Mortage Rate Update – March 31, 2014

Mortgage Market Week in Review

interest ratesEconomic data measuring the US economy has been weak yet rates continue their slow march upward. The question is, how long will the weak data be blamed on the harsh winter weather now that spring has arrived? This Friday’s March employment report could offer us the first real answer.

 

Current Interest Rates | March 31, 2014

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINT
30 Year Fixed: 4.500% (4.58% APR)
5/1 ARM: 3.250% (3.32% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINT
30 Year Fixed: 4.250% (4.30% APR)
5/1 ARM: 3.250% (3.30% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINT
30 Year Fixed: 4.500% (4.56% APR)
5/1 ARM: 3.500% (3.56% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are UP compared to last week.
Rates are DOWN compared to last month.
Rates are UP compared to one year ago.

 

Industry News

Economists See Good Growth for the Rest Of 2014

The consensus of the 48 economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics is that bad weather cut first-quarter growth to a weak annual rate of 1.9 percent, but that growth could exceed 3 percent by year’s end.

With the pace of U.S. economic growth seen speeding up later this year and next, many business economists expect the Federal Reserve to end its bond purchases this fall or even earlier.

Their forecast for average U.S. economic growth of 2.8 percent this year is better than the 2.5 percent rate they predicted in NABE’s December survey. Those surveyed expect consumer spending to now increase 2.6 percent in 2014.

Given the stronger growth forecast, 57 percent of the economists surveyed believe the Federal Reserve will end its bond purchases in the fourth quarter, as the central bank has signaled it plans to do. Another quarter think it will happen even before that, though 17 percent think the Fed will keep buying bonds into 2015.

The Fed has been buying bonds for the past several years with the aim of driving down long-term interest rates to stimulate spending and economic growth. Now that the economy is slowly but steadily improving, it has been tapering those purchases. At each of its last three policy meetings, the Fed cut bond purchases by $10 billion to the current pace of $55 billion a month. There are six meetings left in 2014.

One-third of respondents said the Fed could even raise short-term interest rates this year, though more than half think it won’t happen until next year.

 

This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2014 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

 

With demand continuing to outpace supply, multiple offer offers are rampant and driving prices to new heights. Buyers continue to write no contingency offers well over list price on well-appointed homes. If you or someone you now is thinking of selling or making an investment in Marin County real estate, I’m just a phone call away to answer questions, and share my expertise and insights to help you navigate this tricky market. 415.505.4789: call or text.

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White glove service - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie ZolezziAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of  Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Five 2014 Homeowner’s Tax Deductions You Need to Know

Whether you are already a homeowner or are thinking of buying a Marin County home, there are some great advantages to home ownership with which you should become familiar. Especially if you are a new property owner. First, congratulations!  You’ve just taken another step up the American-dream ladder… and the good news is you are eligible for homeowner tax deductions.

Floating homes in Sausalito, CA - www.YourPieceofMarin.com The bad news is, to take full tax advantage of these deductions, your taxes will likely get more complicated. In most cases, homeowners itemize. That means you’ve moved to Form 1040 and Schedule A, where you’ll have to detail your tax-deductible expenses. For many homeowners, the effort of itemizing is well worth it at tax time. Some, however, might find that claiming the standard deduction remains their best move.

The advantages of home ownership can make tax season a little bit less unpleasant.  That is because the U.S. tax code is designed to encourage the American dream of home ownership and offers many incentives to homeowners when it comes to claiming deductions. Visit the IRS website for full details.

These tax breaks are available for any type of house — mobile home, single-family residence, town house, condominium or cooperative apartment.

Whether a home is financed via a mortgage, or paid-in-full with cash, there is a multitude of tax-savings opportunities associated with owning a home. Of course, every homeowner’s financial situation is different, so please consult with a tax professional regarding your individual tax liability.

