Rate Buydowns Instead of Price Reductions; BETTER for Everyone!

We are starting to see a lot of stale listings at the higher end of the market. This is b/c “slow season” is starting and b/c the high-end market seems to be slowing in general due to affordability issues and anxieties about the market overall. As a result, we are seeing frequent price reductions that […]Read More

Why Interest Rate Might Be Higher at Contract Time Than at Pre-Approval Time; Not a “Bait & Switch” :)

We pre-approved a borrower in August and sent him numerous estimated payment scenarios, based exactly on the interest rates available at that time. When he went into contract in mid-September, we locked him at a 1/4% higher rate than what we estimated in August. The borrower was upset b/c he thought we pulled a “bait […]Read More

Why “Refi” Rates Are Higher Than “Purchase” Rates

Refinance borrowers sometimes see the rate quote in my daily blog and ask why their rate is higher than the “purchase money” rate quote in my blog. B/c this has been happening more often than not lately, I thought it warranted a brief explanation. ASSUMPTIONS FOR BLOG VS. FACTS FOR REFI The assumptions we use […]Read More

Rates Fell Again – Why? Unexpected, As Per Usual

Rates have moved steadily lower over the last week. And, as per usual, nobody saw it coming. The unexpected news that pushed rates down included the following: Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Inquiry. Major uncertainty in both political and economic arenas tends to push rates down. Waning Consumer Confidence. Traders watch these surveys closely and react sharply […]Read More

The Fed Cut Rates by 1/4 Point And Mortgage Rates Fell Marginally

The Fed cut the Fed Funds Rate by 1/4 percent yesterday, and rates…actually fell after the announcement. I was almost disappointed to see that b/c it will again confuse people about the influence the Fed has on mortgage rates. Briefly and once again – the Fed cut “The Fed Funds Rate” which is a short […]Read More

Will Rates Fall Again? Yes, But Probably Not Soon

Barry Habib is a relatively famous mortgage industry pundit and a Broadway musical producer (l learned today) who was on The National Real Estate Post today discussing the future of interest rates. He has a lot of credibility in the industry as of late b/c he has become relatively skilled at predicting interest rate movements, […]Read More

Mortgage Debt Hits Record High of $9.4 Trillion! Time to Worry?

  According to this WSJ article, mortgage debt hit a record high of $9.4 trillion in the 2nd Quarter of this year. This exceeds the previous record of $9.3 trillion set in 2008, prior to the mortgage meltdown. Should we be worried that we are now back to pre-meltdown debt levels? In a word – […]Read More

Trade Wars Spark Lowest Rates Since 2016; Why?

Over the last four business days, rates have fallen to their lowest levels since 2016. The primary reason is an escalating trade war with China; it was not the Fed’s rate cut, as I have now mentioned more than a few times, as the rate cut was highly anticipated and fully accounted for long before […]Read More

When Can Borrowers Lock Their Rate? Rate Volatility

BORROWERS OFTEN WANT TO LOCK PRIOR TO GETTING INTO CONTRACT Borrowers often want to lock in their interest rates prior to going into contract (they typically want to take advantage of low rates before they go up). We are unfortunately unable to do so b/c we need to identify a property address before we can […]Read More

Why Fed Rate Cuts Often Don’t Result In Lower 30-Year Fixed Rates

The Fed reduced the Fed Funds Rate by 1/4 percent and 30-year fixed rates are actually now slightly HIGHER. I have blogged about this paradox many times b/c it is so confusing to borrowers and agents alike. Many of our clients are in fact asking us if they can now get a 1/4 percent lower […]Read More

What Moves Interest Rates

I’ve touched on interest rates often in recent months b/c the most recent drop has been so surprising. Examples: Are Low Rates the New Normal? Rates Hit 19-Month Low; Will They Stay Low Borrowers and agents alike are nevertheless still asking if rates will stay low or move lower, so I thought it was time […]Read More

