Friday, October 20, 2017

Finding Homes for Sale in a New Town

People move to new cities to upgrade their home or lifestyle. The process of finding homes for sale, packing, and moving can all cause so much anxiety that new homeowners easily forget the excitement associated with such a significant life change. Certain steps can help reduce the stress.


When that "need a change" feeling begins, it's hard to ignore. If the feeling is genuine, then the first thing to do is decide where to move. Searching for an area with excellent schools and low crime rates is a good start, especially for parents. Couples without children or single people, the vibrancy of the local community may be a central concern. The lifestyle and crime sections of any local paper can provide a basic perception about the community in question. Whether print or electronic, sources provide real insight into the education system, the prevalence of crime, and activities. While using the internet to investigate locations, social media websites might not seem like an obvious choice. On the contrary, most news stations have social media sites. Newscasts are easily found online and updated regularly. From PTA meetings to gallery openings, a person can gain an understanding of their potential new hometown from any location with an internet connection.

On The Ground Research

After narrowing down the location, traveling to the area verifies research through first-hand interpretations and experiences. If all looks good, the next step would be engaging with locals to learn more about the community and discover any homes for sale.

Locals know the area on a personal level so will give good scoops on which homes are worth viewing. Developments are another option to ask about, as these are newer and fit perfectly with people who want to make a fresh start. It's even possible to be the first owner when looking at a development site with homes for sale. Most of these sites offer an expansive range of yards, parks, and wooded areas. Residents will know which sites are worth the time.

Schedule Movers

Moving companies are the best way to move to a new town and into a new house. Otherwise, time and stress overshadow what should be a happy event. No one should get upset loading vans, trying to navigate massive vans on the highway, or unloading vans. However, professional movers can add to stress if they do a poor job. To avoid damaged furniture, plan ahead by asking for recommendations from trusted sources. Contacts in the new town might have an idea about which moving company to hire. New neighbors may be happy to share these insider tips with new homeowners.

To reduce the stress associated with moving to a new city, take a deep breath and follow this advice. Researching the community, visiting, and using movers can all help ease the anxiety of this landmark decision.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

October Ready Set Rec

In this episode of Ready, Set, Rec, Recreation Manager Reggie Hubbard shares some of the many October events taking place in Vacaville! Boo!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fundamentals of Economic Business Remain Strong; Mortgage Rates Remain Attractive

The Stock Market and the Fed:
Despite the daily commentary on virtually every business news platform that the stock market might be overheated, the indices just keep rising. Once again, this week the Dow Jones Industrial Average is already up 346 points though the end of the Thursday’s trading. The bottom line is that the fundamentals of economic business remain strong, and the labor market is not showing any sign of weakness.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:
Mortgage rates continue to remain very attractive despite moving a few ticks higher during the week ending September 29th. Volume on both mortgage purchases and refinancing barely moved. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America applications for purchases increased 1.0 percent while refinancing declined by 2.0 percent. For the week, loan volume is split down the middle between purchase and refi with both areas representing 50% of mortgage financing. The purchase loan volume is still below where it was expected to be. Many experts attribute the lackluster numbers to the hurricane damage in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

Construction Spending
Following this latest report for August, it is almost impossible to get a read on which direction new construction is going. The latest report for August shows an increase of 0.5 percent. However, July’s report was adjusted to show a decline of 1.2 percent, whereas the initial report showed a drop of only 0.6 percent for the month. It is not uncommon to have adjustments made to initial figures that are released. However, the larger than expected downward adjustment to July’s data caught many analysts by surprise. The good news in the report is that construction spending on residential real estate increased 0.4 percent, and even in July after the adjustment, the sector rose 0.2 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims & The ADP Employment Report
The hurricanes have had an impact on employment, however apparently not anywhere near as much as anticipated. The latest figures from ADP show that the private sector added 135,000 jobs to their payrolls. This figure is very close to analyst’s expectations for the report. First time jobless claims continue to remain well below the psychologically critical level of 300,000. For the week ending September 30th, claims declined by 12,000 down to a very low level of 260,000.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday October 9th – Columbus Day Holiday, Banks Closed, Markets Open
· Tuesday October 10th – Small Business Optimism Index
· Wednesday October 11th - MBA Mortgage Applications, JOLTS Report
· Thursday October 12th - First Time Jobless Claims, Producer Price Index
· Friday October 13th – Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

FREE Home Buyers Seminar Tonight - ALL Buyers Welcome!

ALL Buyers welcome! Not just First Time Buyers! 
Location will be given out once you have called and completed your registration.

Call to Register!
707-373-1476 or

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

FREE Home Buyers Seminar - ALL Buyers Welcome!

ALL Buyers welcome! Not just First Time Buyers! 
Location will be given out once you have called and completed your registration.

Call to Register!
707-373-1476 or

Monday, October 2, 2017

Buying a Home - Before Making an Offer

When buying a home before you make an offer on it there are some things that you should consider. You want to make sure that this is the home that you want to raise your family in. Is the neighborhood is safe, schools close by, close to work, and more.

Personal budget

Almost everyone, before they look at the first house, has figured out a budget as to how much they can afford for a monthly house payment. No matter how impressive the home may seem if it is out of your budget, you should move on. Do not buy more home than you can afford. If you are buying a home for more than you can financially afford there is a risk of it going into foreclosure if you cannot make the monthly payments.


Buying a home should not be looked at as a place that will fit your family now but will fit your family in the future. If you are newly married but want to have children n the future look at a home with enough space, such as bedrooms, to accommodate your future family. Look at the yard and see if it would be large enough for children to play in.

Thoroughly check it out

The house looks great inside and outside but even then, it could have some defects that you would not notice unless you thoroughly looked the home over. If you have a home that you really like it is okay to put money down as an express to purchase the home pending the results of a professional home inspection report. Having an inspection done will make sure that you are getting a good deal. Find out when it was painted inside and outside because it has been awhile you may have to paint the house in the near future. If the inspection reports show some property damage, find out if the damage is fixable. You should also find out what it will cost to fix the problem. If it is not repairable or will cost too much to fix it then it is best to look at other homes.


Some homes for sale will have special features like a swimming pool or a garden area. Unfortunately, these extra features can cause the price of the home to increase by a few thousands of dollars. You need to think if you really need these extra features. You also need to check to see if they have been well maintained if you decide that you like these added features. For example, if the pool has not been well maintained and there is going to be expenses to get it in shape to swim in, will the cost be worth it.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Applications for Puchase Loans Increases While Refinance Applications Decline

The Stock Market and the Fed:

The stock market has been trading in a relatively narrow range for the week with the Dow remaining within 70 points from the beginning of the week through Thursday. Since last week’s Fed announcement regarding a likely rate increase in December, along with their plan to begin unwinding the Fed balance sheet, investors have been looking for other significant news to trade on. Overall, there has been little geopolitical news or domestic economic surprises that have given investors cause to make significant changes to their investment positions.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

Good news in the housing market in that the Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported that applications for purchase loans increased 3.0 percent for the week ending September 22nd. This bump upward follows the prior week’s unusually steep loss of 11.0 percent. Refinance applications declined once again for the same period by 4.0 percent.

