Mortgage Market Week in Review – March 30, 2012

MORTGAGE MARKET WEEK IN REVIEW

Following five weeks of strong economic news that drove mortgage interest rates higher; this week the market delivered mixed economic news that resulted in a rally in bonds that moved mortgage interest rates slightly lower, compared to the week before.

 

 

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | MARCH 30, 2012

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.000% (4.07% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.000% (3.07% APR) 
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.750% (4.82% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.44% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.125% (4.19% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.250% (3.32% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are DOWN compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

The Perfect Loan File
 
A common theme among mortgage borrowers these days is they cannot believe the amount of paperwork required to obtain a loan. Indeed I’ve had customers push back on documentation because they thought it was overkill or in their opinion “unnecessary.”  There is no doubt that we do require much more documentation today than we did before the meltdown, but that is for good reason and I can assure the loans we are writing today are the best quality I have seen in my career, and ultimately that will be good for the markets and the overall economy.
 
Forbes recently ran a strong piece that I feel does a wonderful job explaining why we in the mortgage business require so much documentation and I encourage prospective borrowers to read it.  Here is small excerpt (that I couldn’t agree with more) but you can read the rest of the article here.
 
“The media has it all wrong – securing mortgage approval and satisfying credit underwriting guidelines are not the difficulties plaguing mortgage consumers. It’s in meeting the rigorous documentation requirements that most people fall flat. The good news is, the fix is simple. Just scan, photocopy, fax, and deliver every aspect of your financial life. Then, shortly before closing, check everything again.  
 
Mortgage consumers who enter the mortgage approval process ready to battle their chosen mortgage lender will come out with a nightmare story to tell. As the process, requirements, and guidelines are the same for everybody, your mindset is the game-changer. Accepting the redundant documentation necessary for lender approval will make everyone’s life easier.”

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This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2011 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

Office: (415) 464-3144 – Cell: (415) 828-0218 – Email: gkemsley@terramb.comWebsitewww.terramortgagebanking.com/loan-officers/gina-kemsley

________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Is the Case-Shiller Index Meaningful for Marin County?

It’s easy to point to the Case-Shiller Index as evidence that the housing market has yet to reach bottom.  You read everywhere and heard on the news this past week that housing is still on the rocks as the S&P/Case Shiller index of home property values fell 0.8 percent.  In many markets throughout the country home prices have stabilized but the data on housing isn’t causing consumers to jump back into the market.

But let’s put this negative data in perspective.  Is the Marin County real estate market following the national trend or is it marching to its own drum beat?

The Case-Shiller Index’s Shortcomings

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are considered the leading measures for the US residential housing market, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate both nationally as well as in 20 metropolitan regions.

However, we have to consider the Case-Shiller Index’s shortcomings and limitations — specifically in a recovering economy.

For example, the Case-Shiller Index is based on changes in home prices of a single home, through successive sales.  This means that to calculate its home price index, the Case-Shiller searches for sales of the same home over a period of time and calculates the difference in contract price. 

This methodology can distort the home price tracker downward during times of weak economy because there is no distinction made for homes sold in foreclosure or as a short sale.  And talking about foreclosures and short sales, 35% of all homes sold in January were “distressed”, says the National Association of REALTORS®.

Lastly, the Case-Shiller Index is published with a “lag,” which renders it useless to buyers and sellers in search of real-time, relevant data.  The most recent Case-Shiller Index was published with a 60-day delay, and accounts for home purchase contracts written between October and December 2011.

Since October, the U.S. economy has added more than 1 million jobs and the economy has moved into “moderate expansion,” according to the Federal Reserve.  Data that’s two seasons old does little to help us today.

Making sound real estate decisions is about having timely, relevant data at-hand when it’s needed.  The Case-Shiller Index fails in that respect.  It’s good for highlighting the U.S. housing market on the whole, as it existed in the past.  Pending data is a better predictor of activity and prices in the market: click here for my recent post on strong pending numbers.

