Trulia: Owning Costs 44% Less than Renting

Home price gains may be outpacing increases in rent, but the cost of being a homeowner is still much less than that of a renter, according to Trulia’s Winter 2013 Rent vs. Buy report.

After factoring all cost components including transaction costs, taxes, and opportunity costs, Trulia found buying a home is 44 percent cheaper than renting, down slightly from 46 percent a year ago.

“Although buying a home is still cheaper than renting, the gap is closing,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “In 2013, home prices should rise faster than rents, and mortgage rates are likely to rise in the next year as the economy improves. By next year, buying could be more expensive than renting in some housing markets, even for people with the best credit.”

In the last year, asking home prices showed a 7 percent gain compared to a 3.2 percent increase in rents during the same time period, according to data from the real estate site.

Trulia explained low mortgage rates have kept the cost of owning down; for the analysis, a 3.5 percent mortgage rate was assumed.

The San Francisco-based company also revealed that out of the 100 largest metros analyzed, buying was more affordable than renting in all metros.

In some metros, the cost of buying was much less than the national average. The buy-rent gap was the largest in Detroit, where buying costs 70 percent less than renting. For the next four metros in top five, the cost of owning was 63 percent less than renting; the four metros were Dayton and Cleveland in Ohio; Warren, Michigan; and Gary, Indiana.

Although owning was found to be less expensive in all metros, owners in San Francisco averaged the smallest savings at 19 percent, a steep decrease from the 35 percent savings seen in 2012.

If one were to receive a mortgage rate of 4.5 percent, Trulia noted the cost of buying would be just 9 percent cheaper in San Francisco. However, a rate of 4.5 percent would still make buying more affordable than renting in all metros analyzed.

“People who didn’t buy a home last year may have missed the bottom of the market, but they haven’t completely missed the boat,” Kolko added. “Even buyers who can’t get today’s lowest mortgage rates will still find that buying makes more financial sense than renting in nearly all local markets – so long as they can get a mortgage in the first place.”

Other metros where owning may not be as enticing to borrowers based on savings were Honolulu, where the cost of owning is 23 percent cheaper, followed by San Jose (-24 percent), New York (-26 percent) and Albany (-30 percent).

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Government Home Loan Pre-approval–How To

So what does it take to get pre approved for a USDA Rural housing loan in 2013?  It’s actually still pretty easy considering all the changes that have happened in the mortgage market over the past 5 years. Mortgages in 2013 are “back to basics” in most cases.  Long gone are the days of qualifying for a loan with no income, poor credit, etc.   Homebuyers today that have decent credit, stable documentable income and manageable debt usually have no issue getting pre qualified for a mortgage today.

All of the Government home loans ( FHA, VA and USDA) pretty much require the same things in order to get pre approved.  Below we have outlined some key points.

Credit – in most cases a 640 credit score is needed to be pre approved for any of the government home loan today – FHA, VA, USDA. But keep in mind that a 640 credit score does NOT guarantee loan approval as all lenders / banks have additional waiting requirements (overlays) in regards to home buyers with any past bankruptcy, foreclosure, or short sale.  Additional for USDA Rural loans, a clean 12 month payment history on all other credit trade lines is important.

Income – It has to be stable and documentable in 2013.  The days of stated income or no doc loans are long gone.  Documenting income properly can sometimes pose an issue with self employed or 1099 workers, especially those that have not been self employed for at least two years.  Banks and lenders generally want to see a 2 year employment history.  Small gaps in employment history are just fine, just as long the gap isn’t too long, or unexplainable.  Recent college grads are generally exempt from the 2 year employment rule.

100% USDA Loans –  these loans are available to any homebuyer looking to purchase a home in a rural defined locations. Click here for the USDA eligibility map.  USDA also have income limits based on the number of members in the household, county, etc.  Please click here for more information on FL USDA income limits. USDA, along with VA, are the only mortgages in Florida that offer 100% financing with NO down payment. All USDA FAQ’s are listed by clicking here.

FHA Loans –  these loans are available across Florida to any homebuyer that qualifies. FHA mortgages require a min 3.5% down payment, there are no income limits restrictions or property location restrictions.  Click here to learn all about FHA loan requirements in Florida.