Overall the housing market is showing signs of some softness. The talk over the Summer that the year could end up finishing strong to make up for the slow Spring market seems to have been quelled. Limited housing inventory continues to remain the culprit of holding down home purchase activity. There are plenty of buyers in the market, however their ability to locate suitable properties continues to frustrate both purchasers and real estate professionals. Seller’s remain the big winners as property prices continue to rise.

Case-Shiller Home Price Index & Pending Home Sales Index

Although we are in September, this benchmark housing report shows that home prices increased 0.3 percent for the month of July. Unfortunately, home price data typically runs approximately 2 months behind the current calendar date due to the time it takes to gather all of the data. Compared to the same time last year, prices are up 5.8 percent. The spread between the last report and the current one, related to year-on-year growth, increased by 2/10th of one percent.

Existing home sales have been on the decline recently, and the latest data on pending home sales confirms this trend is likely to continue. The August report of homes currently in contract to sell is down a significant 2.6 percent. However, a major factor in the reduction of homes in contract is likely related to the two recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida, which represent large real estate markets.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday October 1st – ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending
· Wednesday October 3rd - MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report
· Thursday October 4th - First Time Jobless Claims, Factory Orders
· Friday October 5th – National Employment Situation

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Prices, Purchases Stagnant, but Housing Starts on the Rise

The Stock Market and the Fed:

Other than a brief, and I mean for less than 30 minutes, did the stock market become concerned about the latest Fed meeting statement. You can look at stock market charts minute by minute and you will see within seconds of the Fed announcement that the Fed will likely increase rates before years end, the Dow plunged 50 points. However, within 30 minutes of the announcement the market was rising once again. In total 45 minutes from the announcement, the Dow was back to pre-announcement levels. The Dow finished the trading day up 39 points.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: Despite the fact that mortgage rates virtually flat last week, applications for purchases and refinances both declined. Apps dropped 11.0 percent and 9.0 percent respectively, and caught may analysts by surprise. Overall applications versus the same time last year are only up 2.0 percent. This is the closest gap we have seen between present and last year’s statistics.

Limited housing inventory continues to contribute to the limited growth in housing. As of late, the inventory, which had been increasing slightly, has once again returned to contraction. There continues to be speculation that with the rise in home prices all year, the fall could drive sellers to enter the market.

Housing Starts

This sector of the market is doing well. The latest stats for August show an increase of 7.9 percent from the prior month. To be transparent, some of the increase is due to rebuilding taking place in Texas related to the storm damage of Hurricane Harvey. It is likely that we will see additional increases in the coming months from the continuation of building in Texas, plus the addition of construction in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. However, it is important to note that overall housing starts are higher even when you subtract out the Hurricane factor.

FHFA House Price Index

Home price increases have been cooling as of late, and the latest report for July continues to show this trend. Home prices only rose 0.2 percent from June to July. Overall prices remain 6.3 percent above last year. The Mountain and Pacific States remain on top with annual prices increases of 8.2 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday September 25th – Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey
· Tuesday September 26th – New home Sales, Consumer Confidence
· Wednesday September 27th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Pending Home Sales
· Thursday September 28th - First Time Jobless Claims, GDP
· Friday September 29th – Consumer Sentiment

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Create perfect lighting and save energy by switching out your old light switch with a dimmer switch.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Why/How Potential Home Buyers Must Address Credit: 6 Basic Steps/Points

You've made the decision, it's time to buy and own a house! You realize you will need a down - payment, and additional funds for closing expenses, etc. You figure your credit is fine, because you've checked your credit score, and have often been accepted for credit cards, auto loans, etc. However, quite often, potential home buyers, fail to recognize and/ or realize, it is necessary to examine whether they qualify for a mortgage, because there are other factors, which go into consideration, in this application process. Items such as percentage of debt to income, amount of unused credit lines, etc, may have some impact. Therefore, it might make sense, for you to sit down, in advance, with a qualified, professional mortgage broker or banker, and ask to be pre - approved, and not merely pre - qualified. The difference is that everyone who might be qualified, may not, upon further review, be approved! Here are 6 preliminary steps/ points to look at.

1. Request and review a full copy of your credit report: Look closely for what it says on your credit report, and not merely at your credit score. Are there any mistakes, or questionable items, which may cause you difficulty? You are entitled to a free copy, once per year.

2. Check for accuracy and correct: Review this report clearly, fully and completely. Are there any inaccuracies, etc? Immediately, in writing, question and/ or ask for an explanation of anything you consider possibly negative, especially if it appears inaccurate.

3. Address negative and/ or questionable items: You might have had to contest something in the past, or never received an invoice, and it was turned over to collections, and even though, you thought you corrected it, and/ or cleared it up at the time, it might still be lingering on your credit report. Immediately, in writing, address anything which might, even appear, negative!

4. Reduce/ pay down debt: The less debt of any sort, the better you will qualify for your mortgage! Reduce or pay it down, and avoid taking out any additional debt or lines of credit, no matter how good a deal it seems. Don't buy a new car and finance it, immediately before you seek a mortgage loan! Even interest - free offers for items, such as appliances, computers or furniture, might have a negative impact!

5. Save for down - payment, closing costs, fees: Know how much you will need for a down - payment, and closing costs, as well as any related fees. Create a reserve equal to at least six months mortgage payments. be prepared!

6. Do it yourself; or hire someone: You can undergo this, by yourself, or you can hire a mortgage banker or broker, to advise you, and help you prepare properly, to optimize your chances for getting the loan, you seek. But, do it!

Know your credit, the process, and how it might affect, you getting your mortgage! Don't wait for the last moment!

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

From Makeshift Closet to Well-Stocked Kitchen - Adulting 101: Century 21

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Friday, September 8, 2017

All Returns to Normal After Tuesday's Stock Market Plunge; Mortgage Purchase Applications and Refinances Increase

The Stock Markets:

After Tuesday’s stock market plunge, based upon the momentary fears that re-appeared relating to the uncertainty with North Korea, all returned to normal. Despite the recent disruption to oil production from Hurricane Harvey, and the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma, investors continue to believe in the strength of the American economy. There is potential for the positive sentiment to rapidly change with the instability of what is happening with North Korea along with the aftermath of Irma, but for now investors appear to be holding steady.

