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

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Mortgage Interest Rates Drop to Lowest Rate In Over a Year

After mortgage interest rates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage nearly hit 5 percent back in November, they have steadily declined and this past week fell to an average of 4.37% according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.  Last weeks 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate of 4.37% was the lowest average rate report by the survey since Feb 8, 2018, when the average rates were 4.32%.

The outlook for mortgage interest rates looks promising as well with the most recent Fannie Mae Housing Forecast predicting the 30-year fixed rate will stay at 4.5% through the end of 2020.

30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average In The U.S.

click on chart for live, interactive chart
30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average In The U.S.

Mortgage Delinquency Rate Falls To Lowest Level In More Than 12 Years

The overall mortgage delinquency rate in the U.S. fell in August to the lowest level in over 12 years, according to a report just released by CoreLogic.  According to the report, 4.2% of all St Louis home mortgages were 30+ days delinquent in August 2018, a decline of over 14% from a year ago when the rate was 4.9%.  During the same period, seriously delinquent mortgages, those that are 90+ days late, in St Louis dropped from 1.8% a year ago to 1.4% in August 2018, according to the report.

 

Mortgage Bankers Forecast Five-Percent Mortgage Rates Next Year

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), in their Mortgage Finance Forecast released this week predicted that interest rates on home mortgages will continue to rise this year and will hit 5% early next year.  According to the report, the interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is expected to come in at an average of 4.6% for the 3rd quarter, which just ended and then rise to an average of 4.9% during the last quarter of this year.  Interest rates are then forecast to hit 5.0% during the 1st quarter of 2019, rise to 5.1% by the second quarter, then stay around 5.1% through the end of 2020, according to the report.

St Louis Mortgage Interest Rates

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

St Louis Mortgage Interest Rates

 

 

Mortgage Interest Rates After Peaking In May Are Staying Down Near April Levels

Today, Freddie Mac, through their Primary Mortgage Market Survey® revealed that for the current average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is at 4.52%. which is just a slight decline from a week ago when the rate was 4.53% and the same as the week before that.  After 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit 4.66%, the highest rate in 7-years, back in late May, they have been trending downward a little, which is good news for the real estate market!

30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average – 2000 – Present

(Click on Chart for LIVE chart with current data)30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average - 2000 - Present

 

Home Loan Origination Data Showing Impact Of Interest Rates On Refi’s But Not Home Purchases In St Louis

Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and hit their highest level in seven years toward the end of May, however, the higher rates don’t appear to be having an effect on the number of people in St Louis obtaining home loans yet.  The table below is based upon the latest data from ATTOM Data Research, just released yesterday, and shows that there were 6,830 home purchase mortgage loans obtained in the St Louis metro area during the 1st quarter of this year.  This represents an increase of nearly 10% from the number of home purchase mortgage loans that were obtained in St Louis a year ago.  Even if we go back to the first quarter of 2016, when the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate was below 4%, there were just 6,093 home purchase loan originations, 12.1% fewer than the most recent quarter.

The number of St Louis homeowners refinancing their home mortgages during the first quarter of this year dropped over 10% from a year ago and was down over 15% from the first quarter of 2016.


St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – June 2018

There is a lot of activity in the St Louis real estate market!  The inventory of homes for sale in St Louis remains low,  interest rates have dropped a little over the past couple of weeks, home prices are beginning to soften as we move beyond the peak spring market and demand is still strong.

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!  

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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

 

Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Highest Level In Over Seven Years

Freddie Mac has been tracking average mortgage rates since 1971 through their Primary Mortgage Market Survey® and yesterday it revealed that, as the chart below shows, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 4.6%, the highest rate in over 7 years.  The last time mortgage interest rates were this high was back on May 5, 2011 when the 30-year rate hit 4.71%.

Even with the recent increase, mortgage interest rates are still reasonably low from a historical perspective.  As the second chart below illustrates, 20 years ago the rates were around 8 percent.  Mortgage interest rates then spent nearly a decade around the 5% – 6% range before beginning the descent after the housing bubble burst in 2008.

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Mortgage Interest Rates – 2018- Chart

Mortgage Interest Rates - 2018- Chart 

Mortgage Interest Rates – 1995 -2018- Chart

Mortgage Interest Rates - 2017- Chart 

 

New Home Construction In St Louis Area Trending Upward In Most Areas – St Charles County Sees Decline

New home construction in the St Louis area is off to a good start for 2018 with a total of 326 building permits for new homes being issued during January for the 7-county St Louis area reported on by the Home Builders Association of Eastern Missouri.  This permit activity in January represents an 11% increase over the activity in January 2017 when there were 293 new home permits issued.  During the month of January 2018, 4 of 7 counties saw an increase in building permits from January 2017 (Jefferson County +26%, Franklin County +143%, Warren County +1%, St Louis City +371%) while the remaining 3 saw declines (St Louis County -25%, St Charles County -10%, Lincoln County -29%).

