing overhang.

We see a few unintended consequences, though. When markets don’t develop organically, there tends to be inefficiency – you get too much or too little of something. Just look at housing for the past six years. The market was incentivized for more home ownership, and we got too much of it.

Single-family rental properties are fine, to be sure, but large swaths of single-family rentals might not be. Rents are rising, but they don’t always rise. Rents impacted capitalization rates. If rents drop, so will capitalization rates and property values. In addition, renters don’t care for properties as well as owners. Could a higher percentage of neglected properties translate into more downward price pressure for owners?

All we’re saying is that before we ask for something we need to be sure we really want it; unintended consequences can be very costly in the long run.

Graph Courtesy from NY Times in an article by Vickie Elmer March 1, 2012.  Data and Commentary provided by Fred Ashe, from DE Capital Mortgage.

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Shopping for the Best Mortgage Rates

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 Are you enticed by the mortgage interest lowest rates in decades? If so you’re not alone, but they are often out of borrowers’ reach. Lenders base their rates on perceived risk. Only if you can show you’re low-risk would you qualify for a rate that matches those seen in headlines.

If you’re looking for the lowest available rates consider these basic factors:

  • Credit Score: The ideal FICO score is around 740 or higher. This will put you in the best place for pricing.
  • Points: 1% of the loan amount is a point, and by paying points you can reduce your mortgage rate. Be sure to ask for a zero point quote as well to compare the two rates.
  • Property Types: Such property types as duplexes, condominiums in newer buildings or with lower down payments, commercial properties or non-owner occupied properties come with higher rates.
  • Down Payment: Experts say putting down at least 25% could lead to more attractive pricing. Lenders offer different breaks on rates if equity is higher.
  • Loan Length: ARM and 15-year loans are often lower than those on the 30-year loan. Consider how long you plan to live in the property and weigh your options.
  • Other considerations:
    • Lock-in: You may receive a lower rate for a shorter lock period 30-45 days rather than the usual 60 days
    • Additional ownership costs, taxes, insurance and maintenance.

 Inspired by New York Times Article by Vickie Elmer published January 12, 201









Mortgage Market Trends for week ending January 27, 2012

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 The Federal Reserve took center stage last week following through with its commitment to become more transparent.  The Fed has revealed that it intends to keep rates “extraordinarily low” for a longer period than thought, potentially through 2014.  Additionally, the Fed has now officially stated that it will use an inflation target to help control monetary policy.  Following the Fed’s announcement, Fed Chair Bernanke revealed that the Fed is considering a QE3, potentially later this year.  Mortgage rates had been on the rise until this statement which many interpreted as the fed showing signs that it has significant concerns about the overall state of the economic recovery.

This week is jam packed with economic news and data for markets to digest.  We have both ISM Indices due, Consumer confidence, and the monthly employment data.  Should any of these reports reveal signs of economic slowing, mortgage rates are likely to move back toward record lows.  However, a week of positive economic data could nudge rates just slightly higher at the week’s end.


 Graph Courtesy from NY Times in an article by Vickie Elmer January 27, 2012.  Data and Commentary provided by Noori Rafael, from GFI Capital Resources Group, Inc.

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