1 in 5 mortgage borrowers regret their decision

COSTA MESA, Calif. – Nov. 10, 2016 – Overall satisfaction scores have increased year over year, but a high percentage of homebuyers still have regrets about their mortgage lender, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.
The study found that 1 in 4 (21 percent) customers purchasing a home express have regrets about their lender, a claim voiced even more by first-time buyers (27 percent).
Among customers who regret their decision, there are two distinct situations:
Customers who have a poor experience. This group cites an above-average incidence of problems, lack of communication and unmet promises. While this group’s responses aren’t unexpected, they are often vocal about their displeasure, making an average of 9.0 negative comments compared with the study average of 0.7.

Satisfied customers who feel they made a decision too quickly. The second situation is more unexpected, according to survey authors. This group tends to be very price-focused and frequently obtains multiple quotes. However, on some level they feel the process itself was too complex, even though they were happy with the lender they finally chose.

Among customers who regret their lender selection, 72 percent say they were pressured to choose a particular mortgage product. Their final lender choice is often linked to financial reasons, such as getting a lower rate because they have a relationship with the firm (e.g., checking account with direct deposit).
“This ‘happy buyer’s remorse’ is in part due to customers feeling that circumstances out of their control drove them to a particular choice and that options weren’t totally clear,” says Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power. “Like a lot of consumers, they are happy with a good deal, but they can feel that they have to jump through hoops to get the deal. In the end, they may not fully understand exactly what they got, and the longer-term risk for lenders is that customers’ perceptions of the deal may change in the future.”
One potential contributing factor to this condition could be TRID (TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure). Over the past two years, much of lenders’ attention has been focused on complying with and minimizing the negative effects of these new requirements, which became effective in October 2015. Lenders feared that the new requirements would extend an already lengthy process and negatively affect satisfaction.
While various sources have reported increases in the total number of days for the lending process, findings of the 2016 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study show little change in the perceived speed of the process. Improved communication and setting expectations appropriately helped prevent negative perceptions.
“Whether it is a new regulation, shifting rates or new technology, lenders will continue to face challenges that require them to change,” Martin says.
Key findings
A higher percentage of customers this year said their loan representative always called back when promised, compared with last year (85% vs. 81%, respectively), and their loan closed on the desired date (81% vs. 79%)

Satisfaction is significantly higher among customers buying a home (840) than among those refinancing (821). In the 2014 and 2015 studies, the levels of satisfaction in these groups were nearly identical

Technology is becoming increasingly important, with 28% of customers saying they completed their detailed application online, up from 22% in 2015 and 18% in 2014

Top lenders by satisfaction
Quicken Loans ranks highest in primary mortgage origination satisfaction for a seventh consecutive year, with a score of 869. Quicken Loans performs particularly well in the application/approval process, interaction, loan closing, loan offerings and onboarding factors.

CitiMortgage moves up three positions from fifth in 2015 to second this year, with a score of 851. Ditech Financial, new to the study in 2016, ranks third with a score of 849.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (+52 points) and Nationstar Mortgage (+50 points) post the most significant year-over-year improvements in overall satisfaction.

Consumer advice
Plan ahead when researching mortgages. Satisfaction among customers who waited until they found a home to look for a mortgage is 92 points lower than among those who started before they began a home search.

Get more than one quote. Among the 32% of customers who received just one quote, overall satisfaction is 19 points lower than those who get multiple quotes. Satisfaction is 38 points lower among first-time buyers only getting one quote vs. those who get multiple quotes.

Choose a lender based on merits, not just price or affiliation. Customers who say they chose their lender primarily because of price/rate or based on a recommendation are significantly less satisfied than those whose choice is based on other reasons.

© 2016 Florida Realtors®

Average 30-year mortgage rate rises to 3.57%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Nov. 10, 2016 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week for a second straight week.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.57 percent from 3.54 percent last week. Rates remain near historically low levels, however. The benchmark 30-year rate is down from 3.98 percent a year ago. Its all-time low was 3.31 percent in November 2012.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, rose to 2.88 percent from 2.84 percent.

The rates reflect the mortgage market in the week prior to Republican nominee Donald Trump’s election as president. On Wednesday, the day the result became known, bond prices fell sharply. That sent yields higher.

Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which jumped to 2.06 percent from 1.80 percent a week earlier – exceeding 2 percent for the first time since January. Traders have been selling bonds more aggressively to hedge against the possibility that interest rates, which have been extremely low for years, could rise steadily under a Trump administration.

The sell-off in bonds continued Thursday morning, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rising to 2.12 percent.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year loan also held steady at 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages averaged 2.88 percent, up from 2.87 percent last week. The fee remained at 0.4 point.

