Local lenders say U.S. “qualified mortgage” rules go too far
Source: Los Angeles Times
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules, which aim to eliminate lending abuses that caused the
financial crisis, will hurt borrowers, lenders say.
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Fixed Rate Jumbo Mortgages make a Comeback
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Just a year ago, 30-year, fixed-rate jumbo mortgages were hard to find in some high-price markets. Now,
many lenders are offering fixed jumbos – with very competitive rates.
Making sense of the story
A jumbo mortgage is a home loan with an amount that exceeds conforming loan limits imposed
by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises that buy mortgages
from lenders. The conforming loan limit is $417,000 in most parts of the United States, but is
$625,500 in the highest-cost areas, which includes California.
During the mortgage crisis, the vast majority of jumbos were adjustable-rate mortgages and
hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages, which started at low fixed rates and switched to adjustable
interest rates at the end of a set time period – typically of five, seven, or 10 years.
With the renewal of the secondary market for jumbo mortgages, more lenders today are willing to
offer fixed-rates. Packaging the loans into mortgage-backed securities that are sold to investors
can lessen the risk to lenders.
While interest rates for jumbo mortgages are significantly lower than a year ago, hybrid ARMs
remain attractive to borrowers with other financial priorities.
The general wisdom when deciding between an ARM and a fixed jumbo is the same as with any
mortgage. Borrowers should consider the length of time they plan to live in the house. If the
length of time is near or less than the length of the ARM, then borrowers will save money with
Still, borrowers should keep in mind that some lenders will push hybrid ARMs because the lender
stands to reap a higher return on investment. Additionally, lower ARM interest rates and monthly
payments can free up cash to purchase stocks and other assets.
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Calif. median home price: March 2013: $378,960 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. highest median home price by region/county March 2013: Marin, $888,890 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. lowest median home price by region/county March 2013: Siskiyou County, $123,330 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. Pending Home Sales Index: March 2013: 110.2 , up 8.7 percent from January’s 101.4.
Calif. Traditional Housing Affordability Index: First Quarter 2013: 44 percent (Source: C.A.R.)
Mortgage rates: Week ending 5/23/2013 (Source: Freddie Mac)
- 30-yr. fixed: 3.59% fees/points: 0.7%
- 15-yr. fixed: 2.77% fees/points: 0.7%
1-yr. adjustable: 2.55% Fees/points: 0.4%
NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES RISE IN APRIL
Sales of new single-family houses increased 2.3 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. This is 29 percent above the April 2012 estimate of 352,000.
The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2013 was $271,600; the average sales price was $330,800. The seasonally adjusted estimated number of new houses for sale at the end of April was 156,000, representing a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate. Read More…
Home buyers are sizing up homes with a long list of preferences.
The typical home shopper buys a home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, according to the National Association of REALTORS(R) 2013 Home Features Survey.
What feature did home shoppers report they most desire in a home?
Central air conditioning, according to the survey of 2,000 buyers on 33 home features. Central air conditioning was overwhelmingly the top home feature desired by home shoppers. A home that is cable/satellite TV-ready/Internet was also ranked highly.
What else should you be spotlighting on your listing ads for homes that you’re selling?
The NAR survey revealed the following eight interior design features that buyers ranked as “very important” in their home search:
1. Walk-in closet in the master bedroom
2. Ensuite master bath
3. New kitchen appliances
4. Eat-in kitchen area
5. Hardwood floors
6. Granite countertops
7. Kitchen island
8. Stainless steel appliances
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