The Market Recovery is Uneven for U.S. Housing

The data that is relevant and useful to you when making a decision to buy or sell real estate in your market place is up-to-the-minute, local data.  Not all markets are following the same trends.

According to the monthly S&P/Case-Shiller Index, for example, home values rose in three of 20 tracked markets between December 2011 and January 2012. 17 tracked markets showed home prices still in decline.

How is the Marin County Real Estate Market?

The Marin County/Bay Area economy and housing market cannot be compared to the California or U.S. economies and real estate markets.  Real estate is LOCAL.

Based on the number of homes that were pending (or “pended”)  in February (see chart below – March numbers are not available yet), it would appear that Marin County buyers are jumping back in the market in force.  Most properties coming on the market are receiving multiple offers.

Finally, prices in Marin have started trending up, as follows: the average sale price of a Marin County home went up from $655,000 in January 2011 to $836,000 in January 2012, a 28% increase, and increased from $745,000 in February 2011 to $778,000 in February 2012, a 4.5% increase. 

 

Marin County - February 2012 Sale-Sold-Pended - All Property Types

 Stay tuned for my March report for the most recent market information.

If you are thinking of buying or selling Marin County Real Estate this spring, make sure to contact an active real estate agent who keeps track of the market and knows the inventory.  Feel free to contact me for a free, no obligation, fact-based consultation.  I can be reached at 415-505-4789.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Pending Home Sales Index Remains Strong Into Spring

Increased consumer confidence, an improved job market, low housing prices and rock bottom interest rates have finally had a positive effect on the U.S. housing market.  The budding recovery that began last October is ongoing and the market continues to display signs of stability.  And while the national housing market took a step back in February–as I am sure you’ve heard on the news–, it remains near post-recession highs.

What is in store for the upcoming spring and summer,  typically the busiest selling season in real estate?  The Pending Home Sale Index is a great indicator and predictor of the health of the housing market.  Let’s look at what it is telling us.

What is the Pending Home Sales Index?

The Pending Home Sales Index is a monthly report which measures the number of homes that are under contract to sell, but not yet sold, nationwide.

The index is benchmarked to a value of 100, the average level of home contract activity in 2001, the first year that pending home sales data was analyzed.  It also happened to be a year of historically-high levels of home contract activity.  Therefore, a Pending Home Sales Index reading of 100 suggests a strong housing market nationwide.

Pending Home Sales Edge Lower In February

According to data from the National Association of REALTORS®, February’s Pending Home Sales Index slipped 0.5 percent from the month prior, to 96.5.  But the index has read north of 90 since October 2011, a definite improvement over for the first three quarters of 2011 when the index was hovering around or below 90, and recent scores as low as 50 in June 2010.

On a regional basis, February’s Pending Home Sales Index varied :

  • Northeast Region: -0.5 percent from January 2012
  • Midwest Region : +5.7 percent from January 2012
  • South Region : -3.3 percent from January 2012
  • West Region : -2.6 percent from January 2012

 

What is happening in Marin County?

Here in Marin County, the number of pending homes went up significantly in February:

Marin County –For Sale/Sold/Pended - All property types and price ranges

This proves we can’t put too much stock in national nor regional housing news.  Buyers don’t buy nationally — they buy locally.

Today’s home buyers and sellers , therefore, should look beyond the national Pending Home Sales Index and into local market drivers.  The Pending Home Sales Index can paint a broad picture of the U.S. housing market, which is helpful in understanding general, national trends which drive federal policy and reflect general consumer behavior.  However, for data fully germane to you and your neighborhood,  it’s not as widely helpful. 

To get relevant, timely local real estate data, talk to a local real estate professional who tracks the Marin County market.  To understand why the number of pended properties has increased so drastically in marin, please read my February Marin County Real Estate Market Update and contact me for information about information about your neighborhood.