Additionally, with the lack of significant economic news or data for this week, investors have had little to go on to make adjustment to their holdings. Next week the economic calendar continues to remain light, so it is likely that investors will be making any significant changes in their strategy in the markets.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: The decline in mortgage rates appears to have awoken buyers who have been sitting idle on the sidelines. The week ending September 1st applications for purchase loans rose 1.0 percent according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. This increase comes after three consecutive weeks of application declines. Refinances, which are always sensitive to rate movements, jumped 5.0 percent. With mortgage rates going lower, the market share of refinances has been increasing. The latest data shows that refinancing represents just over 50.0 percent of all mortgage activity. Mortgage rates are currently at the lowest level since November 2016.

With all the focus on the Hurricanes, the knowledge to the general public regarding declining rates, is only just starting to trickle out. As more people begin to realize exactly what is happening, it is likely that we will see even more activity in both purchases and refinances. The increase in demand for housing might even be more of a catalyst for homeowner who have been thinking about selling, to actually take the leap and place their homes for sale. The bottom line is that the recent movement in rates might be just what the market needs to stimulate an increase in housing inventory, which is what has been the only thing holding back what would be a very strong housing market.

First Time Jobless Claims

If it were not for the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, claims would have continued to remain near historic lows. Claims jumped more than 50,000, fed by the initial claims coming from Texas. Claims are likely to continue higher from both Texas and the aftermath of Hurricane Irma hitting Florida.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Tuesday September 12th – JOLTS Report
· Wednesday September 13th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Producer Price Index
· Thursday September 14th - First Time Jobless Claims, Consumer Price Index
· Friday September 15th – Retail Sales, Industrial Production, Consumer Sentiment

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

As Nation Reels from Harvey's Destruction,Stocks Remain Strong While Housing Market Flattens

Watching the devastation that has occurred in Texas is heart wrenching to say the least. There is so little that can be said that has not already been written or voiced. It is a crisis beyond belief, and it is my hope that as many people as possible will find a way to contribute to help those in need. There are many legitimate ways to contribute (stay away from scams) to assist in the long road to recovery..

The Stock Markets: It seems that investors around the world do not have much concern about geopolitical events derailing the current market rallies in many of the world’s major economies. Even in the U.S., where the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, and the impact it is having on oil production, has done little to reverse investor enthusiasm towards future economic growth.

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index: The latest data on home price appreciation in June shows a virtually flat market. Between last week’s FHFA price data, and now the latest Case-Shiller report, home prices are up only 0.1 percent. Overall, prices are higher by 5.7 percent from the same time last year.

Despite the continued lack of inventory that exists nationwide, home prices have stabilized which can be a catalyst for a few positive things to occur in housing.

Time will tell, but it is possible that homeowners now seeing the run-up in prices slowing, may elect to start placing their homes on the market. This could bode well for a very strong Fall market as the pent-up demand for housing would likely rapidly absorb any new inventory that appears. Additionally, the stabilizing of prices keeps home affordability in check potentially increasing the number of buyers who can qualify to purchase bolstering housing strength.

Consumer Confidence: The latest reading from the Conference Board’s measurement of consumer confidence shows that August has many people believing in the strength of the economy. The reading of 122.9 is the highest the index has been since March, and the second highest dating all the way back to December of 2000. Consumer confidence has the potential to also translate positively into growth in the housing market in the coming months.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: Surprisingly, despite falling mortgage rates, it does not seem to be translating into an increase in purchase or refinance activity according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. The latest data for the week ending August 25th shows a decline of 3.0 percent and 2.0 percent in purchase and refi applications respectively. Even with the seasonal adjustments made for the end of the summer, applications are down. The bright spot in the report is that applications for purchases remain 4.0 percent higher than the same time last year.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday September 4th – US Holiday: Labor Day – All Markets Closed
· Tuesday September 5th – Factory Orders
· Wednesday September 6th - MBA Mortgage Applications & ISM Non-Mfg Index
· Thursday September 7th - First Time Jobless Claims & EIA Petroleum Status
· Friday September 8th – Wholesale Trade & Consumer Credit

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ready, Set, Rec! - September

In this episode of Ready, Set, Rec! Community Services Director Kerry Walker talks about some of the great events and activities taking place in Vacaville during the month of September.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Has the “Bull Market” Run Its Course?

The Stock Market

Has the “Bull Market” run its course? Are we heading into a stock market correction?

These are just some of the questions investors, consumers, even government officials are asking in recent weeks. With the stock market down off of its recent highs, and with no clear direction happening, many are wondering if the fear of a market downturn may come to fruition.

The good news is that the fundamentals for a strong economy are very much in place. Low interest rates combined with good economic productivity, a great labor market, and strong corporate profits in many sectors, should limit any significant market correction.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

The mortgage market remains very close to flat in recent weeks. Purchase applications declined a seasonally adjusted 2.0 percent for the week ending August 18th. Refinance apps were up a measly 0.3 percent. With mortgage rates remaining very low, the refinance percentage of loan applications increased by 1.1 percent to 48.7 percent. Overall mortgage applications for home purchasing are up 9.0 percent from the same time last year.

Existing Home Sales & FHFA House Price Index

There continues to be mixed messages coming from the housing market. The report on existing home sales for the month of July showed another monthly decline of 1.3 percent to a lower than expected annualized rate of 5.440 million. Although sales in this sector have been in a downward trend, the current volume remains near the highs of the housing expansion which started after the housing crisis. The cause of the less than stellar numbers continues to be driven by one thing, and one thing only, and that is the lack of housing inventory. Demand remains very strong but the increase of sellers placing their homes for sale has yet to occur, as many industry experts had either expected or hoped,

Home prices came in softer than expected with a minimal increase of only 0.1 percent. Year-on-year home prices are higher by 6.5 percent, which is 4/10ths lower than the prior month’s 6.9 percent. The report is both good news and bad news. The slowing of home appreciation helps with home affordability. The downside is that less appreciation limits wealth growth for homeowners. What will be interesting to see is if homeowners see that values are no longer rising the way they were, maybe they will decide to cash-out and sell, which will be a boost to home sales.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday August 28th – Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey
· Tuesday August 29th – S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
· Wednesday August 30th - MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report
· Thursday August 31st - First Time Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales
· Friday September 1st – National Employment, Construction Spending, ISM Mfg Index

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Mortgage

Before looking for your next home, it is important that you complete the mortgage pre-approval process. Once you receive a pre-approval, there are some common mistakes and pitfalls that could result in your mortgage being rescinded. A pre-approval is based on a snapshot of your employment, credit, income, and assets. If any of these criteria change, it may have a negative impact on your ability to obtain a mortgage and force the lender to deny the loan.

