Rate Bounce

Rates hit near-historic lows this week and are now at 3.49% for a 30-year mortgage.

There have only been two other times in history when rates have been this low- April 2013 and October 2016.

It’s interesting to see what happened soon after bottoming out these last two times.

In April of 2013 rates hit 3.41%. By August 2013 they had jumped to 4.40%.

Rates bottomed again in October 2016 at 3.42%. Just two months later in December 2016 they were 4.32%.

Each time the increase was nearly 1% within just a few months.

So, if history proves itself as a guide, we can’t expect these rates to last for long.

Posted on September 13, 2019 at 9:00 am
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Mortgage Rate Forecast

Geopolitical uncertainty is causing mortgage rates to drop. Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, explains why this is and what you can expect to see mortgage rates do in the coming year.

 

Over the past few months we’ve seen a fairly significant drop in mortgage rates that has been essentially driven by geopolitical uncertainty – mainly caused by the trade war with China and ongoing discussions over tariffs with Mexico.

Now, mortgage rates are based on yields on 10-Year treasuries, and the interest rate on bonds tends to drop during times of economic uncertainty.  When this occurs, mortgage rates also drop.

My current forecast model predicts that average 30-year mortgage rates will end 2019 at around 4.4%, and by the end of 2020 I expect to see the average 30-year rate just modestly higher at 4.6%.

Posted on June 26, 2019 at 2:37 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Economics 101, Market News | Tagged , , ,

Down Again

Mortgage rates dropped again for the fourth week in a row.

The average 30-year rate is now 4.06% which is the lowest it has been all year.

Rates today are actually the lowest they have been since early 2018.

The main factor driving rates down is the trade war with China.

Investors are shifting money from stocks into bonds which causes the yield on the 10-year Treasury to drop.

Mortgage rates are closely aligned with the 10-year Treasury.

At the beginning of the year, most experts believed that 2019 would have a trend of increasing mortgage rates eventually reaching 5.5%.

Instead, the opposite has happened which is good news for real estate.

Posted on May 24, 2019 at 12:36 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Party Like It’s 2018!

 

Just a few months ago most people thought mortgage rates were heading to 5% and now they are back to where they were a year ago.

 

You probably saw this week’s news from the Federal Reserve declaring that they would not raise their Federal Funds rate for the rest of 2019

 

(just three months after saying they would raise rates at least twice this year).

 

While this is big news, even bigger news for mortgage rates is that the 10-year Treasury yield just hit its lowest point since January 2018. One thing we’ve learned from our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner is that mortgage rates follow the 10-year treasury (not necessarily the Fed Funds rate).

 

Last Spring it looked like mortgage rates had bottomed out and they steadily climbed through the Summer and Fall of 2018. It looked certain that they would hit 5% around January.

 

Instead they started dropping. Now with the 10-year Treasury at a 15-month low, they just dropped a little more and they are back to where they were a year ago.

 

Great news for buyers! Party like it’s 2018!

Posted on March 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, For Buyers, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Are You Better Off Paying Your Mortgage Earlier or Investing Your Money?

Posted in BuyingSelling, and Living by Guest Author 

Photo Credit: Rawpixel via Unsplash

Few topics cause more division among economists than the age-old debate of whether you’re better off paying off your mortgage earlier, or investing that money instead. And there’s a good reason why that debate continues; both sides make compelling arguments.

For many people, their mortgage is the largest expense they will ever incur in their lives. So if given the chance, it only makes logical sense you would want to pay it off as quickly as possible. On the other hand, a mortgage is also the cheapest money you will ever borrow, and it’s generally considered good debt. Any extra money you obtain could be definitely be put to good use elsewhere.

The reality is, however, a little less cut and clear. For some homeowners, paying off their mortgage earlier is the right answer. While for others, it would be far more advantageous to invest their money.

 

Advantages of paying off your mortgage earlier

  • You’ll pay less interest: Each time you make a mortgage payment, a portion is dedicated towards interest, and another towards principal (we’ll ignore other costs for now). Interest is calculated monthly by taking your remaining balance, the length of your amortization period, and the interest rate agreed upon with your lending institution.

If you have a $300,000 mortgage, at a 4% fixed rate over 30 years, your monthly payment would be around $1,432.25. By the time you finish paying off your mortgage, you would have paid a total of $515,609, of which $215,609 were interest.