Rates – “Sticky” Down; “Slippery” Up; Why We Like to Lock

Rates moved higher today primarily in response to the removal of tariff threats with Mexico. I mention often how good economic news (regarding employment, retail sales, GDP growth, trade, etc.) usually moves rates higher while bad news tends to push rates lower. But, the market’s response to good and bad news is not always proportional. […]Read More

“Rates Hit 19-Month Low” – Why? Will They Stay Low? Rate Roll-Downs

Rates hit a 19-month low and the headlines prompted some of our borrowers to ask about “rolling down” their locked-in rates. RATE “ROLL-DOWNS” Rates, however, have been hovering very close to their current levels for the last few months. So, while rates have bottomed out, the improvements have been marginal. When lenders lock in a […]Read More

7 Dangers From Falling for “Rate Quotes”

Our borrowers come to us constantly with rate quotes from other lenders, and that is all well and good because our rates are very low and we love competition! What is not good though is that those quotes are often misleading or inaccurate, or they can’t be honored at all. And worst of all from […]Read More

How Points, Origination Fees and Lender Credits Affect Rates

In Friday’s Blog, I pointed out how many things affect a buyer’s interest rate, including Credit Score, Loan Amount, Property Type, Lock Period, LTV, etc. But – I received questions asking how “points” and “origination fees” affect rates – the subject of today’s blog. POINTS, ORIGINATION FEES, & DISCOUNT POINTS Even though distinctions can be […]Read More

There Is No “30 Year Rate;” Many Factors Influence A Buyer’s Rate

We often have buyers or agents ask: “What is your 15-year rate today?” Or “What is today’s interest rate?” We always respond by explaining there is no single rate, b/c the market moves so often and b/c there are so many things that affect an individual borrower’s rate. Here are factors that influence an individual’s […]Read More

Why Rates Matter So Much Now

GOV’T SHUTDOWN UPDATE The IRS has agreed to process tax transcripts (tax return verifications). This is good news, as this could have held up the funding of numerous loans. REALTOR DROPS LOAN OFFICER B/C HIS RATES WERE TOO HIGH My wife Heejin recently visited a Realtor who had been using the same loan officer for […]Read More

The Fed Lost Control Over Interest Rates; Now What?

RATES AT 8 MONTH LOW Rates are at an eight-month low right now – about 1/2 percent lower than they were at their peak in October. I should add though that they still remain about 1/2 percent higher than they were last year at this time. So, did the Fed finally achieve its stated goal […]Read More

Two Areas Big Banks Beat Us: CRA and Private Banking

I mentioned yesterday that we have been beating the “big banks” across the board on the interest rate front. But, there are two areas where we rarely beat the big banks in rate: CRA Loans and Private Banking. CRA LOANS CRA stands for Community Reinvestment Act. It is a law that “encourages” (aka requires) banks […]Read More

Surprising Reasons Why People Are Refinancing

The Fed raised short-term rates again yesterday but rates still remain much lower than expected. Part of the reason is that investors think the rate increases will hurt the economy at this point. As a result, investors moved from stocks to bonds and this demand for bonds keeps rates lower than expected. In any case, […]Read More

Jumbo Rates Are LOWER Than Our Conforming; Jumbo vs. Conforming

Our Jumbo rates are as much as 1/2 percent lower than our Conforming (Fannie and Freddie) rates. Our low Jumbo rates are also available for qualified borrowers down to the “low balance” conforming loan limit of $484,350. These very low Jumbo rates are highly unusual and there are several reasons for this including: (1) Fannie […]Read More

Good News! Fed Says Rate Increases May Halt

We have almost 1,000 pre-approved borrowers in our pipeline and all of them breathed a sigh of relief yesterday. The reason? Two top officials from the Federal Reserve recently implied that the Fed may be done or close to done pushing up rates (a December increase is still likely). Our pre-approved borrowers should be delighted […]Read More

What Could Bring Rates Plummeting Back Down?