I would be happy to sit down with you to help you evaluate the value of your home if selling is on the horizon for you and to help you craft a plan if buying a Marin County home ranks among your goals for 2012.

Feel free to contact me for a free, no obligation consultation at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

Magnolia tree in bloom in Greenbrae

______________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Mortgage Market Week in Review – March 23, 2012

MORTGAGE NEWS

Rates continued their upward arc this week in response to fears of inflation that may accompany the reported positive growth in the US economy.

 

 

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | MARCH 23, 2012

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.125% (4.20% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.250% (3.32% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 5.000% (5.06% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.44% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.250% (4.32% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.250% (3.32% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are UP compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

INDUSTRY NEWS

Terra Mortgage Banking Announces HARP 2.0 Refinance Loans
 
If your home is “underwater” and you have a conforming, conventional mortgage and have been making on-time payments, you may be eligible to refinance without paying down principal and without having to pay mortgage insurance through a US Government Sponsored Program called The “Home Affordable Refinance Program 2.0” also known as “HARP 2.0
 
This week Terra Mortgage Banking introduced HARP 2.0 refinance loans to borrowers who meet the following two criteria.  Your loan must be:

  1. Owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and
  2. Sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009. 

If you meet both of these criteria you may be HARP-eligible. If your mortgage is FHA, USDA or a true jumbo mortgage, you are not HARP-eligible.
 
How do I know if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns my mortgage?
 
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have web pages on their respective websites where you can check to see if your loan is owned by either of them.  Check Fannie Mae’s web site first because there is a higher probability they may own your loan. If no match is found there, check Freddie Mac’s web site. Your loan must appear on one of these two sites or you are not eligible for the HARP program.
 
What sets Terra apart on HARP 2.0?
 
• Many of our competitors limit HARP 2.0 refinances to 125% LTV.  At Terra Mortgage Banking we offer FNMA HARP 2.0 refinances with no maximum LTV (Loan-to-Value) restriction as long as the borrower passes FNMA’s Automated Underwriting System and receives an “Approve Eligible PIW” (Property Inspection Waived) finding — otherwise LTV limitations may apply.
 
• Many of our competitors limit HARP 2.0 refinances to properties that have been off the market for at least 6 months. At Terra Mortgage Banking we only require that a property be removed from the MLS 30 days prior to loan application.
 
Terra Mortgage Banking is an approved FNMA Direct Seller/Servicer — it makes a difference!
 
Contact Gina today to discuss your HARP 2.0 Refinance. 

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This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2011 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

Office: (415) 464-3144 – Cell: (415) 828-0218 – Email: gkemsley@terramb.comWebsitewww.terramortgagebanking.com/loan-officers/gina-kemsley

Springtime in Madrone Canyon, Larkspur

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About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


With the Spring Season Under Way, Existing Home Sales Are Strong

Existing Home Sales

While our Marin County market often behaves differently than the national real estate and the California real estate, it is important to keep track of the national market as it both represents important nationwide trends and dictates federal policies.

So how is the home resale market nationally: well, it is strong!

Despite sparse home inventory, the National Association of REALTORS® reports that 4.59 million existing homes were sold in February on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis. An “existing home” is a home that cannot be classified as new construction.

Last month’s sales data represents a 9 percent improvement from the year prior.

There are now just 2.43 million homes for sale nationwide — a 19% reduction versus a year ago. The complete home inventory would “sell out” in 6.4 months at the current sales pace.

Most analysts believe that a 6-month home supply indicates a housing market in balance.

The real estate trade group’s report contained other noteworthy statistics, too :

  1. 32 percent of home sales were made to first-time buyers
  2. 33 percent of home sales were made with cash (i.e. no mortgage)
  3. 34 percent of home sales were of foreclosed homes or homes in short sale

In addition, nearly one-third of all home sales “failed” last month, the result of homes not appraising at the purchase price; or, the buyer’s inability to secure mortgage financing; or, insurmountable home inspection issues.

