Buyers explore longer commutes

Posted by at 12:50 pm

  Stopping short of saying it’s a “major” trend, extreme commuting – or at least extended commuting – is becoming an established feature of the American workplace. About 21 percent of workers commute more than 60 minutes each way to their jobs. More than half of these drive the whole distance alone. Extreme commuters – defined as people who spend 90 minutes or longer getting to work each way – are still rare, making up only about 3 percent of the work force. But the numbers are rising. By coincidence, many companies today are bringing telecommuting workers back to the office, demanding more collaboration and contact with customers. U.S. workers who performed all or some of their work at home fell from 24 to 22 percent between 2015 and 2016. With soaring prices, many commuters say they are willing to sacrifice...
Read more

Millennial concerns constrain home ownership

Posted by at 11:59 am

If you’re 35 or younger and you own your own home in America, you are somewhat of a rarity – a lot of your peers haven’t gotten there yet. Only about 35 percent of young adults in the U.S. are homeowners, an all-time low. In fact, a recent U.S. Census report found that a full third of America’s young adults still live at home with one or both parents – more than the amount who cohabitate with a partner or live alone. There are many reasons America’s young adults are struggling. Along with facing the highest home prices in history, Millennials are shouldering some serious student loans – borrowers who graduated in 2016 will pay back an average of $37,000. Many took out those loans at the height of the crisis – at some pretty high interest rates. Terms as...
Read more

Home insurers can “non-renew” for too many claims

Posted by at 8:44 am

If you have a home mortgage loan, then your lender is going to require you to carry homeowner’s insurance. It may be the biggest purchase you’ve ever made, but the lender has a lot invested in that home too – and wants its investment protected. But be warned. Insurance is not a maintenance plan – home insurance coverage is designed for sudden and unexpected large losses. Homeowners who file more than one claim unrelated to weather in less than three years can expect to be “non-renewed.” Non-renewal is not cancellation. Insurance companies cannot cancel a policy that has been in force for more than 60 days except for failure to pay the premium, fraud, or serious misrepresentation in the application. But like any business, an insurer “reserves the right to refuse service to anyone,” so long as they provide you with...
Read more

Homeownership: A savings lifeline

Posted by at 12:30 pm

With home prices rising to all-time highs, many potential buyers may imagine drowning in a sea of monthly payments stretching across many years. Naysayers bob to the surface with harrowing tales of home-buying gone wrong. If the down payment doesn’t get you – well the property taxes, maintenance and insurance surely will! These so-called “savvy” investors say renters who dutifully put all money not spent on housing into stable investments – like mutual funds – may get a greater rate of return. Criticism of homeownership as an instrument of wealth-building has understandably become louder in the last decade, after a Housing Bust that put more than 10 million homeowners upside-down, and 4 million more into foreclosure. Though most underwater homeowners have swum back into positive equity, and many of those foreclosures are mortgage-eligible again, the math geeks remain in a...
Read more

Bay Equity joins Hispanic groups advocating housing sustainability

Posted by at 1:54 pm

Bay Equity Home Loans representatives joined the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) on Capitol Hill recently, advocating for legislation supporting the sustainability of successful home-buying for the growing Latino community. According to the 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, the Hispanic population is steering and shaping new household formation and homeownership in the United States. Produced annually by NAHREP in collaboration with the Hispanic Wealth Project, the study found Hispanic homeownership increased by 209,000 since 2015, an astonishing 74.9 percent of the nation’s overall net growth. While overall homeownership rates hovered around a 50-year low of 63.4 percent in 2016, the rate among Latinos actually increased slightly– from 45.6 to 46 percent. With greater Latino labor force participation fueling increased purchasing power, steady growth is likely to continue unabated. “These are numbers you simply cannot look away from,”...
Read more

Buying Young

Posted by at 12:12 pm

  Buyers under the age of 35 are leading the way as consumer confidence in the housing market rises near all-time highs heading into the spring of 2017. In its February installment of the National Housing Survey, Fannie Mae saw surging Millennial confidence in the housing market, even with mortgage rates seemingly poised to rise, and home prices at near-record levels. Along with more job security and increasing income, Millennial home buyers are increasingly married with children – all three legs of the home demand stool. Nearly half (49 percent) of Millennial buyers reported at least one child – up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago. As with every aspect of the marketplace, young buyers with children are the key to shaping the future of real estate. With more kids in tow, more of these...
Read more
February 17th, 2017

Robot Mortgages Still Far in the Future

Posted by at 11:18 am

In another “sign of the times,” Bank of America recently began testing three mini-bank branches – two in Denver, one in Minneapolis – that have ATMs and video-conference capability, but no actual human beings working there. But much like self-checkout at the grocery store or self-serve gas, customers can still conduct banking business of almost any kind. This news comes at the same time the country’s first robotic barista – nicknamed Gordon – came on line, serving up to 120 coffee drinks an hour in a San Francisco shopping complex. Today’s home loan consumers insist on the ability to conduct financial transactions electronically, as well. They search online for the right home, then email the real estate agent. After choosing a home, a potential borrower can power through pre-qualifying in just a few minutes via texts and maybe a phone call...
Read more

Trump trumps FHA insurance premium cut

Posted by at 4:44 pm

The Donald Trump administration quickly reversed a planned cut in FHA annual premiums about an hour after the new president took the oath of office Jan. 20. Due to have taken effect Jan. 27, the planned reduction of 25 basis points was announced Jan. 9 by Julian Castro, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama. FHA loans are popular among young and modest-income home buyers because they allow down payments of as little as 3.5 percent. However, FHA borrowers must pay for mortgage insurance to guard against the possibility of default. The cut from .85 to .60 percent of the total loan would have saved the average borrower about $500 a year. Trump and his team said it was too soon to make the cuts without further investigating the effects. Some Congressional Republicans say taxpayers already face...
Read more
January 10th, 2017

FHA lowers rates for first-time buyers

Posted by at 2:28 pm

The FHA has announced lower insurance premiums for first-time homebuyers – lowering rates by about a quarter-point to 0.60 percent of the loan balance for most borrowers. Effective Jan. 27, the cuts would bring an average annual savings of about $500, and serve as a virtual parting gift from President Barack Obama’s administration. Incoming president Donald Trump will have a narrow window after his inauguration Jan. 20 to consider whether to play Scrooge – weighing objections to lower fees against the benefits. Some Congressional Republicans argue that taxpayers already face too much risk if borrowers default. They point to 2013, when the FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF) fell below its mandated reserve of 2 percent in the wake of the Housing Crisis, and had to dip into the U.S. Treasury for a cash infusion of $1.7 billion. But outgoing...
Read more

Young homebuyers crunched

Posted by at 12:07 pm

  When existing homeowners don’t sell, and non-homeowners want to buy in, the laws of supply and demand dictate prices must rise. The backup can reverberate throughout the rest of the market. Many potential buyers – whether first-timers or move-ups – can get caught in an inventory crunch. The real problem behind market imbalance is fewer existing homeowners selling: Some are underwater and can’t afford to. Others simply don’t want to. Cut to the chase “Market chasers” are in the latter group. Whether consciously or not, they wait to see how high prices will go. Research finds the most powerful emotional drive at work in a sale is the perception you might lose out on getting the highest possible return. The thought process is they’ll wait until the market “tops out” before they list. Usually, it’s not going to work,...
Read more