If you wanted to lower the total amount you pay on interest, you don’t need to make a large lump sum to make a difference. If you were to increase your monthly mortgage payment to $1,632.25 (a $200 a month increase), you would be saving $50,298 in interest, and you’ll pay off your mortgage 6 years and 3 months earlier.

Though this is an oversimplified example, it shows how even a small increase in monthly payments makes a big difference in the long run.

  • Every additional dollar towards your principal has a guaranteed return on investment: Every additional payment you make towards your mortgage has a direct effect in lowering the amount you pay in interest. In fact, each additional payment is, in fact, an investment. And unlike stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles, you are guaranteed to have a return on your investment.
  • Enforced discipline: It takes real commitment to invest your money wisely each month instead of spending it elsewhere.

 

Your monthly mortgage payments are a form of enforced discipline since you know you can’t afford to miss them. It’s far easier to set a higher monthly payment towards your mortgage and stick to it than making regular investments on your own.

Besides, once your home is completely paid off, you can dedicate a larger portion of your income towards investments, your children or grandchildren’s education, or simply cut down on your working hours.

 

Advantages of investing your money

  • A greater return on your investment: The biggest reason why you should invest your money instead comes down to a simple, green truth: there’s more money to be made in investments.

Suppose that instead of dedicating an additional $200 towards your monthly mortgage payment, you decide to invest it in a conservative index fund which tracks S&P 500’s index. You start your investment today with $200 and add an additional $200 each month for the next 30 years. By the end of the term, if the index fund had a modest yield of 5% per year, you will have earned $91,739 in interest, and the total value of your investment would be $163,939.

If you think that 5% per year is a little too optimistic, all we have to do is see the S&P 500 performance between December 2002 and December 2012, which averaged an annual yield of 7.10%.

  • A greater level of diversification: Real estate has historically been one of the safest vehicles of investment available, but it’s still subject to market forces and changes in government policies. The forces that affect the stock and bonds markets are not always the same that affect real estate, because the former are subject to their issuer’s economic performance, while property values could change due to local events.

By putting your extra money towards investments, you are diversifying your investment portfolio and spreading out your risk. If you are relying exclusively on the value of your home, you are in essence putting all your eggs in one basket.

  • Greater liquidity: Homes are a great investment, but it takes time to sell a home even in the best of circumstances. So if you need emergency funds now, it’s a lot easier to sell stocks and bonds than a home.

 

Misael Lizarraga is a real estate writer with a passion for teaching real estate concepts to first time buyers and investors. He runs realestatecontentguy.com and is a contributing writer for several leading real estate blogs in North America.

Posted on March 4, 2019 at 8:00 am
Fort Collins | Category: Blog, Buyers & Sellers, For Buyers, For Sellers, Mortgage | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Refinancing: What you need to know

Thanks to all-time-low interest rates, the number of homeowners refinancing their mortgages is at an all-time high. Of course, no one should refinance just because everyone else is doing it. But, for many homeowners, the benefits are simply too hard to ignore any longer.

Save money each month. According to Freddie Mac (The country’s largest purchaser of home mortgages), the average homeowner who refinances is able to cut their monthly payment by $108 (almost $1,300 per year) for a $200,000 loan.

Save even more in the long run. If you currently have a 30-year mortgage, refinancing with a 15-year version can save you thousands of dollars in interests over the life of the loan, plus allow you to build equity in your home faster than ever.

Switch to a fixed-rate mortgage. Refinancing with a fixed-rate mortgage gives you the security of knowing that your monthly payment will remain steady, regardless of whether lending rates rise or fall in the years ahead.

Access emergency funds. Something the mortgage industry calls “cash-out refinancing” allows you to take out a new mortgage for more than your current principal balance and use the additional money for other expenses (remodeling, college, a major medical procedure, etc.). Of course, this option should only be considered if you have a real need for the money and a solid plan for paying it back.

Consolidate debt. While consolidating credit card debt under a home loan may not be wise (unless you have a plan for controlling any additional spending), refinancing to consolidate two mortgages at these record-low rates can provide significant savings in both cases.