Even accounting for last month’s high contract failure rate, though, the Existing Home Sales report still posted its second-highest reading since May 2010. For today’s home buyer, the data may be a “buy signal.”

As compared to last fall, home supplies are down and home sales are up.  Basic economics tell us that home prices should start to rise shortly — if they haven’t already.  After all, the Existing Home Sales data is 30 days old, reporting on February.  It’s nearly April today.

The good news is that homes remain affordable.  With conforming and FHA mortgage rates in the low-4 percent range, home affordability is at its highest in history.  Home prices may rise this spring, but at least your mortgage payment should remain low.

For information about the Marin County real estate market, please refer to my February Marin County Real Estate Market Update or contact me at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com for details about your neighborhood.

 

San Anselmo in spring time

_______________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Harp 2.0 Loan Refis are Now Available for Underwater Homeowners

Making Home Affordabie

The new, revamped HARP program is now available nationwide. It was officially released Saturday, March 17, 2012 by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

HARP is an acronym. It stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP is the conforming mortgage loan product meant for “underwater homeowners”. Under the HARP program, homeowners can get access to today’s low mortgage rates despite having little or no equity whatsoever.

HARP is expected to reach up to 6 million U.S. homeowners who would otherwise be unable to refinance.

HARP is not a new program. It was originally launched in 2009. However, the program’s first iteration reached fewer than 1 million U.S. households because loan risks were high for banks, and loan costs were high for consumers.

With HARP’s re-release — dubbed HARP 2.0 — the government removed many of HARP’s hurdles.

In order to qualify for HARP, homeowners must first meet three qualifying criteria. 

First, their current mortgage must be backed either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Loans backed by the FHA or VA are ineligible, as are loans backed by private entities. This means jumbo loans and most loans from community banks cannot be refinanced via HARP.

To check if your loan is Fannie Mae-backed, click here.

To check if your loan is Freddie Mac-backed, click here.

The second qualification standard for HARP is that all loans to be refinanced must have been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. Mortgages securitized on, or after, June 1, 2009 are HARP-ineligible.

There are no exceptions to this rule.

And, lastly, the third HARP qualification standard is that the existing mortgage must be accompanied by a strong repayment history. Homeowners must have made the last 6 mortgage payments on-time, and may not have had more than one 30-day late within the last 12 months.

If the above three qualifiers are met, HARP applicants will find mortgage guidelines lenient overall :

  • Refinancing into a fixed rate mortgage allows for unlimited loan-to-value
  • The standard 7-year “waiting period” after a foreclosure is waived in full
  • Except in rare cases, home appraisals aren’t required for HARP

Furthermore, HARP mortgage rates are on par with non-HARP rates. This means that HARP applicants get access to the same mortgage rates and loan fees as non-HARP applicants. There’s no “penalty” for using HARP.

To apply for HARP, check with your loan officer today.  If you need a referral to a trustworthy mortgate professional in Marin County, please contact me at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.  And if you know someone who would benefit from this information, please forward it to them!

Cape Marin, Greenbrae

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Buying Marin County Real Estate? Borrowing Costs are Going Up

Today’s KCM blog post  was titled “Buying a Home? The COST Is More Important Than the PRICE.”  At a time when interest rates are poised to increase in the opinion of many industry experts and our Marin County real estate market is heating up, buyers may want to pay close attention.

EXPERTS PREDICT INTEREST RATES ARE HEADING UP

I could not agree more with the advice KCM gives buyers: look at the COST of purchasing a house more than the PRICE of the home. Obviously, price is part of the cost equation.  With the increasing number of multiple offers in Marin County, it can be expected that prices will be increasing this spring. The other piece, assuming you are not an all cash buyer, is the mortgage rate. The mortgage rate to finance a purchase can have a dramatic impact on the overall cost. Recently, there are more people talking about the possibility that mortgage rates could begin to increase.