Below is a list of the most common mistakes that homebuyers make before receiving their final mortgage approval:

• Change in Employment - If your employment changes after receiving your pre-approval and before closing your mortgage, notify your loan officer immediately. Even if your new job is a promotion or pay increase, it may be subject to a probationary period. Also, if your employment includes income from commission, tips, bonuses, or is subject to job expenses, your lender may view this income as unstable until you show a 2-year history of this type of income.

• Cash Deposits - Government regulations and investor guidelines require mortgage lenders to document all large deposits within 60 days of applying for a mortgage. All large deposits must be documented showing the source of the funds. These include but are not limited to: cash gifts, the sale of assets, 401(k) loans, a transfer from one bank account to another, or any other large deposit. Transfers from a joint account will likely also require full disclosure of the originating account and a letter from the co-owner of the account that you have full access to the transferred funds.

• Inquiries/New Purchases- Any credit inquiries that are listed on your credit report for the previous 90 days, before applying for a mortgage, will need to be explained. If any new debt resulted, you will need to provide a statement, and the debt would need to be included in your debt ratio. Any deposits you make during the loan process for a new house such as: appliances, furniture, or home amenities will also need to be explained, documented, and included in your debt ratio.

• Overdrafts- Mortgage lenders will thoroughly review all bank statements that are provided for the mortgage loan. You will need to explain any over-drafts and what you have done to remedy the reason for the over-drafts in the future.

• Business Expenses - Mortgage lenders will require two years' tax returns. Business expenses, losses on rental property and business ventures reported on the returns will need to be explained and will likely be deducted from your overall income.

• New Debts- Household debts that are not included on your credit report, such as: spousal support, alimony, car payments from "buy here pay here" companies or a credit union that does not report their revolving or installment loan debts, will need to be documented and included in your debt ratio.

After applying for the mortgage loan, if you are concerned that any change in your financial picture may affect your loan approval, it is in your best interest to contact your mortgage loan officer. Inform them of the change immediately and always make sure you are honest with your mortgage loan officer, so they have an accurate picture of your financial situation. Inaccurate information or surprises during the mortgage process may result in your mortgage being denied, a devastating situation that can often be avoided.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Common Roadside Emergencies - Adulting 101: Century 21

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Friday, August 18, 2017

Housing and Stock Markets Mixed, but Fall Forecasts are Positive

The Stock Markets

After a 271% rise in the stock market, rumbles of concern that it may be overpriced are starting to be heard on Wall Street. Many experts are expressing concern that the valuations are not warranted and that a correction may be forthcoming.

Thursday’s decline of 274 points was blamed primarily on concerns over the terrorist attack in Barcelona. However, many investors commented that they believe the size of the decline was exacerbated by the underlying concerns about how much the market has risen since the last correction.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

Purchase applications for home mortgages decreased a seasonally adjusted 2.0 percent for the week ending August 11th. For mid-August, purchase application increases or decreases within a few percentage points, week to week, are essentially indicative of a flat market. The good news is that purchase apps are higher by 10% from the same time last year. With mortgage rates continuing to remain low, refinance applications rose 2.0 percent. Refinancing increased by 1.1 of all mortgages to a level of 47.8 percent of all loans being financed.

Housing Starts

Housing starts unexpectedly declined to a lower than expected annualized 1.155 million. The current rate is now back to the same levels as March and April of this year. It is too early to determine, however there are signs that the final trend for 2017 might end up being lower than the prior year. On the positive side, there continues to be commentary that the Fall real estate market may bring stronger than normal due to the pent-up demand from a consistent lack of available inventory. The one thing to watch is what happens both domestically with President Trump policies, as well as any geo-political events, such as Thursday’s act of terrorism in Barcelona.

Housing Market Index

This index, which is comprised of feedback from the National Association of Home Builders which provides a rating of the general economy and housing market conditions, delivered an upside surprise this week. The latest reading was up by 4 points which was better than analyst’s expectations. The current level of the index indicates positive sentiment of the nation’s home builders on the future of the economy and housing.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Tuesday August 22nd – FHFA House Price Index
· Wednesday August 23rd - MBA Mortgage Applications, New Home Sales
· Thursday August 24th - First Time Jobless Claims, Existing Home Sales
· Friday August 25th – Durable Goods Orders

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Economic Data Remains Strong; Purchase and Refinance Applications Increase

The Stock Markets

It has been a while since any vulnerability to the rising stock indices has existed. Economic data continues to remain strong and shows little sign of weakening. Geopolitical concerns over North Korea’s nuclear capabilities have been taking center stage all week on the news channels and the concerns are starting to show up in investor decisions with more money flowing into the bond market.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

Purchase applications for home mortgages increased a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent for the week ending August 4th. Applications for refinances jumped 5.0 percent with the recent slight decline in rates. As mentioned in the previous section, concerns on the international fronts have investors starting to remove money from stocks and placing funds in bonds as a hedge against market uncertainty.

The housing market continues to remain ahead of last year. From the same date a year ago, the purchase index is up by 7.0 percent. The refinance portion of mortgage financing increased by 1.2 percent to represent 46.7 percent of all mortgage financing. Mortgage rates for the week declined by 3 basis points, which appears to be enough to stimulate a few more refinances.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

Once again it is clear that there is a significant shortage of qualified candidates to fill the job openings that currently exist. For the month of June job openings rose sharply to 6.163 million. This is up from the prior month’s 5.702 million. Hiring has been struggling as the filling of these available positions declined sharply by 103,000. Although this index can be quite volatile, the recent data points to significant tightness in the labor market. Additionally, despite all the job openings, the reduction in hires is an indicator that many employers want to fill open positions, but they remain against paying significant wage increases to attract the help.

Noteworthy News

The airline industry, which is not known for stellar customer service, is dipping it toes into the water of two-way texting with customers. Up until now, airlines only offered text communication one-way, from airline to passengers, typically related to gate change announcements and flight schedule changes or delays.

Hawaiian Airlines and Jetblue have begun a service (albeit it is in the testing phase) that allows passengers to communicate with customer service staff via text. Passengers can even complain via text. This should be interesting to see what happens in the coming months as the airline industry is notorious for not listening.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Tuesday August 15th – Housing Market Index
· Wednesday August 16th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Housing Starts, FOMC Minutes
· Thursday August 17th - First Time Jobless Claims, Industrial Production
· Friday August 18th – Consumer Sentiment

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Don't Waste Your Time!: Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval

You've made that very personal decision, to consider buying a house of your own! You may have put off this moment, for a variety of reasons, including; indecisiveness; geographic; job-related; financial, etc, but now, you think, you're ready! So, what should you do first! The logical first-step is to discuss finance, and the all-important mortgage information, with a qualified mortgage broker or banker. If you have received a recommendation from someone you trust, and is knowledgable, begin with a conversation with that professional. If not, interview, and hire, a real estate professional, who will take care of your needs, and provide you with recommendations of reliable mortgage professionals. Either way, be certain to get a Mortgage Pre-Approval, before you begin your quest for the house of your dreams.

