RISING RATES, MORTGAGE AFFORDABILITY, & REAL ESTATE PRICES

HouseRising interest rates have been a hot topic in the news lately! Following the housing market crash just a decade ago, the U.S. Federal Reserve has worked to keep interest rates low, providing easy access to credit to encourage housing market activity. More recently as the economic climate has continued to improve, changes in the Fed’s policy include raising interest rates. For prospective homebuyers, rising rates may put some pressure on finding a home sooner. Below is some perspective on what rising rates mean for mortgage affordability, along with how they affect the real estate market and housing inventory in areas around Buncombe County.


AUTHORED BY: Cameron Lewis, Branch Manager for Acopia Home Loans in Asheville NC. NMLS 112509

Facebook Cover Photo - Option 3

Interest rates have risen over the last year and are continuing to rise much in part due to the continued forecast of economic growth and the Federal Reserve’s current stance on monetary policy.  Yet rates are still very low from a historical perspective (see FRED Economic Data/St. Louis Fed Graph). It appears that an average 30-year fixed rate over the last 40-plus years is somewhere in the 8% range (65-70% higher than current levels).

US_mortgage_rates_history

Nonetheless, let’s look back over the last year to see how the increase in rates has affected home affordability.  See the below chart from Keeping Current Matters.  These figures are obviously not exact and don’t include down payment, taxes, insurance or mortgage insurance. But the point is this: rates have risen about .75% from last June to now and it significantly impacts one’s ability to purchase.  Look at the impact this 20% increase in interest rate and 5% increase in purchase price has on one’s housing payments for a $250,000 loan over 30 years – just over $64,000!  Keep in mind that many of our markets in the WNC region have appreciated at a higher pace than 5% over the last year so the cost of waiting could have been greater. 

KCM

For the family in this example to keep their principal & interest payment at or under $2,000 a month, they would have to lower their loan amount from $250,000 in 2017 to $229,000 in 2018.  That is roughly an 8.5% decrease in purchase power.  If interest rates and home prices continue to climb it could significantly reduce one’s buying power even further. What will this comparison look like from ’18 to ’19? Will rates be in the 5.50% range? There’s no way to know for sure, yet it’s generally accepted by economists that rates will continue to rise.


AUTHORED BY: Collin O’Berry, Managing Broker of the Altamont Property Group with Keller Williams Realty in Asheville NC. NC License 274582.

dream deliver-2

While it’s expected that rate increases will continue, their effect on home values isn’t necessarily a direct correlation. Some would expect prices to decline as rates rise.

In Buncombe County, the real estate market has been experiencing fewer home sales over the past 12 months, down approximately 5 % thus far in 2018 in comparison to 2017. General inventory levels are the most likely culprit for this sales pace. At the same time prices have continued to rise, with prices in Buncombe County up over 10% from this time in 2017. These numbers suggest more of the same – price appreciation and similar levels of inventory for the foreseeable future. Also, the Asheville market draws a wide range of buyers across age groups and income levels, including primary owner occupants, retirees, investors and second home owners. This diversity in market activity is another factor contributing to price appreciation.

I hear weekly where buyers voice concern about real estate prices and desire to wait until property values stagnate. While these are valid concerns, it’s important to pay attention to inventory levels as indicators of where prices are trending in different segments of the market. In Buncombe County, inventory levels are very low in the more affordable segments of the market (300k and less) and buyer demand has continued to be strong. The cost and scarcity of quality building land means builders need to build more expensive homes to make the investment feasible, meaning less affordable new construction homes are under construction. Inventory in middle segments of the market (300-650k) is more balanced with the most desirable listings selling quickly. There can be some great opportunities for both buyers and sellers here. For the luxury segments of the market, many opportunities can be found for savvy buyers, ranging from in-town historic homes and condos, to mountain properties and homesteads. Inventory levels in the Asheville city limits tend to be lower across the board. Click here for the May 2018 market absorption report for Buncombe County.

All in all, many factors point to decreased long-term affordability with rising rates and rising prices if buyers choose to wait. This is especially true for buyers seeking affordable homes. For investors these market conditions have more of an influence on purchase decisions and timing. Also of importance is the market is ripe with opportunity for trade up or downsizing buyers to sell their homes for maximum value, and save or re-invest their realized equity.


