Mortgage Rate Perspective

balance_ratesMinneapolis, MN:  With rates having moved up slightly recently, it is good to keep current mortgage rates in perspective.

Here is a mini historic look at conventional 30-yr fixed loan rates

  • In the early 1960’s = 5.25%
  • In June 1971, about 7.53%
  • In June 1981, about 16.70%
  • In June 1990, about 10.16%
  • In June 1998, about 6.99%
  • In June 2000, about 8.29%
  • In June 2005, about 5.58%
  • In June 2009, about 5.52%
  • In June 2010, about 4.75%
  • Last month (May 2013) about 3.54%
  • Today… about 3.91%

I bought my first house in 1981.  I paid 16% for my FHA 30-year fixed!  That same loan today is 3.50%


Adjustable Mortgage Rates Hit New Low

Adjustable Mortgages Hit New Low

Historically in the United States, adjustable rate mortgages have always accounted for a small portion of overall mortgage loan choices. During the boom a few years ago, they jumped up dramatically, but still held just a small portion of the market.

Today, they hold an even smaller portion of the market share due to many factors, but most of them resulting from a misunderstanding, or lack of education on the borrowers part before taking one. For most people, they are considered too risky. Funny thing is, the rest of the world is just opposite. Almost everywhere else, the adjustable loan is the only product available, and if they offer a fixed rate loan, it is rarely over 20-years. The 30-year fixed exists primarily just in the United States.

It might be time to rethink the adjustable loan, as the Monthly Treasury Average has just set another record low. A review of Federal Reserve data indicates that the MTA was just 0.19583 percent in November. It was the lowest level ever for the index based on data back to 1953.

Today, we are seeing a spread of about 1.25% between a 30-year fixed loan and the most popular adjustable, the 5/1 ARM. On a $200,000 loan, that is about $130 per month difference.

The MTA index is determined based on the daily average for the yield on the one-year Treasury note for each of the past 12 months. The one-year yield averaged 0.11 percent during November.

Why is this important? Because adjustable loans all have a margin and an index. The margin is permanently set based on the loan, while the index can change. The lower the index, the lower your adjustable loan.

If you currently have an adjustable mortgage loan, you should be very happy right now.


HARP 2. Underwater Refinance Program changes announced

FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Announce HARP Changes to Reach More Borrowers

Washington, DC – The Federal Housing Finance Agency, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), today announced a series of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in an effort to attract more eligible borrowers who can benefit from refinancing their home mortgage. The program enhancements were developed at FHFA’s direction with input from lenders, mortgage insurers and other industry participants.

“We know that there are many homeowners who are eligible to refinance under HARP and those are the borrowers we want to reach,” said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. “Building on the industry’s experience with HARP over the last two years, we have identified several changes that will make the program accessible to more borrowers with mortgages owned or guaranteed by the Enterprises.

Our goal in pursuing these changes is to create refinancing opportunities for these borrowers, while reducing risk for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and bringing a measure of stability to housing markets.” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped approximately 9 million families refinance into a lower cost or more sustainable mortgage product, approximately 10 percent of those via HARP.

HARP is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers who owe more than their home is worth to take advantage of low interest rates and other refinancing benefits. This program will continue to be available to borrowers with loans sold to the Enterprises on or before May 31, 2009 with current loan-t0-value (LTV) ratios above 80 percent.

The new program enhancements address several other key aspects of HARP including:

  1. Eliminating certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lowering fees for other borrowers;
  2. Removing the current 125 percent LTV ceiling for fixed-rate mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
  3. Waiving certain representations and warranties that lenders commit to in making loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
  4. Eliminating the need for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable AVM (automated valuation model) estimate provided by the Enterprises; and
  5. Extending the end date for HARP until Dec. 31, 2013 for loans originally sold to the Enterprises on or before May 31, 2009.

An important element of these changes is the encouragement, through elimination of certain risk-based fees, for borrowers to utilize HARP to refinance into shorter-term mortgages. Borrowers who owe more on their house than the house is worth will be able to reduce the balance owed much faster if they take advantage of today’s low interest rates by shortening the term of their mortgage.

The Enterprises plan to issue guidance with operational details about the HARP changes to mortgage lenders and servicers by November 15.  Since industry participation in HARP is not mandatory, implementation schedules will vary as individual lenders, mortgage insurers and other market participants modify their processes.

Borrower Eligibility

In general, borrowers must meet the following criteria:

  1. The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  2. The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
  3. The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
  4. The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
  5. The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with no late payment in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

Homeowners can determine if they have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan by going to:

FANNIE MAE LOOKUP or calling 800-7FANNIE (8 am to 8 pm ET)

FREDDIE MAC LOOKUP or 800-FREDDIE (8 am to 8 pm ET)


What is HomeSteps and HomePath?

You’ve seen the logo’s, but what is HomePath and HomeSteps?

Fannie Mae HomePath lender in MN and WIThe HomePath and HomeSteps programs allows a person to buy a specially designated Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned foreclosed property with a low down payment, flexible mortgage terms, no lender-requested appraisal and no mortgage insurance. Expanded seller contributions to closing costs are allowed as well

Freddie Mac HomeSteps lender in MN and WIHow Does It Work?
Simple. Just follow these steps:

  • Apply with a lender. Get Pre-Approved. Just qualify for a traditional financing with at least 3% down.
  • Meet with a Realtor – Look at homes, buy your dream house.  You MUST select a home to buy from a special list of available foreclosed properties
  • Close and move in!

Where can I see the list of available houses?
Easy. Contact a Real Estate Agent,  and they’ll show you a list of qualified HomePath and HomeStep properties.

What about closing costs?
Closing costs can be rolled into the transaction, up to 6% of the loan amount.

How do I get started?
It all starts with a no obligation application, and a visit to a special lender offering the programs.

 

Buying a home in MN or WI? Click here for a HomePath, HomeSteps lender in MN and WI, or call (651) 705-6261, where one of their specially trained Loan Officers will assist you.


New Rules for First Time Home Buyers

It is a great time to be a first time home buyer, but some of the rules have changedMortgage interest rates in MN are still amazing, and home prices are super affordable. New mortgage lender and broker rules are making it a little harder to qualify for a home loan, and your costs are going up a little, but don’t let that hold you back. First time home buyers, it’s safe to come out now!

 


HARP – Home Affordable Refinance Program for underwater

(edit: New guidelines issued 10/24/2011 – Click here for new rules)
HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program for underwater homeowners has been extended until June 2012

St Paul, MN: The Home Affordable Refinance Program was set to expire this June 30th, but has been extended one year until June 2012. The extension is great news, as HARP has been about the only success story of all the government programs attempting to stem the tide of foreclosures.

Basically if your existing first mortgage is held by Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, and that first mortgage is LESS than 125% of today’s value, you may qualify and be able to take advantage of today’s low rates for refinancing.

To bring even more meat to the grill, Freddie Mac has also announced they WILL NOT add recently announce cost (rate) increases to this program.

Do you qualify for HARP? Check HERE


Mortgages Unlimited. Best interest rates & 20-yr anniversary

Mortgages Unlimited. 2011 is our 20-yr anniversary and an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune says we offer the best  interest rates.