Tag Archives: interest rates

July 2017 San Diego County Real Estate Report and Interest Rates

July 2017 San Diego County Real Estate ReportThe July 2017 San Diego County Real Estate Report shows that, unlike some parts of the country, the San Diego County real estate market has not slowed down. In fact, year-over median sales prices increased countywide by 11 percent in June. The number of closed sales has dropped, but this is due to a continued lack of inventory.

San Diego County’s housing market has recovered with the median sales price exceeding 2005’s high in May this year. If you’re a homeowner, that’s wonderful news. It you are looking to buy, it’s not as scary as it sounds because when you adjust for inflation, we are still well below pre-recession highs. Only about one-third of the country has seen this recovery.

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When Does One-Half Equal More Than Five?

When Does One-Half Equal More Than Five?Since the election, interest rates have started going up. This will have a direct effect on the cost of housing. A one-half percent change in interest rates can affect your monthly payment more than a five percent change in home prices.

When does one-half equal more than five? When interest rates increase! Here’s what a change in interest rates costs you compared to a rise in home prices.

I’ve used a $500,000 purchase price with a 20 percent down payment. Interest rates are broken down in 0.25 percent increments from 0 to 1 percent. Price increases are broken down in 2.5 percent increments from 0 to 10 percent.

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C.A.R. 2015 California Housing Market Forecast

The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) recently published its California housing market forecast for 2015. They are predicting something we are already seeing happen in San Diego County – moderate price increases and a return to a more traditional market.

Read C.A.R.'s 2015 California Housing Market Forecast

Three Reasons to Choose a 15 Year Loan

3 Reasons to Get a 15 Year LoanFreddie Mac chief economist, Frank Nothaft, says that affordability, stability and flexibility are the three reasons homebuyers overwhelmingly choose a 30 year term.  However, for those who can afford a higher payment, there are three additional reasons to choose a 15 year term: save interest, build equity and retire the debt sooner.

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Should You Opt for a Fixed-Rate Mortgage?

Type of Mortgage Acquired

94% of purchasers last year opted for a fixed-rate mortgage at some of the lowest rates in home buying history.  Yet, some of them will pay more in interest than necessary based on the time they’ll own the home.

If a person only plans to be in the home a few years, the adjustable-rate can offer significant savings.

Not only is the interest rate on the adjustable-rate lower than the fixed in the initial period, amortization on a lower interest rate amortizes faster than a higher interest rate.

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Is the Window Closing?

window closingWith interest rates lower than they’ve been in over 40 years, it may be difficult to think of a “window of opportunity” closing.  However, it isn’t difficult to understand that it may very probably cost more to live in a home in the near future due to rising interest rates and prices.

Zillow recently reported results from a nationwide study that home values are expected to appreciate by 4.5% through the end of the year.  Coupled with Freddie Mac’s projection that rates are going up, the cost of housing for buyers by the end of the year will be higher than it is now.

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Expect Increases in Mortgage Rates and Housing Prices

crystal ballThe two most frequently quoted constants in life are death and taxes.  Two more things would-be homeowners can expect in the near future are increases in mortgage rates and housing prices.

Interest rates have been kept artificially low for several years by the Federal Reserve in an effort to strengthen the economy. Policy is shifting to allow them to seek their own natural level and that will surely result in higher mortgage rates.  Rates on 30 year fixed mortgages are up over 1% from January, 2013.

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It Can’t Hurt to Wait, Can It?

Wait signIt’s been said that more money has been lost due to indecision than was ever lost because of a bad decision. Regardless of whether you agree with the statement, delaying the decision to buy in today’s market is going to cost the buyer more. 

Home prices have gone up considerably in almost every market in the country in the past year and while inventories are beginning to grow, prices are expected to continue to rise. Mortgage rates jumped 1% from the beginning of May to now. They could easily reach 5% by the end of the year and continue to rise in 2014.

Many of the financial experts in the country believe that the economy will not be strong until rates are in the 7% area.

The two components that move the cost of housing are price and mortgage rates. Escalation of either one will have an affect but when both are going up simultaneously, it is dramatic. It can literally eliminate buyers who could have purchased earlier.

The following example shows what would happen to the payments on a $200,000 home if the price were to go up 3% at the same time that the mortgage rates went up 1%. Not only would the payments go up by $150.81 per month, the price of the home would be $6,000 more. Even though the down payment may not change much, the new owner would have to borrow more money. By not acting, it is costing them more in price and payment. The loss of the appreciation would have been equity had they purchased prior to the rise in price. With the median price of a detached home in San Diego County coming in at $429,750 as of last month, a 3% price increase would cost the buyer even more.

cost of waiting to buy chart








Check out the Cost of Waiting to Buy to see what the effect will be using your own projections.

When Rates Go Up

FreddieMac PMMS 2013.pngRising interest rates are great if you are renewing a certificate of deposit but not so much when you’re borrowing money. With interest rates on the rise as well as home prices, housing affordability is a concern for would-be homeowners.

A rough rule of thumb is that a person’s or family’s housing should not exceed 28% of their monthly gross income. While rental rates and home prices have been consistently increasing, mortgage rates have been soaring in the past month. In one week, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, they jumped by .5%.

This means that people have to pay a larger percentage of their income for housing unless their incomes have been increasing at an equal pace.  A $200,000 mortgage would be over $100 more per month if closed in July compared to closing at the interest rates available in January of 2013.

If rates increase by .5% by the time you close on the same size mortgage, payments would increase by almost $60 per month. In order to keep the payments the same, a borrower would have to put an additional $11,000 down to lower the mortgage amount. 

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Check out how your payment would be affected if interest rates continue to rise.

Although The National Association of REALTORS® suggests that housing is more affordable now than one year ago, according to the California Association of Realtors® that is not the case in California. Their May 2013 statistics show the largest year-over-year price gain in at least the last 33 years. Also, with all of the variables in play including inflation that were not addressed in this piece, it is unclear how long conditions will remain “affordable.” 

Refinancing Again

We’re constantly bombarded by lenders to refinance our mortgage under a variety of programs. The volume of offers can almost make you numb to the rational consideration.

There are common rules of thumbs that homeowners and agents use such as not refinancing more often than every two years or there must be at least 2% savings from your previous mortgage rate may not always be accurate.

The reality is that if you can refinance for a lower rate and you’ll be in the home long enough to recapture the cost of refinancing, it should be considered. The costs of previous refinancing that haven’t been recaptured by monthly savings may need to be added to the costs of the new refinance.

Take a look at the chart that shows the average rates according to Freddie Mac for 2012. They are lower today than they were in January of 2012 and for the ten years before that.

Refinancing may save you a substantial amount of money, especially if you’re going to be in your home for a long time. It is definitely worth investigating. To get a quick idea of what your savings could be, use this refinancing calculator.