Your questions, comments, and feedback are most welcome! Also please be sure to connect with Collin or Cameron if you are seeking expert real estate or mortgage lending advice.

Cameron Lewis can be reached at clewis@acopiahomeloans.com, 828-231-4909, or at http://www.acopiahomeloans.com/cameron-lewis.

Collin O’Berry can be reached at collin.oberry@gmail.com, 828-772-1667, or www.altamontpropertygroup.com.

5 Key Factors That Affect Your Mortgage Rate

5 Key Factors That Affect Your Mortgage RateMany first time home buyers often wonder what factors determine their mortgage rate. Is it their credit score? Is it the type of loan chosen? Is it the size of the loan?

The truth is, there are many factors at play. Mortgage interest rates are not standardized across the board, so they vary from lender to lender and from borrower to borrower.

Here are 5 common factors that determine or affect your mortgage interest rate:

1.    Default Risk

Risk is a key consideration when determining mortgage interest rates. Banks and other lenders are in a risky business because there is always a chance of a borrower defaulting on their loan repayments. This is known as default risk. 

Banks and lenders therefore charge riskier borrowers higher interest rates to discourage them from borrowing, as well as to be able to average their returns between risky and non-risky borrowers. Risk is one of the prime factors that influence your mortgage rate.

2.    Credit Score

Perhaps you are wondering how banks and other lenders determine if you are a risky or non-risky borrower. There are many tools they can use, but your credit score plays a big role. You credit score is based on the borrowing history in your credit report, which summarizes all details about your credit card balances and timely bill repayment. 

If you pay your bills on time and sustain relatively low credit scores, your credit score stays high and lenders view you as a low-risk borrower. Consequently, your mortgage interest rates tend to be lower than a person with a low credit score.

3.    Type of Property You Are Purchasing

Some properties have a higher risk of default compared to others. This is determined by analyzing the historical likelihood of default on different properties; lenders use this analysis as the reason to charge higher mortgage interest rates on riskier ones. 

For example, vacation homes tend to have a higher rate of default compared to single-family homes and lenders charge higher rates for such homes. 

4.    Size of Down Payment

The amount of money you pay upfront on the mortgage also influences its interest rate. A large down payment gives you a lower LTV ratio (loan-to-value), which also decreases the level of risk borne by a lender. A small down payment, on the other hand, gives you a high LTV ratio and thus a higher mortgage interest rate.

5.    Loan Amount

A large loan bears a higher risk than a smaller one simply because there is more money at risk. Most lenders therefore charge higher interest rates on large property loans as compared to smaller ones.

All in all, different lenders offer different rates depending on their style of operation, appetite for risk, or competitiveness in the market. It’s important to search intensively for offers from different lenders for the best mortgage rate. Contact your mortgage professional to help you find out more about mortgage rates and what that means for your next home purchase.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 29, 2018

Last week’s economic news included releases on new and existing home sales along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

Home Sales Fall Due to Slim Supply of Homes

December sales of previously-owned homes dipped to an 18-year low with a reading of 5.57 million sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Pre-owned home sales were expected to reach 5.73 million homes based on November’s downwardly- revised reading of 5.78 million sales. December sales were 3.6 percent lower month-to-month, but were 1.10 percent higher year-over-year.

Analysts credited the shortage of sales to tight inventories of homes for sale. Low inventories of homes for sale have worsened, a situation that sidelines would-be buyers due to the slim selection of homes, rapidly rising prices and buyer competition.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors, said that December sales were lower in all four regions tracked by his organization. The Northeast had 7.50 percent fewer sales; The Midwestern region has 6.30 percent fewer sales in December and the South and West had 1.70 percent and 1.60 percent fewer sales.

Available homes reached a 3.20-month supply; the National Association of Realtors typically views a six-month supply of available homes as average. The national median home price was $246,800 in December and was 5.80 percent higher year-over-year.

Sales of new homes were also significantly lower in December, at an annual rate of 625,000 sales. Analysts expected 679,000 sales and November’s reading showed a sales pace of 689,000 sales.