HSH.com studies trends in mortgage rates. They explain:

“A better economic climate almost always brings higher rates, and a lessening of the troubles in Europe from massive central bank assistance adds to the movement of money from safe havens to more risky assets, driving rates upward.”

Dan Green of The Daily Market Reports recently stated:

“The Fed sees growth coming faster than originally expected. There’s suddenly less chance that the Federal Reserve will intervene to help keep mortgage rates low. Absent Fed intervention, mortgage rates are apt to rise and Wall Street is now betting that the Fed has bowed out. With no stimulus, mortgage rates rise.”

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Assoc of Realtors, recently wrote:

“Mortgage rates will be starting to rise. From the 3.9 to 4.0 percent average rate in the past five months on a 30-year fixed mortgage, the new rates will soon be in the range of 4.3 to 4.6 percent.”

Yun explains his logic here.

KCM does not attempt to predict future interest rates; they leave that up to the experts in the field.  However, they want their readers to understand the potential impact on the cost of purchasing a home if they do rise.  Here is a simple table that shows, even if the PRICE of a home softens, the COST of a home could increase.

OTHER BORROWING COSTS ARE INCHING UP AS WELL

In addition to a potential increase in interest rates, there are additional costs associated with mortgages that are set to increase in the near future.

One is an add-on fee known as the guarantee fee: it is a small hidden fee that lies inside the interest rate quoted on your home mortgage and has been charged by government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for more than three decades.

An increase in the fee has been mandated by Congress to occur this spring, and other increases are likely later this year and next. When they happen, interest rates on single-family mortgages resold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are likely to inch up by about 10 basis points (or 0.1%). For more information on the increase in the guarantee fee, click here to read the NY Times article.

FHA borrowers are also going to have to dig deeper in their pockets in the near future.  As per my recent article of March 2, 2012,   FHA is once again raising mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) on its newly-insured borrowers throughout the country as of April 1, 2012.  It’s FHA’s fourth such increase in the last two years.

BOTTOM LINE

I agree with KCM that any purchaser thinking of waiting until they are sure that prices have hit bottom should decide whether or not to wait by determining where the COST of buying a Marin County home is headed.

Call me for a free consultation and discussion of your real estate options.  Whether you are thinking of buying or selling Marin County real estate, I am here to advise you and help you successfully navigate the complexities of today’s Marin County market.  Contact me at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

______________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Mortgage Market Week in Review – March 16, 2012

MORTGAGE MARKET WEEK IN REVIEW

Rates moved up quickly this week in response to better than expected US Economic Fundamentals, strong US Bank Stress Test results, and Wall Street’s sudden realization that the U.S. economy is improving!  Historically interest rates remain low, but this week’s sudden upward movement should serve as a wake-up call to prospective buyers — The time to purchase a home is now!   

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | MARCH 16, 2012

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.125% (4.20% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.250% (3.32% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.875% (4.93% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.44% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.375% (4.44% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.44% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are UP compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

 INDUSTRY NEWS

Refinancing Fees Are Reduced for Some F.H.A. Borrowers
 
Beginning June 11, 2012, FHA has announced that it will make refinancing less expensive for certain borrowers with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration.
 
The fee reductions will apply only to borrowers seeking to refinance through the agency’s “streamline” program, which is typically less burdensome than a traditional refinancing. There are a few requirements, though the biggest drawback is that only borrowers with loans that were originated on or before May 31, 2009, are eligible.
 
In addition, borrowers must have an existing F.H.A. loan that they are seeking to refinance into another F.H.A. loan. They must also be current on their payments, and no more than $500 can be taken as cash out of the loan. But the refinancing does not require any income verification or an appraisal, which means that borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth are also eligible.
 
The F.H.A. charges two types of fees to borrowers, and they have risen in recent years. That has prevented many borrowers from refinancing into loans with some of the lowest interest rates on record, mortgage brokers said.
 