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.83% in October. We have not seen rates that high since 2011, and the Fed seems determined to continue to push rates up. Even though it seems likely that rates will continue to climb, there are some things that could bring them down again. […]Read More

Rates Down Despite Fed’s 4th Increase in One Year; Why?

On December 14th, 2016, I quoted a rate of 4.0%* in this blog. Today I will quote 3.75%. It is interesting that 30 year fixed rates have fallen 1/4 percent over the last year even though the Fed has ostensibly increased rates four times. The Fed increased rates yesterday again and 30-year rates are lower […]Read More

Timing The Bottom For Rates? Get While Gettin’ Is Good

Borrowers often ask us if we think rates will fall further before they lock, and they often want to “time to the market” and lock in their rate at the “bottom.” As a result, they are sometimes reluctant to lock or get us their paperwork. This in turn delays purchase transactions and sometimes causes borrowers […]Read More

Rates Down After Fed Pushed Rates Up? Why?

The Fed raised the short-term Fed Funds rate yesterday by 1/4% to a range of 0.75% to 1.00%. And long term interest rates fell. Here are a few reasons why this happened. First of all, the markets anticipated the increase and had already accounted for it. Rates actually improved after the increase was announced, in […]Read More

Higher Rates Won’t Hurt Housing Prices Per Fannie Mae Economist

Several Realtors have asked us recently about the effect of higher rates on housing prices. This is b/c their own clients are concerned about buying now and risking a decline in values. According to Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist, Doug Duncan, rate increases usually do not portend a decrease in values for several reasons. 1. If […]Read More

Why Higher Rates Are Good? Rates Up After Fed Announced More Rate Increases

In real estate, we focus on the harm of higher interest rates – higher mortgage payments, less buying power, and fewer refinances for lenders. But, there are some good things for the economy overall that come from higher rates, and this benefits real estate in the long run. Here are a few benefits of higher […]Read More

Factors That Affect A Borrower’s Rate

Borrowers often come to us after getting misleading rate quotes from large banks or online lenders. This is because the loan officers sometimes quote rates before obtaining all of the necessary information. There are many factors that influence interest rates. This is why it is impossible for us to just quote a rate before assessing […]Read More

What Does Trump’s Win Mean for Mortgages and Markets?

As we mentioned in “State of Rates,” rates increased sharply after Mr. Trump was elected. In the shorter run, we can expect rates to remain where they are or to continue to edge higher, unless significant negative economic news surfaces. Longer term, rates are expected to rise, but we have seen this prediction dashed time […]Read More

Perspective for Fence Sitters Concerned About Rates & Presidents

This is one of the few times we have seen rates increase after a major election, but it was not b/c rates were being held artificially low by any power in government prior to the election. It is simply market forces reacting. We have had a few fence sitters lately, not wanting to get into […]Read More

Interest Rate Increases – Effect, Likelihood and Perspective

There is a lot of talk once again about rates increasing, especially b/c the Fed is indicating they will try to push rates up in December. But here is some perspective. The Fed may not be able to push long-term rates up. When the Fed increased the short term Fed Funds rate last December, it […]Read More

Factors That Affect A Borrower’s Rate; Must Know Before Quoting Rate

Borrowers often come to us after getting misleading rate quotes from large banks or on-line lenders. This is b/c the loan officers sometimes quote rates before obtaining all of the necessary information. There are many factors that influence interest rates. This is why it is impossible for us to just quote a rate before assessing […]Read More

Timing The Bottom for Rates? Get While Gettin’ is Good; Refi Again

Borrowers often ask us if we think rates will fall further before they lock, or they want to “time to the market” and lock in their rate at the “bottom.” As a result, they are sometimes reluctant to lock or get us their paperwork. This in turn delays purchase transactions, and sometimes causes borrowers to […]Read More

Comparing Rates Among Lenders – Factors, Considerations, Yelp

Sometimes other lenders (usually big banks) buy the market and quote very low rates. But, more often than not, many loan officers misquote rates b/c they do not have all of the necessary information, and they are trying to lure in borrowers any way they can.** This is why we now request rate-quotes in writing […]Read More

