Did You Know: Single Women Are Buying Homes Faster Than Single Men — Here’s Why

Did You Know: Single Women Are Buying Homes Faster Than Single Men -- Here's WhyWith low interest rates and uncertainty as to where the real estate market will be in the next six months, many people are opting into ownership and investing in a home. Interestingly, according to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 17 percent of homebuyers in the United States last year were women, which is a much higher percentage than the 7 percent of single men who invested in a home. While the statistics may be interesting enough on their own, here are some of the reasons why women may be opting in.

Single Parent Security

The numbers don’t lie, and it’s a fact that there are a much higher number of single mothers in the United States than fathers, which makes home ownership that much more of a benefit. With low interest rates, it’s common sense that many single mothers will be flocking towards the housing market to find stable housing for their family in a market that may fluctuate in the coming months.

Making A Lifestyle Choice

The days are long gone of women having to invest in a home when they get married, and for many women being single is a very popular lifestyle choice. This means that many single ladies are choosing to invest on their own terms and at their own time so that they can reap the benefits of home ownership. As Jessica Lautz of the National Association of Realtors says, “They really value home ownership, and they’re willing to give up a lot to have a home of their own.”

It’s In The Numbers

There are certainly more than a few reasons why single women are flocking to the real estate market, but demographics are changing rapidly. While it was once the case that most people were married or would marry, more single women are opting out of marriage and opening up a wider market for single-person home purchases. Given the low interest rates and the increasing number of women choosing to be single, purchasing a home offers a solid bet and a financial boon.

With a home offering up the benefit of security and the advantage of being a good financial choice, it’s no surprise that more and more women are turning to home ownership on their own. If you’re contemplating purchasing a home of your own, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information about opportunities in your area.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 22, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB Housing Market Index Rises, Exceeds Expectations

Builder Sentiment rose two points in May, which exceeded expectations of no change to April’s reading of 68. Builders and analysts said that short inventories of available homes continue to drive demand for new homes. While index readings jumped immediately after the Presidential election in November, builder enthusiasm settled when tariffs on lumber were increased.

Two of three components used in calculating the NAHB Housing Market Index reading. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions gained two points to a reading of 76; Confidence in market conditions over the next six months gained four points to 79. The reading for buyer traffic in new home developments fell one point to 51. Any reading over 50 is considered positive in NAHB HMI reports.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Lower in April

Despite rising home builder confidence in current and future housing markets, housing starts and building permits issued were lower in April than for March. According to the Commerce Department, 1.172 million homes were started in April as compared to 1.203 million housing starts reported in March; April’s housing starts were 0.070 percent higher year over year. Analysts had expected a reading of 1,259 million starts, which are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

Builders started single-family homes at a seasonally- adjusted annual pace of 835,000 homes in April, which indicated that builders may be gaining confidence in building homes for sale as compared to rental units. Building permits were issued at a pace of 1,229 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; this was lower than the March reading of 1.260 million permits issued.

 The apparent lag between strong builder sentiment and housing starts and permits could be due to ongoing concerns over increasing materials prices and shortages of buildable lots and labor needed to ramp up home construction.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates fell last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged three basis points lower at 4.02 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.27 percent, a drop of two basis points over the prior week. Mortgage rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.13 percent, which was one basis point lower than the prior week. Discount points were unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types reported.

New jobless claims were lower than expected last week, with 232,000 new claims filed as compared to 240,000 new claims expected and 236,000 claims reported the prior week. Low readings for new unemployment claims suggest strong jobs markets, but can be volatile and subject to adjustment.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on new and existing home sales and consumer sentiment. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best Option

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best OptionFrom ‘down payment’ to ‘adjustable rate’ to ‘debt-to-income’ ratio, there are so many terms involved in the mortgage process that it can be hard to learn them all and keep them straight. However, whether or not you’ve heard it, the term ‘amortization period’ might be one of the most important ones associated with your financial well-being. If you’re currently considering the period of loan you should choose, here are some things to think about before taking on a term.

What Is Amortization?

Used to refer to the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage loan, a typical amortization period is 25 years. However, there are many periods over which homebuyers can choose to pay off their mortgage. While many homeowners opt for what works best for them, it can be the case that a shorter mortgage period will actually be more financially beneficial in the long run. It may not only mean lower overall costs, it may also mean financial freedom from a loan much sooner than originally anticipated.

