Taking advantage of low rates
Mortgage rates continue to set new record lows, leaving many home buyers and refinancers wondering how low rates can go and how to capture the best rates now.
Making sense of the story
Many economists are forecasting that mortgage rates will rise again later this year as the American economy gradually improves and as more global investors turn to the U.S. as a safe haven for money.
The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.71 percent the week of June 14. The rate had averaged 3.9 percent three months earlier and 4.5 percent a year earlier.
According to one economist, rates could possibly fall further, perhaps as much as a quarter of a percentage point, but it is more likely that they would start a “slow drift” upward.
Those planning to refinance or buy a home in the next two or three months might want to consider locking in a mortgage rate now.
Borrowers with rate locks, with a built-in deadline, often receive priority treatment from lenders, because the borrower is telling the lender that he or she is serious about closing soon.
Lock-in costs and policies vary widely, and are based partly on the time frame the borrower wants covered. Most borrowers will need a 60- to 90-day lock.
If interest rates continue to fall during the lock period, borrowers can ask the lender to rewrite the rate lock at an additional cost, or obtain a “float-down” provision in the original agreement. A lock with a float-down agreement allows the borrower to change the rate, often only once, before closing on the mortgage. This option is generally more expensive than a standard lock.
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In other news …
Cheap homes lure foreign buyers
Lured by bargain home prices, foreign buyers stepped up their purchases of U.S. homes by 24 percent over the past year, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Read the full story http://on.car.org/Lgzj5X
What aren’t there more homes for sale?
It’s no secret to anyone who has watched the real estate market over the past year that the number of homes for sale has dropped sharply.
Read the full story http://on.car.org/M7wLq1
UCLA forecasts California housing recovery next year
Despite quickening home sales and rising prices in some parts of California, the state’s housing market won’t begin a full-fledged recovery until next year, economists at UCLA predict.
Read the full story http://on.car.org/NkdVeA
Foreclosures spike 9 percent in May
Foreclosure filings in May spiked 9 percent compared with a month earlier, according to RealtyTrac.
Read the full story http://on.car.org/LkSmtS
The Wall Street Journal
Why mortgage rates are so low
Glimmers of hope in the housing market suggest a turnaround is near, with statistics showing stabilizing home prices and an increasing number of home sales.
Read the full story http://on.car.org/MyyuiA
What you should know about the market
Buyers in many areas have the advantage in the current market, but there are still guidelines that need to be followed.
Buyers need to show they are serious if they hope to secure their dream house amid buyer competition or sellers so frustrated they may be willing to hold out for a stronger market turnaround.
Professionalism and realistic expectations can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth and timely closing transaction, which is important to buyers and sellers alike.
Deals can be found, but playing hardball with lowball offers that are out of sync with comparable local sales can be time-consuming.
There may be wiggle room with seller concessions — covering closing costs, tossing in repair credits — so entering into a prospective deal armed with local-market knowledge and respectful consideration of the seller’s position can go a long way toward getting a great deal on a great property.