COVID-19 Pandemic Driven Serious Mortgage Delinquencies To Highest Levels Since The Great Recession

According to a report just released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), titled “Housing insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic“, there are over 2 million homeowners that have fallen behind at least three months on their mortgage payments.  This represents a 250% increase from pre-Covid-19 levels and is now at a level we haven’t seen since the height of the Great Recession in 2010.

Homeowners with an FHA mortgage delinquency rates double rate for all loans:

As the chart below shows, homeowners with an FHA mortgage hit a serious mortgage delinquency rate of 10.8% during the 3rd quarter of 2020, with the rate for all mortgages was just under half that at 5.2%.

Serious Mortgage Delinquency Rate By Loan Type- Q1 2005 – Q3 2020

Seroious Mortgage Delinquency Rate By Loan Type- Q1 2005 - Q3 2020

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Increase Maximum Loan Amounts

Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency  (FHFA)announced that effective January 1s, 2021, the maximum loan amounts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loans will be increased from $510,400 to $548,250.  Once a home buyers loan amount exceeds the Fannie and Freddie limits, their loan is considered a “jumbo” loan and typically less attractive terms, so an increase in the Fannie and Freddie limits is definitely helpful to home buyers in higher price ranges.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also increasing the loan limits for loans to purchase multi-family properties as well.  The multi-family property limits for 2021 are:

  • Two Units – $702,000
  • Three Units – $848,500
  • Four Units – $1,054,500

Mortgage Interest Rates Expected To Continue Falling Until Hitting 2.9 Percent Next Year

Fannie Mae issued their monthly housing forecast for April which includes, among other data, a forecast of what mortgage interest rates will be in the coming months.  Last months forecast had projected that mortgage rates would continue to decline moving forward but only to a low of 3.1% before the end of 2021 while the April forecast predicted the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage would fall to 2.9% in the 2nd quarter of 2021 and stay there through the balance of the year.

If you’re able, now’s the time to buy!

While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as job loss, is going to take some would-be home buyers out of the market, for those that are still able to buy, now is a great time to buy a home.  There are many factors that play in favor of buyers today, such as the fact that there are about 1/3 fewer of them (buyers in the market) now than this time last year, sellers that want to have fewer people coming through their homes and interest rates.  As our chart below shows, not only are rates low now, they are projected to go much lower even.

Why not wait until next year when the rates hit their lowest?

Good question, but there are several reasons not to wait.  First off, the rates shown on my chart are “projections”, or to put it another way “an educated guess”, so there is no guarantee rates will actually come down as predicted.  In addition, once the stay at home orders go away and we start moving back to something closer to normal, I anticipate there will be a flood of buyers to the market which, along with lower interest rates (if that happens) will likely drive home prices up.  So, for buyers that are able, they may get a better buy today, with less competition, still get a good interest rate and then if rates do fall as predicted can easily refinance to take advantage of lower rates.

Fannie Mae Mortgage Interest Rate Forecast April 2020 (Chart)

Fannie Mae Mortgage Interest Rate Forecast April 2020 (Chart)

Data source: Fannie Mae – Copyright ©2020 St Louis Real Estate News, all rights reserved

HUD To Allow Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19 To Defer House Payments For Up to a Year

As a result of the COVID-19 National Emergency Servicing and Loss Mitigation Program declared by President Trump, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sent a letter yesterday to its loan servicers making them aware of new COVID-19 National Emergency Loss Mitigation Options.  HUD told the lenders that the new options for borrowers go into effect immediately but the lender must implement them no later than April 30, 2020.

Highlights of the new forbearance plan:

  • The Mortgagee (lender)  must not deny COVID-19 National Emergency Home Retention Options to Borrowers that experience an adverse impact on their ability to make on-time Mortgage Payments due to the COVID-19 National Emergency and satisfy the loss mitigation criteria set forth in this section.
    • (A) Forbearance for Borrowers Affected by the COVID-19
      National Emergency If a Borrower is experiencing a financial hardship negatively impacting their ability to make on-time Mortgage Payments due to the COVID-19 National Emergency and makes a request for a forbearance, the Mortgagee must offer the Borrower a forbearance, which allows for one or more periods of reduced or suspended payments without specific terms of repayment.
    • The initial forbearance period may be up to 6 months. If needed, an
      additional forbearance period of up to 6 months may be requested by
      the Borrower and must be approved by the Mortgagee.
      The term of either the initial or the extended forbearance may be
      shortened at the Borrower’s request
      (B) COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim
      The Mortgagee must waive all Late Charges, fees, and penalties, if
      any, as long as the Borrower is on a Forbearance Plan.