AP Logo Copyright © 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

HUD charges Fla. landlord with discrimination

HUD charges Fla. landlord with discrimination
 

WASHINGTON – Nov. 10, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is charging landlords in South Florida with discrimination against tenants with disabilities. Rather than a tenant-based allegation, the charge reflects concerns about a visitor who travels with an emotional support animal.

HUD charged three entities in the Florida case: the owner of Hillcrest East Building No. 22, a multifamily development in Hollywood, Florida; the property’s management company, Rhodes Management; and a previous president of the homeowners’ association. The housing discrimination allegation claims they failed to make reasonable accommodations, published discriminatory notices and statements, and attempted to intimidate and retaliate against two family members who filed a housing discrimination complaint.

One individual lives at the subject property, and the other person, who has a disability, was allegedly prevented from visiting her cousin at the property because she requires the use of an emotional support animal.

HUD’s charge also alleges that the owners and managers discriminated against persons with disabilities by requiring personal and unnecessary medical information in order to grant reasonable accommodations, and by prohibiting emotional support animals and their owners from having access to the development.

The complete HUD charge is posted online.

The charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainants to compensate them for the discrimination and may assess a civil penalty

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate based on disability in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, including refusing to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services. In addition, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance

“Discrimination against people with disabilities continues to be the most common type of housing discrimination complaint we receive each year,” says Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “It’s unacceptable and the cases we’re announcing today reflect HUD’s commitment to making sure housing opportunities are available to every American, including those with disabilities.”
© 2016 Florida Realtors®
 

Underwater owners regain equity slowly but surely

IRVINE, Calif. – Aug. 11, 2016 – ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q2 2016 U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report, which shows 11.9 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage at the end of second quarter 2016 were seriously underwater – a drop from 13.3 percent in Q2 2015.

No Florida city made ATTOM’s list of the U.S. seriously underwater cities, though a few have more than 15 percent of owners with a mortgage still underwater. They include Orlando (19.1 percent underwater), Tampa-St. Petersburg (17.8 percent) and Miami (17.3 percent).

“South Florida continues to see an equity improvement greater than the national average due to our strong growth,” says Mike Pappas, CEO and president at the Keyes Company. “Our underwater homes saw a 3-times improvement over the average with the high equity owners experiencing a 1.8-times improvement. With our limited land and strong in-migration, we will continue to see improvement in equity.”

For the report, ATTOM analyzed recorded mortgage and deed of trust data from more than 1,400 U.S. counties accounting for 88 percent of the U.S. population along with automated valuation models (AVMs) for more than 56 million properties with mortgages in those counties.

“Rising home prices are lifting all home equity boats: bailing out seriously underwater homeowners and enriching homeowners who already have positive equity,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions (the new parent company of RealtyTrac). “Nationwide home prices reached a new all-time high in June on the heels of 52 consecutive months of annual increases. While that national trend is consistent in most markets across the country, there are still some local markets and sub-markets that have been largely left behind by the housing recovery and which still have a high percentage of underwater homeowners.”

The number of seriously underwater U.S. properties (those with a loan-to-value ratio or LTV of 125 percent or more) decreased by 37,235 compared to the first quarter and decreased by 776,958 compared to a year ago. Since the peak of 12.8 million in Q2 2012, the number of seriously underwater properties has decreased by more than 6.1 million.

About 22.1 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage at the end of Q2 2016 were equity rich (LTV of 50 percent or less – up from 22.0 percent in the previous quarter and 19.6 percent in Q2 2015. The number of equity rich properties increased by more than 1.4 million compared to a year ago.

Profile of seriously underwater properties

ATTOM matched home equity data against property and ownership characteristic data – including occupancy status, market value, property tax rate, ownership description and congressional district – to provide a profile of the who, what, when, where and why for seriously underwater properties:

  • Property value: 34.4 percent of properties with an estimated market value up to $100,000 are seriously underwater compared to just 4.9 percent of properties with an estimated market value above $750,000.
  • Loan vintage: 26.4 percent of properties with a loan originated between 2004 and 2008 are seriously underwater compared to 8.3 percent with a loan originated since 2009.
  • Occupancy status: 21.8 percent of non-owner occupied properties are seriously underwater compared to 9.1 percent of occupied properties.
  • Ownership type: 43.5 percent of properties owned by a Company/Corporation/Incorporated owner are seriously underwater compared to 10.1 percent of properties owned by a husband and wife.
  • Property tax rate: 21.4 percent of properties with an effective property tax rate above 2 percent of market value are seriously underwater, compared to 11.8 percent of properties with an effective property tax rate below 1 percent.
  • Political party: 13.1 percent of properties located in a congressional district with a Democrat representative are seriously underwater compared to 10.8 percent seriously underwater in a congressional district with a Republican representative.