Things to consider beforehand:

Before moving ahead with a refinance of your own, a number of factors need to be considered (and numbers crunched) before you can determine how much you’ll actually benefit and if you can qualify for the best rates:

Closing costs. The fees associated with refinancing your mortgage are called “closing costs” and generally add up to somewhere between three and six percent of your loan amount (between $7,500 and $15,000 for a $250,000 mortgage refinancing).  While there are ways to lower some of those costs, you’ll still want to weigh those expenses against how much you stand to gain.

For example, let’s say you figure you’ll be able to save $100 per month by refinancing, and you’ve calculated the closing costs at about $10,000. That means you’ll need to continue living in the house for at least eight more years before the savings surpass the closing costs. In the mortgage industry, this is referred to as the break-even point; and the longer you continue living in the house beyond the break-even point, the more money you’ll save.

Your credit score. It depends on the circumstances, but most borrowers will need a credit score of 700 or higher to get access to the best rates and closing costs. To determine your score, get a copy of your credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. (Why all three? Because, if there’s any difference, most banks will use the lowest score.)

Your current level of home equity. To qualify for refinancing, your current level of “equity” (the difference between the market value of your home and the balance of your current mortgage) typically must be 20 percent or more. That means, if the market value of your home is $250,000, the remaining balance on your loan would have to be $200,000 or less.

Pre-payment penalty. Check to see if your current mortgage includes a pre-payment penalty for refinancing. That would likely make refinancing too expensive even at these record-low rates.

The importance of timing

Mortgage rates have sustained record lows over the last few years, and they will likely stay relatively low for the next few years. However, even a small increase can make a drastic change in the amount of money you will pay over the duration of your loan. Getting the lowest rate you can, will benefit your finances over the long-term.

Getting the process started is easy. Begin by checking your equity and credit score, then crunch the numbers using one of the many online mortgage calculators.

If the initial results look promising, ask your Windermere Real Estate agent for a recommendation on a reputable lender (or mortgage broker) who can provide you with an actual quote.

Posted on December 17, 2017 at 10:00 am
Fort Collins | Category: Buyers & Sellers | Tagged , , ,

Rate Recap

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.25% this week. It was their 3rd rate increase this year.

This has us thinking about mortgage rates.

Today, 30-year mortgage rates are 3.93%.

Let’s put this in context with a little history lesson. Mortgage rates were…

  • 3.90% 6 months ago
  • 4.13% 1 year ago
  • 3.54% 18 months ago
  • 3.32% 5 years ago
  • 5.96% 10 years ago
  • 7.15% 20 years ago

So where are rates headed? Given that the Federal Reserve is expected to raise their rate three to four more times in 2018, we expect mortgage rates to be higher one year from today.

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts rates to be 4.8% in the 4th quarter of next year. Freddie Mac’s prediction is 4.4%. If these predictions are true, that would mean mortgage rates would be back to where there were 6 to 7 years ago.

Posted on December 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Economics 101, Mortgage | Tagged , , , , ,

Memory Lane

Today we will take a fun trip down memory lane.

Did you know that it was the fall of 1981 when mortgage interest rates hit their all time peak? Yes, it was this time 36 years ago when 30-year mortgage rates hit 18.39%.

1980's Roller DiscoYikes!

It’s important to note that in those days, not many home buyers were opting for a 30-fixed loan because rates were so high. There were a lot of people looking at adjustable rate products as a way to reduce the monthly payment.

Just for fun, let’s look at what a monthly payment would look like if those same rates from 1981 existed today.

If rates were 18.39% today, a $350,000 home with a 20% down payment would have a monthly principal and interest payment of…

$4,309! Yikes!

Thank goodness rates aren’t that high today. They are actually about 15% lower!

Today’s 30-year rate sits at 3.83% (which by the way is roughly half of the long term average).

A monthly principal and interest payment on a $350,000 home with 20% down is…

$1,309. Three thousand dollars lower than it would be using 1981 ‘s rates.

For a detailed look at what’s happening across Colorado, request our quarterly market report called “The Gardner Report“, written by Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.

Posted on September 29, 2017 at 4:31 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Economy | Tagged , , , , ,

Should You Wait out the Housing Market?

The housing market is remarkably tight across the U.S., and you may be wondering if you should wait for home prices to slow before making your move. Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, shares why waiting could end up costing you more money in the long run.

 

Posted on August 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm
Fort Collins | Category: Economics 101 | Tagged , , , , , , , ,