Strong Employment Report; Rate Discussion

Rates increased again this morning in response to a strong employment report. Job creation was up more than expected; the unemployment rate dropped more than expected, and wage rates increased more than expected. This surprisingly strong report makes it more likely that the Fed will actually raise rates in December, but we’ve heard this before […]Read More

Three Reasons To Lock Now Or Sooner Rather Than Later; Can’t Time

We often have borrowers reluctant to lock in a rate b/c they want to time the market, and lock when rates “bottom out.” This almost never works and often creates major issues for several reasons. First – it is impossible to time the market; nobody knows what the market will do, ever. We have seen […]Read More

Annual Percentage Rate or “APR” – Includes MI

“Annual Percentage Rates,” or APRs, remain confusing to many borrowers (and to most loan officers). We want to address them again because they are especially confusing with respect to FHA Loans. The intent of the APR disclosure requirement is good; it is to prevent lenders from advertising unduly low-interest rates without conveying the effective cost […]Read More

Credit Score Under 700 And Less Than 20% Down – FHA’s Better Deal

We have a borrower with a 670 credit score and 5% down payment who is comparing interest rates on the web, and getting severely misled. Borrowers often do not understand how significantly low credit scores affect interest rates with conventional financing. For borrowers with less than 20% down and lower credit scores (under 700, and […]Read More

Lender Paid M.I. Revisited – Why We Don’t Recommend It

We have been asked numerous times lately about “LPMI,” and it reminded us to re-publish the below comments. We have many conventional borrowers with less than 20% equity (or down payment) and an aversion to Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). These borrowers often ask about Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance or “LPMI.” With LPMI a lender simply […]Read More

Interest Expense Always Exceeds Tax Savings; Nobody “Needs” Write-off

There is no doubt that renters experience a tremendous tax benefit or subsidy when they buy a house. This is b/c they can deduct all of the interest and property taxes they pay from their income before calculating their tax liability. But, we often have borrowers who are confused about the nature of tax deductions, […]Read More

Loans/Rates Not a Commodity; Vary by Source, FICO, LTV, Loan Amount

Loans and Rates are not commodities. We reiterate this b/c so many borrowers ask us what “the” rate is. Or, they demand that we match an advertised rate they find on the internet or at a bank, when their loan is significantly different than what is getting advertised. Many things affect interest rates including Credit […]Read More

Property Type and Fico Score Can Significantly Affect Rate

We recently had a borrower request a verbal rate estimate after telling us her credit was perfect and that she was buying a townhouse/PUD. We estimated her “no points” rate at 3.875%, assuming her credit score was above 740. Her credit score was actually 718, and she was buying a condominium. The combination of these […]Read More

Economy May Be Back; Happy Holidays From JVM!

Rates shot up yesterday primarily in response to a much stronger than expected Gross Domestic Product report, indicating that the US Economy is growing much faster than expected. This news sent stock prices way up and bond prices down, as investors left bonds for stocks. This is the type of news (along with strong employment […]Read More

Accrued Interest on Mortgages – Arrears, Skipping Payments

Interest on mortgages always accrues in arrears. This means your December 1st mortgage payment covers interest that accrued in November. In contrast, a December 1st car payment will cover interest that will accrue in December. For a purchase, borrowers pay interest through the end of the month, and then skip a payment. Hence, if a […]Read More

Accrued Interest and Mortgage Payment Myths

We had a seller recently who insisted on closing by month-end b/c he could “not afford another payment” on his mortgage. B/c we inherited the deal from another lender 7 days before month-end, we were not able to comply with the seller’s request. The seller was utterly confused, however. Interest was accruing against his mortgage […]Read More

Elections Don’t Affect Rates; CFPB Maybe

Elections (either pending or completed) usually do not move interest rates, or at least in the way people might expect. Rates historically move either up or down prior to Presidential elections (they do not always go down, as many think). And last night’s Republican victories did not affect the market significantly either. One hopeful outcome […]Read More