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Mehran Aram

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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

Fed backs away from hawkish rate hike plan

Posted by Mehran Aram on Fri, Nov 30, 2018 @ 04:11 AM

The Federal Reserve may not be as aggressive in raising short-term interest rates as previously thought. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that rates are “just below” a broad range of what Fed officials consider neutral. The next increase could come as soon as next month when Fed officials meet for a policy meeting on December 18 and 19.

Powell’s remarks were a dovish shift from his past comments on future rate hikes when he claimed that the benchmark rates were a “long way” from where they need to be. His comments Wednesday gave Wall Street a boost. The Fed has appeared to settle into a quarterly rate increase and is widely expected to do so next month. CME Group which tracks federal-fund futures places the likelihood of a December rate hike at 80 percent. The same organization places only 8 percent likelihood on the Fed raising rates one or more times throughout 2019.

The benchmark interest rate is not directly correlated to mortgage rates which rather move in line with the yield of the 10-year Treasury note. 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: Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, rate hikes, Federal Funds Rate, Interest Rates, The Fed

California housing affordability crunch eases slightly

Posted by Mehran Aram on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 @ 05:11 AM

Flat home prices and stable interest rates helped make housing more affordable in the Golden State, says the California Association of Realtors. The trade group reported this week that the percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home in California in the third-quarter climbed one percentage point to 27 percent in the second quarter of 2018.

Based on the current median home price of $588,530, buyers would need an annual income of $125,540 to qualify for most conventional loan products. Should home price appreciation continue to slow, and the strong economy continue to result in rising wages, the affordability factor should see more improvements.

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: California, home affordability, California Association of Realtors, homebuyers, Conventional Loans, Mortgage rates

Cash-out refinances at 11-year high

Posted by Mehran Aram on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 @ 16:11 PM

8 out of every 10 refinances happening in the U.S. are cash-out refinances according to new data. This is the highest volume of American’s choosing a cash-out option during the refinancing process since 2007. This is according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac’s data for the third quarter.

The report shows that a little over 88 percent of borrowers who refinances in Q3 elected a cash-extraction, totaling $14.6 billion in liquidated equity. This is down from $15.8 billion in Q2, likely due to a slow-down in refinance activity amid higher mortgage rates.

Cash-out refinances are particularly popular in California, the nations’ highest concentration of homeowner equity. 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: cash out refinance, Freddie Mac, Mortgage rates, homeowners, California, San Diego

Smile at your next open house, you could be on camera

Posted by Mehran Aram on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 @ 15:11 PM

It’s called the “Internet of Things” or IoT. It’s the concept that the physical world around us – devices, objects, vehicles and even houses – are connected to the world wide web. As smart-homes have grown in popularity, home camera systems have grown more affordable and common in households. As a result, a growing number of realtors and house-hunters are reporting that these cameras scattered throughout some homes, make them uneasy.

When touring a home, buyers want to speak freely with each other and their agent, but an extra set of eyes or ears in a discreetly placed camera can keep them from doing so. Knowing your thoughts on a home can give sellers the upper hand in a deal or have personal information incidentally shared strangers.

The National Association of Realtors suggests brokers hang a sign in the home alerting visitors that they may be recorded while on the property.

Today, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.875 percent, 15-year rates are near 4.325 percent and the 5-year ARM is averaging 4.325 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: Internet of Things, open house, National Association of Realtors, Realtors, Mortgage rates