For any homeowners with an FHA loan that are struggling to make their house payments, they should contact their loan servicer to see if they are eligible for relief under this plan.




Payments On Typical St Charles County Home Over 13 Percent Cheaper Today Than Year Ago

The typical median-priced existing home sold for $233,000 in February 2019 and a year later, as the chart below shows, in February 2020 the typical median-priced home sold for $235,000, an increase of just under 1%.  Here’s the beauty though, thanks to interest rates dropping from an average of 4.41% a year ago to 3.29% today, even with the slight increase in price, the typical St Charles County home costs less today than a year ago!  Not just by a little either as the payment on the median price a year ago (no money down) would have been $1,178.18 at the current rates at the time, the payment today, at the higher price but lower rates would be just $1,019.15, a savings of $159.03/month or 13.5%!  Oh, and just to show the “compound effect” of this, over the life of the loan, you will save $55,249 in interest.

So, what are you waiting for?  Buy a house!

St Charles County Existing Home Sales – Past 13 Months

(click on chart for live-interactive chart)

St Charles County Existing Home Sales - Past 13 Months

Mortgage Interest Rates Hit All-Time Low!

Mortgage interest rates hit a record low this week with an average interest rate of 3.29% on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.  As the chart below shows, interest rates came close to this level at the end of 2012 but then quickly shot up to over 4.5% shortly after.

Now is the time to buy or at least refinance!

Anyone that has been thinking of buying a home should, if able, shift into high geat and find one now to take advantage of the low rates and the increased buying power that comes with it.  The first step would be to get yourself pre-approved and, for that, I would recommend Michael McCarthy with Flat Branch Home Loans…he’s great and our firm does a lot of business with him.  You can find his info at  If you a homeowner with a mortgage and no plans to move, I would also suggest you get in touch with Mike to see how much money you can save by refinancing your existing mortgage at a lower rate.

Mortgage Interest Rates – 30 Year Fixed-Rate

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Mortgage Interest Rates - 30 Year Fixed-Rate


Mortgage Interest Rates….How low can they go??

For quite a while now we have enjoyed the positive effects on the real estate market from low mortgage rates but it looks like it’s going to get even better!  Yesterday’s announcement by the Fed of the emergency step of lowering the benchmark U.S. interest rate by one-half of one percent, in an effort to offset the negative effect tot eh financial markets from the coronavirus will likely lead to even lower mortgage interest rates.

What’s the connection between the federal funds rate and mortgage interest rates? This is something often asked not only by homebuyers but is even within the real estate community as since the Federal Reserve doesn’t “set” mortgage rates, the connection is not always clear.  I’m not an expert in this area by no means, but I have a decent understanding of it and will share it from the perspective of the most popular home mortgage, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.  First, we have to understand where the money for those mortgages comes from.  It comes from investors, investors that compare an investment in 30-year mortgages to other comparable investments.  One of those comparable investments would be the 30-year treasury.

Continue reading “Mortgage Interest Rates….How low can they go??

Why I’m Bullish On Real Estate For 2020

As you may have noticed, I’ve been pretty optimistic about the outlook for the real estate market this year however, that is not always the case as I call it like I see it.  The reason for my optimism is based upon what a true data geek like myself would base it upon, data!  So, what’s the data that has me believing 2020 will be a good year for the housing market in St Louis and beyond?  Several things:

  • As I have been reporting here for the past couple of years now, mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates have continued to decline which show the strength of the economy as a whole as well as the housing industry.
  • As the US Economic Indicators charts below show, since peaking around 2010, the unemployment rate, 30-year mortgage rate and mortgage delinquency rates have all steadily declines to either record lows or at least the lowest rate in recent history.
  • As the St Louis unemployment, home prices and rent chart below shows, unemployment in St Louis has fallen to the lowest level in decades and the relationship between home prices and rents show home prices lagging behind rents indicating that we’ll likely see continued, good housing appreciation rates.
  • As the 30-year fixed rate mortgage chart below shows, mortgage rates are at near record low rates giving buyers much more buying power.  In my market update video I shared here a day or two ago I illustrate just how much more buying power this translates into.
  • As I reported last week, St Louis home sales last year managed to top the prior year slightly, in spite of the low-inventory market we have been stuck in.  This shows the demand that is out there.
  • As I reported earlier this week, the home sales trend for 2020 in St Louis is in positive territory has well.

