What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 9, 2017

2017 started with good news; fixed mortgage rates were lower, but the national unemployment rate ticked upward and labor reports showed fewer openings for public and private sector jobs. Construction spending was higher in November.

Mortgage Rates Lower; Construction Spending Higher

Freddie Mac reported lower average rates for fixed rate mortgages as the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage crept up. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped by 12 basis points to 4.20 percent; The average rate for a 15-year mortgage fell 11 basis points to 3.44 percent while the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage gained three basis points to 3.33 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Construction spending was higher in November according to the Commerce Department and reached the highest level since April 2006. The November reading was 0.90 percent higher as compared to an expected reading of 0.60 percent and October’s original reading of 0.50 percent, which was revised to 0.60 percent. Lower mortgage rates coupled with more construction could help ease low inventories of available homes and provide relief to first-time and moderate-income home buyers who’ve been challenged by rapidly rising home prices and mortgage rates.

Fewer New Jobless Claims: Unemployment Rate Rises

The government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report for December showed lower job openings for government and private sector employers with a reading of 156,000 jobs added against the expected reading of 180,000 job openings and November’s reading of 204,000 job openings.

ADP reported similar results for its December reading on private sector jobs; 153,000 jobs were created against November’s reading of 215,000 jobs created. Analysts said that hiring is increasing, but not as fast as in prior months. On average, 174,000 private-sector jobs were created monthly in 2016 as compared to a monthly average of 209,000 private sector jobs created in 2015.

Weekly jobless claims were lower last week with 235,000 new claims filed; 260,000 new claims were expected based on 263,000 new claims filed the previous week.

December’s national unemployment rate rose to 4.70 percent from 4.60 percent in November. Analysts said that the uptick was likely fueled by employers deleting former workers from their payrolls at year-end.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on job openings, consumer sentiment and weekly readings on new jobless claims and mortgage rates.

Three Proven Ways You Boost Your Credit to Get a Mortgage Approved

These 10 States Have The Biggest Mortgage DebtCredit problems are unfortunately common, and they can make it difficult for you to obtain a mortgage. Even if you are able to obtain a mortgage with your credit issues, the rate may be rather high in comparison to what you may qualify for if you obtain a mortgage without fixing your credit problems. While some issues may take a while to fix, you may be able to see a decent increase in your credit rating when you follow a few easy steps.

Pay Off Outstanding Derogatory Credit Items

When you review a copy of your credit report, you may notice that some items have an outstanding balance due. If the account is in good standing, the outstanding balance is not a primary issue unless you have an excessive amount of debt. If the account is not in good standing, such as if you have a series of late payments or a collection account being reported on the credit report, you can see a boost in your credit rating when you pay off these debts.

Settle Judgments

Legal matters can also be reported on your credit report, and they may be settled or still outstanding. An example of this would be if an electrician serviced your home, and you did not pay the bill. The electrician could file a lien against you. A settled judgment may still be a ding on your credit rating, but it is far better than having an unsettled judgment. If you notice that you have a judgment reported on your credit report, you may consider taking the necessary steps to settle it and get back in good standing.

Pay Off Small Balances

If you can afford to do so, it can improve your credit rating to pay off small balances. A portion of your credit rating will be determined by the number of open accounts and the number of accounts with balances that you have. By focusing on the small balances, you can often see a quick improvement in your credit score. There may also be a benefit to closing these accounts after they have been paid off.

Before you apply for a mortgage, it is wise to request a copy of your credit report. You want to remove any items that you find on the report that do not belong to you. For those derogatory items that are yours, you can follow these steps to help improve your credit rating with fast results.

Understanding Automated Underwriting and How It Impacts the Mortgage Application Process

Understanding Automated Underwriting and How It Impacts the Mortgage Application ProcessWhether you’re embarking on the process of obtaining a mortgage for the first time or just preparing yourself for the advances in the industry, the implementation of automated underwriting in recent years has significantly changed the application process. From the time you’ll have to wait to the documentation that is required, here are some of the details on what you can expect when dealing with an automated underwriter.

Reduction In Document Requirements

In the past, most homebuyers submitting mortgage application documents were required to go into their backlogs to provide the paystubs for the previous 2 months pay, as well as W2’s for the last 2 years. Now, with automation, most homebuyers will only need to submit their most recent paystub in order to move along to the approval process.

The Time Line Is Shortened

Since the loan approval process previously had to go through an underwriter, there was a delay between when the documents could be reviewed and approved, and how long it would take for this information to be passed on to the homebuyer. However, since a Findings Report is automatically created from the applicable data during the automated process, the timeline homebuyers have to wait is shortened considerably.

Approval Rates Are Improved

Previously, approvals that were completed by an underwriter were held to a standard that was made up of a person’s financial health and credit report, so having one and not the other could lead to a declined application. Due to the fact that automated approval is based on the degree of the deciding factors, homebuyers who previously may have been turned away have a greater chance of approval.

A Useful Bargaining Tool

While most homebuyers have identified their ideal home before getting too involved in the application process, automated underwriting actually enables those who want to apply to get approval prior to deciding on a home. Instead of being an expenditure of time, this can actually be a good bargaining chip when it comes to putting in an offer on the right home.

With the advances in technology and the ever-shifting real estate market, there are many changes on the mortgage market that are important for future homebuyers to be aware of. Fortunately, there are many advantages to the automation of underwriting that can offer great benefits to those going through the application process. If you’re applying for a mortgage soon, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Mortgage Guidelines Resume Tightening Nationwide

Senior Loan Officer SurveyDespite an improving U.S. economy, the nation’s banks remain cautious about what they will lend, and to whom.

Last quarter, by a margin of 3-to-2, more banks tightened residential mortgage lending standards for “prime borrowers” than did loosen them.

A “prime borrower” is defined as one with a well-documented credit history, high credit scores, and a low debt-to-income ratio. The insight comes from the Federal Reserve’s quarterly survey of its member banks.

Last quarter, of the 54 responding banks :

  • 0 banks tightened mortgage guidelines considerably
  • 3 banks tightened mortgage guidelines somewhat
  • 49 banks left guidelines basically unchanged
  • 2 banks eased mortgage guidelines somewhat
  • 0 banks eased mortgage guidelines considerably

By contrast, in the quarter prior, not a single surveyed bank reported tighter residential mortgage guidelines. The period from January-March was a step backwards, therefore, for the fledgling U.S. housing market.

Overall, getting approved for a mortgage is tougher than it used to be. Banks enforce higher minimum credit score standards; ask for larger downpayment/equity positions; and require higher monthly income relative to monthly debt obligations.

It’s one reason why the homeownership rate is at its lowest point since 1997.

Another reason why homeownership rates may be down is that prospective home buyers believe the hurdles of today’s mortgage approval process may be impassably high. That’s untrue.

There are many U.S. homeowners and renters that were approved for a home loan last quarter — prime borrowers or otherwise. Some had excellent credit, some had modest credit. Some had high income, some had moderate income. Many, however, took advantage of low-downpayment mortgage options such as the FHA’s 3.5% downpayment program, and the VA’s 100% mortgage program for military veterans.

Despite a general tightening in mortgage standards, loans are still available and banks remain eager to lend.

It is harder to get approved today as compared to 5 years ago, but for those that try and succeed, the reward is access to the lowest mortgage rates in a lifetime. Mortgage rates continue to push home affordability to all-time highs.

If you’re in the market to buy a new a home or refinance one, your timing is excellent.