Housing market is showing signs of hope

If you’ve been distracted by the federal government shutdown, political dysfunction, stock-market volatility and reports of rising mortgage rates, it wouldn’t be surprising if you concluded: No way is this a good time to even think about buying a house or putting one on the market. Things are too crazy. Nobody’s paying attention to real estate anyway.

But take another look. Some of the real-estate fundamentals have been changing for the better. Take mortgages. They’ve gotten cheaper. As of last week, you could readily find conventional rates averaging 3.87 percent for five-year adjustable-rate home loans, or conventional 30-year loans at fixed rates of 4.45 percent, according to investor Freddie Mac. That compares with late last year, when they were at 5 percent or higher, depending on an applicant’s credit profile.

Sure, rates are slightly higher than they were a year ago, when the 30-year fixed rate averaged 4.2 percent. And yes, when you take out a five-year adjustable loan, your payments are fixed for the first 60 months and then are subject to adjustments — up or down — once a year. So you take on future rate risk in exchange for a super low rate the first five years.

But combined with other recent trends — growing inventories of homes available for sale, slower price inflation and even modest price reductions — the decline in mortgage rates should be encouraging for anyone seriously in the market for a home. And even for heads-up owners looking to sell.

Consider:

  • New mortgage applications of home buyers nationwide during the week that ended Jan. 11 soared to their highest level since 2010 — and were 9 percent higher than they were the week before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Clearly the word is out among buyers who learned about the rate declines: They’ve been rushing to nail down financing at a brisker pace than is typical for this time of year.

read more at: https://tucson.com/business/kenneth-harney-housing-market-is-showing-signs-of-hope/article_c8e7860e-bae4-50fe-aab6-37d7b981a7af.html

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24 Million Mortgage and Bank Loan Docs leaked online

A trove of more than 24 million financial and banking documents, representing tens of thousands of loans and mortgages from some of the biggest banks in the U.S., has been found online after a server security lapse.

 

The server, running an Elasticsearch database, had more than a decade’s worth of data, containing loan and mortgage agreements, repayment schedules and other highly sensitive financial and tax documents that reveal an intimate insight into a person’s financial life.

 

But it wasn’t protected with a password, allowing anyone to access and read the massive cache of documents.

 

It’s believed that the database was only exposed for two weeks — but long enough for independent security researcher Bob Diachenko to find the data. At first glance, it wasn’t immediately known who owned the data. After we inquired with several banks whose customers information was found on the server, the database was shut down on January 15.

read more at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bank-loan-mortgage-documents-leaked_us_5c4979ade4b0287e5b881162

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Is your RE agent looking our for your, or someone else

When you’re involved in a real-estate transaction, do you assume that the realty agents are required to represent the best interests of the home buyer or seller with whom they are working?

The Consumer Federation of America recently posed that question to a national survey sample of adults, and 50 percent answered yes. Another 16 percent said “yes, almost always.” So two-thirds of consumers in the survey had roughly the same impression.

But a new report from the Consumer Federation, an umbrella group representing nearly 300 local and state consumer organizations, suggests that it’s not necessarily so. The reality, according to the study, is that “real estate agents often are not required by law to represent the interests of buyers or sellers.” As a result, sometimes things can go seriously awry.

Among the common forms of representation examined in the CFA study:

Single agent. In this case, the agent works solely for the client and has a fiduciary responsibility to the client.

Subagent. This is where the agent works with the buyer but has a fiduciary duty to the seller.

Transactional agent. In this case, the agent works with both the buyer and seller to facilitate a sale but has no fiduciary responsibility to either party.

Dual agency. The study describes this as an arrangement whereby “the agent somehow is expected to represent the interest of both the seller and the buyer in a home purchase.”

“The Holy Grail is to capture the entire commission,” Brobeck told me. “The listing agent might say to the seller, we’ve got a hot buyer for your house” who happens to be a colleague.

read more at: https://www.telegram.com/news/20181220/kenneth-harney-is-your-realty-agent-looking-out-for-you-or-someone-else

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