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U.S. home affordability drops to 10-year low

Posted by Mehran Aram on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 @ 05:12 AM

A report released last week by ATTOM Data Solutions only confirmed what homebuyers have been feeling for quite some time – affordable homes are increasingly difficult to come by. The Q4 2018 U.S. Home Affordability Report showed that the U.S. median home price during the fourth quarter was at the least affordable level since Q3 2008 – more than a 10-year low.

The index posted a reading of 91, down from 94 in Q3. Readings below 100 suggest that the current median home price is less affordable than the historic average. 357 out of the 469 U.S. counties analyzed in the report had readings below 100.

The silver lining according to a statement made by Darin Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM, is that annual wage growth outpaced annual home price appreciation. This includes in high-prices areas such as San Diego.

Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.625 percent, 15-year rates near 4.0 percent and the 5-year ARM averaging 4.375 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: home affordability, median home price, Wages, wage growth

San Diego Christmas displays not to miss

Posted by Mehran Aram on Tue, Dec 25, 2018 @ 04:12 AM

Nothing lights up the Christmas season like the glow of holiday lights as you drive down the street. And when neighbors get together to deck the entire block, it is really a sight to see. Keeping with the holiday tradition, neighborhoods throughout San Diego country coordinate their decorations and provide visitors with stunning spectacles.

San Diego County has been previously listed on real estate data site Redfin’s list of the best cities for a holiday drive. “Christmas Card Lane” in Rancho Penasquitos is just one example of an entire community embracing the holiday spirit.

Fairway Village in Carmel Mountain Ranch ha a collection of over 85 homes decorated to the nines. El Cajon, Fallbrook and Mission Hills all have beautiful Christmas light drives. In Poway, “The Griswald’s” (of the famed Vacation movies) is a major attraction in the area as well.

This Christmas, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.625 percent, 15-year rates near 4.0 percent and the 5-year ARM averaging 4.375 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: San Diego Housing Market, San Diego Real Estate, Christmas, Holiday Drive, Holidays, Redfin, Mortgage rates

Santa Baby

Posted by Mehran Aram on Mon, Dec 24, 2018 @ 05:12 AM

Santa baby, just slip the papers under the tree;
For me;
Been an awful long escrow;
Santa baby, so hurry to the notary tonight;

Think of all the open houses I've missed;
Think of all the deals that I did resist;
Next year I could be as good;
If you’ll just check off my repair list;

Santa baby, I want a good rate;
So really, don’t wait;
Been an angel all year;
Santa baby, hurry and lock in that rate tonight;

Santa honey, one little thing I really need;
The deed;
To my brand new home;
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight;

Conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.625 percent, 15-year rates are near 4.00 percent and the 5-year ARM is averaging 4.375 percent.

Topics: Santa Baby, Mortgage rates, Christmas, Christmas Songs

Mortgage rates down despite Fed decision

Posted by Mehran Aram on Sun, Dec 23, 2018 @ 05:12 AM

As was widely predicted, the Federal Reserve announced last week that it was raising short-term interest rates a quarter percentage point. The increase would bring the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 2.25 and 2.5 percent. This is the ninth such increase since December 2015, but Fed officials signaled that the pace of increases will likely slow in the coming year.

While short-term borrowing costs, like credit cards, will see an almost immediate impact, homebuyers will not see any ramifications right away. Long-term rates, like mortgages, are still low by historic standards and follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note and mortgage backed securities.

Despite the increase in short-term rates, long term-rates have declined in recent weeks with the yield on the 10-year Treasury falling to a 7-month low on expectations of lower inflation due to a drop in oil prices and slower economic growth anticipated in 2019. This brought mortgage rates down a quarter percent in recent weeks.

Those looking to purchase or refinance a home will find conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.625 percent, 15-year rates near 4.0 percent and the 5-year ARM averaging 4.375 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: Mortgage rates

Even in challenging market, Calif. renters aspire to homeownership

Posted by Mehran Aram on Mon, Dec 10, 2018 @ 05:12 AM

Despite challenges in affordability and inventory, renters in California still yearn to become homeowners one day. This is according to a new consumer survey released by the California Association of Realtors last week. The survey found that approximately half of California's renters rated homeownership as very important or extremely important and that four out of five renters want to own a home in the future.

Respondents to the survey see the financial benefits of homeownership as well with 21 percent saying homeownership is a good long-term investment.

Studies of renter demographics show that renters in southern California spend upwards of half of their monthly income on rent suggesting that even in tough market conditions, homeownership may still be more economical than renting.

Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.75 percent, 15-year rates are near 4.125 percent and the 5-year ARM is averaging 4.375 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: Renters, rental market, California, Mortgage rates

Amazon HQ2 rejects may still get a housing boost

Posted by Mehran Aram on Sun, Dec 9, 2018 @ 05:12 AM

Housing markets in San Diego and the other regions that were rejected for the location of Amazon’s new headquarters may still see a bump in their housing market nonetheless. According to a Zillow forecast of 2019’s housing market, being spurred by the possibility of attracting thousands of new jobs and a major corporation has led to local initiatives to improve conditions.

Zillow reports that due to this can-do attitude of Amazon HQ2 contenders, some of these cities are expected to outperform the national rate of home value appreciation next year.

“Many of the candidate cities that were not ultimately selected could see spillover gains in 2019,” said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. He predicts that other companies could recognize the value of these metro areas.

Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.75 percent, 15-year rates are near 4.125 percent and the 5-year ARM is averaging 4.375 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: Amazon, Housing, Housing Market, San Diego Housing Market, Mortgage rates

Mortgage application continues to rally

Posted by Mehran Aram on Sat, Dec 8, 2018 @ 06:12 AM

Mortgage rates holding steady has resulted in an upswing in the number of applications to purchase a home last week. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, total mortgage application volume increased two percent during the week ended November 30.

Purchase applications rose one percent from the prior week while the Refinance Index shot up six percent. The share of applications to refinance an existing mortgage also climbed to 40.4 percent of total volume. This is the largest share of refinances since March.

While the rate of home sales has slowed as mortgage rates trended upward, the recent holding position in borrowing costs have produce two consecutive weeks of increases in total mortgage applications.

Today, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.75 percent, 15-year rates are near 4.125 percent and the 5-year ARM is averaging 4.375 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: Mortgage rates, Mortgage applications

Higher loan limits coming in 2019

Posted by Mehran Aram on Mon, Dec 3, 2018 @ 05:12 AM

The Federal Housing Finance agency announced last week that mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will increase their lending limits next year as a result of nationwide home-price gains. Currently, the maximum conforming loan limit for single-unit properties is $453,100. This will increase to $484,350 in 2019.

Loan limits are based on median home prices in a given metropolitan area. Higher limits assist buyers by providing access to better financing terms on a new mortgage or refinance. Loans that exceed these limits are generally referred to as jumbo or non-conforming loans.

Housing market like San Diego are typically given significantly higher loan limits to allow for the higher median home price. For 2019, the conforming high balance limit in San Diego will increase from $649,750 to $690,000.

Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.875 percent, 15-year rates are near 4.25 percent and the 5-year ARM is averaging 4.5 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: loan limits, Federal Housing Finance Agency, FHFA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, San Diego, Housing Market

Predictions for 2019 housing market look glib

Posted by Mehran Aram on Sun, Dec 2, 2018 @ 06:12 AM

The end of 2018 is setting the scene for 2019 – a housing market battling on several fronts According to Zillow, the rising mortgage rates and devastating natural disasters seen this year will carry on into 2019, along with other challenges.

Mortgage affordability is expected to take another hit next year as rates continue to climb. Zillow predicts 30-year fixed rate mortgage to reach 5.8 percent. The impact of costlier mortgages will not only impact home buyers but renters as well. As affordable homes grow scarce, demand for rental housing will ultimately grow, leading to an increase in rent costs.

Nearly 15,000 homes were destroyed by the California wildfires in the past two months and thousands more in massive storms in other parts of the country. Extreme weather is likely to continue to take its toll in the coming year.

Today, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.875 percent, 15-year rates are near 4.25 percent and the 5-year ARM is averaging 4.5 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: Housing Market, Mortgage rates, Housing Affordability, home buyers

Virtual staging could catch the buyers’ eye

Posted by Mehran Aram on Sat, Dec 1, 2018 @ 06:12 AM

It’s no secret that staging a home works. That’s why model homes have such a broad appeal. According to the National Association of Realtors, 77 percent of buyers’ agents say that staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves living in a home. But to save time and money, virtual staging is catching on.

As the name implies, virtual staging is when professional designers overlay images over a home with furnishings on a computer. In most cases, it is ideally done on a vacant home as it gives the designer the ability to lay out the virtual furnisher with more flexibility.

Virtual staging can cost several hundred dollars but because it only needs to be done once, can be less expensive that renting actual furniture to stage a home for several weeks. And dragging a sofa across a computer screen is certainly less labor intensive.

Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.875 percent, 15-year rates are near 4.25 percent and the 5-year ARM is averaging 4.5 percent.

Do you have a question for Real Estate & Mortgage Analyst Mehran Aram? Submit your queries about a home purchase, refinance, or reverse mortgage via Aramco.Biz, social media (#AramcoReport), or over the phone at (866) 381-8888 and your questions may be featured in an upcoming article.

Topics: National Association of Realtors, Home Staging, Realtors, Virtual Staging, Mortgage rates