PENDING HOME SALES UP JANUARY 2014?

No, pending home sales aren’t up. They are down slightly over last year, but prices still remain stable and we still have limited inventory. If you have been thinking about buying a home, or selling your current home and either up sizing or down sizing, now is the time. Interest rates are still at record lows, but they are rising a little at a time and are about 1% higher than last year. Once the goverment stops printing money, I would suspect the rates will jump back up to 6% which is where they were at the begining of the housing market crisis. Read on to get the details regarding pending home sale. Richard Kemper Remax

NAR: Pending home sales steady in Jan.
WASHINGTON – Feb. 28, 2014 – Pending home sales were essentially unchanged in January, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Monthly gains in the South and Northeast were offset by declines in the West and Midwest.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, edged up 0.1 percent to 95.0 in January from an upwardly revised 94.9 in December, but is 9.0 percent below January 2013 when it was 104.4.

“Ongoing disruptive weather patterns in much of the U.S. inhibited home shopping,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Limited inventory also is playing a role, especially in the West, while credit remains tight and affordability isn’t as favorable as it was a year ago.”

The December index reading was the lowest since November 2011, when it stood at 94.6.

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 2.3 percent to 79.0 in January – 5.3 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index declined 2.5 percent to 92.9 in January – 9.3 percent lower than January 2013.

Pending home sales in the South increased 3.5 percent to an index of 111.2 in January – 5.5 percent below a year ago. The index in the West fell 4.8 percent in January to 84.2 – 17.5 percent below January 2013.

Existing-home sales are expected to be weak in the first quarter, but prices continue to rise from limited inventory.

“Increasing new home construction can quickly solve two problems, producing more inventory and taming price growth,” Yun says.

The pace of sales should pick up in the middle part of the year, according to NAR. Total existing-home sales are projected at just over 5.0 million in 2014, slightly below the volume recorded last year. The national median existing-home price is forecast to grow in the range of 5 to 6 percent this year.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

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The title looks good, and is for some Florida cities, but Tampa is not in top ten. I think our prices rose dramatically last spring and then have been stable since then. I will give you an example of how they have risen. I bought a home at the beginning of 2012 for 252k and just sold it for 289k. If you are in the Tampa area and reading my blog, no worries that the Tampa area isn’t in the top 10….this time. To read article….see below

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 26, 2014 – A report from Black Knight Financial Services (formerly Lender Processing Services) finds that December home values in the U.S. are within 13.9 percent of the peak reached in 2006.

Black Knight’s Home Price Index (HPI) found nationally that home values rose 0.1 percent month-to-month (compared to November 2012 numbers) and 8.4 percent year-to-year. The high point for U.S. home prices was $270,000 in June 2006. In December, the HPI found a median of $232,000.

From Black Knight’s analysis, it appears most U.S. cities saw their biggest price spike last year, and their dramatic price increases have begun to slow to a more balanced level.

Florida, however, seems to buck that trend a bit, with home prices still climbing faster in comparison to other U.S. states and cities.

According to Black Knight, Florida prices rose 0.6 percent month-to-month in December, coming in second to top-ranking New York with a 0.7 percent rise.

However, Florida cities logged eight of the top 10 spots for “Biggest Movers” when comparing metro areas. Only two other U.S. cities even made the list.

Biggest metro area movers month-to-month

1. Miami: 1.2% month-to-month December price increase
2. Sarasota: 0.9%
3. Key West: 0.7%
4. Fort Walton Beach: 0.6%
5. Poughkeepsie, NY: 0.6%
6. Lakeland: 0.6%
7. Port St. Lucie: 0.6%
8. Tulsa, OK: 0.5%
9. Naples: 0.5%
10. Palm Bay: 0.5%

To calculate its HPI, Black Knight says it looks at repeat sales prices and its loan-level databases. It claims the numbers take REO and short-sale price discounts into consideration.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

CURRENT MORTGAGE RATES AT 4.22% AND ARE PREDICTED TO GO A BIT LOWER!

To All My Readers: Interest rates continue to be at an all time low due to our sluggish economy and feds reluctance to in any way put in danger the recovering housing market. While interest rates have ticked up a bit from last year, they are still at historically low levels. Just to give younger readers some perspective, when I graduated from college in the 1980’s the interest rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage was over 9%. Needless to say i had to buy a smaller house than I wanted to because of what the interest rate did to my monthly mortgage payment. If you are a young person my advice is to buy now before the rates tick up again, and buy bigger than what you think you need for additional room as your family grows. I had no one to advise me, and after I bought my first home my wife became pregnant and the house I just bought was already to small. Thus we had to go through the process all again, this time finding a bigger home until number 4 came along and then that home was too small as well! Set your sights on a 4 bedroom, 2 or 3 bath home and you should be okay. As always, feel free to call me Richard Kemper at 813-777-5332 with any of your real estate questions.        