It takes more than a month for a trend…

Just like I often comment with regard to home prices and sales, looking at a single month of activity really does not paint the whole picture and, while it may be a good “leading-indicator” of where things are headed, it’s not going to accurately depict a trend.  For this, I believe looking at the past 12-month period and comparing it to the prior 12-month period is more accurate.  It takes into account the seasonal fluctuations that occur and adjust for unseasonal weather during a given month that could skew the data if just looking at a one-month period.  The table belows the total building permits for the 12-month period ending January 31, 2018 and comparies that activity to the prior 12-month period for each of the 7-counties reported on.   As you can see, five of the counties have a double-digit increase in new home building permits issued from the prior 12-month period while St Charles County shows a double-digit decline, and Lincoln County a slight decline.

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New Home Building Permits- St Louis Area – January 2018

New Home Building Permits- St Louis Area - January 2018

St Louis Neighborhoods That Sold The Fastest In The Last 30 Days

The St Louis real estate market typically hits its peak during the spring months then continues strong into summer. Come August, the housing market in St Louis tends to slow as families squeeze in vacations and school begins. After Labor Day we normally see an increase in activity until the market goes into something reminiscent of hibernation for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Even though Labor Day is just a few days away, home sales that closed within the past 30 days show that homes are still selling quickly in St Louis. Below is our list of the 10 St Louis cities where homes sold the fastest in the past 30 days. As the list reveals, the city of Manchester, where homes that sold did so in a median time of only 11 days, came in at number 1 on the list and the median time to sell was only 15.5 days for the cities on the top 10 list.

St Louis Fastest Sold Cities

(click on table for complete and up to date information)



Mortgage Loan Delinquency Rates Hit Lowest Level Since 2000

According to a report just released by Corelogic, the 30-59 day mortgage delinquency rate in March (the most recent month reported) fell to just 1.7%, the lowest level since January 2000.  The “seriously delinquency” rate (30+ days late) fell to 4.4% in March, the lowest level sine November 2007, according to Corelogic.

In addition, the “transition rates” all improved as well from a year ago.  Transition rates show which way the borrowers are moving, from slightly delinquent to more delinquent, or from slightly delinquent to current for example.  Below are the transition rates for March 2017, according to the Corelogic report:

  • Borrowers going from current to 30 days late – 0.6% for March 2017, down from 0.7% in March 2016
  • Borrowers going from 30 days late to 60 days late – 11.6% for March 2017, down from 13.2% in March 2016
  • Borrowers going from 60 days late to 90 days late – 20.8% for March 2017, down from 23.1% in March 2016

All of this is good news for the real estate industry as the trends are positive and are is a good “leading indicator” of what is to come.  As mortgage delinquencies decrease, foreclosures, short sales and other distressed home sales decline, putting less downward pricing pressure on the housing market and providing sustainability to the improving housing market.

Speaking of mortgages, if you are considering refinancing, want to know what current rates and terms are, or would like to get pre-approved for a mortgage, I would highly recommend speaking with Ryan Derryberry, a mortgage loan professional with Movement Mortgage.  Ryan is a great guy, is honest and knows his stuff. Movement is a great company, founded and operated on great principals and offer some mortgage products you won’t find anywhere else….More information on Ryan, including his contact info, can be found here.

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Mortgage Delinquency Rates Continue To Fall And Now Back To Normal

Mortgage Delinquency rates, borrowers that are 60 or more days past due, are projected to be 2.21 percent for the 4th quarter of 2016, down from 2.46% the quarter before and marking the 13th consecutive quarter mortgage delinquency rates have fallen, according to a report just released by TransUnion.  According to the report, mortgage delinquency rates peaked at 7.21 percent during the 1st quarter of 2010 and have declined for 23 of the last 26 quarters since.  TransUnion considers the current mortgage delinquency rate to be normal and is projecting the delinquency rate will fall even further next year down to 2.11% by the end of 2017.

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Mortgage Rates Hit Highest Rate In 2016 This Week

According to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) released yesterday for the past week, interest rates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage increased 5 basis points (1/20th of 1%) to 4.13 percent , the highest rate they have been at during 2016.  Last year at this time the PMMS showed average interest rates at 3.95 percent so, while rates have increased over the past year, the amount has been fairly small.