New Home Sales Fall in December

Sales of new homes were lower in December but were strong overall for 2017. The Commerce Department reported 625,000 sales of new homes for December as compared to expectations of 680,000 sales and November’s downwardly revised reading of 689,000 sales of new homes.

The annual sales pace of new homes was 9.30 percent lower in December than in November, but the sales price of new homes increased 14.10 percent year-over-year. The median price of a new home was $335,400, which was 2.50 percent higher year over year. A 5.6 month supply of new homes for sale reflected healthy market conditions for new homes.

Mortgage Rate, New Jobless Claims Higher

Mortgage rates rose for the third consecutive week with the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage 11 basis points higher at 4.15 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.62 percent and was 13 basis points higher. 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.52 percent and rose by six basis points. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Higher mortgage rates were attributed to an increase in the 10-year Treasury yield, which was at its highest rate since 2014.

First-time jobless claims rose last week after reaching a 45-year low the previous week. 233,000 new claims were filed last week; analysts expected a reading of 240,000 new claims filed against the previous week’s reading of 216,000 new jobless claims filed. Bad weather, two holidays in January and seasonal layoffs at the end of the holiday shopping season contributed to the increase in new jobless claims.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, homeownership rates, and inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release monthly reports on private and public-sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 22, 2018

Last week’s economic news included readings on home builder confidence, housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released; the week wrapped with the University of Michigan’s report on consumer sentiment.

Home Builder Confidence Dips, Remains in Positive Territory

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence dropped two points in January to 72, but high demand for homes continued to provide builders with positive outlooks on housing market conditions. While continued concerns over labor and lot shortages were cited, home builders surveyed for January’s Housing Market Index said that High demand for homes and recent tax legislation kept more builders confident than those who were not. Any reading over 50 indicates positive builder sentiment.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Fall in December

Housing starts fell 8.20 percent in December according to the Commerce Department. 1.192 million starts were forecast on a seasonally- adjusted annual basis; analysts expected a reading of 1.280 million starts based on November’s reading of 1.299 million starts. 1.302 million building permits were issued in December on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. November’s reading was higher at 1.303 million building permits issued.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates for the second week in a row. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 4.04 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.49 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.46 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages. Discount points averaged 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were lower with 220,000 new claims filed as compared to estimates of 250,000 new claims. 261,000 new claims were filed the prior week. Consumer sentiment was lower in January with an index reading of 94.40. Analysts expected the consumer sentiment index to reach 98.00, based on December’s reading of 95.90 percent, but uncertainty over tax benefits connected with recent legislation and rising interest rates contributed to the lowest consumer sentiment index reading since July.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on new and existing home sales along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 16, 2018

Last week’s economic releases on inflation, core inflation, and retail sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Inflation and Retail Sales Ease in December

Consumer prices fell from November’s reading of 0.40 percent growth to o.10 percent growth in December, which matched expectations. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, dropped to 0.30 percent from November’s growth rate of 0.40 percent. Analysts expected a Core CPI reading of 0.20 percent for December.

Retail sales were lower in December as compared to November’s reading of 0.90 percent growth month-to-month; December’s retail sales grew by 0.40 percent. Core retail sales, which excludes automotive sales grew by 0.40 percent in December as compared to November’s growth rate of 0.90 percent. Analysts expected retail sales to increase by 0.50 percent. Retail sales excluding automotive sales also grew by 0.40 percent as compared to an expected reading of 0.30 percent and November’s growth rate of 1.30 percent.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week with rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaging four basis points higher at 3.99 percent. Mortgage rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage were six basis points higher at an average of 3.44 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was one basis point higher at an average of 3.46 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 268,000 filings as compared to 248.000 new claims expected and 258,000 new jobless claims filed the prior week. Last week’s new jobless claims.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic releases include readings from the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued and a report on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 8, 2018

Last week’s economic reports included readings on construction spending, minutes of the most recent meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. Labor reports including ADP, Non-Farm Payrolls, and national unemployment were released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Construction Spending Rises; Driven by Residential Building

Residential construction drove November construction spending surpassed expectations of a 0.50 percent increase; Overall, construction spending rose by 0.80 percent in November. Residential construction was up 7.90 percent year-over-year. Single-family home construction rose 8.90 percent year-over-year. Rising rates of single-family construction is good news for homebuyers, who have faced obstacles due to short inventories of available homes. Analysts expected Q4 2017 construction pace to be the highest since Q1 2016.