1. A pre-qualification is not a pre-approval: Beware, there is huge difference between being pre-qualified, and pre-approved! The former means that based on the basic information you have provided, you would be able to qualify to get a certain size mortgage. On the other hand, the latter means the broker/bank, has done a thorough review of your income, liabilities, etc, as they would before they issued a mortgage, and, as long as the house comps out, you will get a mortgage.

2. Other debts/liabilities: Lending institutions use a formula to determine how much mortgage one might qualify for. It takes into consideration all debt owed, and that combined with your new mortgage debt, cannot exceed a certain percentage. That is, in addition to, the mortgage must fall within a certain percentage of one's income.

3. What can you afford as a down-payment?: Traditionally, you are asked to put down 20% down-payment, and you can then use your mortgage for the balance. However, there are loans available, which require less down, but that means a higher monthly payment! You may also be in a position to put down more, and carry a smaller mortgage. This must be a combination of what you can actually afford, as well as your comfort level.

4. What can you afford monthly: The lending institution will come up with a maximum figure, they say you can carry monthly. They base this as a percentage of one's income. However, you may not feel comfortable with that amount of debt, so you must take that into consideration. All this valuable information will help you decide the price ranges you should look at, when you search for a home.

5. Move to the front of the line: Let's say you've taken into consideration the above information, and now are prepared and ready, to begin your search, in earnest. You have searched, and found the house you want, but others feel the same way. When there are competing offers, the buyer with a Pre-Approval, often is given more consideration, because it is considered a better bet, for the seller.

It is the responsibility of a qualified real estate professional to help you find the right house, at the best available price, with the least amount of hassle or wasted time! Make it easier on yourself, by beginning properly, by getting a Mortgage Pre-Approval.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

How-to Host a BBQ - Adulting 101: Century 21

Ready to impress the neighbors?

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Real Estate Closings: 5 Needs To Remember

Congratulations! You've hoped for, and found, the house, you believe, best serves your needs, requirements, concerns, etc. If you are like most people, you will be using a mortgage, to provide a significant amount of the necessary payment, and gone through the trials and tribulations of the process, and emerged successfully approved, for the amount you needed and/ or desired. Finally, before the deed on the house, transfers from the present owner, to you, you will have to emerge from what many first - time buyers, refer to, as the dreaded, real estate closing. Let's review 5 things, which may be requested from you, so you aren't surprised, but rather are as prepared as possible, thus making this, go far more smoothly, and with less stress!

1. Where the earnest money came from: Lending institutions often question, where one got the funds, to put down, also known as the earnest money. For example, if a property sells for $500,000, and you are to put 20% down, that means $100,000 down - payment. Generally, when you sign the contract, you will be expected to put an amount down, known as earnest money. This amount is often 10%, so in this case, someone would put $50,000 down, upon signing the contract, and a similar amount payable at the closing. You might often be asked to show where this money came from, by submitting a few months bank statements, or investment statements, etc.

2. Tax returns: Mortgage banks and brokers, generally require the buyer, to submit the two, most recent, years, tax returns. This is generally done, by signing a form, permitting, them to get these from the government. Be prepared to answer anything, which might tend to be somewhat confusing!

3. Investment statements: Gather the investment statements from your investments. Generally, you will be asked, also, for the past year, or two, and especially, the most recent few quarters.

4. Bank statements: You'll have to provide, at least, the last 2 bank statements, and some might ask for 3 or 4. Be certain these indicate, clearly, you can afford the home, you are purchasing.

5. Know your credit rating: Do you have a, high - enough, credit rating, to assure the lending institution? The best approach, is to fully evaluate this, carefully, prior to begin your house - hunting!

There are many other closing requirements, but the above 5, are consistent, and, if one is prepared properly, should be no problem! As the Boy Scout Motto goes, Be prepared!

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Ready, Set, Rec! - August

Recreation Manager Reggie Hubbard gets you up-to-date on what's happening in recreation in Vacaville in August!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Decline in Existing Home Sales and Refinances; Still Up from Last Year

Existing Home Sales

The recent decline in pending home sales, translated into a decline in existing home sales. The latest data showed a drop of 1.8 percent for the month of June. Compared to the same time last year, existing sales are up 0.7 percent.

On the flip-side, home prices are up a sharp 6.5 percent from a year ago. The latest median home price is $263,800. The supply of homes continues to remain a big challenge in many markets throughout the country. Supply dropped 0.5 percent in June which places the national average at 4.3 months. The most notable concern relating to home availability is that supply is 7.1 percent lower than the same time last year.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

After last week’s large jump in refinances, it seems that the little upward movement in rates has quelled the brief refi excitement. The latest numbers reported from the Mortgage Bankers Association is that refinances only increased 3.0 percent for the week ending July 21st. Purchase applications declined a minimal 2.0 percent for the same week. The good news in the latest report is that purchase applications are 8.0 percent higher than the same time last year.

FHFA House Price Index

The FHFA Index, which measures the prices of single-family homes was up 0.4 percent in May, which is the softest increase since January. However, home prices are up for this index by 6.9 percent from the same time last year. This is the biggest year-on-year spread in 3 ½ years.

S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller House Price Index

The question people are starting to ask is “is home price appreciation slowing?”

Although the existing home sales report showed a strong increase in home prices, the latest Case-Shiller data points to more modest price growth. For the 20 major cities in which the data is based, home prices only increased 0.1 percent for the month of May. Expectations were that home prices would be up by 0.3 percent according to the Econoday estimates. Overall home prices are higher by 5.7 percent from last year in the Case-Shiller data.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday July 31st - Pending Home Sales
· Tuesday August 1st – PMI Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending, ISM Mfg Index
· Wednesday August 2nd - MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report
· Thursday August 3rd - First Time Jobless Claims, Factory Orders
· Friday August 4th – National Employment Report

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Although Still High, Housing Market Index Decline

Housing Market Index

Home builders continue to be less excited about the future of housing than earlier this year. The housing market index declined to a lower than expected level of 64 in July. Although still very high, this is the lowest level since November of last year.

The less than highly optimistic sentiment is evenly divided among the 3 components that make up the index. Future sales still lead the index at a level of 73 followed by present sales at 70. Traffic is where the concern is coming from. The traffic level of 48 is below the breakeven number of 50, and is the second month in a row below this benchmark.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

Application direction reversed course after accounting for the prior week’s July 4th holiday adjustment. For the week ending July 14th, applications for home purchases increased 1.0 percent. Refinances, jumped 13.0 percent erasing the prior week’s decline of the same amount.

