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Stagnant Mortgage Rates Stall Loan Demand

Total mortgage application activity for home buying and refinancing continued to edge down last week, dropping 2.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. Mortgage volume is now 22 percent lower compared to the same week a year ago.

Mortgage rates are hovering around their lowest levels in five weeks, which means home shoppers may not be feeling the same pressure to lock in before an increase. However, the lower volume is mostly due to a decrease in refinancing as applications to refinance a home dropped 4 percent for the week. Refi activity is now 41 percent lower than the same week a year ago, when interest rates were also much lower.

Still, applications to purchase a home dropped 2 percent last week in the second consecutive week of declines. Home purchase applications are now at the lowest levels since March. But applications are 9 percent higher than the same week a year ago.

The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at 4.17 percent last week, the MBA reports.

"It was an up-and-down time for rates last week in response to mixed economic news coupled with the Fed's [Federal Open Market Committee] statement," said Joel Kan, the MBA's associate vice president of industry surveys and forecasting. "The statement outlined a mostly healthy outlook, with a slight concern over inflation and the news that balance sheet reduction could begin 'relatively soon.'"

Source: “Mortgage Applications Slide 2.8%, Even as Interest Rates Stay Low,” CNBC (Aug. 2, 2017)

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Homes Less affordable, but San Bernardino more affordable than most

The housing affordability index, which measures the percentage of all households that can afford to purchase a median-priced single- family home in California, fell in the second quarter, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

Despite the dip in Californians’ ability to buy homes, San Bernardino County remains one of the state’s most affordable areas.

Across the state, lower interest rates in the second quarter of 2017 failed to offset continued home price increases, lowering housing affordability, CAR said in a statement.

The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home in California fell from 33 percent in the first quarter of 2017 to 30 percent in the second quarter and was down from 36 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to CAR’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index.

In the second quarter, home buyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $93,590 to qualify for the purchase of a $457,140 single-family home. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $2,340, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.32 percent.

The median home price was $416,720 in the first quarter of 2017, and an annual income of $86,420 was needed to purchase a home at that price.

During the second quarter of 2017, the three most affordable counties in California were Kings (64 percent), San Bernardino (58 percent), and Merced (57 percent). The least affordable counties were San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin (all at 14 percent), CAR said.

Source: “City News Service"

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Housing Affordability Index

2017 Q2

C.A.R. Traditional Housing Affordability Index

STATE/REGION/COUNTY

Q2 2017

Q1 2017

 

Q2 2016

 

CA SFH 

29

32

 

31

 

CA Condo/Townhomes

38

40

 

40

 

Los Angeles Metropolitan Area

31

33

r

33

 

Inland Empire

43

43

r

46

 

S.F. Bay Area

21

25

r

23

r

US

 

 

r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S.F. Bay Area

 

 

 

 

 

Alameda

19

21

 

23

 

Contra-Costa (Central County)

31

37

 

35

r

Marin

17

18

r

18

 

Napa

25

24

r

26

 

San Francisco

12

13

r

13

 

San Mateo

14

15

r

14

 

Santa Clara

17

19

r

19

 

Solano

44

45

r

45

 

Sonoma

25

25

r

26

 

Southern California

 

 

 

 

 

Los Angeles

28

29

 

30

 

Orange County

21

21

r

22

 

Riverside County

39

39

 

41

 

San Bernardino

51

52

r

56

 

San Diego

26

28

 

33

 

Ventura

27

28

 

33

 

Central Coast

 

 

 

 

 

Monterey

21

23

 

25

 

San Luis Obispo

26

26

r

27

 

Santa Barbara

16

14

r

19

 

Santa Cruz

17

17

r

17

 

Central Valley

 

 

 

 

 

Fresno

47

48

r

48

 

Kings County

52

53

r

54

 

Madera

44

47

r

51

 

Merced

48

50

r

51

 

Placer County

43

45

r

47

 

Sacramento

45

46

 

46

 

Tulare

52

52

 

50

 

Source: CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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7 Tips for a Profitable Home Closing

By: G. M. Filisko

Published: Febuary 10, 2010

Be sure you’re walking away with all the money you’re entitled to from the sale of your home.

1. Take services out of your name

Avoid a dispute with the buyers after closing over things like fees for the cable service you forgot to discontinue. Contact every utility and service provider to end or transfer service to your new address as of the closing date.

If you’re on an automatic-fill schedule for heating oil or propane, don’t pay for a pre-closing refill that provides free fuel for the new owner. Contact your insurer to terminate coverage on your old home, get coverage on your new home, and ask whether you’re entitled to a refund of prepaid premium.

2. Spread the word on your change of address

Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks before the closing. Also notify credit card companies, publication subscription departments, friends and family, and your financial institutions of your new address.

3. Manage the movers

Scrutinize your moving company’s estimate. If you’re making a long-distance move, which is often billed according to weight, note the weight of your property and watch so the movers don’t use excessive padding to boost the weight. Also check with your homeowners insurer about coverage for your move. Usually movers cover only what they pack.

4. Do the settlement math

Title company employees are only human, so they can make mistakes. The day before your closing, check the math on your HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

5. Review charges on your settlement statement

Are all mortgages being paid off, and are the payoff amounts correct? If your real estate agent promised you extras—such as a discounted commission or a home warranty policy—make sure that’s included. Also check whether your real estate agent or title company added fees that weren’t disclosed earlier. If any party suggests leaving items off the settlement statement, consult a lawyer about whether that might expose you to legal risk.

6. Search for missing credits

Be sure the settlement company properly credited you for prepaid expenses, such as property taxes and homeowners association fees, if applicable. If you’ve prepaid taxes for the year, you’re entitled to a credit for the time you no longer own the home. Have you been credited for heating oil or propane left in the tank?

7. Don’t leave money in escrow

End your home sale closing with nothing unresolved. Make sure the title company releases money already held in escrow for you, and avoid leaving sales proceeds in a new escrow to be dickered over later.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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