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.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ready, Set, Rec!

In this episode, Recreation Manager Reggie Hubbard shares just a few of the fun activities taking place in Vacaville in June - Safety Day at the Pool, the World's Largest Swim Lesson, Food Truck Mania and more!