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Happy Thanksgiving from Our Family to Yours

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Mortgage Outlook for Week of November 21, 2011

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Mortgage Outlook 11-21-2011Mortgage rates opened the week lower as European concerns continue with Spain and Italy becoming new areas of focus. The market is also concerned over the progress of the Congressional Super Committee or lack thereof.

Since this is a shortened week for the Thanksgiving Holiday, it’s hard to know what is in store for mortgage rates moving forward and volatility is a definite possibility.

Positive Housing Data From NAR Released

The National Association of Realtors announced late that sales of previously-owned homes rose 1.4% in October. This figure exceeds forecasts of a 1.0% decline in sales, which indicates that the housing sector was stronger than expected last month.

The Week Moving Forward

The rest of the shortened Holiday week will bring a handful of important economic reports as well as the last FOMC meeting’s minutes. Tuesday, the first revisions to the 3rd Quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product) are released. Tuesday will also see the minutes from the last FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) will be released as well, giving some insight into the FOMC’s thoughts about the market and data they’ve analyzed. More data will be released on Wednesday for Jobless Claims, Consumer Sentiment, Durable Goods Orders and Personal Income and Outlays.

Economic Calendar for Week of November 21, 2011

  • Monday – Existing Home Sales
  • Tuesday – GDP, FOMC Minutes
  • Wednesday – Durable Goods Orders, Jobless Claims, Personal Income & Outlays, Consumer Sentiment
  • Thursday – Thanksgiving Holiday

Holiday Mortgage Rate Lock?

Rates are near all time record lows, but should you refinance or are you better off staying in your existing loan? How much can you qualify for if you decide to purchase a new home? We can answer these questions and more by giving you a free consultation where we can analyze your existing scenario and help you understand what changes, if any, need to be made regarding your mortgage. We can also help you understand what loan options are available and what programs are the best fit for your needs.

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Temporary High Loan Limits Extended Today

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Congress and President Obama approved a measure today to raise the high cost loan limit for FHA loans from $625,5000 to its previous ceiling of $729,750. This means that homeowners in high cost areas can once again be eligible for larger size loans and enabling them to purchase homes while not having to bring in as much of a down payment. .

Higher Loan Limits History

As part of the economic stimulus package in 2008, temporary higher loan limits were enacted to help homeowners in high-cost areas that were unable to get loans FHA loans and conforming loans they needed and were unable to get regardless of their payment history, credit and income. Homeowners in areas such San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles routinely faced higher priced homes, which meant they were required to bring in substantially larger down payments when purchasing their home. These higher loan limits expired on October 1, 2011.

Do You Qualify for a Higher Limit Loan?

Since rates are near all time record lows, it’s important that you take advantage of the new increased loan limits if you are in a high cost area. Not sure if you are in a high cost area or if you qualify? We can help free of charge and help you understand what options might be best for your current situation.

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HARP 2.0 (Home Affordable Refinance Program) Update

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HARP - Making Home AffordableFannie Mae and Freddie Mac and have released new information about updates to the HARP 2.0 (Home Affordable Refinance Program). This is an update to the original HARP program that was introduced in 2009 and intended to help homeowners with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages refinance their loans to the current low market rates even if they owed more than their homes were currently worth.

The goal of HARP is to help the millions of homeowners that cannot refinance because their homes lost value when the housing bubble burst. The original program let homeowners refinance up to 125 percent of their current home value. Unfortunately many borrowers did not meet the 125% loan to value requirement. HARP 2.0 eases some of the requirements so that more homeowners can participate, perhaps as many as 1.5 million more borrowers will now be able to dramatically lower their mortgage interest rate!

HARP 2.0 Basics

  1. HARP is extended through December 31, 2013, it was originally scheduled to end June 2012. 
  2. Borrowers must be in a Fannie Mae (Fannie Mae lookup) or a Freddie Mac (Freddie Mac lookup) loan originated before May 31, 2009 to qualify. 
  3. Loan must have loan-to-value ratio of greater than 80%.
  4. There is no loan to value cap on fixed loans 30 years and below, while ARMs have a cap of 105% LTV. 
  5. A new appraisal may not be needed. 
  6. Borrowers must have perfect payment record for past 6 months (no 30 day or greater late payments) and only 1 late payment in last 12 months. Originally HARP did not allow any late payments in last 12 month period. 
  7. Loans 20 years or less get “loan level price adjustments” of 0% and .75% on ARMs and loans greater than 20 years. 

