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ZIllow reaching out to Gen Y

Posted by The Aramco Group on Wed, May 10, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

Online real estate giant, Zillow Group launched its latest real estate search site this month – RealEstate.com. The site is designed specifically with Millennials and first-time home buyers in mind. Making the page unique is allowing potential buyers to find a home using desired monthly payment as a search criteria.

The idea behind the approach is to give inexperienced buyers a guage of how much homeownership will actually cost. Zillow reports that studies have shown that homebuyers say a comfortable monthly mortgage payment is their top concern.

First-time home buyers often seek out alternatives to the conventional home loans – typically ones that require small down payments. FHA loans, backed by the federal government, allows borrowers to make a purchase with as little as 3.5 percent down.

Today, conventional conforming no-point 30-year fixed rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

Hiring spree skips construction industry

Posted by The Aramco Group on Tue, May 9, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

Last week's employment report for April from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the number of unemployed Americans is at its lowest point in nearly a decade. Non-farm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 211,000 from March to April – bringing the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent.

Despite the stellar decline in joblessness, the housing and construction sector's figures were called a "disappointment" by First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming.

"Home builders are reporting that the lack of construction workers is hampering their ability to increase production," said Fleming. "In fact, we have been underbuilding residential housing relative to demand since 2009."

Just 5,000 construction jobs were added to the economy last month, a mere 2.6 percent more than the same period last year.

Mortgage rates remaining near historic lows could be driving the competitiveness with conforming no-point 30-year fixed rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

Buyers competing for California homes

Posted by The Aramco Group on Mon, May 8, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

California's housing market continues to thrive with realtors reporting that numerous aspects of the industry are stengthening. The California Association of Realtor's March Market Pulse Survey shows general optimism with respondents citing an increase in floor calls, listing appointments, open house traffic and multiple offers, compared to February.

The volume of homes that sold above their asking price improved on a year-over-basis, often as a result of bidding wars over the limited number of homes available. 39 percent of properties sold for an amount greater than their original price tag – up from 34 percent last year. On average, these homes went for 9.2 percent more.

Sellers receiving multiple offers has become the relative norm with 74 percent of listings brining in two or more bids. This is a sharp increase from 50 percent in 2016.

Mortgage rates remaining near historic lows could be driving the competitiveness with conforming no-point 30-year fixed rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

Paying for the American dream

Posted by The Aramco Group on Sun, May 7, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

For many who desire to become homeowners, saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle. According to a report from Zillow, funding the requisite 20 percent down on an average home can be more than two-thirds of household income for the median wage earner.

"It's a big number," said Zillow's senior economist Aaron Terrazas. "Very few are saving for a down payment in one year, it's something they do over multiple years. And for renters who have been faced with rising rent and health care costs, it's very difficult to put away any money at all."

Home prices are likely to continue to rise throughout the summer. Low down payment mortgage options are often appealing alternatives. FHA loans, insured by the federal government, allow homebuyers to put as little as 3.5 percent down, bringing the American dream of homeownership closer to reality.

Today, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

Majority of Americans have nearly no retirement savings

Posted by The Aramco Group on Sat, May 6, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

Nearly a quarter of workers stated in a recent survey that they and their spouse have a combined total of less than $1,000 set aside for retirement. This is according to a recent report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Approximately 55 million American workers have jobs that do not sponsor 401(k)'s or pensions. This means that when it comes to saving, they are on their own. For younger workers, the option to begin aggressively putting money away for retirement may still be an option but those just a handful of years away from their post-working life are finding alternatives to the traditional savings accounts.

Reverse mortgages can serve as a powerful way for those 62 or older to catch up on retirement savings. A HECM or Home Equity Conversion Mortgage as they are popularly known, can eliminate monthly mortgage payments while providing supplemental cash in the form of a lump sum, line of credit or monthly payout.

Today, conventional conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

Avoiding home buying regrets

Posted by The Aramco Group on Fri, May 5, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

Purchasing a home is generally the largest purchase most Americans will make. It takes time, money and foresight. According to a survey of more than 1,400 homeowners conducted by NerdWallet, nearly half of respondents stated they wished they had done something differently during the buying process.

Among the top regrets of homebuyers was not studying the home and location enough before committing. With California's limited available homes for sale buyers may find themselves compromising on their wish list more than they would otherwise feel comfortable with. Daisy Kong, a spokeswoman for Trulia advises buyers to prioritize things and make a list of the deal breaking factors.

Other regrets cited by homeowners in the survey included not understanding the financial ins and outs and discovering once they're settled in, that the house is simply too small.

Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

Federal Reserve leaves interest rates unchanged

Posted by The Aramco Group on Thu, May 4, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

The Federal Reserve opted to keep interest rates steady on Wednesday but signaled that the next rate hike was imminent if trends in the economy continue. The Fed officials cited slower-than-expected growth in the first quarter of the year but noted that "job gains were solid" and that "the unemployment rate declined."

The statement released after the meeting suggest that the Fed remains on course to raise short-term interest rates two more times this year. They last did so in March. According to CME Group which tracks Fed funds futures, over 70 percent of investors predict the next hike will come in June.

Federal interest rates are the benchmark for most consumer debt like credit cards and personal loans. Mortgage rates however are more closely tied to the yield on 10-year Treasury notes. Currently, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

U.S. construction slips from record high

Posted by The Aramco Group on Wed, May 3, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

Construction spending in March retreated from a record high set in February, according to new data released this week by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Nationwide, spending on construction projects declined by a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in March, a stark difference from the 0.5 percent climb economists predicted in a survey by The Wall Street Journal.

The $1.221 trillion annual rate in construction costs set in February surpassed an 11-year record. The figure, released monthly by the Commerce Department, is a barometer for overall economic performance in a variety of sectors. During the financial crises in 2008-09, spending on new home building experienced a steep decline but has slowly recovered since.

Increases in home construction expenditures, even as overall building construction is in decline, indicate that builders are working to address the ongoing housing shortage taking place across the country. Limited inventory is continually driving home prices higher.

Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

Trump tax plan gets mixed reviews

Posted by The Aramco Group on Tue, May 2, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

It has been dubbed by the U.S. Treasury Secretary as the "biggest tax cut" in history yet the tax plan announced by the Trump Administration this week is receiving both adulation and speculation.

"NAHB commends President Trump for tackling tax reform and keeping the mortgage interest deduction as one of the two individual deductions," said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. "However, doubling the standard deduction could severely marginalize the mortgage interest deduction, which would reduce housing demand and lead to lower home values."

The mortgage interest deduction, which is the largest deduction for the majority of tax payers, allows homeowners to reduce their tax liability by deducting the interest they pay on their home mortgage.

As stated in the NAHB statement, raising the standard deduction could prove to be a disincentive for taxpayers if bigger tax savings are had without being a property owner.

Today, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.

San Diego among most profitable housing markets

Posted by The Aramco Group on Mon, May 1, 2017 @ 14:05 PM

As the housing market heats up ahead of the summer home buying season, buyers are finding prices inching past the affordability threshold. While this may hinder new households from forming, it is translating into good news for sellers who are seeing higher than average returns when putting their home on the market.

According to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions, homeowners who sold in the first quarter of the year realized an average price gain of $44,000 since purchasing their home. This represents 24 percent return on average nationwide – the highest average price gain in nearly a decade.

Among the top metropolitan areas with the highest percent return on previous purchase price, 10 of the top 20 were located in California. The San Diego-Carlsbad area landed in the eighteenth spot nationwide with an average return of 41 percent. This equals a gain for homeowners of whopping $144,000 above their purchase price.

Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.125 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 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.