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According to payroll processor ADP, private companies added 475k new jobs in February. ADP also revised January's report upward by 801K.

In his testimony before Congress, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said he still expects a quarter point Fed policy rate hike at this month's meeting.

New jobless claims came in at 215k, the lowest this year. Continuing claims' 4-week average fell to 1.48 million, the lowest since 1970.

 
 

Pending home sales were down 5.7% in January, continuing what is now a 3-month drop in transactions as inventory remains at an all-time low.

Record increases in home prices translate to record levels of equity for homeowners. The average mortgage holder has $185K in equity.

According to Redfin, U.S. homeowners had lived an average of 13.2 years in their homes in 2021, up from the 10.1-year average a decade ago.


The Federal Housing Finance Agency released its House Price Index for Q4 of 2021 and home prices were up 17.5% year over year. Your area's details can be found in my Real Estate Appreciation Data Report.

What could this mean for you as a homeowner?

  1. You may be able to drop private mortgage insurance and lower your monthly payment

  2. Take cash out for home improvements, debt consolidation, tuition payments, or any other purpose

When values are high, a refinance could be worth exploring.

Are you thinking of buying?

High home prices can impact affordability, as can rising interest rates. Fortunately, rates are still below historical norms and prices continue to rise due to low inventory and high demand in most areas.

Reach out to discuss your scenario before rates get any higher!


Struggling to save up for a down payment on a new home?

Saving up to buy a home can feel nearly impossible. But with a solid saving game plan, anyone can squirrel enough away for a down payment on the home of their dreams. There are many simple strategies you can use to make saving a breeze and we’ll cover those in a few.

How Much Do You Need to Save For Your Down Payment?

You’re probably familiar with the phrase: Save for a 20 percent down payment before you buy a home. Putting this much down shows that you have financial discipline and stability. Plus, it can help you get more favorable rates. While a 20 percent down payment was once a standard, many home buyers now pay 5% or less. In fact, there are some programs that allow you to put down as little as 3.5%.

Where Did The 20% Myth Come from?

The 20% myth comes from the private mortgage insurance (PMI) rule that some lenders and investors have. If you have less than 20% down at closing, you may need to pay for PMI. On the flip side, if you put 20% or more down on a home at closing, you do not have to pay the private mortgage insurance. Overall, putting 20% down will save you money over time.

What are the Benefits of a 20% Down Payment?

Lower Interest Rate

Putting 20% down vs. 3.5% down shows your lender that you're more financially stable and not a large credit risk.

Pay Less For Your Home

The larger your down payment, the smaller your loan amount will be for your mortgage. For instance, if you decide to put 20% down, you'll only pay interest on the remaining 80%.

Stand Out in a Competitive Market

The housing market is still hot, and many buyers are competing for the same home. In turn, a 20% down payment to a seller is key because you are seen as a stronger buyer then someone puts only 3.5% down.

You Won't Have to Pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Again, when you put less than 20% down when buying a home, your lender will see your loan as having more risk. PMI helps lenders recover their investment if you're unable to pay back the loan. PMI is not required if you put 20% or more down.

3 Down Payment Game Plan Saving Strategies:

Build A Better Budget:

  • You’ll want to sit down and figure out where you’re spending the most money. You may even want to download a budgeting app!

  • Figure out how much you spend on necessities like rent, car payment, utilities, etc.

  • Figure out how much you spend on nonessentials like entertainment, restaurants, etc.

  • After categorizing your expenses, set a realistic dollar amount that you can put aside each month that you’re comfortable with. Consider these savings a non-optional expense!

Reduce Your Expenses

If you're prone to impulse shopping online, consider cutting down on those purchases! Plan to cook at home and focus on eating out less frequently!

Automate Your Savings

  • Decide how much you want to save per month for your down payment.

  • Contact your bank and authorize an automatic withdrawal from your primary account into a separate savings account.

  •  Your bank will automatically take money out of your account each month and put it into a separate account.

Bottom Line

If you want to save for a house, you’ll want to have a solid savings game plan. Figure out how much you need to put away each month. Remember, you don’t always have to put 20% down. There are other options, and we are happy to discuss them with you.

Still have some down payment questions rolling around in your head? Contact the experts at Greenway! We'll help guide you in the right direction towards your homeownership goals.

 


Consumer confidence fell to a 5-month low in February, with fewer consumers planning to spend on homes, automobiles, and vacations.

Concerns over even greater inflation are mounting this week, as oil prices surged to more than $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

The labor market continues to show strength. Last week's unemployment claims were lower than expected, and continuing claims hit a 52-year low.

 

Homebuilder confidence fell for the 2nd straight month, as builders face delays for cabinets, garage doors and appliances needed to finish homes.

January existing home sales jumped 6.7% over December, even though the supply of homes for sale fell to a record low, down 16.5% from a year ago.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported U.S. house prices rose 17.5% overall from the 4th quarter of 2020 to the 4th quarter of 2021.

 

 

 

 

Minutes from last month's Fed meeting show the Fed is ready to raise policy rates as soon as March to help curb soaring inflation.

Retail sales rose 3.8% in January, the most since March, beginning the year strong despite inflation and Omicron.

Similar to consumer inflation, which hit its highest level since 1982, January wholesale prices were up a near-record 9.7% year over year.

 

Soaring lumber prices add nearly $19K to the cost of a new home. Though 22% below peak, prices are still about 3 times higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Homebuyers facing one of the priciest housing markets in history need larger mortgages. The average purchase loan size has hit a record $453K.

Last week’s purchase apps were down only 1% compared to the previous week, though refinance apps have fallen more as rates have risen.


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