Paramount Mortgage - Lender's Blog

Home-Buying Techniques Returning?

They're back after barely a decade: escalation clauses in real estate contracts, "naked" contingency-free offers and low-ball-priced listings designed to pull in dozens of bidders and turn routine sales transactions into auctions.

These are all techniques last seen with frequency during the frothiest months of the housing bubble in 2004-05, when prices were rising at double-digit rates, buyers thought they couldn't lose money in real estate and mortgage financing was available to anybody who could sign a loan application.

Housing Prices Set to Rise, Thanks to the Fed

The US housing market has broken out of a deep slump, and prices are shooting up faster than anyone thought possible a year ago.

Prices of existing homes rose 10% in February nationally from a year ago. What is causing this increase?

Several factors are at play. Inventories of homes available to buy have fallen to 20-year lows. Since 2008, home builders have reduced new construction production. Banks are selling fewer foreclosures. Investors have scooped up more homes and are converting them to rentals which reduces the available housing inventory.

Boomerang Buyers Ready to Own Again

Homeowners who once lost their home to foreclosure are returning to the market, eager to buy once again.

These “boomerang buyers” could make up a large number of the future housing market, considering their numbers. Since the housing crash, 4.8 million borrowers have lost their homes to foreclosure and 2.2 million sold their homes in a short sale, according to RealtyTrac data.

Act Will Allow Free Access to Credit Scores

Consumers already have the ability to request their free credit report once a year, but a credit report does not include your credit score. These two items are often confused to be the same, which they are not.

You generally must pay to see your credit score. It’s a three-digit grade that predicts how risky you are to a lender.

How Local Market Conditions Affect Appraisal Valuations

Local market conditions can have a tremendous effect on home price evaluations. In a recent Housing Market Trends study conducted by mortgage technology company FNC, Inc., the question of appraiser valuation accuracy vs. final contract price was assessed.

Be Careful Where You Get Credit Facts

As the housing market continues to heat up, many homebuyers who are considering purchasing a home may be held back by their own misconceptions about credit.

Credit facts are everywhere in the media and on the Web, but most are misleading consumers, says credit reporting expert, John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com.

Ulzheimer has collected from the Web some of the top examples of misleading credit facts. “All of these were framed as education or advice and, unfortunately, are all horribly incorrect.”

More Homeowners Re-Entering Real Estate Market

Pending home sales rose in January, and have been above year-ago levels for the past 21 months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 4.5 percent to 105.9 in January and is 9.5 percent above January 2012 when it was 96.7. The January index is the highest reading since April 2010 when it hit 110.9. NAR’s data represents contracts, not closings.

Borrowers in a Rush for Low Rates, Fees

Nationwide 30-year fixed mortgage rates have climbed to their highest level of the last five weeks according to last week’s rate survey conducted by Bankrate.com.

This has spurred concern from many home refinancers and potential homebuyers who “worry the low rates won't last much longer as they try to beat the clock on rising mortgage fees and policy changes on low down payment loans,” reports Polyana da Costa, Bankrate.com.

Home Prices Show Strongest Growth in 7 Years

The median home price nationwide saw its biggest jump in seven years last quarter as for-sale inventory hit its lowest level in 12 years, according to the latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors.

Of 152 metro areas, 133 (87.5 percent) saw their median sales prices rise year over year in fourth-quarter 2012 compared with 120 in the third quarter and only 29 in fourth-quarter 2011.

Mortgage Burden Grows, but Federal Role Is Shrinking

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has played a major role supporting housing markets in the last few years, but Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal correspondent reports, “there are signs that the agency is beginning to cede market share back to the private sector.”

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