1. Mortgage Interest Paid and Discount Points

– Your biggest tax break is reflected in the house mortgage payment you make each month since, for most homeowners, the bulk of that check goes toward interest, especially in the early years.  This is because the standard mortgage amortization schedule is front-loaded with mortgage interest. At today’s mortgage rates, annual interest payments on a 30-year loan term exceed annual principal payments until loan’s 10th year. Mortgage interest tax deductions are extended to second mortgages, too. And all that interest is deductible, unless your loan is more than $1 million. If you’re the proud owner of a multimillion-dollar mortgaged mansion, the Internal Revenue Service will limit your deductible interest.

Interest paid on refinances, home equity loans (HELOAN) and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are tax-deductible as well. However, restrictions apply on homeowners who raise their mortgage debt beyond their property’s fair market value.

– Mortgage Insurance Premiums may be deductible as well.

– Mortgage tax deductions can extend beyond your monthly payment. Discount points paid in connection with a home purchase or a refinance are often tax-deductible too. A discount point is a one-time fee which gets a borrower access to mortgage rates below current “market rates” and it is equal to 1% of the loan amount, payable at closing.

As an example, if the current market mortgage rate is 5 percent, paying one discount point may get you access to a mortgage rate of 4.75%. The IRS treats discount points as “prepaid mortgage interest” which, in turn, can render them tax-deductible.

When discount points are paid in conjunction with a purchase, the cost may be deducted in full in the year in which they are paid, dollar-for-dollar. With respect to a refinance, discount points are not fully tax-deductible in the year in which they are paid. They are typically amortized over the life of the loan: for example, the cost of one discount point on a 30-year loan can be deducted at 1/30 of its value per tax-calendar year.

2. Property Taxes

The second major deduction is the property taxes homeowners typically pay to local and state entities. The local property tax in Marin County is on average 1.25% of your property’s assessed value. These property taxes can often be deducted in the year in which they are paid. If your mortgage lender currently escrows your taxes and insurance, it will send an annual statement to you which you can file with your completed federal tax returns. Your accountant can help determine the payment’s tax deductibility.

3. Renovations

– For tax-paying homeowners, certain types of home improvement projects are tax-deductible. Home improvements made for medical reasons, for example, can be tax-deductible. If you are making home renovations to accommodate a chronically ill or disabled person, and the renovations do not add to the overall value of the home, the project costs are typically 100% tax deductible. Repairs and improvements made for aesthetic purposes are not tax-deductible.

– There are good news, however, for homeowners making improvements when time comes to sell your home. According to the IRS, the cost of home improvements (materials and labor) that add value and prolong the life of your home can be added to the base value of your home. These include improvements such as new plumbing, new electrical, installing air conditioning, putting on a new roof and hard scaping in your yard.  In certain circumstances, this will reduce the capital gains tax owed on the sale of your home in the future, when you decide to sell it. Head to the IRS webpage for homeowners to find out more information.

4. Home Offices

Homeowners who work from their residence can typically deduct the expenses of maintaining a qualified home office. Allowable tax deductions for a home office include renovations to the room(s), telephone lines, and the cost of heat and electric. Before claiming a home office on your returns, though, be sure to speak with an accountant to understand the benefits and liabilities. There are caveats to claiming home office tax deductions on your tax returns, and the rules can be tricky.

5. Energy Star Products

There are some home products, particularly appliances that are Energy Star rated, that may qualify for a deduction. You can get the full list here.

Homeowners : Budget For Your Tax Breaks

Tax deductions will reduce your annual costs of home ownership and, for some homeowners, mortgage interest tax deductions will influence the answer to the “Should I Rent or Should I Buy?” question.

Tax law changes frequently, though. Consider building your housing budget with the help of a tax preparer. Get a feel for how much home you can afford before and after accounting for your various homeowner tax breaks. And, as you build your budget, use legitimate mortgage rates in your calculations.

And if you are thinking of buying a home in Marin County, I would be happy to assist you.  I have an excellent track record with helping buyers win in multiple offer scenarios.  Feel free to contact me for a no-obligation consultation.