Continue reading “Why I’m Bullish On Real Estate For 2020

FHA Loan Limits For St Louis MSA Increase to $331,760 January 1st

The maximum loan amount for an FHA-Insured home loan on January 1, 2020, will increase from $314.827 to $331,760 for a single-family home purchased in the St Louis metro area.  FHA insured home loans have lower credit standards than a typical conventional loan, require a downpayment of just 3.5% and allow all of the purchasers closing costs to be paid by the seller (up to a limit) thereby extending the opportunity of homeownership to a wider audience.

Below are all of the FHA Mortgage Limits for the St Louis MSA for 2020:

  • One-Family dwellings – $331,760
  • Two-Family dwellings – $424,800
  • Three-Family dwellings – $513,450
  • Four-Family dwellings – $638,100

To find out more about FHA home loans, or to get pre-approved for an FHA home loan click on the button below to connect with Mike McCarthy.

No Cap On No Money Down VA Loan After January 1st

Buying a home for veterans will get a little easier come January 1, 2020, especially those veterans moving up to a more expensive home, as a result of the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2019 signed into law by President Trump in June 2019.  The primary focus of the Act was to provide disability benefits to veterans who served in Vietnam, it also made significant changes to the VA Home Loan benefit available to all veterans.  The VA home loan changes go into effect on January 1, 2020.  Below are highlights of the changes to the VA home loan benefit:

  • Conforming Loan Limits – There will no longer be a limit, or cap, on the amount for a no-downpayment home loan to a veteran.
  • VA funding fee increase – The VA charges a funding fee to support the VA home loan program.  The fee is currently 0.15% for Veterans and Servicemembers and on January 1st will increase to 0.30%.
  • Purple Heart – The VA funding fee will be waived for active Servicemembers who have earned a Purple Heart.
  • Native America Direct Loan – As of January 1st, the existing cap of $80,000 will be removed for Veterans using their entitlement for a VA Native American Direct loan to purchase (or build) a home on Federal trust land.

To find out more about the changes to the VA home loan program, click on the button below to connect with Mike McCarthy,

Mortgage Delinquency Rate Hits Lowest Level 20 Years

The good news just keeps coming for the residential real estate industry!  The most recent is from a report just released by CoreLogic showing the mortgage delinquency rate in the U.S. was at 3.8%, the lowest rate in at least 20 years!  In addition, not one state in the country had an increase in overall delinquency rates in September.

Foreclosure Inventory Reaches Low as well…

The foreclosure inventory rate for September was 0.4%, another 20+ year low!

Mortgage Delinquency Rates Hit 14-Year Low In August

In August, the overall mortgage delinquency rate (30 or more days past due) was 3.7% for the U.S. which is a 0.2 percentage point decline from a year ago and is the lowest overall delinquency rate in 14-years, according to date just released by CoreLogic.  The delinquency rate for August of 3.7% marks the lowest delinquency rate during the month of  August in 20 years.  The serious delinquency rate (120+ days late) decline of 1.2% a year ago to just 1.0% in August 2019, nearly a record low.  The Foreclosure Rate fell in August 2019 to 0.4% from 0.5% a year ago.

Missouri mortgage delinquency rates are low as well…

During August 2019, the overall mortgage delinquency rate for Missouri was exactly the same as the national rate, 3.7%.  The serious delinquency rate in Missouri was 1.1%, just slightly above the national rate, and the foreclosure rate was 0.2%, half of the national rate.

See the current mortgage interest rates here.


St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – November 2019 – Low-Interest Rates And Consistent Sales Trends

The St Louis real estate market trends remain steady and consistent! The St Louis home sales and price trends give me an optimistic outlook for next year.  Low-interest rates continue to offset some of the cost of the increases in home prices that have occurred. Find out more, as well as get information on some of St Louis’s best resources for home buyers and sellers in our just-released market update video.

In our MORE, REALTORS, 5 Minute St Louis Real Estate Market Update video below, you can quickly and easily get the latest information on home prices, home sales, trends and more for the entire St Louis area!  