VA Loans – available to all eligible past and present military personal.  Please click here to learn more about VA loans in Florida.

Homeowners that currently have a USDA, FHA or VA loan should also look into the verity of streamline refinance options available today. These programs allow homeowners to refinance REGARDLESS of the loan to value. If you currently have a USDA Mortgage, click here to learn about the Pilot program.  For FHA loans please click here,  VA loans can click here.  Interest rates are currently at all time low levels!

Please contact us at 904-302-6060 with questions, or visit www.UsdaMortgageSource.com for more information.

Property Values are Expected to Continue to Rise

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 4.3 percent from October 2011, the biggest 12-month advance since May 2010, the group said today in New York. The median forecast of 30 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 4 percent gain.

Property values will probably keep heading higher as record-low mortgage rates, a growing population and an improving economy spur demand for housing. The turnaround in real estate is buoying household confidence and wealth, one reason why consumer spending is improving even as concern mounts that lawmakers will fail to stave off looming tax increases.

“The housing market is definitely starting to recover,” said Ryan Wang, an economist with HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York, who’s the second-best forecaster of the S&P/Case- Shiller index over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Higher property values have “added about a trillion dollars to household wealth just since the beginning of this year.”

New Short Sale Guidelines In Effect November 1

Starting today, Nov. 1, 2012, new short sale guidelines spearheaded by the
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) go into effect. The new rules impact all
mortgages under the federally controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

One part of the change allows a handful of the nation’s larger mortgage servicers to
approve a short sale without needing Fannie or Freddie to sign off on it.
Servicers include in the agreement are:

CMG Mortgage Insurance
Company
• Essent Guaranty Inc.
• Genworth Mortgage Insurance
Corporation
• Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation
• PMI Mortgage
Insurance Company
• Radian Guaranty, Inc., Republic Mortgage Insurance
Company

“We applaud the nation’s mortgage insurers for committing to work
with us and our servicers to help more borrowers obtain short sales and other
foreclosure alternatives,” says Tracy Mooney, senior vice president, servicing
and REO at Freddie Mac. “By paving the way for more borrowers to avoid
foreclosure, today’s announcement will support the housing recovery and help
reduce taxpayer losses.”

In addition to quicker short sale approval,
other changes become effective today. They including new guidelines for
homeowners hit by a financial hardship, moved by the military or held back by a
home’s second mortgage:

• Borrowers facing an approved hardship don’t
have to be delinquent.

• Service members with Permanent Change of Station
orders have greater flexibility, including the elimination of back-end
debt-to-income ratios or a cash contribution promissory note.

• Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac won’t pursue deficiency judgments in certain cases under new
rules. Servicers will evaluate borrowers as part of the short sale approval
process.

• FHFA gave servicers more consistent guidelines to process and
execute short sales, and consolidate existing short sales programs into a single
uniform program.

• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer up to $6,000 to
second lien holders to expedite a short sale.

Homebuying after Default or Short Sale

According to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, a mere 10 percent of borrowers with a history showing a serious delinquency were able to obtain a mortgage again within 10 years.

In addition, subprime borrowers, or those with credit scores lower than 650, have an even more difficult time returning to the market.

For borrowers who end their mortgage for a reason other than default, they were able to access mortgage credit about two-and-a-half times faster compared to those who went into default.

The report was based on analysis using Equifax data in the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s consumer loan file. Mortgages were counted as being in default if they were either 120 days past due or past due and reported to have a charge-off or foreclosure

Top 10 Mistakes Home Buyers Make

Mistake #1: Waiting for the market to improve or not buying at all

No one can predict precisely where the market is going, so trying to time your home purchase with the bottom of the market is futile. If you’re financially and emotionally ready to be a homeowner, it’s always a good time to buy. Just think: all the time you spend procrastinating on purchasing a home, you could be building equity, getting tax deductions and enjoying the many other benefits of homeownership

Mistake #2: Making an offer without contingencies

When you’re buying a home, Plan A is always to buy the home on the terms in the original contract. Plan B is to buy the home after renegotiating some of the terms. Plan C is the contingency plan: if there is an irresolvable flaw in the condition of the home, the home doesn’t appraise for the purchase price, or your lender refuses to fund your loan for whatever reason, you can back out of the transaction with no penalty (other than the money you’ve spent on inspections) so long as you have the appropriate contingencies in place. Remember, contingency = the right to bail.