Purchase applications are up 7.0 percent from the same time last year. Refinances represent 44.7 percent of mortgage activity, which is up 2.6 percent from the prior week. There continues to be talk that the fall may be a stronger housing market than normal due to the abnormally slow Spring market due to limited inventory.

Housing Starts

This data has been moving up and down over the last few months. This trend continued with a positive report for the month of June. Housing starts and permits were both higher. Expectations were for the pace of annualized starts to come in at 1.200 million. The actual report delivered 1.215 M, plus the prior month was revised higher by 300,000. Translating all this to percentages, housing starts increased 8.3 percent and permits jumped 7.4 percent.

Starts for single-family homes rose 6.3 percent while multi-family jumped 13.3 percent. Surprisingly is that the Northeast led the country followed by the Midwest. The West was up slightly and the South was down significantly.

The housing market will get the rest of the data it needs to better indicate the future of housing next week. With three major housing reports, investors will be paying close attention.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday July 24th – Existing Home Sales
· Tuesday July 15th – FHFA House Price Index, S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI
· Wednesday July 26th - MBA Mortgage Applications, New Home Sales, FOMC Announcement
· Thursday July 27th - First Time Jobless Claims, Durable Goods Orders
· Friday July 28th - GDP

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Keep Your Home Safe While You're on Vacation | Consumer Reports

The FBI says that 90% of home burglaries can be prevented. Thinking ahead before you go on vacation can help stop burglars from targeting your home while you're away. Use these tips from Consumer Reports experts.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nurture Your Green Thumb: Indoor Edition - Adulting 101: Century 21

Put an end to killing plants.

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Get Pre-Approved Before Buying Your Next Home

Prior to looking for a home, the first step you should take in the home buying process is to complete a mortgage pre-approval with a knowledgeable and trustworthy lender. Be sure to provide honest and accurate information to your lender. This will help the loan officer find the best mortgage options for you and ensure the fastest and smoothest loan approval process. The following suggestions will help expedite the loan process.

• Read All Documents - Make sure you thoroughly read all the loan documents. Ask your loan officer to explain anything that you do not understand. Never sign blank or incomplete documents.

• Be Truthful - Truthfully disclosure all your income sources and debts. Do not fabricate or alter any documents.

• Explain Your Employment History - Thoroughly explain and document any part-time employment or gaps in your employment history.

• Source and Document Your Funds - All gifts must be fully documented with a paper trail. Do not accept cash as a gift from a relative for the down payment. Only seasoned funds are acceptable as gifts.

• Credit Issues - Thoroughly explain and document all past credit problems.

• Educate - Ask your loan officers to explain the terms of the loan, including any prepayment penalties, variable rate features, and any stipulations on how to eliminate private mortgage insurance.

Once your pre-approval has been issued by the lender, be sure to ask your loan officer to review with you all the loan programs your pre-approval includes. If you are a first time home buyer, you may qualify for down payment assistance, a zero down mortgage, or a special interest rate. While looking for a new house, you may find a property that needs a renovation loan or a condominium that can only be financed with a particular loan type. If you are looking a newer house, a construction or draw loan may be the best mortgage type for you. Be sure you thoroughly understand all your financing options before finding the house of your dreams. During the house-hunting process, keep an open line of communication with your loan officer and discuss financing options and inform your lender of any major financial changes that happen between the date your mortgage pre-approval was issued and the loan closing. If any changes occur to your financial situation, such as: a new job, new loans, or large gift that you intend to use towards the down payment, be sure to inform your loan officer so he is aware of these changes.

Keeping your lender updated will eliminate delays and the surprise of a possible mortgage denial. Having a mortgage denied due to changes in your financial picture, especially after telling your friends and family you bought a house can be embarrassing and heartbreaking. Be sure to talk to your lender, so you have a thorough understanding of the mortgage requirements and programs available to you.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Are You Fluent in HR Paperwork? - Adulting 101: Century 21

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Monday, July 10, 2017

Why Should the Fed be Any Different than the Rest of the United States Government?

FOMC Minutes

Why should the Fed be any different than the rest of the United States Government?

Everyone already knows that Congress could not be more divided. Well…the Fed appears to be divided as well. The latest FOMC Minutes show that many policy makers want the Fed to start unwinding the Fed’s balance sheet that has grown to enormous proportions ever since the great recession. However, there are some policy makers that are steadfast in wanting to hold off until later in the year to begin this process.

The labor market continues to remain red hot with more jobs available than qualified applicants to fill them. The challenge that exists to the Fed is that inflation continues to remain ultra-low and making changes to economic policy could cause unintended consequences of hurting the economy.

Given that there continue to be a number of mixed economic reports, as of late, it seems that many analysts are shying away from predicting when the Fed will make the next rate hike or begin to unwind the bloated balance sheet.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

Purchase applications finally turned higher for the week ending June 30th. According to the MBA applications for purchase loans rose 3.0 percent from the prior week. This reverses the previous decline of 4.0 percent from the week before. Refinance applications were virtually unchanged. Purchase applications remain 6.0 percent higher than the same time last year.


ISM’s manufacturing index indicates the fire in the sector has returned. The latest report for June is at a level of 57.8. This is higher than experts were predicting and shows that demand for production is strong. This is the strongest report since August of 2014.


ISM’s non-manufacturing index, which reports on services, construction, mining, forestry, fishing, and hunting, also showed a strong gain in June. The index jumped from 56.9 to 57.4 and demonstrates that these areas of the economy continue to maintain solid growth as well with no signs of slowing.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday July 10th – Labor Market Conditions Index
· Tuesday July 11th – JOLTS Report
· Wednesday July 12th - MBA Mortgage Applications
· Thursday July 13th - First Time Jobless Claims, Producer Price Index
· Friday July 14th – Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales, Industrial Production

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

Enjoy this Independence Day with parades, fireworks, music and dance. 

Have a fun filled 4th of July!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Early Spring Market Disappointing - Hopeful for a Better Summer and Fall

Case-Shiller's Home Price Index

In recent weeks, I have been mentioning how the Summer and Fall housing markets are being predicted, by some experts, to be far above average. We should hope they are correct on account that the early Spring market was a rather large disappointment.

The latest Case-Shiller's home price index increased by a rather small 0.3 percent in April. In February home prices were up by 6.0 percent from the same time in the prior year. However, for the month of March, the year-on-year rate slipped back down to 5.7 percent. This is the first reversal in year-on-year spread in a very long time,

To the surprise of many, San Francisco home prices dropped 0.6 percent in the month. Boston was down by 0.7 percent and Cleveland declined by 1.0 percent. Not surprising is Seattle leading the country with a year-on-year spread up by 12.9 percent.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

For the week ending June 23rd, purchase applications for home mortgages dropped by a seasonally adjusted 4 percent. The unadjusted level is actually 8 percent higher than the level in the same week a year ago. Refinancing plummeted 9 percent from the prior week, with the refinance share of mortgage activity declining to 45.6 percent of all originations. (Many readers have asked me what “seasonally adjusted” data means?)

