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Showing posts from July, 2013

It Can't Hurt to Wait, Can It?

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It’s been said that more money has been lost due to indecision than was ever lost because of a bad decision. Regardless of whether you agree with the statement, delaying the decision to buy in today’s market is going to cost the buyer more.  Home prices have gone up considerably in almost every market in the country in the past year and while inventories are beginning to grow, prices are expected to continue to rise. Mortgage rates jumped 1% from the beginning of May to now. They could easily reach 5% by the end of the year and continue to rise in 2014. Many of the financial experts in the country believe that the economy will not be strong until rates are in the 7% area. The two components that move the cost of housing are price and mortgage rates. Escalation of either one will have an affect but when both are going up simultaneously, it is dramatic. It can literally eliminate buyers who could have purchased earlier. The following example shows what would happen to the payments on a …

If I'd Known...

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We’ve probably all said or at least thought “if I knew then, what I know now, I would have done things differently.” We should have stayed in school longer. We should have listened to our parents. We should have bought Apple stock in 2002 for $8.50 that sells for $400 today. Or we could have bought gold in 2000 for under $300 for a four-fold profit today. Years from now, if we look back at 2012, we may say that it was the best buyer’s market ever. Even now, in 2013, it’s apparent that both housing and mortgage prices are going up and they may never return to the record low levels. The housing affordability index, which is considered to be good at 100, had increased to over 200 this past December, January and February. Shrinking inventories and rising prices in most markets have caused the index to fall to 172.7 for May 2013.This market applies equally to acquiring a home to live in or a home to use as a rental. It is estimated that about 30% of the property purchased last year was don…

Retirement Without a Mortgage

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Planning for retirement is obviously important and many times, an activity plagued by procrastination. Some people plan to have their home paid for by that magical date so they won’t have payments after they retire. It makes sense to eliminate a large recurring expense before they quit working. One strategy would be to be make regular principal contributions in addition to the payments so that it will eliminate the debt by the target retirement date. Let’s say that a homeowner refinanced their $200,000 mortgage at 4% last year with the first payment due on May 1, 2012. Under normal amortization, the home would be paid for at the end of the term; 30 years in this example. By making additional principal contributions with each payment, it would accelerate the payoff on the home. An extra $250.00 a month would pay off the mortgage in 10 years. $524.55 extra with each payment would pay off the loan in 15 years; and $796.23 would pay off the loan in 12 years. Having a home paid for at reti…

When Rates Go Up

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Rising interest rates are great if you are renewing a certificate of deposit but not so much when you’re borrowing money. With interest rates on the rise as well as home prices, housing affordability is a concern for would-be homeowners. A rough rule of thumb is that a person’s or family’s housing should not exceed 28% of their monthly gross income. While rental rates and home prices have been consistently increasing, mortgage rates have been soaring in the past month. In one week, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, they jumped by .5%. This means that people have to pay a larger percentage of their income for housing unless their incomes have been increasing at an equal pace.  A $200,000 mortgage would be over $100 more per month if closed in July compared to closing at the interest rates available in January of 2013. If rates increase by .5% by the time you close on the same size mortgage, payments would increase by almost $60 per month. In order to keep the…

FHA & VA Assumptions

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Not many buyers have assumed a mortgage in the past 25 years. Most people think it was because FHA and VA in the late 80’s began to require that buyers qualify for the assumptions. Not having to qualify for a mortgage would certainly benefit certain buyers.  If a homeowner must qualify for an assumption like a new loan, they'll generally choose the mortgage with the lower interest rate.  Over the past 25 years, rates have been trending down but it appears that rates have bottomed out and will gradually increase.   As they continue to rise, the lower rates on the FHA and VA loans created in the last few years will appeal to buyers even if they do have to qualify for the assumption. There are significant advantages to assuming one of these government insured mortgages if the current interest rate on a new loan is higher: 1. Mortgage is further into amortization schedule
2. Lower interest rate loans amortize faster than higher interest rate loans
3. Lower closing costs than a new…