Home Builder Index Dips in January

January’s National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index dipped two points from December’s revised reading of 69 to 67;  the index reading forecast for January was also 69.Analysts said that January’s reading was the second highest (after December 2016) since the peak of the housing bubble in 2005. January’s dip in builder sentiment was attributed to easing of builder enthusiasm, which spiked right after the U.S. presidential election. To put January’s home builder confidence reading in context, NAHB says that any index reading over 50 indicates that more builders than fewer have confidence in housing market conditions.

NAHB SubIndex Readings for January

Three sub-index readings are used in compiling the NAHB Housing Market Index reading. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions fell three points to 72; builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months fell two points to 76. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments dropped one point to 51.

Builders surveyed continued to cite the cost of new lots for development and the lack of skilled labor as obstacles to higher builder confidence.

After releasing January’s index readings, the NAHB said that while January’s readings were lower than those for December, a majority of builders have expressed confidence that the new administration will reduce regulatory pressure on home builders. NAHB also cited home builder concerns over mortgage rates, which rose nearly a percentage point in November and December before falling. Despite ongoing concerns, builder sentiment has steadily improved over time. On average, builder confidence averaged a reading of 61 in 2016 against 2015’s average reading of 59 and the 2014 average reading of 52.

Builder Outlook Seen as Key to Easing Home Shortage

Real estate and mortgage pros have consistently said that building more homes is necessary to ease the ongoing shortage of available homes. NAHB’s Housing Market Index is closely followed as a benchmark of home builder confidence. Higher builder confidence in current and future housing market conditions is viewed as a potential indicator of home building activity, but housing starts have not been uniformly allied with builder confidence.

Shortages available homes creates high demand creates concerns for potential buyers seeking affordable homes. Rapidly rising home price, particularly in high demand metro areas, have sidelined buyers who cannot compete against buyers making cash offers on homes with rapidly escalating prices. 

Get Your Mortgage Paid Down Faster With These 5 Simple Money Saving Strategies

Get Your Mortgage Paid Down Faster With These 5 Simple Money Saving StrategiesThe monthly mortgage payment can be burdensome for many, but it’s possible you’ve thought of trying to pay it down more quickly. Without getting a new job or working overtime, here are some tips you can use on a daily basis to save additional funds and pay off your mortgage at a swifter rate.

Make Your Lunch

The five or ten dollars spent on lunch might not seem like a lot, but over time this amount adds up to a lot of savings. Instead of hitting the cafe, pick one or two nights each week to prepare a lunch for yourself so you can skip the daily expense.

Take A Coffee To Go

Like lunch, coffee is another thing that can end up costing a lot of money. However, instead of going for the two-dollar cup, make a pot before you leave for the day or opt for the office coffee instead. If you prefer yours on the go, you can always make it a once-a-week treat.

Avoid The Impulse

This might seem like a hard one to stick with, but instead of buying something because you want it, sit on it for a day or two and see if it still appeals to you. In all likelihood, the desire to purchase will pass and you’ll manage to keep more money in the bank.

Read The Flyers

Items like groceries may be a necessity, but that doesn’t mean that you have to buy the first thing you see. From fruits and vegetables to packaged goods, there are plenty of food items that go on sale all the time. By the time the month is out, you’ll be surprised how much you can save just by shopping around.

Skip The Cell Phone Plan

For most people, having a cell phone is a necessity these days; however, there are ways that you can get around the high costs that are often associated with smart phones. Instead of going for the expensive plan you have, settle for a little bit less service and talk to your provider about deals they can offer you.

It may seem like paying a higher monthly amount on your mortgage is impossible, but there are little ways to save each day that can help you pay it down faster. If you’re planning on looking for a new home in the near future, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 17, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings on job openings, retail sales and consumer sentiment in addition to weekly reports on new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s survey of mortgage rates.

Job Openings Hold Steady in November; Quits and Hires Increase

According to the Labor Department, job openings held steady with a reading of 5.50 million openings in November, which matched October’s reading. Hires and quits showed more activity, which analysts deemed a healthy sign for the economy. Workers typically hold on to their current jobs in times of economic uncertainty, while they may be more comfortable with changing jobs in a strong economy. Increased “churn” in terms of quits and hires suggests that workers are gaining confidence in economic conditions and are more willing to change jobs. There were 1.3 unemployed workers for each job opening, which was lower than October’s reading of 1.4 unemployed workers for each job opening.