Thinking of selling and want to know if your neighborhood is a seller's market? Contact us and we'll  answer that question for you.
You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on "Subscribe Free".) St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

Sell Your Home For The Highest Price In The Least Amount of Time!  See how- 
Save Commission On Your Home Sale Without Sacrificing Service! See how-

Falling Interest Rates Make St Louis Homes Even More Affordable

Mortgage interest rates have been falling since last Thursday when the referendum passed for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union.  As the chart below shows, interest rates on a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage today averaged 3.44%, a new 52-week low and a decline of nearly 3/4 of 1 percent from a year ago when they were 4.20%.  The payment on a $160,000 home loan at today’s rates would be $713 (principal and interest), a decline of nearly 9 percent from a year ago when the payment on the same loan amount would have been $782.
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Continue reading “Falling Interest Rates Make St Louis Homes Even More Affordable

Mortgage Delinquency Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 5 Years

The mortgage delinquency rate for homeowners 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgages fell below 4 percent during the last quarter of 2013, the first time the delinquency rate has been below 4% since 2008, according to TransUnion.  According to the report, every state in the U.S. saw a decline in mortgage delinquency rates from to the 4th quarter of 2012 to the 4th quarter of 2013 with only two, New Jersey and New York, not seeing a double digit decline. See the info graphic below for more info. Continue reading “Mortgage Delinquency Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 5 Years

Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Record Low

St Louis Interest RatesMortgage interest rates keep falling and this week the interest rate on a 15 year fixed-rate mortgage hit a new record low of 2.8 percent, according to a weekly national survey conducted by  Interest rates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.57 percent this week, a four month low.

As the Bankrate report below for St. Louis shows, St. Louis interest rates are even better: Continue reading “Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Record Low

How to avoid being the victim of a loan modification scam

dennis-norman-st-louis-real-estateAccording to a recent report by the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (LMSPN), a national anti-scam effort comprised of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), and NeighborWorks America, there have been more than 30,000 loan modification scams reported in the past three years. According to the group, the scammers are becoming “increasingly aggressive online, using targeted web advertisements to reach homeowners who are searching for mortgage relief over the Internet.” The group cautions that homeowners should be aware that no one other than your present lender can guarantee any form of mortgage relief.

Below are six (6) warning signs to look for that may indicate you are dealing with a loan modification scammer: Continue reading “How to avoid being the victim of a loan modification scam

Interest Rate Change; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

FHA Interest Rate  Change:  MHDC’s Cash Assistance  Loan  (CAL)  is now 4%! (APR 4.93)

MHDC is raising mortgage interest rates offered to  first-time homebuyers.  First-time  home buyers receive a forgivable 3% cash assistance loan for down payment and  closing costs.
ask-the-expert Continue reading “Interest Rate Change; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

The Number of Homeowners With Negative Equity Continues to Decline

dennis-norman-realtorRising home prices helped 100,000 homeowners in the U.S. crawl out of a negative equity position during the 3rd quarter of 2012, according to a report just released by CoreLogic®.  During the first nine months of 2012, there were a total of 1.4 million homeowners that found themselves moving from a negative equity position on their homes to a positive equity position.  In spite of this vast improvement, twenty two percent of homeowners in the U.S. with a mortgage owe more on their homes than they are currently worth. Continue reading “The Number of Homeowners With Negative Equity Continues to Decline

FHA Loans May Become A Lot More Costly Soon

So…you are looking to buy a home in 2013 and are considering using a FHA mortgage for financing…don’t delay, because that FHA mortgage could end up costing more very soon.

HR 4264 or The Fiscal Solvency Act of 2012 is a bill that has overwhelmingly passed the House and is on its way to the Senate.  This bill among other things grants FHA the power to raise its mortgage insurance premiums to as high as 2.05% annually — nearly twice the 1.20% rate most FHA-Insured homeowners pay today.

Continue reading “FHA Loans May Become A Lot More Costly Soon

Streamline Your FHA Mortgage; St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has lowered mortgage insurance premiums on Streamline Refinance transactions. It will now be it easier for borrowers to take advantage of record low interest rates and save money each month.  Under this program, up-front mortgage insurance premiums will be reduced to 0.01 percent of the total loan amount for borrowers with FHA loans made before June 1, 2009. In addition, the annual MIP will be cut to 0.55 percent.  This streamlined refinance program is available to borrowers who are current on their FHA mortgage and may qualify even if they owe more than their homes are worth…no appraisal required.