Average rate on 30-year mortgage at 4.22%

 

Mortgage Rate Trend Index

Half the experts (50%) polled this week by Bankrate.com expect little rate change over the short term. However, only 8% foresee an increase; the remaining 42% predict additional decreases.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Nov. 22, 2013 – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined this week after two weeks of increases, keeping home buying affordable.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.22 percent from to 4.35 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage dipped to 3.27 percent from 3.35 percent.

Rates had spiked over the summer and reached a two-year high in July on speculation that the Federal Reserve would slow its bond purchases later this year. But the Fed held off in September and now appears poised to wait at least a few more months to see how the economy performs. The bond purchases are intended to keep long-term interest rates low.

Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. They have stabilized since September and remain low by historical standards.

Still, mortgage rates are nearly a full percentage point higher than in the spring. The uptick has contributed to a slowdown in home sales. The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes fell 3.2 percent in October, the second straight monthly decline.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged at 0.7 point. The fee for a 15-year loan also was steady at 0.7 point.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage held at 2.61 percent. The fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage fell to 2.95 percent from 3.01 percent. The fee rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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IS THE MARKET COOLING? 11/18/13

I don’t believe there is any reason for alarm, but yes I have noticed the cooling off here in the Brandon, FL area. It is very interesting to look back and see what has happened. The market was soft going into spring, but then investor traffic drove prices up as inventory levels were low. The investor traffic has died down, but due to low inventory levels prices have not dropped. We will have to see what happens over the next few months.Read below for various reasons for slowing market.

Buying frenzy starting to cool?
NEW YORK – Nov. 18, 2013 – Bidding wars in recent months have fueled large gains in home values in some parts of the country. But bidding wars and the buying frenzy seen just a few months ago seem to be cooling at a time when housing affordability has been reduced due to higher mortgage rates and home prices.

“The bidding wars were creating a false market,” homebuyer Mike Imgarten told Bloomberg about his two-month house hunt in Sacramento, Calif., area. “Now is a good time to jump back in and see where we’re at.”

Inventories have risen in many markets, leaving homebuyers with more options. The National Association of Realtors® reported that inventory levels of unsold homes rose in September from a year earlier – the first time since 2011.

More homeowners are seeing the return of equity (more than 2.5 million homes saw positive equity return in the second quarter alone), which has prompted more people to list their properties.

“We are shifting from a frenzy to where buyers are taking a step back and being more analytical and unwilling to just make rash decisions,” says Ellen Haberle, an economist for the real estate brokerage, Redfin.

Home sales typically slow during this time of year, but some analysts say the seasonal drop-off has been higher than expected. They blame the increase in mortgage rates for a lot of that drop-off. Since May, mortgage rates have risen a full percentage point, which has led to an increase in borrowing costs that is holding some buyers back, housing experts say.

The government shutdown also has weakened consumer confidence, says Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at Arizona State University.

“The frenzy has died down,” says Selma Hepp, a senior economist for the California Association of Realtors. “The question in the summer of this year was, ‘is this sustainable, or is this a bubble again?’ Now the data is showing that we’re returning to more of a traditional market.”

Source: “Bid Wars Wane in U.S. Housing Markets on Supply Rise: Mortgages,” Bloomberg Businessweek (Nov. 14, 2013)

PENDING HOME SALES DECLINE FOR 4TH MONTH IN A ROW SEPTEMBER 2013

Wow, this is not good news for a recovering Tampa housing market. The investors came in about a year or so and stabilized the Tampa market and helped us get our prices back to what they should be. But, the investors have slowed purchases in Tampa as they move on to cheaper markets, there was a 1%+ interest rate jump (which has now gone back down), 3 price increases by new construction builders in Tampa area, a government shut down, Obamacare, etc., which I think has some buyers heading back to the sidelines to wait it out and wait for some of the uncertainty to settle. I think key to the slower pending sales is price. I think home prices went up too quick which may make some people wait it out to see if prices are going to drop. No one wants to buy a home that is going to go down in value right after they bought it. That’s how we ended up with all the short sales after the housing market crash of 2007. Stay tuned to my blog to see how the Tampa real estate market is doing. Richard Kemper Re/Max Realty Unlimited 813-777-5332

Pending home sales continue slide in Sept.

WASHINGTON – Oct. 28, 2013 – Pending home sales declined for the fourth consecutive month in September. According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), higher mortgage interest rates and higher home prices curbed buying power.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 5.6 percent to 101.6 in September from a downwardly revised 107.6 in August. Year-over-year, the index is down 1.2 percent compared to September 2012.

The index is at the lowest level since December 2012 when it was 101.3; the data reflect contracts but not closings.

“Declining housing affordability conditions are likely responsible for the bulk of reduced contract activity,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “In addition, government and contract workers were on the sidelines with growing insecurity over lawmakers’ inability to agree on a budget. A broader hit on consumer confidence from general uncertainty also curbs major expenditures such as home purchases.”