Do I Qualify for HARP 2.0 and How Can I Benefit If I Do?

We can help analyze your current loan and financial snapshot to help you understand if you qualify for HARP. If you qualify, you may be able to dramatically decrease your mortgage rate and lower your monthly payments.

More importantly, rates are near all time historical lows, which means there is no better time than now to contact us for FREE professional financial analysis to make sure you’re taking advantage of every possible opportunity to save money on your mortgage.

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Mortgage Outlook for Week of November 14, 2011

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We start the week with two of the major concerns that have weighed on the market in past weeks coming to a resolution with Greece and Italy both appointing new Prime Ministers. The market did not have confidence that the previous leadership of these countries would be helpful or even willing to participate in the austerity plans, taxes and other steps necessary to prevent insolvency.

These ongoing European issues have played a large role in maintaining the extremely low mortgage rates we see today and in the past few weeks. More European drama may push rates lower while success or no news in the region may lead to higher mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates and Europe Moving Forward

Now that Italy and Greece have new leaders that are willing to “get with the program”, their underling circumstances are unchanged. They are in seriously bad shape and insolvency is a possibility, although less likely if they work with the other Euro countries. More importantly, there is nothing preventing other countries from going through the same cycle of volatility we have witnessed with Italy and Greece. The volatility that will occur should other countries show similar dramatic flares will be good for mortgage rates.

Economic Calendar for Week of November 14, 2011

  • Tuesday – Producer Price Index, Retail Sales
  • Wednesday – Industrial Production, Housing Market Index
  • Thursday – Housing Starts, Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Survey
  • Friday – Leading Indicators

Current Outlook on Locking Your Mortgage Rate

Mortgage rates are still near all time record lows with a lot of upside movement possible and maybe even probable. In a volatile market like the one we’re in, now is a good time to speak with us about which program fits your needs and whether or not locking in your rate is a good idea for you. This week will have some significant data coming out that can affect rates, so waiting to speak with us may be a gamble if rates begin moving up.

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Mortgage Outlook for the Week Ending November 11, 2011

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This week saw mortgage rates revisit near record all time lows as the market dealt with concerns of a European debt default. This time it was Italy in the crosshairs as Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi agreed to resign. The market is likely to look favorably to a resolution in the Italian drama, but some analysts still have significant concerns over Italy’s solvency even in light of new austerity measures (reductions in spending and debt) and a new government.

Since the bond market is closed today in honor of Veterans Day, we’ll have to wait until Monday to see how mortgage rates will react to the latest developments in Italy and any new news that may come out this weekend. There’s likely to be volatility next week with mortgage rates, so speaking with us regarding rate locks isn’t a bad idea in case you are on the fence.

Consumer Sentiment Data Released

This morning, Consumer Sentiment data came in higher than expected. Consumer Sentiment, released by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan, helps market analysts understand consumer attitudes towards the business climate, personal finance, and spending. Like any market data, if it is good for the economy as a whole, that will tend to push mortgage rates up while negative news is good for helping mortgage rates go lower.

Mortgage Rate Outlook for Next Week

Mortgage rates may move on a dime on any news relating to the Eurozone debt crisis and specifically on any news related to Italy. In fact, there’s a high likelihood that more news on the Italian front will hit the wires this weekend, affecting mortgage rates on the open on Monday. Good news on the Italian front will likely result in mortgage rates increasing. Bad news will likely result in lower mortgage rates.

Next week in the US, Congressional Super-Committee will be reaching a deal to cut spending by a minimum of $1.2 trillion. If they fail to do so, this would trigger automatic cuts to Medicaid and defense spending.

