Recently, we’ve talked a lot about the rising interest rates. Everyone seems to be in panic mode over it, and my friend Jay Vorhees of JVM Lending is here to explain – in a historical context – why the reaction is overblown. He says the only people who should really be worried are businesses and companies that focus only on refinancing.
We’ve already touched on why higher interest rates are good, but an interest rate under 6 percent is amazing when put in a historical context, and should be treated as such. Here is a graph from Freddie Mac that shows an in-depth breakdown of interest rates over the past 30 years, but we’ve also shared JVM’s table on interest rates:
DATE RATE COST
March of 2017 4.2% 0.5 Points
April of 2014 4.34% 0.6 Points
2008 (entire year) 6.03% 0.6 Points
2000 8.05% 1.0 Point
1995 7.93% 1.8 Points
1990 10.13% 2.1 Points
1985 12.43% 2.5 Points
This shows that not only are rates much lower than they have been at the highest points of the market, but that loans are also much lower than usual – yes, I know our prices are higher than most of the country, but higher interest rates, always hurt you in the pocket book more than higher prices. Anytime you can lock in a rate below 6 percent, you are doing quite well. So maybe now is the time to get into the market!
You may have heard of the wild events at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently. My friend Jay Vorhees of JVM Lending had a few words to say about it on his blog, the main points of which are summarized below:
The departing director of the CFPB, Richard Condray, named his deputy, Leandra English, to be his successor. President Trump named his own acting director, Mick Mulvaney. Both claimed to be head of the CFPB, and English sued to nullify Trump’s appointment, but lost.
So, from a real estate perspective, this is what it means for the industry. The CFPB is extremely powerful and was created by the Dodd-Frank Legislation in 2010. It is funded by the Fed and mostly outside the control of Congress. So, the CFPB is well known for being aggressive in auditing and fining, even when offenses had no effect on borrowers.
On that note, Mulvaney – Trump’s appointment – has been openly anti-CFPB, and will likely try to roll back some of the agency’s enforcement efforts. If this holds true, there are two takeaways, or perspectives:
- A strong CFPB is necessary to keep the mortgage industry in check and avoid another meltdown like in 2008. It can be countered by pointing out that there are already other factors in place to prevent those abuses, including scrutiny from agencies such as HUD and state agencies.
- Lenders and loan officers spend an inordinate amount of time and money to make sure they never endure a CFPB investigation. These efforts often do little to help consumers, and only increase the overall costs of obtaining financing.
A weaker CFPB could result in more free time for lenders and loan officers, and lower borrowing costs for consumers.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also announced their 2018 loan limits, which went up significantly. The “Low Balance” limit for a one-unit property jumped from $424,100 to $453,100 and the “High Balance” limit increased from $636,150 to $679,650.
These jumps allow more borrowers to take advantage of conforming loan guidelines when buying properties in areas with increasing home prices. Combine this with the CFPB appointment, and we may be looking at an incredibly good time to be a borrower!
Also, note the Fed is most likely going to raise interest rates on the 13th and then again in the first quarter of 2018. The market has already taken it into account, and we might see rates drop slightly after the 13th.
It’s no secret that the housing market has been unbalanced over the past few years. Prices have been rising, and with them, so have average home loans.
According to The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the average home loan size is the largest its been in the history of its survey, which began in 1990.
Additionally, the median mortgage size was only about 3.3 times the median annual income in 1990 – now, it’s more than 5 times as big. This is likely due to the increase in housing prices, buyers getting bigger homes and lower interest rates over the years.
Here’s a look at some housing market characteristics for select years.
According to Mike Ervin of Supreme Lending, people are just waiting and waiting for mortgage rates to go down. People who are using securitizers like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have to wait until the Fed buys up more mortgage bonds so that rates will go down. It is unknown if that will happen, but rates have dropped in 2017.
Multiple factors can affect the bond and mortgage markets. The most recent major event was the Trump election and presidency, which saw a large immediate increase in mortgage rates, which have since rebounded, even with the Fed raising rates.
In California, we are in the wealth-building business and real estate in the Bay Area is going to be a good investment for years to come. I am here to advise, provide insight and help you build wealth through real estate.
When discussing renting versus buying, it’s helpful to have tools to calculate the differences. Luckily, our friends at JVM Lending have hooked us up. Here is our edited version of their information:
Imagine having a borrower who is paying $1,800 in rent who is very nervous about his or her potential payment increase after purchasing a home. These calculators can show how their “effective payment” will go down when tax savings and appreciation are accounted for.
Now, Trulia and Freddie Mac both offer great “rent vs. buy” calculators that will help with this. Even with modest appreciation (like 3%) and tax rate (28-34%) assumptions, these calculators can clearly show how much better off people are when they buy.
For example, according to our imaginary borrower, the Trulia calculator tells us her net housing costs will actually be 3% lower after she buys a $500,000 home with 20% down. These tools can help potential buyers get off the fence by showing why it’s a better investment to buy a home and accurately differentiate between buying and renting. I like to look at as you are paying yourself, not a landlord.
Buying a home, even for those with experience, is already a tricky process to navigate. Add choosing a mortgage on top of that and things can get really stressful. Luckily, Keith Loria of BHG posted a great list of basic mortgage terminology to help guide buyers through this process. Check out our lightly edited version:
“Mortgage Lenders” – lenders make the loan and provide the money you’ll use to buy your home. You’ll need a lot of financial background information when you meet with a lender so he or she can set mortgage interest rates and other loan terms accordingly.
“Mortgage Brokers” – brokers work with multiple lenders to find you the best loan. This can be confusing, but their jobs are essentially to get you the best rate and terms on your loan.
“Mortgage Bankers” – most lenders are bankers, which means they don’t actually lend their own money, but borrow funds at short-term rates from warehouse lender. Some larger mortgage bankers will originate their own loans and sell directly to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or investors.
“Portfolio Mortgage Lenders” – they originate and fund their own loans, offering more flexibility in loan products because they don’t have to adhere to secondary market buyer guidelines. Once these loans are serviced and paid for on time for at least one year, they’re “seasoned,” and can be sold more easily on the secondary market.
“Hard Money Lenders” – this may be your last resort if you’re having trouble getting a mortgage and working with a portfolio mortgage lender. They are private individuals with money to lend, though interest rates are usually higher.
“Wholesale Lenders” – they cater to mortgage brokers for loan origination but offer loans to brokers at a lower cost than their retail branches offer them to the general public. For you, the loan costs about the same if it were obtained directly from a retail branch of the wholesale lender.
“Correspondent Mortgage Lenders” – these lenders have agreements in place with one or more wholesale lenders to act as their retail representative. They lend directly to buyers and use wholesaler guidelines to approve and close loans with their own money. They will also buy back any loans they close that deviate from those guidelines.
“Direct Mortgage Lenders” – direct mortgage lenders are simply banks or lenders that work directly with a homeowner, with no need for a middleman or broker.