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For the Week Ending September 22, 2017

Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.

The Fed announced they will not raise policy rates this month. However, they did signal a rate hike in December is likely, as well as 3 more hikes in 2018.
In October, the Fed will also begin reducing their balance sheet by buying fewer bonds. This could adversely affect mortgage rates over time.
The Fed sees near-term risks to the economy as "roughly balanced." Low unemployment and economic expansion are good, but lack of inflation is a concern.
Home builders are slightly less optimistic about the housing market this month. The recent hurricanes are causing worries over labor and materials.
Housing starts were down slightly for the second straight month in August. However, single-family home construction was up 1.6% from July.
Existing home sales declined to a 1-year low in August, as inventory continues to be a problem. Areas lacking activity due to recent hurricanes are also to blame.

Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.

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In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must-Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • ‘Should-Haves’ – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • ‘Absolute-Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.

 


For the Week Ending September 15, 2017

Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.

Stocks soared to new record highs this week, in part because estimated financial losses from Hurricane Irma dropped from $200 billion down to $50 billion or less.
Higher gas prices and rent increases helped consumer prices jump in August, pointing to firming inflation. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% over July.
Low inflation, despite a strong labor market, is seen as causing the Fed to delay raising policy rates for a third time this year. It also supports low mortgage rates.
Mortgage applications jumped this week, as buyers took advantage of low rates. Refinance applications were up 9%, and purchase applications were up 11%.
CoreLogic reports that June mortgage delinquencies were the lowest in nearly a decade. Only 4.5% of outstanding mortgages were in some stage of delinquency.
Fannie Mae's latest survey shows a record number of consumers who say now is a good time to sell a home. Over 36% agreed, up 8% from July's survey.

Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.

 

Get the most important economic & housing news you need – simple and fast.

One of the largest keepers of your most sensitive personal information and credit data has suffered a massive breach, potentially affecting 143 million Americans. As one of the three major U.S. credit agencies, what is particularly nightmarish is that Equifax offers credit monitoring and other services to detect whether identity thieves have stolen yours.

Yes – it’s much like the fire house being on fire. Dramatic irony aside, the breach has potentially affected almost half the entire U.S. population and nearly three-quarters of those who have a credit report on file, according to the National Consumer Law Center.

The credit-reporting company collects data about loans, loan payments and credit cards, as well as information on everything from child support payments, credit limits, missed rent and utilities payments, addresses and employer history, which all factor into credit scores.

What you need to know is that not everyone who was affected by the Equifax breach may be aware that they are “customers” of the company. Equifax gets its data from credit card companies, banks, retailers, and lenders who report on the credit activity of individuals to credit reporting agencies, as well as by purchasing public records.

To find out if your information was exposed, visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the “Potential Impact” tab and follow the instructions.

Note: There are rumors floating regarding arbitration but we urge you to read the official documents and statements as published by Equifax.

Contact the company’s call center at 866-447-7559 if you have any additional question. The call center is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern time. Equifax said it is experiencing high call volumes but is working diligently to respond to all consumers.

Get your free credit report and monitor your accounts

We have written articles before about the value of taking advantage of your ability to receive free credit reports so you can go over your credit data in detail and look for errors. Any inaccuracies in your credit report could affect your credit score and your ability to qualify for a loan.

You should also monitor your bank and credit card accounts on a regular basis and set up alerts so you’re automatically called, texted or emailed if a purchase exceeds a specific amount or occurs in an unusual location.

How this impacts your mortgage lending needs

Even with the Experian data breach, the truth is that you have several credit scores. Transunion and Equifax make up the other two major credit bureaus. In reality, the FICO version that Greenway uses for mortgage qualification is different from them and different than what you'll see from services such as Credit Karma; which can often be as much as 50 points higher. If you're curious about the underlying calculations that determine how your FICO scores are calculated, you can see FICO's own explanation of the factors that affect your scores here.

The Key Takeaway:

Don’t let the Equifax breach prevent you from considering your home financing options or seeking a preapproval. When credit is run to determine borrower eligibility, Greenway is not accessing data that doesn’t already exist in the credit agency databases. We only use what’s currently on file to determine your qualification so that – at least in our practice – your information remains as secure and protected as possible. However, if you have any additional concerns or questions, we are always available at (732) 626-9827 or at smt.greenwaymortgage.com/contact.    


For the Week Ending September 8, 2017

Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.

Traders sought the safety of bonds this week after concerns rose over North Korea's nuclear ability. The bond rally helped keep mortgage rates low.
Hurricane Harvey has caused jobless claims this week to rise to a 2-year high. The weekly increase of 62,000 was the largest since November 2012.
Fed officials have come out this week saying that lack of inflation is a problem. Without inflation, it is unlikely that the Fed will raise policy rates again this year.
After a brief improvement in June, pending home sales fell slightly in July. Sales aren't expected to improve much without an increase in inventory.
Hurricane Harvey is expected to cause rents in Houston to increase as much as 10%. Home prices are also expected to jump due to even lower inventory.
NAR is urging Congress to continue the National Flood Insurance Program, set to expire Sept. 30. Without it, 40k home sales per month could be disrupted.

Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.

 

Get the most important economic & housing news you need – simple and fast.

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