This list of deductions was gathered from an article by Dan Green, a Huffington Post article and a BankRate article.  This post should not be considered tax advice. For tax-related questions or mortgage strategy related to your individual tax liability, please consult your tax adviser or a licensed accountant.

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White glove service - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie ZolezziAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of  Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Marin County Real Estate Market Report – February 2014

The California Association of Realtors released its statistics for the month of January with the San Francisco Bay Area* median sale price increasing 14.9% year-over-year. Marin County’s median sale price was at 20.1% year-over-year for January and San Francisco at 13.6% respectively. The U.S. economy continues to show signs of improvement with housing, auto and retail sales all gaining positive momentum. The job market also picked up for the month of February contrary to economists’ expectations and forecasts, with the addition of 175,000 jobs.

* CAR San Francisco Bay Area counties include: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.

Marin Single Family Homes – February 2014

The inventory of available Single Family Homes in Marin County decreased 15% month-over-month, yet the number of homes in contract jumped 71% from the month of January. The slow trickling of inventory can be attributed to seasonal cycles but the large spike in contract/pending paints a larger picture of pent-up demand. Homes that are priced properly continue to move quickly and more often than not, over asking and with multiple offers in hand.

The average price per square foot for Marin homes decreased by 3% in February along with the number of homes sold, which fell by 21%.

Marin Real Estate Market Snapshot - Feb. 2014 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Marin Home Sales by Area

The Average Sale Price for Single Family Homes in Marin was $1,210,873 in February, 1% below the peak average in 2007. The Average Price Per Square Foot was $578, still slightly under the 2007 peak of $601.

Kentfield had the highest home sale last month at $6,000,000, followed by San Anselmo at $3,500,000. West Marin had the highest average days on market for the month of February at 138 with Sausalito having the smallest at 30. Mill Valley, Novato and San Rafael continue to move the most inventory with double digit closings for the month of February.

Marin County Real Estate - Homes Sales by Area, Single Family Homes - Feb. 2014 - Posted by www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Homes in Contract by Area

For the third consecutive month, Corte Madera maintained 75% of inventory in contract. San Rafael, Larkspur, Novato and Greenbrae had half or more of their home inventory in contract. Seven of the fifteen cities/regions remained the same or increased in the % in contract for the month of February.

Marin County Real Estate Market - Percent of Homes in Contract - February 2014, single family homes only - Posted by www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Marin Market by Price Point

The lower end of the market continues to experience the highest level of activity: 63% of Single Family Homes in Marin that are Active and available for sale are under $2 million. and 86% of the homes that sold in February were priced under $2 million.  The inventory has increased from month-to-month with 3 months of inventory in the lowest 3 price ranges in the chart below.

The months of inventory substantially increases over the $4 million price point as there are fewer buyers in that price range. There was only one sale over $5 million for the month of February

Marin County Single Family Homes - Home sales and market activity by price point - Feb. 2014 - posted by Sylvie Zolezzi, www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Average Sale and List Price

The February Average List Price and Average Sale Price showed a slight reduction from the month of January, but the Average Sold Price of $1,210,873 in February was up 11% year-over-year.

Average Listed and Sold Price - Marin County Single Family Homes for Feb. 2014 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Number of Homes Listed and Sold

The number of Single Family Homes in Marin for sale in February 2014 is still running relatively parallel to last year’s numbers with the year-over-year active listings increasing 6% and the sales decreasing 10%.

Number of Single Family Homes for Sale and Sold in Feb. 2014 - Marin County, CA - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling your Marin County home, don’t make a move without me.  Call or text me at 415.505.4789 for a free, no-obligation consultation. You can also email me at Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

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White glove service - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie ZolezziAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of  Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Mortgage Market Week in Review – March 10, 2014

MORTGAGE MARKET WEEK IN REVIEW

interest-ratesNews last week provided further evidence that the economy has lost momentum since the start of the year. Nearly all of the monthly data seems to have been affected in some way by the storms and prolonged cold that has plagued the United States. Last Friday’s employment report (a +175,000 gain in new jobs), beat expectations. There are no economic reports today and the rest of the week’s calendar is light. We expect rates to remain range-bound.

