Simplifying The Market

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

October Round Up: Mortgage Rates Ease

In Freddie Mac's results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, the average fixed mortgage rate slipped from last week's spike and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage easing back to its summertime range below 3.5 percent.

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.47 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending October 27, 2016, down 5 basis points from 3.52 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.76 percent.
  • >15-year FRM this week averaged 2.78 percent with an average 0.5 point, down slightly from last week when they averaged 2.79 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.98 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.84 with an average 0.4 point, down slightly from last week when it averaged 2.85 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.89 percent.

According to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac:

"Mortgage rates continue to be relatively stable and at near record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 5 basis points week-over-week to 3.47 percent, erasing last week's increase. At the same time, the 10-year Treasury yield ended the week relatively flat -- up about 2 basis points."

Avoid Surprises: Know Your Homeowner's Coverage

The typical homeowner's policy includes coverage for perils and losses due to fire, lightning, tornadoes, windstorms, hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism and theft. Just as you would scrutinize the terms of your medical insurance, the nuances and details of your homeowner's policy should be examined seriously.

Too often, homeowners sign up for a policy and go on autopilot regarding its terms and coverage without taking new acquisitions, risks, and increasing value of their homes into consideration. Most insurance agents recommend a regular insurance "check-up" for consumers, so that homeowners are not left "high and dry" when disasters and losses strike.

Costly Mistakes First-Time Buyers Make

Five common and costly mistakes that novice home buyers make:

  • Ignoring the costs of having a low credit score. Lower-score borrowers pay thousands of dollars in increased interest rates over the life of the loan.

  • Shopping for other things before closing. Lenders continue to check credit scores right up until closing. Too much shopping could cause the lender to take back the loan.

  • Scrimping on an inspection. Being surprised by the need for expensive repairs can be financially devastating.

  • Buying without contingencies. Buyers should give themselves an out if the inspection turns up problems or the bank raises rates.

  • Insurance can be surprisingly pricey. Buyers who don't budget for it can face a nasty surprise.

The Garage May Be a Big Selling Point

More buyers are house-hunting with garages in mind. Twenty-four percent of homes built in 2015 came with space for three or more cars in the garage -- the highest share since the Census Bureau started tracking large garages in 1992. In fact, home builders are now constructing more three-car garages than one-bedroom apartments, Bloomberg reports.

Home buyers care about garage space. One in three buyers say they prefer a three-car garage, according to a survey conducted by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Fifty-one percent say they want a two-car garage and 10 percent said a one-car garage would suffice.

That doesn't mean they want the extra space to store another car necessarily. The share of households who own three or more cars has stayed mainly flat. In 2013, 19.7 percent of home owners had three cars in 2013 compared to 17.3 percent in 1990, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Instead, they're using garages to store extra items, as workspaces, or even transforming them into in-law apartments.

The trend of desiring extra garage space does appear to be mixed, however.

"We're seeing more multi-generational housing, where the kids are taking care of elderly parents or you have the new grad moving home after college, and now you have four cars where it might have been two before," Pete Reeb, a principal at the consultancy, told Bloomberg.

Written by Realty Times Staff

Nancy M. Alexander Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate, Long & Foster Avalon