While more homes for sale could help ease rapidly rising home price, rising mortgage rates could sideline first-time and moderate-income buyers, but Fed policymakers had mixed opinions about raising the federal funds rate forecast for 2018.

Fed Policy Makers Divided Over Projected Interest Rate Hikes

Minutes for the FOMC meeting held December 12 and 13 reflected varied views among Committee members about three projected interest rate hikes in 2018. Analysts watch Fed policy decisions carefully as raising the target federal funds rate typically causes mortgage rates and consumer lending rates to rise.

Labor markets continued to grow and although mortgage lending standards eased somewhat, lenders remained reluctant to fund mortgages and auto loans for those with low credit scores. Inflation hovered beneath the Fed’s objective of two percent, but FOMC members voted to raise the target federal funds rate of 1.25 to 1.50 percent. This increase remained within the accommodative range according to FOMC members.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Average mortgage rates were lower across the board last week. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.95 percent which was four basis points lower than the previous week. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage were six basis points lower at an average of 3.38 percent; rates for 5/1adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.45 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims rose by 3000 claims to 250,000 new claims, which exceeded expectations of 240,000 new claims and prior week’s reading of 247,000 first-time jobless claims. December readings for the labor sector included ADP payrolls, which tracks private-sector jobs. 250,000 jobs were added in December as compared to November’s reading of 185,000 jobs added. The Commerce Department reported 148,000 new public and private sector jobs added in December against November’s reading of 252,000 jobs added. Analysts expected 195,000 new jobs to be added in December. National unemployment held steady at 4.10 percent, which matched expectations and November’s reading.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 2, 2018

Last week’s economic readings included Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, pending home sales and consumer confidence. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

CaseShiller: Home Prices Continue Growth

Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports indicated incremental growth in October with home prices growing month-to-month 0.70 percent for the S&P Case-Shiller 30-City Home Price Index. The 20-city index posted 6.20 percent gains year-over-year. Western cities continued to post the largest gains; Seattle, Washington led with a year-over-year growth of 12.70 percent. Las Vegas, NV and San Diego, California rounded out the top three with year-over-year home price growth of 10.20 percent and 8.10 percent.

Pending Home Sales Subject to Slim Inventory of Available Homes

Homes under purchase contract rose by 0.20 percent in November as compared to an increase in pending sales of 3.50 percent in October. Analysts expected pending sales to rise by 0.50 percent in November. Extremely low inventories of available homes continued to dampen home purchases in November. The National Association of Realtors® said there was a 3.40 months’ supply of homes for sale as compared to an average reading of a six months supply.

Small inventories of homes for sale constrict sales by driving up prices, increasing buyer competition and challenging buyers to find homes they want buy among limited choices.  Pending sales varied by region with the Northeast posting a 4.10 percent increase in pending sales; the Midwest posted an increase of 0.40 percent in pending sales The South posted a decline in pending sales of -0.40 percent. The West posted a decrease of 1.80 percent, which could indicate that rapidly rising prices in Western markets are topping out. Analysts said that the disparity between pending home sales and completed sales of pre-owned homes made it difficult to accurately assess the future housing market trends.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Consumer Confidence Highest in 17 Years

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged five basis points higher at 3.99 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points higher at 3.44 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was eight basis points higher at 3.47 percent. Discount points were unchanged on average at 0.50 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Analysts had forecast a hike in mortgage rates after the Fed raised its target federal funds rate.

Consumer confidence rose to its highest rate in 17 years in November. December’s month-to-month index reading was 122.10 as compared to an expected reading of 127.5 and November’s reading of 128.6.  Although confidence dipped in December, analysts said that consumers are confident about jobs and the economy.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic readings include releases on construction spending, ADP and Non-farm payrolls and the National unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released