© 2016 Florida Realtors®

Average U.S. 30-year mortgage rate ticks up to 3.45%

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up to 3.45 percent from 3.43 percent last week. The average rate is down sharply from 3.94 percent a year ago, and remains close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012.

The 15-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 2.76 percent from 2.74 percent last week.

Record-low interest rates this year have helped spur home purchases and boost the housing market.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage remained at 0.5 point this week. The fee for a 15-year loan also was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages averaged 2.74 percent, up from 2.73 percent last week. The fee held at 0.5 point.

Fla. housing’s median prices, new listings up in 2Q

ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 10, 2016 – Florida’s housing market reported more new listings, higher median prices and fewer days to a sales contract during the second quarter of 2016, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 76,748 in 2Q 2016, up 1.4 percent over the 2Q 2015 figure.

“In the second quarter of 2016, Florida continued to add new jobs, which attracts new residents, encourages economic growth and strengthens the housing market,” says2016 Florida Realtors President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. “Traditional housing sales increased statewide over the three-month period, while sales of distressed properties continued to decline. In another positive sign, new listings for single-family homes over the three-month-period rose 2.9 percent year-over-year, while new condo-townhouse listings rose 3.3 percent.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2Q 2016 was $220,000, up 10 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties during the quarter was $163,000, up 5.2 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 31,699 during 2Q 2016, down 2.7 percent compared to 2Q 2015. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales – and rising traditional sales – over the three-month period: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 42.2 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 36.7 percent. Meanwhile, traditional sales for condo-townhouse units rose 6.9 percent and traditional sales for single-family homes increased 14.4 percent year-over-year. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“Existing home sale prices throughout most of Florida’s metro areas are continuing to exhibit robust year-over-year growth,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “This growth is attributable to simple economics, which is to say that demand is strong and supply is currently limited. The inventory of homes for sale at the more affordable end of the price spectrum – which includes the vast majority of distressed properties – continues to decline significantly, and new construction has not come close to making up the difference.”

In 2Q 2016, the median time to a contract (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time) was 42 days for single-family homes and 50 days for condo-townhouse properties.

Inventory was at a 4.3-months’ supply in the second quarter for single-family homes and at a 6-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.59 percent for 2Q 2016, significantly lower than the 3.96 percent average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.

Wage growth now matches rental rate growth

WASHINGTON – July 22, 2016 – U.S. renters are seeing their housing costs rise at a much more manageable pace, as new construction has tempered years of runaway increases in rent.
Real estate data firm Zillow says that median rent rose a seasonally adjusted 2.6 percent in June from a year ago, matching the gains in average hourly wages. Rental costs have decelerated after consistently exceeding earnings growth in previous years, a sign that additional building is giving more options.
The median monthly rent nationwide was $1,409. Annual increases in rent surpassed 9 percent in both the Seattle and Portland, Oregon areas, although it has moderated in markets such as San Francisco, where yearly price growth went from double-digit gains to 7.4 percent.
Prices are rising above the national average in New York City and Los Angeles. But they’ve settled at less than 2 percent in Cincinnati and Cleveland, host of the Republican National Convention this week. Still, rental costs are much cheaper in both Ohio metro areas than the national average.
In Philadelphia, where the Democrats will hold their convention, median rent is more expensive and has been rising at a 2.5 percent to $1,582 a month.
Not all indicators show rent as moderating. The government’s consumer price index found that rents had jumped 3.8 per cent from a year ago. Shelter accounts for a third of all consumer expenses, according to the index.
Builders have been adding to the national supply of apartments. They completed 310,300 multi-family buildings last year, a 21.4 percent jump from 2014, according to the Commerce Department. Apartment construction through the first half of this year is running another 5.6 per cent ahead of the 2015 pace.
Copyright © 2016 The Canadian Press, Josh Boak. All rights reserved.