The ‘Principal’ Of The Matter

It’s important to have a monthly mortgage payment amount that’s sustainable, but a shorter amortization period means that you will be paying a higher amount on the principal and paying more on the actual loan amount. While a longer amortization period will add up to more interest payments and less paid on the loan cost each month, a shorter period can end up costing you less for your home when all’s said and done.

Considering Your Loan Period

It goes without saying that a shorter amortization period will pay down the principal sooner and cost less over time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best choice for you. Because your monthly payment will be taking a sizeable chunk out of your salary, it may be difficult to swing a higher payment in order to pay off your loan in 10 years. If it’s doable without compromising your quality of life, you may want to choose this option, but if there’s too much sacrifice you may want to opt for a longer loan period.

Everyone has a choice in the amortization period that works for them, but it’s important to make your decision based on what works for you and will be beneficial for your finances. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Suffering in a ‘Low Inventory’ Real Estate Market? 3 Helpful Tips for Finding a Home to Buy

Suffering in a 'Low Inventory' Real Estate Market? 3 Helpful Tips for Finding a Home to BuyMany homebuyers struggle with finding a home that is within their price range, but many of those perusing the market also struggle when it comes to the search. If you’re currently in the real estate market and are having difficulty finding a good selection of homes, here are some ways to expand your search so you can find an opportunity you’re prepared to invest in.

Look Over The Old Listings

Whether you do it on your own or enlist the help of your real estate agent, it’s worth looking through the old listings to determine if any old opportunities are still available. There may be many formerly listed homes that have since sold, but homes that have lingered on the market may be open to offers; they may also be more aligned with the current market rates. Instead of taking the listings for granted, search for old opportunities that might turn up something good!

Consider Other Marketing Strategies

The market has changed in recent years, but the way that people choose to sell their home has changed along with it. While it’s still possible to see a sign on the front lawn or find a home on a real estate agent’s page, social media has become a very popular way to buy and sell. Aside from looking through the listings, consider searching Twitter or Facebook posts for homes that are for sale in your area. While you may not find your dream home, it’s entirely possible that an interesting detail or neighborhood that might have been missed will capture your attention.

Keep An Eye On Expensive Listings

Most homebuyers will immediately write off a listing that is out of their price range, but homes that are overpriced will often sit on the market. Fortunately, for many homeowners, this is something they can use to their advantage. Instead of avoiding pricey homes altogether, make sure to keep tabs on ones that are a little bit out of range but manage to pique your interest. It’s entirely possible that they won’t come down in price, but if they do it may be well worth the wait.

Many homebuyers struggle to find a home in a tight market, but by keeping an eye out on listings and considering all of the post-modern strategies for marketing, you may be able to find your dream home. If you’re currently searching for a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Rises in May

The National Association of Homebuilders reported a two-point increase in builder confidence in May. The NAHB Housing Market Index reading increased from 68 in April to 70, which was the second-highest reading since the economic recovery started. May’s reading exceeded analyst expectations of a flat reading for May. Builder confidence rose as demand for homes continued to rise; this factor overrode builder obstacles including higher prices for lots and ongoing labor shortages. A new tariff on lumber was also expected to dampen builder confidence.

Component Readings Suggest Strong Builder Confidence in Current and Future Housing Markets

The monthly Housing Market Index is comprised of three components. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose two points to 76; the reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose four points to 79. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new homes dropped one point to 51, but overall, builder confidence in market conditions is strong as any NAHB Housing Market Index reading over 50 is considered positive.

Fewer Mortgage Applications: Home Buyers Dont Share Builder Optimism

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications dropped 4.30 percent year-over-year in April, and were 20 percent lower than in March. While the Mortgage Bankers Association doesn’t report seasonal adjustments, fewer applications for purchase mortgages on new homes illustrated ongoing affordability challenges faced by first-time and moderate income home buyers.

High demand for available homes puts mortgage-dependent home buyers at a disadvantage when cash offers are in play. Rapid escalation of home prices creates difficulty for first-time and moderate income buyers as down payment and mortgage qualification requirements sideline buyers.