Retail Sales Higher in December

Retail sales grew by 0.60 percent in December, although analysts had expected o.80 percent growth. November’s reading showed 0.20 percent growth. Retail sales not including the automotive sector grew by 0.20 percent. Analysts had expected a reading of 0.50 percent based on November’s reading of 0.30 percent growth. Year-end promotions and incentives offered by auto dealers likely contributed to December’s increase in retail sales.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by eight basis points to 4.12 percent. 15-year fixed mortgage rates averaged seven basis points lower at 3.37 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were 10 basis points lower at an average of 3.23 percent. Discount points averaged   0.50 percent for all three mortgage types.

New jobless claims were lower than expected last week with a reading of 247,000 new jobless claims. 258,000 new claims were expected based on the prior week’s reading of 237,000 new claims filed. New jobless claims were lower than 300,000 new claims for the 97th consecutive week. The rise in new claims last week was attributed to delays in filing for benefits between Christmas and New Year holidays.

Consumer sentiment dipped in January to an index reading of 98.1 as compared to December’s reading of 98.2 and the expected reading of 98.8.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits will be released. Consumer Price Index readings are scheduled along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Wondering How Much Mortgage You Can Afford? Here’s How to Calculate It

Wondering How Much Mortgage You Can Afford? Here's How to Calculate ItMany people are aware of the financial commitment that is involved when investing in a home, but what that amounts to is different for every person. From what you can afford to what a lender will allow, there are plenty of details involved in determining the right home for you. If you’re not quite sure what the right price is, here’s how to approach home ownership and determine your debt-to-income.

Calculating Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

You may not know what your DTI ratio is, but it has a lot to with how much home you can afford. In order to calculate this amount, add together all the debts you owe each month and divide them by your monthly pre-tax income. For example, if your credit card is $150 and your rent is $900, your debt amount would be $1050. Divide this amount by your income, say $2500, to get 0.42. This means your DTI ratio is 0.42 or 42%.

What Your DTI Means

While a DTI in the high 20s or low 30s is good, anything that hovers above 43 percent may serve as a red flag to the lender. The lower your DTI ratio is, the more likely it is that a lender will approve your mortgage application since you’ll have the disposable income to deal with financial hurdles. If your dream home has you hovering close to this amount, it may be a sign that it’s a bit out of reach.

How Do You Want To Live?

It’s quite common to be taken over when you find your dream home and decide to commit. However, buying a home is a huge financial commitment, and if you’re buying more than you can afford it may drain your well-being over time. Instead of diving in, determine other expenses that are likely to come up in the next few years, whether it’s travel, a child or a new car. It’s important to have the home you want and budget when buying it, but you’ll still need to financial wiggle room in case something comes up.

There are a lot of factors involved in determining how much house you can afford, but by calculating your DTI ratio and being aware of your spending plans, you’ll be well on your way to an ideal price range. If you’re currently on the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

4 Things You Absolutely Should Not Do After You Apply for a Mortgage

4 Things You Absolutely Should Not Do After You Apply for a MortgageIf you have a good credit history and are prepared to invest in a home, you may be feeling pretty confident about the mortgage process. However, it’s important to be aware that there are things that can have a negative impact on your application. Whether you’ve just submitted your documents or are getting close to it, here are some things you may want to avoid.

Acquiring New Credit

It may seem silly that something as minor as a new credit card can be a mark against your credit, but applying for new ones can be a bad sign to lenders. The problem is that this can be signal an unmanageable debt load, so you may be considered a high risk for not being able to make your payments.

Forget To Pay Your Bills

It’s easy enough to get lulled into the feeling that your mortgage application will be approved, but this doesn’t mean that you should forget your financial responsibilities. If you’ve had poor credit in the past and neglected paying your bills on time, now is not the time to do this. Instead, ensure that you’re paying all bills and any applicable minimum payments in advance of the due date so your credit score is not impacted.

Close Old Credit Cards

Many people think that closing out old credit cards can be a positive financial step forward and a good way to streamline their finances, but this can cause damage to your credit score. Because closing a credit card will change your available balance and bump up your debt load, it may mean that your debt percentage will increase. Instead of risking this, leave them active until you’ve received approval.

Quit Your Job

Few people will have the ability to quit their job when they’re applying for a mortgage, but doing this or incurring other fluctuations in your monthly income can cause problems with your application. If you are self-employed, there may be peaks and valleys in your finances, but a huge shift in what you bring home can show lenders that you’re not a solid bet.

There can be a lot of stress that comes along with the mortgage application process, but by paying your bills on time and staying on top of your payments, you can avoid negatively impacting your approval. If you’re currently on the market for a mortgage, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.