Now, under the new initiative, the fee known as the “Upfront Mortgage Insurance” premium will drop to a mere 0.01 percent of the loan balance from 1 percent. Meanwhile, the “Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium” will be cut by about half — to 0.55 percent of the loan balance from 1.15 percent. Taken together, the fee reductions could save the typical F.H.A. borrower about $1,000 a year. That does not include any savings from a lower interest rate.
 
Contact me today if you would like to discuss refinancing your present home loan.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2011 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

Office: (415) 464-3144 – Cell: (415) 828-0218 – Email: gkemsley@terramb.comWebsitewww.terramortgagebanking.com/loan-officers/gina-kemsley

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About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


How is the Larkspur Real Estate Market?

Just like the rest of Marin County, Larkspur is suffering from a severe lack of inventory. 

Larkspur Sale/Sold/Pended Report as of February 2012

There were only 14 homes for sale during the month of February 2012, compared to 26 during February 2011.  Of the 14 homes, 8 sold compared to 1 in February 2011 and 8 went pending (in contract).  The discrepancy between the number of sales here and in the chart is the result of sales information being entered in the MLS after the end of the month for two listings.  Five new listings came on the market in February 2012 compared to 10 in February 2011. 

The combination of these three elements– low inventory, few new listings and increased demand– is exacerbating the problem encountered by buyers set on purchasing Larkspur real estate: very few properties for sale that get snapped up right away, often with multiple offers.

Of the 8 homes that sold, only one was a distressed sale.

Here is the list of the sold properties during February 2012:

 To see all the homes that are currently available for sale through our MLS in Larkspur, click here.  To see all the homes available for sale in our MLS in Marin County, click here.

To learn more about specific properties or this area in general feel free to contact me at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

If you are thinking of selling your Larkspur home, I would be happy to give you a free, no obligation consultation regarding the current market of your home.

 Note: The data in this report was obtained from BAREIS, has not been verified and is not guaranteed.

 

Larkspur home in spring time

 

________________________________________________________________________________

 

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

 

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I have lived in Larkspur since 1997 and I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

 

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Fed to keep Fed Funds Rate Near Zero through 2014

Putting the FOMC statement in plain EnglishNEWS AS IT HAPPENS! Today, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged within its current target range of 0.000-0.250 percent.

For the fourth consecutive month, the Fed Funds Rate vote was nearly unanimous. Just one FOMC member dissented in the 9-1 vote.

The Fed Funds Rate has been near zero percent since December 2008. It is expected to remain near-zero through 2014, at least.

In its press release, the Federal Reserve noted that the the U.S. economy has “expanded moderately” since the FOMC’s January 2012 meeting, adding that growth is occurring despite “strains in the global financial markets” that pose “significant downside risks” to long-term outlooks.

The Federal Reserve now expects moderate economic expansion through the next few quarters and a gradual easing in the national Unemployment Rate.

The Fed also noted that :

  1. The housing sector remains “depressed”*
  2. Labor conditions have “improved further”
  3. Household spending has “continued to advance”

*Of course, Marin County’s real estate market behaves very differently than the national market, and is actually very active and improving now with well priced and presented listings receiving multiple offers, but the national real estate market is relevant for us in Marin in that it affects national financial policies.

With respect to inflation, the Fed said that rising oil and gasoline prices will “push up” inflation temporarily, but not over the long-term.

At its meeting, the Federal Reserve neither introduced new economic stimulus, nor discontinued existing market programs. The Fed re-affirmed its intentions to hold the Fed Funds Rate at “exceptionally low” levels through late-2014, and to buy mortgage-backed bonds in the open market.

Immediately following the FOMC’s statement, mortgage markets worsened slightly, pressuring mortgage rates higher. 

The FOMC’s next scheduled meeting is a two-day event slated for April 24-25, 2012.

_________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.