Because seasons can impact sales from one extreme to another, making seasonal adjustments to data demonstrates a more consistent approach to viewing data. Seasonal spikes, (for example more running shoes will be sold in the summer than winter) can make it harder to see trends in a market segment versus removing the seasonality levels from the data therefore making it easier to compare from year to year.

Pending Home Sales

Even Pending homes sales for the month. May was the 3rd month in a row of decline with a jaw dropping 0.8 percent. This is in direct contrast to expert predictions of a 0.5 percent gain. The weakness in the housing market is spread evenly throughout regions across the country. The West, usually the strongest market, declined by 1.3 percent, which was the largest decline recorded for the month. Although the data on final home sales does not always move in lock-step with the pending home sales data, this most recent report could prove troubling for future final sales data.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday July 3rd – ISM Mfg Index, Construction Spending
· Tuesday July 4th – Independence Day Celebration – All Markets Closed
· Wednesday July 5th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Factory Orders, FOMC Minutes
· Thursday July 6th - First Time Jobless Claims, ADP Employment Report
· Friday July 7th – National Employment Situation

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ready, Set, Rec! July - Vacaville

Community Services Director Kerry Walker talks about all the fun activities taking place in July in the City of Vacaville!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Housing Report Shows All-Around Improvement

After recent reports on housing that have been less than stellar, this week’s reports show that the tide may be turning. From home prices, to existing sales, to loan applications for purchases, things seem to be improving.

May’s existing homes sales report showed a very solid increase of 1.1 percent. This is a complete turnaround from the prior months decline of 2.5 percent. Single-family sales increased by 1.0 percent to an annual rate of 4.980 million. Condo sales also increased by 1.6 percent to a 640,000 rate.

Another positive in the housing report is the significant increase in supply. With prices moving higher, more homes are coming into the market. As I mentioned last week, homeowners are finally recognizing the increase in their home value creating the desire to cash out by selling. Inventory increased from 1.960 million from 1.920 million in April and 1.800 million in March. Sales have been increasing each month as well which reinforces the fact that there is a ton of pent up demand.

The West remains super-hot with sales up by 3.4 percent for the month of May. They are also higher by 3.4 percent from the same time last year. The South had the second strongest increase by percentage with an rise of 2.2 percent for the month. The region is higher than the same time last year by 4.5 percent. The Northeast, which had been lagging, is showing life for the first time in a long time with sales up 6.8 percent. The Midwest continues to struggle with being the only negative sales market with a decline of 5.9 percent.

Although the year started out strong but then mostly slowed during the Spring selling season, life seems to be returning to the housing market now. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, there are some experts talking about the late summer and fall real estate market being far stronger than normal.

Home prices also jumped according the Federal Housing Finance Agency. April home prices rose 0.7 percent. March was also revised upward to reflect a 0.7 percent increase. The year-on-year rate is up 4 tenths to 6.8 percent which is the best showing in 3 years.

The Mountain region continues to be the strongest market with home prices being 8.9 percent higher than the same time last year. The South is the second strongest market for home values rising with an increase of 8.0 percent. The Pacific, which has always seemed to be leading the way, dropped into 3rd place with a still very respectable increase of 7.5 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday June 26th – Durable Goods Orders
· Tuesday June 27th – Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
· Wednesday June 28th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Pending Home Sales
· Thursday June 29th - First Time Jobless Claims, GDP
· Friday June 30th – Personal Income and Outlays

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How to Install Wainscoting

Beaded-board wainscoting updates a room without breaking your budget. This step-by-step guide teaches how to install wainscoting and includes a list of required materials and tools.

Monday, June 19, 2017

DIY Essentials - Adulting 101: Century 21

From storage bin to toolbox

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Friday, June 16, 2017

No "Summer Slowdown" as Resale, Refinance Markets Tick Upward

I remember a time that the stock market would go wild in the days leading up to a Fed announcement about interest rates. This week at the FOMC meeting, the Fed raised interest rates by ¼ percent. The announcement came out on Wednesday afternoon at 3:15PM, and investors reacted with little more than a yawn. The stock market ticked up about 80 points in the last 45 minutes of the trading day. By historical standards over the last 2 years, this movement in the market was equivalent to virtually no reaction. The interest rate increase by the Fed was expected by investors. The Fed has indicated that based upon current economic conditions and growth patterns, one additional rate increase is anticipated before the end of 2017.

The first half of 2017 the housing market has been very active. Recent surveys of real estate and mortgage professionals around the country has indicated, that in many parts of the country, the typical summer slow-down might be taking hold. The housing market remains quite active however activity has seemed to tail off slightly in many areas.

Builder sentiment reflects the recent slight slowdown in activity. The latest housing market index, which measures builder optimism, showed a slight drop from 69 to 67. Overall the index remains very strong so by no means is this slight drop indicative of future problems for housing. In fact, the housing market index for future sales rose to an unusually high level of 76.

There have been more and more articles in recent weeks in which housing experts are discussing the possibility of an abnormally active Fall market. It appears that homeowners are recognizing the growth in their home equity that has taken place in the last 24 months. Some homeowners are beginning to believe that it might be time to “take the money and run”.

In many markets around the country, more homes have come up for sale in the last 30 days. This has not necessarily translated into more inventory as homes are still selling as fast as they are listed because of all the pent-up demand. An increase in home listing in the month of June is NOT a common occurrence. Typically, new listings tend to decline in the summer months as schools let out and more families take their summer vacations.

Mortgage rates decline, and refinance applications tick up. For the week ending June 9th, applications for refinancing jumped 9.0 percent according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Purchase applications declined by a seasonally adjusted 3.0 percent. The Memorial Day Holiday likely played a role in the slight drop for the week.

Next week there are very few reports that might influence investor decisions. Expect the stock market to remain relatively flat unless some geopolitical events impact the United States. Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Wednesday June 21st - MBA Mortgage Applications, Existing Home Sales
· Thursday June 22nd - First Time Jobless Claims, FHFA House Price Index
· Friday June 23rd – New Home Sales

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Which Mortgage Program Is Best For You?

There are many types of mortgages. It is to your advantage to know about each mortgage type before you start searching for your next home. Most people apply for a fixed-rate mortgage. In a fixed rate mortgage, your interest rate stays the same for the term of the loan, which can range from 10 to 30 years. The advantage of a fixed-rate mortgage is that you always know exactly how much your mortgage payment will be, and you can plan for it, although your property taxes and home owner's insurance may change during the repayment term of your mortgage. Another type of mortgage is an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). With this type of mortgage, your interest rate and monthly payments usually start lower than a fixed rate mortgage. But your rate and payment can change either up or down, as often as once or twice a year. The adjustment is tied to a financial index, such as the U.S. Treasury Securities index.

