Home Builder Confidence Improves as Mortgage Rates Stay Low
by Ed Ferrara
Thursday, August 30, 2012
In addition to this index, Building Permits increased 6.8% as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development and was at the highest level since August, 2008. Numbers going forward are looking positive for builders with the real estate market showing signs of recovery and affordability even though it still remains fragile.
This past week, FreeRateUpdate.com's survey of wholesale and direct lenders shows that mortgage rates remained steady with 30 year fixed mortgage rates at 3.375%, 15 year fixed mortgage rates at 2.750% and 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates at 2.125%, all available with 0.7 to 1% origination fee. To obtain these low mortgage rates, borrowers must have good credit and the qualifications needed for approval. Home purchase loans and regular mortgage refinances require documentation and verification of employment, income and assets.
On the other hand, HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) offers underwater borrowers the chance to refinance without the need of an appraisal or other documents. Eligibility requires that the borrower have a mortgage that was sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. HARP mortgages have been on the increase since the expansion of the program that includes all underwater mortgages with the removal of loan to value caps. While some borrowers may find obtaining HARP difficult, this should not be the case. All borrowers can inquire online about HARP where there are numerous lenders available to accommodate all types of circumstances.
With FHA still offering low down payments and easier credit qualifying, there remains continued concern with their exposure to risk and rates of foreclosures. Nevertheless, FHA loans remain a major player in the mortgage industry and continues to have low mortgage rates and favorable refinancing options. Current FHA 30 year fixed mortgage rates are at 3.125%, FHA 15 year fixed mortgage rates are at 2.625% and FHA 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates are at 2.625%. To assist the insurance fund, FHA does have high closing costs (APR) due to the upfront mortgage insurance premium and other FHA fees, but borrowers will find that these can often be added to the loan amount.
For home purchase loans, seller concessions will sometimes cover the bulk of these fees. Despite any negativity, FHA's latest offer is the FHA streamline refinance with no cash out for borrowers who have loans that were endorsed prior to June 1, 2009. Without an appraisal or other documentation, eligible borrowers can refinance quickly to the low FHA mortgage rates being offered at this time. Volume for the FHA streamline has been high enough for lenders to turn away any borrower who is not already a customer. With a larger number of FHA approved lenders available, online inquiries have become a popular way to obtain this FHA refinance.
Jumbo 30 year fixed mortgage rates increased by .125% this past week and are now at 4.250%. Jumbo 15 year fixed mortgage rates are at 3.125% and 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates are at 2.250%. Excellent credit is required in order to receive these low jumbo mortgage rates with 0.7 to 1% origination fee. These loans require full documentation for employment and income for both outside employment or self employed.
Asset statements must show enough available funds for the higher down payment and additional month of reserves that are required. Jumbo mortgages are becoming more competitive as more lenders are entering this market. While these loans are considered risky, they are also profitable for lenders who usually keep them within their portfolio. With more lender product offerings for jumbo mortgages, borrowers may find there is more flexibility when considering an approval. Obtaining lender requirements and mortgage rates in advance will help borrowers find the best deal when shopping for a jumbo loan.
Mortgage rates were at risk of rising most of last week as MBS prices fell after better than expected economic data was reported. MBS prices affect mortgage rates which move in the opposite direction. The preliminary August index for Consumer Sentiment rose to 73.6 which was the highest level since May according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan report. U.S. leading economic indicators rose 0.4% in July according to the Conference Board.
The Consumer Price Index was flat for July while Core CPI, minus food and energy, was up 0.1%. Industrial Production for July increased 0.6% and the August Empire state dropped to -5.9 (the first time below zero since October, 2011). The big news was Retail Sales for July which rose 0.8% which was much better than expected. July PPI rose 0.3% and Core PPI increased 0.4%. Adding to this, data from Europe was better than expected with increased GDP data from Germany and France which sent investors back to risky assets and the stock market higher.
FreeRateUpdate.com surveys more than two dozen wholesale and direct lenders' rate sheets to determine the most accurate mortgage rates available to well qualified consumers at a standard 0.7 to 1% point origination fee.
All Rights Reserved