Mistake #3: Not reading the fine print

If you did your homework, you had your trustworthy real estate attorney review all your paperwork and discuss it with you so you don’t get a nasty surprise at closing.

Mistake #4: Forgoing a home inspection

Even if a home looks flawless, it’s a mistake to assume that it’s actually problem-free. All homes have defects — even brand new ones — so getting a professional inspection before making the commitment to buy is crucial. Be sure to attend the inspection so the inspector can explain any issues

Mistake #5: Falling for love at first sight

Buying the first house you like is kind of like marrying the first person you go on a date with: not necessarily a good idea. If you don’t shop around and see what else is out there, you could miss out on a good deal or potentially regret your purchase.

Mistake #6: Buying a house you can’t afford

Just because a lender is willing to loan you a fortune doesn’t mean you should take it. Buying more home than you can afford can quickly lead to financial trouble. As a rule of thumb, your mortgage payment should be less than 28 percent of your gross monthly income. Besides your mortgage payment, be prepared for the additional costs of homeownership, such as insurance, property taxes, utilities and maintenance

Mistake #7: Buying a foreclosure or fixer-upper without doing your research

Some homebuyers are so set on finding a bargain, they overlook the fact that buying a home that needs repairs can be a stressful and expensive endeavor. Before buying a fixer-upper, get estimates on any necessary repairs and renovations and make sure they will pay for themselves in increased property value

Mistake #8: Not researching the neighborhood

What good is having your dream home, if you don’t like the community where it’s located? Before shopping for a home, shop for a neighborhood. Make sure it’s a good fit for your lifestyle — figure out how long you want your work commute to be, how close you want to be to amenities like shopping and nightlife, and which school districts are the best. Even if you don’t have children, living near good schools raises your property value.

Mistake #9: Thinking short-term

The house you purchase should be a place that feels like home to you and your family, but it’s important to remember that it’s also a huge investment. When shopping for a home, it pays to think about resale down the road. Search for homes in sought-after locations, and look for features that future buyers will want, such as central air conditioning and lots of storage space.

Mistake #10: Not getting pre-approved before house hunting

Why get your hopes up looking at $500,000 homes, when you can really only afford a $300,000 home? Before you start house hunting, narrow down your price range by getting pre-approved. Shop for a lender or mortgage broker you can trust. The mortgage pro will review your credit, income, assets and debts, and recommend a mortgage with monthly payments that fit your budget. The result is a good faith estimate, a document that spells out the likely terms of your loan, including the interest rate and closing costs. Not only does this let you know how much house you can afford, it also lets sellers know that you’re serious about buying.

 

Underwater Mortgages Rise

The percentage of homeowners with mortgages who owe more than their homes are worth continued to rise during the first quarter, but only 1 in 10 of underwater homeowners are seriously delinquent on their loans, according to estimates released today by real estate search portal Zillow.

Zillow — which looks at outstanding loan amounts on individual properties, and compares them with estimated valuations for each home that are generated by computer models — estimates that 15.7 million homes were underwater during the first three months of the year.

That’s 31.4 percent of all homes with mortgages, up from 31.1 percent during the last three months of 2011 (not all homeowners have mortgages).

Although just 10.1 percent of underwater homeowners were more than 90 days behind on their mortgage payments, that represents nearly 1.6 million homes that could eventually hit the market as distressed properties.

Numbers like that can put fear into the hearts of would-be homebuyers, since distressed properties sell at discounts that can drag down home prices. Those effects are highly dependent on individual market conditions.

Zillow estimates that nationwide, about 2.4 million underwater homeowners owe more than double what their home is worth. In the Las Vegas metro area, 26.8 percent of homeowners with mortgages are that deeply underwater — nearly 90,000 homes.

Foreclosures Affect On Children

Julia B. Isaacs of the Brookings Institution authored the report, which revealed five years into the housing crises, 2.3 million children have lost their homes to foreclosure, and 3 million more are at serious risk of losing their home in the future. In addition, approximately 3 million children were evicted, or may face eviction, from rental properties. Overall, one in 10 children were found to be affected by foreclosures. “Children are the often invisible victims of the foreclosure crisis,” said Issacs.