However, mortgage interest rates are being forecasted by many economists and industry guru’s to hit 4.5% – 5.0% during 2017.  While we’ve seen predictions like that for a couple of years in a row now, I think it’s going to come true this time therefore, if you have been thinking about buying, you may want to start looking now!

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Home Loan Applications Decline As Do Mortgage Interest Rates; St Louis bucks trend

New mortgage applications for a home purchase declined last week 7.0 percent from the prior week, according to a report just released by the Mortgage Banker’s Association (MBA).  The MBA’s Market Composite Index, which is how they track the volume of loan applications, fell to it’s lowest level for home loans for a purchase since January 2016.

Interest rates decline as well…

While the number of loan applications declined, so did the interest rate on home mortgages, according to the MBA report:

  • 30 year fix rate conventional mortgages decreased to 3.71 percent from 3.73 the week before,
  • 30 year fixed rate jumbo loans (larger than $417,000) decreased to 3.71 percent from 3.72 percent the week before,
  • FHA loans bucked the trend with interest rates increasing to 3.56 percent from 3.54 percent the week before,
  • 5/1 ARMS decreased to 2.93 percent from 2.97 percent.

St Louis home sales increase 5 percent during the same period:

The tables below reflect St Louis home sales for the same one-week period, compared with prior week, as in the MBA’s report and illustrate that St Louis perhaps appears to be bucking the trend.  St Louis  saw an increase in home sales during the most recent week, which, theoretically, should translate into an increase in home mortgage applications, contrary to what we see in the MBA report on a national basis.

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Finally Others Agree That The Mortgage Interest Deduction Isn’t Critical To The Housing Market

Over the past 5 years or so I have written a few articles on the topic of the mortgage interest deduction (MID) and how, in spite of what many others in the industry say, I didn’t think it was that critical to the housing industry.  All the while, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) (of which I’m proud to be a member, just happen to disagree on this topic) has staunchly supported the MID and warned that if the deduction went away the housing market and home buyers would suffer.  NAR published a fact sheet on the topic stating:

  • Repealing the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is a form of tax increase. Families with children would bear more than half of the total increase.
  • IRS data show that taxpayers in the 35-45 age group take the largest MID on average compared to any other age group of taxpayers.
  • First time home buyers would be hurt the most if the MID is curtailed.
  • Current data from the IRS show that 65% of the taxpayers who have claimed the MID made less than $100,000.
  • The housing market has not emerged from the crisis that began in 2007.

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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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Home Affordability Rises In St Louis County, Falls In St Charles County

A recent article by STL Today indicated that home affordability in St Louis had fallen, specifically noting that affordability in St Louis County had fallen below historic “norms”.  As is always the case with stats, it depends upon which data you are taking into account and the accuracy of the data.  I decided to take a look at the data and see if my data showed the same result as the STL Today article.

 Affordability is UP in St Louis county, not DOWN…

As the table below shows, home affordability in St Louis county has actually increased in the past year, not decreased as reported in the aforementioned article.  For the purposes of my analysis, I used  home sales data for “non-distressed” sales only, so not including foreclosures or short sales, to get a more accurate picture of the true market.

Affordability has improved in Jefferson County as well but, as the table below shows, has declined in the past year in the city of St Louis, Franklin county and St Charles county.
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The Truth About The Mortgage Interest Deduction

Before I begin, I should point out that what I’m about to tell you runs contrary to what the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the largest trade association in the country and one I belong to and support, will tell you.  The NAR position on the mortgage interest deduction (MID) is, quoting from their website, “the mortgage interest deduction (MID) is a remarkably effective tool that facilitates homeownership.”  Many St Louis REALTORS® will echo the message of NAR but I think if more people took the time to look into the MID, and do a little simple math, they would see that the mortgage interest deduction does not appear to offer any real benefit to the ordinary, typical homebuyer in St Louis.

What brought this to mind this morning was a friend of mine on Facebook (who is a loan officer for a St Louis mortgage company) posted a link to an article written  by an owner of a Chicago real estate company outlining the benefits of the MID and, while I think he did an excellent job of laying out the potential tax savings of deducting mortgage interest and property taxes on a home, I think he left out a key component, namely, the Standard Deduction.

Why the MID doesn’t help the normal home buyer in St Louis:

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St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – January 2016

The St Louis real estate market performed well in 2015 and, by all indications, 2016 should be an even better year for the St Louis real estate market!

