August Round Up: Rates Hit All Time Low
In Freddie Mac's results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), the fixed-rate mortgages reached record lows, while the 5-year adjustable rate remained tied at its low for this survey.
30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.36 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending August 26, 2010, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.42 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.14 percent.
15-year FRM this week averaged a record low of 3.86 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from the previous week when it averaged 3.90 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.58 percent.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.56 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from the previous week when it also averaged 3.56 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.67 percent.
1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.52 percent this week with an average 0.7 point, down slightly from the previous week when it also averaged 3.53 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.69 percent. Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage. Quotes
Attributed to Amy Crews Cutts, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac.
"Existing home sales plunged 27 percent in July, while new homes fell 12 percent to a new all-time record low, which led to some market concerns that the housing market may slow the economic recovery. As a result, long-term bond yields fell to the lowest levels since January 2009, allowing fixed mortgage rates to ease to new record lows this week.
"Much of the slowdown in sales, however, was expected due to the recently expired homebuyer tax programs, which pulled through future home purchases into the first half of the year. For instance, average existing home sales over the first seven months of 2010 were nearly 8 percent higher than over the same period a year ago.
"Moreover, house prices still appear to be stabilizing. Nationally, house prices rose 0.9 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis during the second quarter of this year this year after 11 consecutive quarterly declines, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's purchase only index. Eight of the nine census regions experienced positive gains, compared to none in the first quarter."
Contingent Offers Regaining Popularity
Offers contingent on buyers’ ability to sell their current residence are increasing in popularity. They were almost unheard of during the go-go early 2000s, but common 20 years before that.
Sellers generally don’t like these kinds of offers because it puts them in limbo. If their buyers’ home doesn’t sell, they can be back at square one. Also, once sellers accept a contingent sale offer, they must disclose this to other potential buyers, and that can discourage a buyer prepared to make a better offer.
Sellers who accept contingent-sale offers can include an escape clause in the contract. This clause allows the sellers to notify the contingent-sale buyers of a competing offer and they must remove the contingency in 72 hours (on average) or lose the home.
Three Reasons to Buy a Home Now
Stocks are up from the March 2009 bottom. Some commodities have risen dramatically. The only asset class left in the cellar is real estate, says Michael Murphy, editor of the New World Investor stock newsletter.
As a result, Murphy is advising investors to buy now for these three reasons:
# Anxious sellers: Both home owners and lenders are eager to unload a flood of foreclosed and underwater properties. Buyers with the patience to push through these complex deals can save a bundle.
# Little competition. Because most people don’t have what it takes to negotiate their way through short sales and REOs, patient investors are winners.
# Low rates. Mortgage rates are at their lowest level in 40 years. If you believe inflation is inevitable, lock in now.