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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Mortgage Rates Return to Year Low

March 27, 2015 12:27 am

Mortgage rates returned to the lowest point of 2015 this week, a level seen three previous times from mid-January to early February, according to a Bankrate.com survey. Mortgage rates fell for a second consecutive week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate retreating to 3.80 percent.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage dropped to 3.04 percent while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage plummeted to a new record low of 3.92 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages also lowered, with the 5-year ARM sinking to 3.14 percent and the 7-year ARM sliding to 3.31 percent.

The catalyst was the Federal Reserve's downgrading of economic and inflation expectations for this year, which pushed back the expected timing of an initial interest rate hike. Both bond yields and mortgage rates moved lower as expectations on the timing of interest rate hikes are tempered. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

One year ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.51 percent. At that time, a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,014.56. With the average rate now at 3.80 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $931.91, a savings of $82 per month for anyone refinancing now.

Source: Bankrate.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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8 Ways First-Time Homebuyers Can Prepare for a Mortgage

March 27, 2015 12:27 am

(BPT) - When it comes to buying your first home, a lack of knowledge and experience can lead to costly mistakes. One in four first-time homebuyers say they are completely unfamiliar with the mortgage financing process, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Even among those with an understanding of the overall process, the report found that many first-time homebuyers still had significant knowledge gaps in important areas such as available mortgage rates, closing costs, down-payment requirements and income required to qualify for a loan.

First-time homebuyers can become mortgage-ready with these tips.

1. Adjust your budget. A mortgage payment can increase your monthly housing expenses, so prepare by calculating what that amount will be and begin saving that same amount every month so you can get used to the budget change in advance.

2. Plan for a down payment. Nearly all home loans will require you to put some money down as a down payment. Some home loans may require as much as 20 percent of the purchase cost as a down payment, although some Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans may require less. Decide on the amount you think you'll need and create a savings plan to help you reach that goal.

3. Consider the location and type of home you want to buy. Many factors influence the cost of a home, including its location, size, style and more. A larger home in a high-income area will generally cost more, and property taxes will be higher on a bigger, newer, well-located home. Many first-time homebuyers find manufactured or mobile homes are a good option. Knowing the estimated cost of the type of home you want to purchase can help you better manage your budget.

4. Stay on top of your credit. Lenders will consider your credit score and report history when determining your mortgage eligibility and the interest rate they may offer you. Make sure to review your credit report in advance. You can download a free credit report once a year from all three major bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you're planning to apply for a mortgage, it's a good idea to review your report more frequently and to consider paying to obtain your credit score from at least one major bureau. If your report contains errors, work with the credit bureaus to have them corrected before you apply for a mortgage.

5. Keep current on monthly bills. While it's important to save toward a down payment, don't let monthly bills slide. Paying your bills on time every month can help increase your credit score, and a good payment history is something lenders look for when reviewing your credit report. Use online tools like email reminders and automatic payment options to help ensure you never miss or make a late payment.

6. Work on your debt. If you have delinquent balances, bring them up to date as quickly as possible. If you carry a lot of revolving credit card debt, you may want to work to reduce it by paying more than the monthly minimum payment. While it helps to have a report that shows no late payments, the most important thing is to not have any delinquent balances before you apply for a mortgage.

7. Plan for escrow. In addition to the amount you will need each month toward repaying your mortgage, you'll need escrow - an amount added to and collected with each monthly mortgage payment that is applied toward annual homeowners' insurance premiums and/or taxes. Estimating taxes and total insurance costs can help you better understand how much your escrow will be each month, and you'll be able to budget more accurately as you prepare for homeownership. Don't forget that this amount may adjust every 12 months if your insurance premium or taxes change for the next year.

8. Take advantage of educational resources. Check out resources like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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