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Things first-time home buyers need to know

 

WOODLAND PARK, N.J. – July 22, 2016 – The economy is improving, interest rates are low and many consumers now find themselves in a great position financially to become a first-time homeowner. There’s a small problem though for some locations around the country – the booming real estate market is resulting in rising home prices and increased competition for the most desirable properties.
The S&P/Case-Shiller national home-price index recently estimated that 2016 prices are within four percent of the peak in 2006. In some areas, low inventories around the country are making the situation even more challenging.
These conditions are introducing first-time buyers to common challenges and frustrations while searching for their dream home. “Don’t get discouraged,” says Travis Peace, executive director of mortgage at USAA Bank. “Buying a home requires some fortitude and the process intimidates many – not just those doing it for the first time.”
As a result, Peace says it’s easy to concentrate too much on home buying “can’ts” rather than “can-dos,” and he offers this advice on how to overcome some common barriers.
“I Can’t” No. 1: I can’t figure out the home-buying process.
Peace notes that it’s essential to do research and to be equipped with basic information, but also be willing to ask for help when needed. For example, an experienced real estate agent can keep a buyer apprised of everything from area sales trends to the latest changes in state and federal laws that could impact a mortgage application.
“This is where experienced, licensed professionals can help,” Peace says. “Real estate agents can be an advocate for the buyer throughout the entire process.”
In addition, free tools like USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network can connect buyers with an agent and even provide rewards based on the sale price of the home.
“I Can’t” No. 2: I can’t find the perfect home for my family.
Finding the perfect home may not be realistic, but shoppers can find the right home. Personal situations will dictate buyers’ ability to wait for a home in a particular neighborhood or design style to come on the market, but not everything has to be left to chance.
Peace says the key is to set realistic expectations and not fixate on negatives that can be changed. “Whether it’s the number of bedrooms or distance to work or school, it’s alright to have some non-negotiables. However, buyers should be willing to be flexible on things that can be relatively easy to change, like paint colors or landscaping.”
“I Can’t” No. 3: I can’t afford a 20 percent downpayment.
Putting 20 percent down on a home has become more of a guideline than a rule. Today, not being able to put 20 percent down does not mean buying a home is out of reach. Peace notes that depending on a buyer’s financial situation, there may be a responsible way to get into your new home without putting 20 percent down.
Government-sponsored loan programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide loan options that require downpayments as low as three percent. Veterans Affairs (VA) loans don’t require any downpayment. While those programs are often great options for consumers who qualify, Peace notes that buyers should keep an eye on their potential total monthly payment.
“Some of these loans include fees and private mortgage insurance (PMI) that could significantly impact your overall cost,” Peace says.
Even private lenders are offering more competitive loan options. For example, USAA Bank’s Conventional 97 loan allows borrowers to acquire a mortgage with only three percent down and the bank pays the PMI costs.
Scott McEniry, a USAA member, recently moved into his new home with the help of the Conventional 97 loan. “It felt like a lifeline had been thrown to me as suddenly a house purchase was within reach again,” McEniry says.
Whether a house-hunting novice or seasoned expert, Peace underscores that being informed, getting the right help and having a healthy dose of determination are the best ways to turn a dream home into a reality.
Copyright © 2016 Argus, North Jersey Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved

Extra credit: Paying more helps mortgage approval

WASHINGTON – July 14, 2016 – Knocking off more credit card debt every month may now be a better deal for anyone looking to buy a home.

Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprise that buys mortgages and sets rules on how to assess the risk of loan applicants, is rolling out revised underwriting software that rewards those who make more than the minimum required payments over time.

The use of what’s called “trended credit data,” now slated to go live this fall, is likely to help first-time homebuyers and even those with no credit scores get a mortgage.

“This change will help,” says Mindy Armstrong, product manager for Fannie Mae, and will not penalize mortgage applicants who only pay the minimum monthly amount on credit card debt.

Until now, when evaluating a potential borrower’s standard credit report, the automated process took into account only how much you owe, who you owe it to and if you make payments on time.

The revised software relies on trended credit data, pulling payment records from the last 24 months to determine not only if you pay on time but how much you pay toward your credit card balances. The data helps determine what type of risk a borrower is likely to represent for a lender.

The Fannie Mae program doesn’t prescribe a certain amount over the required minimum that must be paid or how long or consistently the bigger payments must be made. Rather, a snapshot of a mortgage applicant’s payment habits is what’s captured, explains Armstrong.

Traditional factors, such as income, assets and credit score, remain key metrics in determining who gets a loan.

© Content That Works, Marilyn Kennedy Melia; © Copyright © 2016 Tri-Town News. All rights reserved.

Mortgage rates almost unchanged near historic lows

WASHINGTON (AP) – July 14, 2016 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates moved little this week, remaining near historically low levels in the wake of financial disarray in Europe.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up to 3.42 percent from 3.41 percent last week, staying close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012. The average rate is down sharply from 4.09 percent a year ago.

The 15-year mortgage rate slipped to 2.72 percent from 2.74 percent last week.

After Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union, investors fled to the safety of U.S. Treasury bonds, driving up their prices and lowering their yields. Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yield on 10-year Treasury notes.

AP Logo Copyright © 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.