The report discussed four negative ways foreclosures impact children.

For one, foreclosed families tend to move, and children who move frequently tend to do worse in school.

Also, research shows financial stress and hardships affect the way parents interact with their children, and more specifically, parents under a lot of stress tend to be less supportive.

Thirdly, foreclosures adversely affect physical as well as mental health, with studies showing higher rates of visits to emergency rooms and hospitals in ZIP codes with the highest foreclosure rates.

Lastly, children living in or near foreclosed homes may be dealing with consequences of foreclosures such as more vacant houses, higher crime rates, lower social cohesion, and a lower tax base. “Housing disruptions due to foreclosure are just as traumatic for kids as losing their homes to a tornado or hurricane – except this disaster will hit one in ten children,” said First Focus president Bruce Lesley.

The report also stated that children who change schools tend to have lower levels of math and reading achievement compared to their more stable peers. Also, frequent changes in school are associated with higher dropout rates in high school.

The report analyzed the impact of foreclosures in different states and found that Alaska and North Dakota had the lowest rate, with 2 percent of children affected. Nevada led the country at 19 percent. Other states with high rates of affected children were Florida (15 percent), Arizona (14 percent), California (12 percent), and Michigan (10 percent). The report makes several suggestions to combat the issue and highlighted a program called McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth, which provides schools with tools to help homeless students stay in school. Loan modifications were also stressed, and the report called for bolder steps to improve the performance of modification programs, including national mortgage servicing standards, the resurrection of 2009 legislation that would amend bankruptcy laws to allow judges to modify residential mortgages, and principal reductions for homeowners under certain circumstances

FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium Increase

Starting next Monday on April 9, FHA upfront mortgage insurance premiums will rise from 1 percent to 1.75 percent of the base loan amount, and the annual mortgage insurance premium will rise by 0.10 percent for loans under $625,500 and by 0.35 percent for loans above that amount.

Even if one hasn’t applied for a loan just yet, Dan Green, loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage in Cincinnati and author of themortgagereports.com, said by getting an FHA loan registered by April 9, one can avoid paying those premiums.

“To register an FHA loan simply means to have an FHA Case Number assigned to it. You don’t have to lock a mortgage rate and you don’t even have to choose a particular lender to work with,”

4 Reasons Every Buyer Needs a Pre-approved Home Loan

 

Posted Mar 1 2012 by  Peter Fletcher

A pre-approval is one of the greatest assets a home buyer can get.

Pre-approval is a written assessment of your worthiness for a loan. When you seek pre-approval for a home loan, your lender will assess your ability to pay, as well as your credit history, to decide how much they are willing to lend you.

Although you can make an offer and go through to the start of property settlement without having pre-approval, smart home buyers get pre-approval before they make an offer.

Really smart home buyers get pre-approval before they even start going to home opens.

Here’s why you should, too:

1. You get a better choice of properties. When you visit a home open and talk to a real estate agent, letting them know that you have pre-approval is a sure-fire way to get them to take you seriously as a buyer. Once a real estate agent knows you’re serious about buying, they’re likely to call you about potential properties before they’ve even hit the market, giving you a better choice of properties, and potentially cheaper deals.

2. You get a better deal. To sellers, pre-approval is almost like a guarantee that the deal they strike with you won’t fall over. Sellers want certainty, because if the buyer they choose can’t get finance, the seller will have to start marketing their property all over again. To them, this certainty is worth money – I’ve seen plenty of deals where the seller has accepted a lower offer because that buyer had pre-approval and the higher offers didn’t.

3. You won’t waste time looking at homes you can’t afford. Getting pre-approval will give you a much better idea of what homes are within your price range, so you’ll know in advance which properties are too pricey to waste your time on.

4. You won’t have your heart broken. Imagine falling in love with a property and even going so far as to make an offer on it – only to find out at that it’s out of your price range! Save yourself the disappointment of having a deal fall through by knowing in advance what you can (and can’t) afford.

If you’re planning to buy a home, get a pre-approved home loan from your chosen lender. Your seller, real estate agent, and settlement agent will thank you for it – and you’ll be glad you did.