Increasing home builder sentiment has not corresponded to the number of new homes being built, which industry analysts consider the main solution to high demand for homes driven by short inventories of homes. First-time buyers are important to housing markets as they enable “move-up” buyers to sell their homes and buy new or larger homes.

3 Simple Home Security Upgrades That Will Help to Deter Burglars

3 Simple Home Security Upgrades That Will Help to Deter BurglarsWhether you’re going on an extended holiday or are just concerned about security in your neighborhood, you might be curious about the best ways to pursue safety in your home. If you’re wondering how you can successfully stave off theft without a high price tag, here are some tips for protecting your property.

Keep It Clean

It’s often said that one of the first things a burglar will look for when it comes to a prize home is an unkempt property. Fortunately for you, this means that keeping your property clean and tidy is a great way to prevent your home from being targeted. While everything doesn’t need to be spic and span, it’s a good idea to ensure that the lawn is mowed, the trees are well maintained and no tools or toys are hanging out on your yard for days on end. It might seem inconvenient, but it has the double-convenience of keeping your property clean and preventing crime!

Install Motion Activated Lights

It might have seemed like a good trick a few years ago to leave on the lights in the hope of scaring away burglars, but with more sophisticated technology comes more sophisticated methods. While you may want to use timers for your lights so they can go off randomly and give the illusion of you being at home, you may also want to spring for motion-activated lights. There is no 100% guard against crime, but motion-activated lights can work to scare off someone who’s up to no good and illuminate your property for observant neighbors.

Secure Doors and Windows

Locking your doors and closing your windows might seem like the most apparent of security tips, but it actually goes a long way in deterring crime. Burglars are often looking for the easiest target and that means that an unlocked door or a slightly ajar window can go a long way in convincing them of a prospect. Instead of risking it, ensure that your doors are locked and all windows are secured before leaving your home. You may also want to use extra reinforcements if you have sliding windows or French doors.

Protecting your home may seem like it comes at a high premium, but there are very simple and economical ways to keep your home secure.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 15, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation and core inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Inflation, Retail Sales Higher in April

April inflation grew by 0.20 percent as expected. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, increased by 0.10 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 0.20 percent. The Federal Reserve monitors inflation readings as part of its research for monetary policy decisions. The Fed set a benchmark of 2.00 percent annual inflation as an indicator of solid economic recovery. Growing inflation could prompt the Fed to raise interest rates in June.

Retail sales grew in April from 0.10 percent in March to 0.40 percent, but fell short of an expected 0.50 percent increase. Retail sales not including the automotive sector rose by 0.30 percent in April, which was the same growth rate posted in March. Analysts expected a reading of 0.50 percent. Growing retail sales indicates that consumers are more confident about economic conditions.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points higher at 4.05 percent. 15-year fixed rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.29 percent and was two basis points higher than the prior week. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose one basis point to 3.14 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three types of mortgages reported.

New jobless claims fell to 236,000 last week as compared to an expected reading of 245,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 238,000 new claims. Jobless claims remained below the 300,000 benchmark for the 114th consecutive week; last week’s reading was the lowest in more than 28 months.

Consumer sentiment ended the week on a positive note with a May index reading of 97.7 as compared to an expected reading of 97.20 and April’s reading of 97.0.

Whats Ahead

Economic readings scheduled for this week includes reports on the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Pros and Cons of Private Mortgage Insurance?

You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Pros and Cons of Private Mortgage Insurance?It’s easy to get Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) confused with homeowners’ insurance, but PMI is an entirely different thing that may or may not be necessary when it comes to your home purchase. If you’re going to be investing in a home in the near future and are wondering what PMI may mean for you, here are some things to consider regarding this type of insurance.

Your Down Payment Amount

If you’ve been perusing the housing market for a while, you’ve probably heard that 20% is the ideal amount to put down when investing in a home; however, you might not realize why. The truth is that 20% down is the suggested amount because this will enable you to avoid having to pay PMI on the purchase of your home. In this regard, PMI is a protective measure for lenders since they may be taking on more financial risk with those who have less equity built up in their home.