There is also some significant economy data being released next week that may affect mortgage rates. Next week will mark the release of data for Retail Sales, PPI Index, Consumer Price Index, Jobless Claims and Housing Starts.

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Happy Veterans Day From Our Family to Yours!

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Thank You Veterans

Remodeling Your Home the Right Way

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Remodeling TipsWhen you approach remodeling in the right way, you can bring value to your home, both in the monetary and enjoyment categories. There are mistakes, however, that you can make when renovating your home for the first time that can significantly increase the costs involved. Keep these in mind when you are ready to take on your first big remodel!

Tips for Successful Home Remodeling

  1. Hire the Right People – You need trustworthy, reputable contractors to work on your home. After all, remodeling a house for the first time and leaving it in the hands of contractors means that there is a significant amount of trust required. Ask friends and family who they have used for their projects and do your research online before hiring. Remember, the cheapest option for a contractor is not usually the best one. The costs involved in fixing work that was done incorrectly will usually be higher than those of paying a reputable contractor to do the work correctly the first time.
  2. Make Versatile Choices – There are always trends in home remodeling. Things like tile size and color, for example, change in popularity on a regular basis. Although a certain option may be in today, in 5 years from now, too trendy a selection will just appear more dated. You’re likely to tire of a trendy option quickly, as a result, or struggle to sell your home. Select classic designs when making more expensive changes. Reserve the trends for disposable decor and paint color.
  3. Maintain Flow – Your home’s structure and overall style should mesh well together. If you have a century home and over-modernize it, the home may lose some of its appeal to buyers, and decline in value.

Your home is a big investment, and it can work well for you provided you make careful choices before relying on impulse to renovate it.

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Mortgage Outlook for Week of November 7, 2011

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European Debt ConcernsMortgage rates were helped out last week by renewed concern over the European debt default crisis and Greece’s possible referendum vote. Without this concern in the eyes or the market, it is very likely that rates would have increased given somewhat positive comments that came out of the FED meeting last week.

This week has little data coming out with Jobless Claims and Consumer Sentiment being areas of focus. More likely to affect mortgage rates in the United States are the events unfolding in Europe in respect to Italy.

Italy Presents New Worries Which May Benefit Mortgage Rates

Since worries about the Greece debacle and possible referendum vote have lessened since the referendum vote was scrapped, Europe is now turning its attention to Italy.

Italy is facing a situation that is not all that unlike Greece’s and there is concern about the stability of the Italian government. This means that these fears may cause traders to take their money out of equities and put it into bonds, which may help mortgage rates maintain their current levels (not go up) or decrease. How the Italian scenario plays out may very likely affect mortgage rates this week.

Economic Calendar for Week of November 7, 2011

  • Wednesday – EIA Petroleum Status Report
  • Thursday – International Trade, Jobless Claims, Import and Export Prices
  • Friday – Consumer Sentiment

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Friday Update: Mortgage Rates & Volatility

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Friday Mortgage UpdateMortgage rates showed improvement earlier in the week and then lost some ground yesterday when the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced that he was calling off a scheduled referendum on a proposed Greek bailout.

The markets are happy to hear that such a referendum cannot prevent the proposed bailout from occurring, which negatively affected rates. This does not mean that a resolution is guaranteed, but delays an immediate source of anxiety for the markets.

Employment Data Released

This morning, the Labor Department released October’s Employment report. The report showed that 80,000 new jobs were added to the economy last month,  a little short of expectations of around 95,000 jobs. The report showed that that 53,000 jobs were added to September’s final job count.

Finally, the report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate slipped 0.1% to 9.0% last month with market expectations being that it would hold at 9.1%. The general consensus on the Employment Report is that it was neutral to negative, having little affect on mortgage rates.

Next Week’s Mortgage Outlook

Veteran’s day means a shortened week for bond traders on Friday. Apart from  consumer sentiment and jobless claims, there isn’t a lot of economic data coming out that could move mortgage rates, so any new developments relating to the European debt crisis have the potential to move the market.

Since rates are near all time record lows, now is a great time to see how we can help you lock in your rate and find the best mortgage program for your needs.

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