Mortgage rates for 30-year U.S. loans fell for a fourth week, reducing borrowing costs to the lowest level in a year and a half.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.89 percent, down from 3.97 percent last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement today. That was the lowest since May 2013. The average 15-year rate dropped to 3.10 percent from 3.17 percent, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company said.
Lower borrowing costs are helping to make housing purchases more affordable as values rise across much of the country. Home prices rose 6.1 percent in October, the 32nd straight year-over-year increase, CoreLogic Inc. said this week.
“Lower mortgage rates would be a net positive for the U.S. housing market and the economic recovery more generally,” Millan Mulraine, deputy head of U.S. research and strategy at TD Securities USA LLC in New York, said in a phone interview. “It improves affordability and provides a greater incentive for people on the sidelines, waiting for rates to fall.”
Starting on Dec. 13, Fannie Mae will allow the lower down payments for first-time home buyers and permit refinancing borrowers to reduce equity to 3 percent to cover closing costs, the company said today in a statement. Freddie Mac will begin a program in March giving breaks to lower-income buyers and first-time borrowers who get housing counseling.
“These underwriting guidelines provide a responsible approach to improving access to credit while ensuring safe and sound lending practices,” Melvin L. Watt, who oversees the two U.S.-owned companies as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said in a statement.
Watt encouraged the move as part of a broader effort to spur lending to minorities, young adults and first-time buyers. Lenders have tightened standards after paying tens of billions of dollars to settle lawsuits over mortgage-underwriting flaws.
“It’s an example of the government taking a step toward expanding the credit box,” said Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading LLC in Washington.
Diana Walton Properties
Champion Real Estate Group
First Time Home Buyer & VA Specialist
New Down Payment Programs What You Need to Know
When: Saturday, August 23rd
Where: Kendall Neighborhood Library
609 N Eldridge Pkwy, Houston, TX 77077
Time: 10:30 am. - Noon
Step by step home buying process
Types of down payment programs
How to qualify
Which Program is Right for You?
What you need to know about Escrow & closing cost
Free Credit Analysis
Move into your new home before the end of the year
When preparing to go on a listing appointment do you take the time to screen the seller to make sure he/she is really serious about selling their home? Yesterday I went on what I though was a listing appointment. It turned out to be anything but. I called the seller from my expired list and after briefly discussing my reason for calling, I ask for the appointment and received it.
I thought I had taken all the necessary steps by providing the seller with a prelisting package before our schedule appointment. I went over my pricing strategy to make sure the home would be priced fair and effective. I took the necessary steps to preview other homes within the area and within his price range.
In addition, I had all the necessary documents, including tax records, past sales, and comps, as part of my presentation on my Ipad. I also had a fully prepared market analysis to give to the seller. I arrived eight minutes early, ready to sell myself and my services. I knocked on the door, the owner came out, I introduce myself and was invited in. It was a stunning home, one of which the owner, it turned out had no intension of allowing anyone to sell.
The owner was very upset with the first agent that listed his home because it did not sell. I was not aware of this. For the six months the home was on the market, he said only two people came to view the home. The comps I did show the home was overpriced by $80,000.
He wanted to sell the house himself, and decided that he would interview as many agents as possible within a given time, to collect data on how each would market the home, then used what he thought was the best marketing ideas to market and sell the home himself. Of course he did not share this information with me voluntarily.
Something did not seem right based on the type of questions he was asking. I asked him if he had met with any other agents, he said yes, 15 of them. I then ask what was it that he was looking for in an agent that none of the 15 had, that’s when he told me what he was doing. I smiled, thanked him for his time, retrieved all my data, including the prelisting packet and walked out.
Were there any way I could have avoided being number 16? Once I got home I spend the rest of the evening making modification to my phone screening process. While I may not be able to eliminate all, I am pretty sure I can make it less likely to go on another appointment like that again.