Getting Into The Market

For those who want to get into the real estate market right away and only have 10-15% to put down, PMI can be a means of being able to invest before mortgage rates increase. While buying a home when you want can certainly be a benefit, it’s also worth realizing that PMI is an additional fee and will impact the total cost of your home loan. It may be a risk worth taking if you want to buy now, but if it’s total cost you’re considering, it may better to save more before buying.

Getting Money Back

Whether you’re a homeowner or not, most people don’t look forward to tax time no matter how much money they get back. However, if you have PMI for your home, you’ll not only be able to get a variety of tax deductions, you’ll also be able to get back some of the money that you invested into your private mortgage insurance. It may not be enough of a deduction to compete with saving up, but if you’ve found the perfect home the deductions can serve as an added incentive.

While you’ll only be required to pay PMI if you put down less than 20%, it can be a benefit if you’re looking to purchase a home right away. If you’re currently perusing your options on the real estate market, reach out to one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You’re Trying to Secure a Mortgage Loan

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You're Trying to Secure a Mortgage LoanThe mortgage application process can be fraught with a lot of stress on its own, but if you’ve experienced issues with your credit in the past it can be even more taxing. While there may be a lot of things you may not be aware of when it comes to their impact on your credit, here are some things to watch out for if you’re planning on purchasing a home in the short-term future.

Applying For Extra Credit

Whether you’ve just been offered a great new deal by a department store or you’re not even thinking about it, new credit cards can pop up with deals that are quite enticing in the moment. Unfortunately, applying for new credit can actually signal to lenders that you’ve run out of credit on your other cards. Not only that, it will also have an adverse impact on your credit score each time you apply for new credit. If you’re considering a mortgage in the near future, it’s a good idea to hold off on any additions to your wallet.

Not Paying Your Bills

It may seem straightforward enough that not paying your bills is going to land you in hot water with your credit score, but many people think paying the minimum at any time will do. The truth is that if you want to keep your credit in line and improve your odds, it’s important to pay your minimum before the due date and always pay your bills. The only thing deferring payments will do is add marks against your credit, and this will be damaging come application time.

Don’t Avoid Your Credit Report

Many people who have a poor credit history are aware of the situation, but they’re also unwilling to address it. While it may be difficult to approach your credit report if you’ve had some hiccups in the past, it’s important to know what point you’re working forward from so you can move beyond it. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of your credit report and review the numbers. Not only will this enable you to address any errors, it means you’ll be facing your issues head on.

There are a number of factors that can adversely affect your mortgage application, but by avoiding new credit and paying your bills on time you can have a positive impact on the result. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

What Fees Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

What Fees Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let's Take a LookInvesting in a home may be one of the most significant purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, but many people forget that there are a number of other costs associated with buying a home. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage and want to be clear on all of the fees involved, here are a few things you can expect to come across.

Initial Home Appraisal Fee

In order to ensure that you qualify for a reverse mortgage, you’ll need to spend a lump sum up front to determine the market cost of your home. While the amount of this fee will depend on the size and age of your home, it generally runs from a couple hundred dollars to less than a thousand and will be paid to the appraisal company that you’re dealing with.

Mortgage Insurance Premiums

At the time that you close on your mortgage, you’ll be required to pay a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) in order to secure your loan. This amount will vary from lender to lender and will be calculated based on the lesser-appraised value of your home. In addition to this, annual mortgage insurance premiums will be charged throughout the entire period of the loan and will be a percentage of the outstanding balance of your mortgage.

Loan Origination Fee

In order to process and underwrite your loan, you will also be required to pay a loan origination fee, which covers the administrative costs. While this amount has come down in recent years, it is a sizeable lump sum that hovers around 2% of your home’s value up to $200,000. If the home’s value exceeds this amount, it will go down to 1% after the initial amount is charged.

Other Third Party Fees

Like any mortgage loan, there are a number of one times fees that you’ll need to pay in order to secure your mortgage. In addition to a monthly servicing fee, there will also be fees like surveying, title fees and credit checks that will be added on to the total cost of your mortgage product. It’s important before choosing this option to ensure that you know what costs you’ll be dealing with.

A reverse mortgage may be the right mortgage product for you, but it’s important to be educated of all of the costs before choosing this option. If you’re currently considering other mortgage products, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.