For more information about this program,contact me by clicking below.

ask-the-expert Continue reading “Streamline Your FHA Mortgage; St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

St Louis Mortgage Delinquency Rate Declined Over Ten Percent In Past Year

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-During the third quarter of 2012, 3.71 percent of St Louis homeowners with a mortgage were 60+ days delinquent on their mortgage, a slight decline from the prior quarter when the rate was 3.88 percent and a decline of over 10 percent from a year ago when the St Louis mortgage delinquency rate was 4.13 percent, according to TransUnion.  This marks the third consecutive quarter the St Louis mortgage delinquency rate has declined.

St. Louis mortgage delinquency rates are significantly below the national delinquency rate which was 5.41 percent in the third quarter of this year.  Additionally, the St Louis mortgage delinquency rates are falling faster than the national average as the national mortgage delinquency rate was down just shy of 8 percent in the past year, well behind St Louis’ ten percent decline.



Survey shows thirty-two percent of Americans say it’s ok to strategically default on a mortgage

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-Strategic defaults are something I’ve written about several times over the past few years and is something that there are very strong feelings within the industry at opposite ends of the spectrum on in terms of whether they are OK to do or not. A strategic default is essentially when someone that has the ability to pay their mortgage but, usually because they are “underwater” (meaning they owe more than the property is worth), choose to “walk away” and allow the home to go into foreclosure. Almost one-third (32 percent) of Americans think there is nothing wrong with doing a strategic default, according to survey results just released by ID Analytics. Continue reading “Survey shows thirty-two percent of Americans say it’s ok to strategically default on a mortgage

Things You Should Know Before You Repair Your Credit; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

Make Sure You Get Your “Real” Scores!

Most banks and lenders use scores calculated by FICO (also known as Fair Isaac) and derived from your reports with the major national credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Be careful, the credit scores sold at popular credit report monitoring websites are NOT the same scores that lenders use!

A quick guide for using seller concessions when buying a home; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

What are sellers’ concessions?

A seller concession can be any negotiation where the seller, builder, developer, salesperson or any interested party gives a credit to the borrower at closing.   The seller concession can help lower or eliminate the amount of money a borrower is required to bring to the closing table.  Continue reading “A quick guide for using seller concessions when buying a home; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

FHA Financing is Great Alternative; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

FHA remains to be a great alternative for buyers with limited resources for a down payment and closing costs or past credit problems. Underwriting guidelines are more lenient than conventional guidelines. Continue reading “FHA Financing is Great Alternative; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

Should you consider a strategic default if you are underwater on your mortgage?


Over one in four homeowners in the U.S. with a mortgage are “underwatermeaning they owe more on their homes than they are currently worth and, according to data just released from a survey by Zillow, 75 percent of them are underwater by 40 percent or more meaning it will most likely be many years until they even have the hope of seeing equity in their home again. Nonetheless, this has not deterred the majority of these underwater homeowners from “staying the course” as 59 percent said would not consider a strategic default in order to get out from under their home. Continue reading “Should you consider a strategic default if you are underwater on your mortgage?

What to do about a low appraisal?;  St. Louis Mortgage rate update

The sale price for a house is $200,000, but the appraisal comes back at $190,000. Should the borrower still try to purchase this property or just leave it be? This is not unusual circumstance common in today’s real estate market; appraisals are coming in conservatively.

What action should the borrower take when there is a mismatch between the seller’s asking price and the home’s appraised value? Remember, the maximum loan amount is based upon the lower of the sale price or the appraised value, whichever is less. Continue reading “What to do about a low appraisal?;  St. Louis Mortgage rate update

Mortgage Delinquencies Fall to Three-Year Low

The percentage of first-lien mortgages that were current and performing at the end of the first quarter of 2012 increased to the highest levels in three years, according to a report published today by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Continue reading “Mortgage Delinquencies Fall to Three-Year Low

Mortgage delinquencies increase for second-consecutive month


The mortgage delinquency rate (the percentage of home loans 30 or more days past due) increased in May 1.1 percent from the month before according to the latest “First Watch Report” from Lenders Processing Services (LPS). While it’s a modest increase, this marks the second consecutive month we’ve seen an increase in mortgage delinquency rates reversing the downward trend for the 9 months prior which is not good. Since delinquent mortgages are the precursor to forelcosures and foreclosures have wreaked havoc on home prices, this is something we definitely want to keep an eye on. Continue reading “Mortgage delinquencies increase for second-consecutive month