 

Our newly released, 5-minute, video market update below will give you a quick overview of St Louis home prices, where the sellers markets are, the buyers markets and much more!  If you are considering buying or selling a home, or are an investor or just a homeowner wanting to keep up on the market, you don’t want to miss this!

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling and would like me to look at your situation and your market to determine the best strategy, just call, or text me, at 314.332.1012 and I’ll be happy to help!

St Louis Home Price Trends By City/Municipality 
St Louis Home Price Trends By Zip Code
St Louis Sellers Markets

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Mortgage Originations In 2nd Quarter Rise…4th Consecutive Rise Since 14 Year Low

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York just released it’s Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the 2nd quarter of 2015 in which some encouraging facts were revealed with regard to the home mortgage market, including:

  • New home loan originations during the quarter increased to $466 billion…this marks the fourth consecutive quarterly increase since originations hit a 14-year low a year ago
  • As the chart below illustrates, roughly 95,000 individuals had a new foreclosure add to their credit report during the quarter, marking the lowest number of new foreclosures since the data was first tracked 16 years ago.
  • Mortgage delinquencies improved with the share of seriously delinquent mortgages (90+ days) dropping to 2.5% from 3.0% during the prior quarter.
  • Mortgage delinquencies improved again, with the share of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent decreasing slightly;
  • The median credit score for borrowers obtaining a home mortgage during the 2nd quarter, as the chart below shows, rose to above 750, while the bottom 10th percentile of borrowers, also known as “sub-prime”, rose to 650.  As the chart illustrates, back in 2000 the median was around 700 and the lowest percentile was barely above the 550 mark.

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Home Mortgages During First Quarter of 2015 Up Seventeen Percent From Year Ago

A definite confirmation of an improving real estate market is the fact that, according to a report just released by RealtyTrac, loan originations, for the purchase of a home, during the first quarter of 2015 increased 17 percent from a year ago.  Additionally, Kansas City, Missouri saw the 4th largest increase from a year ago, of major metro areas, with a 32 percent increase in home loans.  St Louis made the top 20 list for year or year increases with a 13 percent increase.


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FHA To Lower Fees Opening The Door To Around 100,000 Home Buyers

Yesterday, President Obama announced that he will, by executive order, direct FHA to lower the mortgage insurance premium charged on FHA loans to home buyer from 1.35 percent to .85 percent, lowering home buyer’s house payments by about $900 per year on average.  Chris Polychron, the President of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) showed his organizations support of the President’s action and highlighted the positive impact NAR felt it would have on the housing market stating “we (NAR) are optimistic that more affordable FHA loans will have a positive impact on first-time buyers who have been entering the market at a lower than normal rate.”  NAR has stated that the lower cost of an FHA loan would add 90,000 to 140,000 additional annual home purchases.

The cost of the mortgage insurance premium on an FHA loan was .90% back in 2010, increased to 1.15% in 2011, then to 1.25% in 2012 and finally 1.35% in 2013.  NAR first addressed this issue back in April 2014 when, then President, Steve Brown wrote a letter to Carol Galante, the Assistant Secretary for Housing at the time, to draw her attention to the impact the higher fees were having on the housing market and urging her to take action to lower the premiums.  In the NAR letter, it was pointed out in 2014 FHA fees accounted for nearly 20 percent of a homeowners monthly mortgage payment.

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Where The Real Estate Market Is Headed In 2015

Around this time of year every year, people start asking me “Where is the real estate Market headed next year?”  The real estate market is affected by so many factors that predictions on what the market will do are hard, however there are some basic fundamentals that can be looked at to make a good educated guess.  One of the industry experts out there that I think does a good job at this and, offers a somewhat less biased look at the market than some, is Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.   Below are highlights of his most recent report on the outlook of the housing market along with my comments relating his projection to our St Louis market:

Home Sales:

  • 5.31 million total homes (new and existing) sold in 2014, a 3.6% decrease from 2013.  Projection for 2015 is an increase of 5.5% to 5.6 million homes sold.
  • For St Louis (the 5-county core market), I am projecting that home sales will be down roughly the same as above, maybe just slightly higher, perhaps 4%, for 2014 from 2013.  I would also project an increase in home sales in St Louis in 2015 at a rate close to the rate projected by Mr. Nothaft for the market as a whole.

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Millennial’s Today Racking Up Student Loans Not Home Loans

Millenial’s (people that are roughly 18 to 33 years old) are not as interested in buying homes today as their baby-boomer parents were at their age and, while there are probably some lifestyle issues that play a large part of it, the debt they are piling up in student loans may have something to do with their decision not to take on mortgage debt as well.  According to information provided by TransUnion, the percentage of Millenial’s debt that is attributed to student loans is 36.8% today, an increase of over 185% from 2005 when student loans were responsible for just 12.9% of that age groups debt.   On the hand, the percentage of the Millenial’s debt today that is for a home mortgage is 42.9%, down 32% from 2005 when it was  63.2%, according to TransUnion.

