Mortgage Rates Newsletter - Market Analysis

Provided courtesy of: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/reports/mortgage_rates/archive

Mortgage Rates Move Up From Long-Term Lows
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 21:10:05 GMT - Mortgage rates hit their best levels in 6 months yesterday, but moved higher today following a strong report on the services sector. The economy is one of the key inputs for interest rates. As such, several of the most relevant economic reports have a longstanding history of causing day-to-day volatility. Today's ISM Non-Manufacturing Index is one of a handful of the most important reports. By coming out much stronger than expected, it suggested the economy was closer to a level that would prompt the Fed to make changes to rate-friendly policies. Bonds reacted with lower prices and higher yields (aka "rates"). Of course we're only talking about only one economic report. A few short hours earlier, another important report, ADP Employment, missed by a longshot. A few days ago, ISM's own manufacturing
Mortgage Rates Drift Down to New 6-Month Lows
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 21:17:56 GMT - Mortgage rates moved slightly lower again today--extending a steady string of improvements that began after last week's Fed announcement. The average lender is now able to quote conventional 30yr fixed rates that are at least as low as those seen in the middle of July. In most cases, today's offerings are slightly better. The details can vary quite a bit depending on the scenario (purchase/refi, credit, downpayment, etc), but best-case scenarios have been back in the "high 2's" for weeks. In almost all cases, today's rates are the lowest since the beginning of February. What's up with the refreshingly strong move back toward all-time lows? At the beginning of the year, if you could only make one bet on rates, "higher" made more sense than "lower." That would actually still be a good bet as
Mortgage Rates Near Long-Term Despite Taper Talk
Thu, 29 Jul 2021 20:00:51 GMT - "Taper talk" refers to comments, speeches, or official policy communications from the Federal Reserve (aka "the Fed") that speak to the timing and nature of a reduction in the Fed's bond buying activities. Wow! What a boring and potentially confusing sentence! Let's try again... The Fed buys bonds --US Treasuries and mortgage backed bonds (which, in turn, serve as the foundation for mortgage rate pricing). This helps rates move or remain low. When markets think the Fed is going to stop buying bonds, rates are at risk of moving higher. The current bond buying efforts began as a response to the pandemic. They helped stabilize the financial system and they provided "accommodation" (a boost to overall economic activity intended to support the Fed's goals on inflation and job growth). As the pandemic
What Will The Fed Do To Mortgage Rates?
Tue, 27 Jul 2021 20:32:04 GMT - Wednesday afternoon brings one of the year's 8 regularly scheduled policy updates from the Federal Reserve (aka, the Fed). While there's no question that Fed policies have significant impacts on all kinds of interest rates, the Fed doesn't actually "set" mortgage rates. The only limited exception would be for certain lines of credit that adjust based on the PRIME rate which, in turn, is based on the Fed Funds Rate (the thing the Fed actually DOES "set"). Even if the Fed Funds Rate had a direct bearing on mortgage rates (it doesn't), there's no chance that they'll announce a rate hike this week, let alone this year. So why do we care about the Fed? Why have we seen such big moves in mortgage rates after certain Fed announcements in the past? As far as the mortgage market is concerned, the biggest
Mortgage Rates In Best Territory Since February
Thu, 22 Jul 2021 20:06:11 GMT - This week's mortgage rates are hard to compare to last week's. There are two simple reasons for this. The first is the recent removal of the adverse market fee that artificially increased rates for refinance transactions starting late last summer. The second is the general strength in the bond market compared to last week. Mortgage rates are, after all, based on trading levels in the bond market with higher prices (or lower yields) coinciding with lower rates. Bonds aren't doing quite as well as they were doing on Monday, but because lenders didn't rush to drop rates as much as the bond market allowed earlier in the week, they haven't had to dial things back as much as bonds would suggest over the past 2 days. Now today, bonds are improving once again, albeit only slightly . Still, the fact
HARP Loan

HARP Loan

When you have little equity in your home, or owe as much or more on your mortgage than your home is worth, it can be difficult to find a lender willing to help you refinance. But for borrowers who have remained current on their mortgages, and have loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there is hope. It's called HARP. 

Introduced in March 2009, HARP enables borrowers with little or no equity to refinance into more affordable mortgages without new or additional mortgage insurance. HARP targets borrowers with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios equal to or greater than 80 percent and who have limited delinquencies over the 12 months prior to refinancing. 

Significant changes have been made to HARP since the program was first introduced. For example, in 2011 the LTV ceiling was removed, property appraisal requirements were waived in certain circumstances, certain risk fees for borrowers selecting shorter amortization terms were eliminated, and certain representations and warranties were waived. In 2013, the eligibility date was changed from the date the loan was acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to the date on the note, increasing the pool of eligible borrowers. 

HARP has also been extended several times and will now expire on December 31, 2016. 

Through HARP, you can get a lower interest rate (which means less out-of-pocket costs each month), get a shorter loan term, or change from an adjustable to fixed-rate mortgage. There's no minimum credit score needed, either. 