The advantage of an ARM is that you may be able to afford a more expensive home because your initial interest rate will be lower. There are several government mortgage programs, including the Veteran's Administration's programs, the Department of Agriculture's programs, Federal Housing Administration mortgages, and conventional loans. Thoroughly discuss your financial situation with your real estate broker about the various loan options, before you begin shopping for a mortgage.

Below is a brief description of the 4 main mortgage types. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration (VA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac (conventional financing) all have different guidelines and down payment requirements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the most recent sudo-government agencies to launch minimal down payment programs. There are also various down payment assistance programs available to first time home buyers, recent graduates, and low-income households. Most down payment assistance programs have income and sales price limitations and repayment requirements.

• Conventional Financing - Conventional mortgage loans require a minimum 3% down payment. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required unless there is a 20% down payment or lender paid PMI is offered by the mortgage company. Mortgages are offered for owner occupants and investors.

• FHA Financing - This financing type requires a minimum of 3.50% down. FHA allows approved nonprofit organizations and/or family members to assist homebuyers with the down payment requirement. Upfront and monthly mortgage insurance is required. Only owner occupied financing is offered.

• Veterans Administration - Honorably discharged veterans or active-duty personnel in the US military who meet specified qualifications are eligible for no down payment mortgage financing. VA Mortgages requires an upfront funding fee unless the veteran is disabled. VA mortgages require no monthly mortgage insurance, but are available to owner occupants only.

• USDA Financing - This mortgage program is available through the United States Department of Agriculture. This loan type allows zero down financing for owner-occupied properties in designated rural areas. Income and sales price limitations apply. An upfront and monthly fee is required. There are two distinct loan types, which include guaranteed and direct loans.

Each of these loan types offer different features and should be fully investigated to determine which loan type fits your credit and financial situation. It is always in your best interest to be pre-approved prior to looking for a new home.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Stock Market is Flat, More Life May Be Coming Back to Housing Market

The stock market couldn’t be flatter through the first four trading days of the week. The Dow began the week at 21,183, and closed at 21,182 yesterday. There have been some momentary jumps up and down during the week, but overall, investors seem to be sitting on the sidelines watching and waiting. There has, for the most part, been no economic data that gives them reason to think the market will improve or decline driving them to make a trading decision. It seems for now, until something comes out that creates an opportunity or urgency to trade, investors are going to hang back and observe.

Could even more life be coming back into the housing market? That is the question many are asking based upon the Mortgage Bankers Association latest loan application report. For the week ending June 2nd, purchase applications jumped a seasonally adjusted 10.0 percent. This is the highest level of purchase loan activity since May of 2010. This jump follows 3 weeks of consecutive declines. Refinance applications also moved higher by 3.0 percent. Overall purchase loan activity is up a healthy 6.0 percent from the same time last year.

The first-time jobless claim numbers seem to just be staying put at a very low level. The latest report for claims was at 245,000. This is down by 3,000 from the prior week. Overall claims have been remaining in a very narrow range in the mid 200’s for months, and there appears to be no sign that this will change any time soon.

The latest JOLTS Report, (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report), shows that job availability continues to greatly outpace hiring. There were an estimated 1 million more jobs available than positions filled in the month of April. Employers contend they are struggling to find employees with the jobs skills that meet the positions they have available.

The ISM non-manufacturing index came in just about as expected. At a level of 56.9, this is considered a very solid rate of growth that shows business activity remains strong. Hiring in this sector has grown as there appears to be backlogs of delivery of services. Companies are scrambling to meet customer demand and are working hard to try and fill vacant positions to meet demand.

Finally, are consumers becoming more adverse to borrowing? The latest April data on credit growth shows that consumers seem to be borrowing less. Non-revolving debt which rose 6.7 billion, is the lowest reading in nearly 6 years. Even though this includes vehicle financing and student loans, historically the amount of money being currently borrowed is very low.

Next week’s potential market moving reports:

· Monday June 12th – 10 Year Note Auction
· Tuesday June 13th – FOMC Meeting Begins, Producer Price Index
· Wednesday June 14th - MBA Mortgage Applications, CPI, FOMC Announcement
· Thursday June 15th – First Time Jobless Claims, Housing Market Index
· Friday June 16th – Housing Starts

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Home Prices Move Higher, Pending Home Sales Not as Strong

Home prices continue to move higher and are starting to play a bigger role in the current economy. The most recent Case-Shiller's adjusted 20-city index for the month of May jumped 0.9 percent. This is slightly higher than expectations and continues to point to positive momentum for the housing market. The big news in the report is the unadjusted rate of growth leaped a much higher-than-expected 1.0 percent. Growth compared to the same time last year is up by 5.9 percent.

When you combine this latest report with the strong data from last week regarding the FHFA report and existing home sales data, everything seems to be pointing to housing appreciation at 6.0 percent per year. Home appreciation is once again creating growth in wealth for homeowners. This will likely continue to drive the economy. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed how cash-out refinancing is beginning to grow again.

On the flip side of housing, the latest data on pending homes sales for the Spring market is not quite as strong. Pending home sales declined for the second straight month, down by 1.3 percent for the month of April. The index is at 109.8 which is 3.3 percent lower than where the market was a year ago.

The pending home sales index keeps track of contract signings for home resales. The latest report is showing weakness that will likely show up in May and June’s final home sale data. Mortgage lenders around the country, as well as real estate professionals, have indicated that there continues to be a lot of pent up demand for housing. The challenge is that extremely limited inventory is keeping contract signings lower than what would be expected for the Spring buying season.

Reflecting the challenge with buyers locating homes and getting accepted offers is showing up in the latest Mortgage Bankers Association report on loan applications. Purchase applications in the week ending May 26th dropped by 1.0 percent. This is the third consecutive week of declines placing the unadjusted purchase index only 7 percent higher than a year ago. Refinancing applications dropped 6 percent for the same week. This is in stark contrast to the prior week’s jump of 11 percent. In the current lending environment refinances represent 43.2 percent of mortgage activity. The biggest concern about the mortgage trend is that mortgage rates have declined, however loan activity is not growing.

With the growth in home equity, and the latest strong consumer confidence data, many experts are optimistic that the housing market will remain steady and possibly turn stronger in the coming months. May’s consumer confidence index came in at an unusually strong reading of 117.9. Typically, a strong reading transfers into positive movement in housing and mortgage finance.

Next week’s potential market moving reports:

· Wednesday June 7th - MBA Mortgage Applications
· Thursday June 8th – First Time Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
· Friday June 9th – Wholesale Trade

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.