Insightful thoughts on Florida Real Estate

Posted on July 8th, 2011
by Greg Ellingson

Low Mortgage Rates and Prices: What’s the Problem?

One could assume with our housing market would be helped by its current low mortgage rates and low home prices. What's stopping buyers? For one it's hard to receive a loan right now because of the required standards by lenders. Also larger downpayments are needed. And the people who are eligible for a loan are hesitant to buy because they don't want to purchase a property if prices haven't hit their lowest point yet.  

Rate on 30-year fixed mortgage rises to 4.6%
The average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.60 percent, up from 4.51 percent a week ago, Freddie Mac said Thursday. It hit its lowest level of the year three weeks ago, at 4.49 percent.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, rose to 3.75 percent. It reached its low point of the year two weeks ago, at 3.67 percent.

Rates typically track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has been rising. And mortgage rates could rise further now that the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion bond buying program has ended.

The Fed has purchased around $75 billion worth of bonds each month since November. That drove the yield on the 10-year Treasury note lower than 3 percent this spring. As a result, rates on mortgages and other loans also fell.

Still, low mortgage rates and plummeting home prices have done little to boost the troubled housing market. Tougher lending standards and bigger downpayment requirements have prevented many people from taking advantage of the ultra-low rates. Many people who can qualify are holding off, worried that prices have yet to bottom out.

Most economists say home prices will keep falling through the rest of the year. Many forecasts don’t anticipate a rebound in prices until at least 2013.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rose from 3.25 to 3.30 percent. Last week’s rate was the lowest on records dating back to 2005. The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate loan rose to 3.01 percent, just above the record low of 2.95 percent.

The rates do not include extra fees known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

The average fees for the 30-year and 15-year fixed loans were 0.7, according to Freddie Mac’s survey. The average fees for the five-year and one-year ARM were 0.6.
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Posted on May 12th, 2011
by Jenny Walker


Do you have patience? Are you not in a need to move right away? Are timelines easily able to be stretched on your end? If so, then a short-sale purchase may work for you. Due to the fact that there could be three to four parties involved in a short-sale transaction, time frames to close are estimates. 1st and 2nd mortgages on homes are common and both mortgages (i.e., lenders - often with different lending companies) must both agree on all offers completely, prior to an accepted short-sale offer.

Are you already pre-approved for a loan or are you paying cash? If so, you have a leg up on your competition (other buyers searching for the same home). It is important to show that you are ready and capable to close. A buyer with factual information showing they have a nice size down payment (proof of funds) as well as a pre-approval letter already established and or are paying cash (proof of funds), will have their offer looked upon more readily than a purchaser that has “flimsy” information and minimal cash on hand.

Do you still have a house to sell? Banks do not care for contingencies and will not honor these in short-sale transactions. Do you need to be in your new home in a short period of time (45-60 for a typical loan process)? Then you may want to skip on the short-sales and head right on over to the “Real Sales”. The only short-sales that may close in the 2 month time period you may need may be homes that have already been issued a BAP – Bank Approved Price. But even then there may be additional information the parties need that could possibly tie up the closing for a few extra days/weeks.

Posted on January 4th, 2010
by Greg Ellingson

Existing Homes Sales in Florida Steadily Increase

According to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®, existing home sales in Florida rose in November marking 15 months that sales activity has increased.   Existing home sales rose 61 percent in November with a total of 14,026 homes sold statewide compared to 8,694 homes sold in November 2008. Statewide sales of existing condos increased 111 percent compared to those in November 2008.

The federal homebuyer tax credit program not only includes first time homebuyers, but has expanded to include some current homeowners. This program will continue to help the housing market recover by decreasing the amount of inventory which in turn will stabilize home prices.

While sales have continued to increase, the median sales price for existing homes in Florida last month was $139,000 compared to $158,200 a year ago.  This 12 percent decrease is continued good news for home buyers.  The decrease in values can also be attributed to the sale of distressed properties and foreclosures that distort the average sales price.  Continued low interest rates also are playing a role in home sales.  Rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.88 percent in November.  In November 2008 the average rate was 6.09 percent. 

With the low interest rates, expanded federal tax credit program, desirable home prices, and increased consumer confidence the outlook is certainly a positive one for homebuyers and those looking to sell.  

Posted on December 11th, 2009
by Lynn Titus

Palm Bay - Melbourne - Titusville Identified by Forbes as #18 Best Bang for the Buck Cities

Location, location, location!

Wow, another endorsement for homeownership in Brevard County!  Back in August I blogged about Melbourne Beach being ranked #6 out of the Top 20 Best Neighborhoods to Retire.  Now, has listed the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville Metro area #18 out of the top 100 Best Bang For the Buck Cities. When collecting their statistics for the list, Forbes looked at a number of factors including vacancies, unemployment rates, a three-year job growth forecast, a three year home price forecast, housing affordability, and median travel time to work. 

They then located healthy housing markets by looking at metros where foreclosures were no longer a big part of the local market signaling a potential bottoming out.  While Florida has generally been a state negatively affected by the subprime loan debacle along with the home building and buying craze, this area along the Space Coast is the only metro area in Florida to make the top 20 list. 

Reasons for this endorsement are its affordability and convenience (it ranks #7 on the home price index, and #10 for travel time to work).  All these factors point to a bounce back in the next three years according to Moody's Investor Services, which performed a three year forecast on markets that economists thought would improve most in the near future. 

So, what are you waiting for? 

If you are looking for a desirable place to retire or relocate, pay us a visit and see what all the talk is about.  If you currently live in the area, this is good news for those contemplating the purchase of their first home.  For those thinking about upsizing or downsizing, this too is an excellent sign that the time may be right to make that move.

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