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | MARCH 10, 2014

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINT
30 Year Fixed: 4.500% (4.58% APR)
5/1 ARM: 3.250% (3.32% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINT
30 Year Fixed: 4.375% (4.43% APR)
5/1 ARM: 3.125% (3.18% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINT
30 Year Fixed: 4.500% (4.56% APR)
5/1 ARM: 3.250% (3.31% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are SIDEWAYS compared to last week.
Rates are DOWN compared to last month.
Rates are UP compared to one year ago.

 

This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2014 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

Copyright © 2014 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

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While rates are up compared to last year, they are still historically low and attractive.  If you are thinking of buying a home in Marin County, feel free to contact me.  With spring around the corner, more homes are coming on the market and there should be a better selection of properties to choose from.

White glove service - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie ZolezziAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of  Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


HELOC: Consolidate or Restructure?

Today’s post was written by guest blogger Rob Spinosa of RPM Mortgage in Marin County, CA.  Rob is one of my very favorite mortgage professionals and one of the best in the County.

heloc

Can you count yourself as one of the millions of homeowners who acquired a home equity line of credit (HELOC) during the so-called “housing bubble?” For further clarification, this would mean that you either purchased a home with “piggyback” financing, or you added a second mortgage behind your existing home loan sometime between 2004 and 2007. If you can be included in this group, you are certainly not alone, yet there may not be safety in numbers. Let’s talk about what you can do if you’re still holding a HELOC from this period.

The first thing to note is that MOST of the home equity lines of credit made a decade ago had 30-year terms. Often, the first ten years of the total term would afford you, the borrower, two things: first, an ability to draw against the line and repay as needed and second, an interest-only payment. Focusing on this latter characteristic, let’s also recall that the vast majority of HELOC loans have a rate based on Prime. Perhaps yours has a margin above or below Prime, but in any case, Prime rate has been historically low over the last decade. If you’ve been making interest-only payments on a low, fully-indexed rate, your payments may very well be affordable and comfortable.

Yet you recall that when you took the loan, a time would come when the payment structure would change, and this thought may now have you concerned. For most programs, this anniversary and change date occurs at month 120 (10 years) and even if you were aware of it, it probably seemed very far off when you acquired the loan. There are some things you can do right now to avoid the predicament of having the loan convert, and by conversion we mean that your interest-only period would end, along with your draw period (if you still have it and it has not been frozen). More importantly, your balance will be amortized over the remaining term — probably 20 years. Let’s look at what’s possible.

Because rates remain low and property values have increased in many areas, some almost to 2006 levels, you may have an opportunity to combine your first and second loans into a new, single first mortgage. This could be a 30-year fixed rate loan, but it doesn’t have to be.

The point is, your mortgage professional can assist you with the financial analysis that will tell you if such a consolidation aligns with your goals, and can then assess how feasible such a transaction would be if you decided to move forward. Second, it may prove better to restructure your two existing mortgage into two new ones. The balances and terms of both loans, if crafted properly, could permit you to save money and gain peace of mind. By taking on a new HELOC, even at similar terms, you might then extend the interest-only period out another 10 years, or time enough to accomplish what you’d originally planned.

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I highly recommend Rob Spinosa, he is a very high caliber professional. I have seen him succeed in securing loans where others have failed and I can personally vouch for him.

His contact information is:

Robert Spinosa , Loan Agent

RPM Mortgage
Cell: 415.367.5959
Email: rspinosa@rpm-mtg.com
Website: http://www.rpm-mtg.com/rspinosa

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White glove service - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie ZolezziAbout 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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of  Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.