VA Mortgage News for Veterans
Housing Market Shows Strength
New home sales jumped in August, and purchase contracts on existing homes also went up over the summer. Forecasts call for home buying to keep rising throughout 2014. House values also continue to appreciate, although not as rapidly as they did last year. Today we're moving away from an investor-driven market to one where individual households are buying property to live in.
Savvy professionals were some of the earliest ones to spot the bottom in housing prices. At that point they began purchasing residences, knowing money could be made by renting them out and eventually selling at a profit. However, ordinary households are back in the market now. Having fewer investor purchasers to compete against makes it easier for someone to buy a home for a residence.
Today investors are behind just twelve percent of all home purchases, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's the lowest level of investor involvement in residential real estate in five years, the trade association notes.
Families are less likely to be outbid by an all-cash buyer as a result. Other market indicators are revealing the real estate market's renewal, as well. A new government report shows that less than 13 percent of loans modified last year were in default six months later. Those positive outcomes help both homeowners and lenders. Loan modifications make it easier for owners who are under financial stress to handle their monthly payments.
Home foreclosures also are down by about half over the last year, according to the government study. Owners are eager to find creative ways to stay in their homes, and loan servicers are getting better at developing solutions that work for these borrowers. We're here to help you purchase the house you're dreaming of. Get in touch with us before you start looking at homes, and we'll let you know how much you can spend and what your monthly payments would be.
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The Right Home for You
Managing your home so that it fits both your lifestyle and finances is a lifelong journey. Young couples will purchase a small home and renovate so that it suits their needs. Eventually they'll move up to a larger place to accommodate a growing family. At some point they may want a vacation property, as well. Often mature owners live in houses which are packed full of memories. Also they've accumulated plenty of personal items over the years. It's hard for these folks to imagine moving.
Yet a change can be a positive step for households who have been in the same residence for a long time. They may be able to relocate closer to family, work or recreational activities they enjoy. A new home can represent the start of a fresh chapter in their life. It can provide the daily support needed to help them pursue changing personal goals.
Rates Stay Low
Recent home loan rates were below their levels from a year ago, according to mortgage investment firm Freddie Mac. Home prices also were up 4.4 percent compared to twelve months earlier, adds Freddie Mac's chief economist. International unrest is causing investors to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds, and that demand is keeping rates low.
However, many economists expect that continued economic growth in America will cause interest rates to rise in the future. Higher rates would keep the economy from overheating. Homebuyers have benefited from artificially-low rates in recent years because of aggressive action by the Federal Reserve after the housing crisis. Yet rates on 30-year, fixed-rate loans could reach five percent by mid-2015, states The New York Times, citing forecasts from economists.
"While five percent is still low by historical standards," the Times notes, "an increase of that size can reduce buying power more than borrowers may think." Monthly mortgage payments could go up hundreds of dollars from current costs. Today's market conditions are affordable for many families, adds the Times. Payments on a median-priced home took up around 22 percent of median household income from 1985-2000. "Now people are spending about 15 percent of median income for the median-priced home," explains the Times.
Clearly today's rates are providing families with excellent opportunities to buy a home. Contact us if you're thinking about buying real estate soon. We'll show you how you can afford a new place to live in right away.
Homes for Happy Pets
New home sales have grown rapidly this year – and one factor is the willingness of builders to cater to the needs of prospective buyers. Some builders are trying to set themselves apart by adding features that appeal to animal owners. "Pet suites" in upscale homes typically include facilities for washing and drying furry companions. Bathing areas are sized for a cat or dog. Automatic feeding machines, cabinets to store pet toys, plush beds - even flat-screen TVs may be included in these rooms. Although this pushes up the cost of a home, not every puppy gets to run through French doors when it wants to go outside!
Housing also plays a role in our economic expansion. Millions of households will be formed in the next few years, and they’ll all need places to live. Building, purchasing and furnishing these homes will produce more jobs for Americans. A healthy housing sector is a powerful economic driver in our country. Additionally, many Americans have reduced their debt while boosting their savings in recent years. These activities will help their credit scores and let them borrow funds on good terms. Our future is looking brighter. Talk with us when you know a move would improve your life, and we’ll help you take that positive step forward.