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How to Build Credit Or Fix Credit Issues

Albert Einstein once said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” Well if you are looking to buy a home, lease a car, apply for credit cards or even look for a job…nothing happens until your credit score moves and moves up!

If you are have had credit issues in the past….simply ignoring what happened does not help.  Ignoring a tooth-ache will not improve over time without treatment neither will your credit score!

If you have had credit issues in the past, it’s time you start establishing new (good) credit and start working on deleting old derogatory credit history like late payments, collections, judgments even bankruptcy or foreclosures from your credit report.  Remember, with a low credit score Banks and Lenders will be reluctant to lend you money to buy a home, car or even offer you a credit card.

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Mortgage Interest Rates Make Biggest One-Week Increase Of The Year

Mortgage Interest Rates rose this week to an average of 4.23 percent for a 30-year fixed rate home loan, up from 4.12 percent last week, marking the largest one-week jump in interest rates we have seen thus far this year, according to data just released by Freddie Mac.  Mortgage interest rates for fixed-rate loans have now hit the  highest level since May 1st.

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Mortgage interest rates from the Freddie Mac report:

  • 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.23%
    • Last week the rate was 4.12%
    • Last year at this time the rate was 4.5%
  • 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.37%
    • Last week the rate was  3.26.
    • Last year at this time the rate was 3.54
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.06%
    • Last week the rate was 2.99%
    • Last year at this time the rate was 3.11%
  • 1-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.43%
    • Last week the rate was 2.45%
    • Last year at this time the rate was 2.65%

 

Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Lowest Level In Over A Year

Mortgage interest rates fell to an average of 4.13 percent in July on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, marking the lowest mortgage interest rate we have seen in over a year.  The last time mortgage interest rates were this low was back in June of 2013 when the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.07 percent, according to the latest data from Freddie Mac.

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Mortgage Interest rates

Source: Freddie Mac

Missouri Ranks Third In Nation For Lowest Mortgage Closing Costs

Missouri, along with it’s affordable home prices, also has the 3rd lowest mortgage closing costs according to data just released today by BankRate.   According to the report, in Missouri, the average mortgage closing costs on a $200,000 home loan are $2,387.00, almost 6% less than the national average of $2,539.00.  Holden Lewis, senior mortgage analyst at Bankrate, said mortgage closing costs have risen 6 percent in the past year and says  “new mortgage regulations are the biggest reasons why closing costs went up“.

Texas, at $3,046, had the highest closing costs in the nation, followed by Alaska at $2,897 and New York, at $2,892.  Nevada had the cheapest mortgage loan closing costs in the country at $2,265 followed by Tennessee with $2,366 and then Missouri.

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Mortgage Interest Rates Lower Today Than A Year Ago To The Surprise of Many

Mortgage interest rates, in spite of predications to the contrary by many, are actually lower today than a year ago, according to the latest date available from Fredde Mac.  According to Freddie Mac, the U.S. average interest rate for a 30 year mortgage was 4.15 percent on July 10, 2014, down significantly from July 11, 2013 when the average 30 year mortgage rate was 4.51 percent.

As the interactive chart below  from the St Louis Fed Reserve shows, mortgage interest rates have definitely risen from the historic lows we say in 2012 and part of 2013 however are still lower than 5 years ago.  So, will this trend continue and will the predictions of interest rates topping 5 percent next year not come to fruition? It’s very hard to say as a lot of it hinges upon what happens in the economy and the housing market as well.  My guess is, there is a much better chance of rates increasing over the next year than decreasing but that’s just my opinion.

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Continue reading “Mortgage Interest Rates Lower Today Than A Year Ago To The Surprise of Many

Mortgage Default Rates Fall Almost 30 Percent From Year Ago

Mortgage default rates, as tracked by the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, on first mortgages were at .92 in May 2014, down from 1.01 the month before and down almost 30% (29.7%) from May 2013 when the first mortgage default rate index was at 1.31.  The default rate index on second mortgages is improving as well with the index for May 2014 at .57, down from .63 in April and from .60 in May 2013, according to the report.

This is good news for the housing market and consistent with the trend we have seen lately of lower delinquencies and fewer defaults which lead to fewer foreclosures and fewer REO’s, all of which put downward, or negative, pressure on home prices.