September marks the first time in 29 months that pending home sales weren’t above year-ago levels.

“This tells us to expect lower home sales for the fourth quarter, with a flat trend going into 2014,” says Yum. “Even so, ongoing inventory shortages will continue to lift home prices, though at a slower single-digit growth rate next year.”

The PHSI in the Northeast dropped 9.6 percent to 76.7 in September, and 6.4 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index fell 8.3 percent to 102.3 in September, but it’s 5.7 percent higher than September 2012.

Pending home sales in the South slipped 0.4 percent to an index of 116.2 in September, but it’s 2.0 percent above a year ago. The index in the West dropped 9.0 percent in September to 97.3 and 9.8 percent lower than September 2012.

NAR projects that total existing-home sales this year will be 10 percent higher than 2012, reaching more than 5.1 million, and will likely hold even in 2014. The national median existing-home price is expected to rise 11 to 11.5 percent for all of 2013, but moderate to a 5 to 6 percent gain in 2014.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

5 TIPS TO GETTING THE BEST MORTGAGE

English: Mortgage rates historical trends

English: Mortgage rates historical trends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I forget sometimes that as a Realtor I am familiar with all of these topics regarding getting the best possible mortgage, but not everyone else is so here they are for you to read. As always, if you know anyone who is looking to buy or sell a home in the Tampa area please give them my name and phone number. Richard Kemper 813-777-5332                 Image

 

5 ways borrowers can land the best mortgage

 Given the changing mortgage landscape, here are five things borrowers can do to get the best deal:

Do your homework: The first step is to check your credit report with the three credit reporting agencies.

You can do it for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. If there are any errors, correct them. Then do what you can to improve your credit rating by paying down your debt.

Avoid borrowing to buy a car or other big-ticket item in the months before you apply for a mortgage – and, for that matter, up to the date you finally close on your new home.

You can check your credit score at MyFico.com for $19.95. Anyone with scores below 620 will find it very difficult to qualify for a mortgage; borrowers with scores over 740 qualify for the best rates. It’s a good idea to try to improve your score in the months before you apply for a mortgage, because even a 20-point improvement can make a difference in the rate you can get, according to David Stein, chief operating officer of Residential Home Funding in Parsippany, N.J.

Be ready to offer up a lot of paperwork to document your income, debts and assets. Regulators have cracked down since the housing boom free-for-all, when unqualified buyers and borrowers got or refinanced mortgages they couldn’t actually afford.

Now, borrowers need to show one month’s worth of pay stubs, two months of bank statements and two years of tax returns, according to Stein. During the housing boom, Stein said, lenders “weren’t looking at anything – now they’re looking at everything.”

Then shop around among several lenders for the best rate.

Get preapproved: Even before you start looking for a house, you should get preapproved for a mortgage. This will make you a stronger buyer, because sellers will know you have the financing in place to move forward.

In addition, getting preapproved for a mortgage amount “sets boundaries around what you can afford. Those boundaries dictate what your price range is,” said McBride.

Choose between rates: The standard loan offers a fixed interest rate for 30 years. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) offer a fixed rate for, typically, the first five or seven years; after that, the rates can rise every year. In exchange for accepting the risk that interest rates will rise, borrowers get a lower initial rate on ARMs. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, ARMs make up about 7 percent of the current market.
But ARMs make sense only for people who know for sure that they’re going to be in the house for a limited time.

“Forget about adjustable rates altogether unless you have sufficient financial stability that you could absorb a higher monthly payment if your timetable doesn’t pan out,” McBride said.

Decide length of loan: Fifteen-year loans are more popular with refinancing homeowners than they are with first-time homebuyers because many buyers can’t afford the higher monthly payments. The reward for those higher payments is that over time, you’ll pay much less in interest by shortening the life of the loan. And 15-year mortgages come with lower rates.

Sammy Thomas, a consultant living in Ridgewood, N.J., wasn’t looking for a 15-year mortgage when he decided to refinance as rates dipped last year. But with rates on 15-year mortgages then hovering around 3 percent, he decided that was the best deal. The shorter loan also meant that he and his wife, Demi, a teacher, could live mortgage-free sooner. That was especially appealing as they plan for their retirement, said Thomas, 58. In fact, they hope to put extra money on the loan each month and have it paid off in 11 or 12 years.

Lock in your rate: Once you’ve found a good rate, consider locking it in, which you can usually do for no cost, or for a fee that is refunded at closing. It’s not worth betting that rates will fall before you close on the house.

“I rarely tell folks to try to time the bottom of the market,” Gumbinger said. “Mortgage rates almost always rise much more quickly than they fall.”

“Don’t try to guess the way rates are moving,” McBride agreed. “I’m not a fan of people rolling the dice for something as significant as what their mortgage payment is.”

Copyright © 2013 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) Distributed by MCT Information Services.