October 2011

Found 15 blog entries for October 2011.

The phrase “buyer’s market” has probably been driven into your head by now. For those who are looking to move up to a larger home, or those on the look out for their first home, the time is right. But another market has also been blooming for those already comfortable in their current housing situation; the second home market. While the second home market has seen more highs and lows lately than the primary home market, vacation homes are a trend on the rise.

These homes, often purchased in appealing areas or destination locations, can be used as summer homes and for weekend getaways, or can even be rented out for extra income until you are ready for retirement or decide to sell.  At a time when prices are low, now is the time to consider buying a

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Mortgage bonds are ending the week trying to reclaim some of the ground lost Wednesday and Thursday.  All the great sounding news from Europe that triggered the stock market rally of 500 points this week, isn't sounding nearly as good as it did earlier in the week.  Americans dipped into savings to push U.S. personal spending up in September helping trigger the DJIA's rally.  The 10 year Treasury, the main competition for mortgage securities rose from its weekly low of 2.1% to 2.4%, the highest since August 5th. Then yield dropped back into the 2.3% level late Friday. This left mortgage rates floating in the 4.25%-4.375% range with more investors quoting the 4.375 than 4.25%.  Fifteen year loans are up a solid .125% from last week at 3.625%. 

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David H. Stevens, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) issued the following statement in response to the recent announcement of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

"The mortgage industry welcomes these changes designed to help more underwater borrowers who are current on their mortgages refinance at today's historically low interest rates. Not only will these changes allow more borrowers to qualify, but they will streamline the process and reduce the cost to borrowers and should lessen risk for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Lenders are particularly gratified that the refinements will provide relief from some representations and warranties that lenders face when originating new loans. These changes alone should

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The past few weeks have showcased numerous signals that the real estate market is on the rise. Recently, we have reported statistics pointing to an industry turnaround, including a 15 percent rise in housing starts in September; a surge in builder confidence in October, an increase in mortgage applications and a slew of regional market improvements across the country.

A recent Marketwatch story written by Amy Hoak points out that housing markets in the Great Plains, including those in North and South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Louisiana and Iowa, are showing the most signs of strength these days, according to a recent report from Veros, a risk management and valuation services firm.

Hoak notes that Bismarck, North Dakota., is expected to be the

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When you’re in the market for a new home, one of the first things you should do—after getting your finances in order and deciding on a few choice locations—is determine the style of house you are looking for.  Often, we meet with a client who has begun their house hunt, but really hasn’t narrowed down the type of property they are looking for.  Many clients aren’t sure how to differentiate among the various property styles, so when they browse listings they don’t know what to keep an eye out for. Here are a few of the most popular home styles.

Victorian. These homes are ideal for those interested in unique architecture, large porches and picturesque bay windows—all features typical of the Victorian style of home.  As they are older homes, Victorians

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The week is ending on a slightly positive note as rates dropped fractionally this week to levels below last week.  All-in-all, mortgage rates are remaining in a very stable range with the 30 year staying around 4.25% with 0 points.  Freddie Mac's weekly survey is a comparable 4.11% with .8 points.  15 year loans, according to Freddie Mac are hovering at 3.38% with .8 points. Consumers are seeing mortgage investors keep rates stable even as bond yields increase by decreasing margins to more normal levels.  The huge refinance boom that barely materialized combined with purchase applications decreasing is challenging investors for future volume.  Purchase money loan applications dropped to their lowest point in 15 years. The index declined 8.8% on a

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The latter part of the week is mostly a continuation of the beginning of the week with Treasuries and mortgages continuing to towards higher rates with the 10 year Treasury (the main competition for mortgage securities) topping 2.2% and the 30 year mortgage security at 3.21%   These are levels we haven't seen since July.  The sharp drop in rates the past two weeks have had little impact on the overall mortgage application levels as they have increased only 1.3%.  Not really much of a boom. 
Two items have continued the slide: 
The reported increase of 103,000 jobs last week has taken all the steam out of the bond market as the bulls on Wall Street are grasping for any good news.  On the surface the increase of 103,000 jobs is great; looking deeper just

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The prices are right for today’s buyer, and many consumers—especially those who have never owned a home before—are facing a buying dilemma. Should they take advantage of the times and buy a home now, even if they can’t afford the type of home they ideally want, or continue counting pennies until they can purchase their dream house?

The current market has been flooded with some of the most favorable mortgage interest rates in years. While it can take a long time to save for that perfect home, low rates make housing more affordable, which is why so many buyers are acting fast.

Buying a starter home, as opposed to holding out and saving up for your dream house, is a smart idea. If you purchase a starter home today, you can potentially begin to build

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Whether you’re making renovations to the home you’ve lived in for years, refinishing a fixer-upper or making improvements to a property you have just purchased, there are a few things you should keep in mind when starting out on a new home improvement project. This blog will take you through a few of the budgeting basics.

Have a Plan
It’s always a good idea to have a home improvement plan. This includes any repairs you think your home could use in the future, from six months to six years.  Knowing that in three to five years it will be time for a new roof will help you decide if you really need, or can really afford, to install a luxury shower or a new patio right now.

Know the Value
If you have a home improvement plan, and it shows that yes, you can

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Too often, homeowners don’t take building codes into consideration when they are thinking about renovating their property. This is usually because they don’t understand them, don’t want to spend the time or money, or don’t realize that a permit is necessary for most structural additions and remodeling projects.  Getting a building permit before you start planning a renovation can ease the process and negate any problems down the line—such as a potential buyer requesting proof of permit for that extra bedroom you added.

What exactly are building codes? They are set public-safety standards for things like construction, maintenance, use and occupancy. In order to make a change to your property, you need a permit that states your renovations coincide with

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