Pending Home Sales increase 5.3%

Pending Home Sales for March increased 5.3% beating the initial estimate of 5.0% but down from the previous months  reading of 8.3%. Most of the recent gains can be attributed to homebuyers taking advantage of the expiring Tax Credit. While the overall housing market seems stronger than this time last year we may see moments of volatility throughout the recovery. Until we can observe how the markets react without the government stimulus, it will be difficult to gauge the strength of the housing market.

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How much do I need for a down payment?

May 3, 2010 2 comments

Now that 80/20’s, piggyback loans and sub prime mortgages no longer exist in today’s market, many consumers have come to believe putting 20% down is the only way to qualify for a mortgage. While that may be the historical requirement for banks, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) companies have made it possible to purchase a home with as little as 3.5% – 5% down. FHA and PMI companies will provide mortgage insurance to guard against any loss if a home owner were to default on their loan. This extra security provides confidence to the lender when funding transactions with less then 20% down. Any time a lender has to finance more than 80% of your purchase price or value of your home you will be required to pay mortgage insurance. This amount will vary depending on your loan type, loan amount, down payment, and credit scores.

Each state also has special down payment assistance programs available for first time home buyers or home buyers in their targeted areas. For more information about WA down payment assistance programs please attend my next Washington State Home Buyers Education Seminar.

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Existing Home Sales

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Existing Home Sales were reported at 5.35 million, higher than the expectations of 5.28 million. The inventory of unsold homes fell to an 8 month supply as compared to last months reading of 8.6 months, thanks to the increase in sales last month. This is likely a result of the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, which is near the end. It will be very interesting to see how this report fares in future months as the Tax Credit expires 4/30/2010.

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Is the Market Settling Down?

April 18, 2010 Leave a comment

So much has happened over the last 2 years in the housing market it’s hard to know if it’s a good time to buy, a bad time to refinance, or a good time to invest in real estate. Here is an article from CNNMoney.com that might help give you a little insight into what some experts are saying and to help you decide what the right move is for you. “6 Housing Trends in a Still Shaky Market”

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Price Isn’t Everything

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

In today’s economy homebuyers seem to focus on only one thing….the list price of a home.  There are so many other factors to consider when looking for your dream home, but sometimes people lose sight of them when they are so obsessed with finding a good deal.  Buyers even put aside the things that are most important to them like location or school district because they found a bargain on a home that they normally might not even consider. 

There is a great article that discusses this topic.  “Don’t Shop For a Home on Price Alone.”

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