And now that HARP guidelines are simpler, even people who were formerly turned down may now be eligible for HARP refinancing.  

How can HARP help me?

If you are current on your mortgage; have a mortgage that is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and owe as much or more than your home is currently worth, you may be eligible for HARP refinancing. That can mean significant savings by: 

  • Lowering your monthly payment
  • Reducing your interest rate
  • Securing a fixed-rate mortgage that won't change over time
  • Building equity faster—shorter term options may be available
  • Lower closing costs because an appraisal is not usually required

HARP program includes:

  • No underwater limits
    Borrowers will now be able to refinance regardless of how far their homes have fallen in value. Previous loan-to-value limits were set at 125 percent.
  • No appraisals or underwriting
    Most homeowners will not have to get an appraisal or have their loan underwritten, making their refinance process smoother and faster.
  • Modified fees
    Certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term loans have been reduced.
  • Less paperwork
    Lenders now need less paperwork for income verification, and have the option of qualifying a borrower by documenting that the borrower has at least 12 months of mortgage payments in reserve.
  • Program Deadline
    The end date to get a HARP refinance is December 31, 2016.

How do I know if I'm eligible for HARP? You may be eligible for HARP if you meet all the following criteria:

  • Your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  • Your mortgage must have been originated on or before May 31, 2009.
  • Your current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
  • You are current on your mortgage, with no 30-day+ late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

How do I find out if Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae owns my loan? Visit the HARP.gov eligibility page and use the Loan Look-up Tools to help you determine if your loan is owned or backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. After entering basic information (e.g., name, address) into the tool, you will receive an immediate response indicating whether Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae owns your mortgage. How do I find out if my lender offers HARP? We encourage you to call your lender as soon as possible and ask them if they participate in HARP. For your convenience, visit HARP.gov for guidance on how to get started. There you will find helpful links for lender information and lenders who work with existing borrowers. If your lender is not listed, it doesn't mean they don't offer HARP — reach out to them using the contact information on your mortgage statement and ask for the refinance department. If your current lender does not offer HARP, there are other lenders that you can contact. Review the list of participating HARP lenders, available under the "Resources" tab on HARP.gov, to find a lender who can discuss your options and eligibility with you. HARP.gov Frequently Asked Questions I tried to refinance through HARP when the program was first introduced, but I owed more than 105% of the value of my home. Should I try again? Yes. HARP has been enhanced since the program was first introduced in 2009. Now, HARP allows borrowers, who owe significantly more than their house is worth, to refinance and take advantage of today's low interest rates. If I owe more than my house is worth and don't have the money to pay my loan balance down, can I still refinance through HARP? Yes. HARP allows you to refinance even if you owe more than your house is worth. If you refinance under HARP and your new loan is a fixed-rate mortgage, there is no maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. * If you refinance under HARP and your new loan is an adjustable rate mortgage, your LTV may not be above 105%. To calculate your LTV, divide the outstanding mortgage balance by the approximate value of your home. * The interest on any portion of your loan that is greater than the fair market value of your property is not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. Please consult your tax advisor for more information. It is very time consuming to pull together all the paperwork to refinance. Do I need the same amount of paperwork to refinance under HARP? HARP offers a more streamlined process than traditional refinance programs, requiring less documentation and allowing for a smoother and faster transaction. Please contact a HARP lender for more details on what you will need to provide. I've had my loan for seven years and don't want to start all over again with a 30-year mortgage. Can I refinance into a shorter-term loan? Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae allow you to refinance into fixed-rate mortgages with terms anywhere from 10 years to 30 years. Check with your lender to see if they offer shorter-terms and ask about refinancing into a shorter-term mortgage. HARP.gov Is there a benefit for homeowners to shorten the terms of their mortgage? A shorter-term mortgage enables you to pay down the amount you owe much faster than a traditional 30-year mortgage. Furthermore, interest rates on shorter-term mortgages usually are lower than 30-year mortgages. The lower interest rate may allow you to shorten the term of your mortgage without much change in your monthly payment and you will pay less interest over the life of the loan. Can I refinance under HARP if my property isn't my primary residence? Yes. In addition to primary residences, HARP allows you to refinance even if your property is an investment property or second home. I live in a condominium. Can I refinance under HARP? Yes. HARP allows mortgages on condominiums to be refinanced. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guidelines indicate that I should be eligible for HARP, but my lender said I am not. Why? Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae purchase mortgages that meet each of their requirements from banks and other lending institutions. Lenders may have their own requirements in addition to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae HARP guidelines. It is important that you reach out to your lender to discuss your eligibility for the program. My loan was previously modified; can I still refinance under HARP? You may be able to refinance with HARP as long as your original loan meets the basic eligibility requirements outlined in Question #1. It is best to speak with your lender directly so they can ensure you meet the other eligibility requirements for HARP. HARP.gov Frequently Asked Questions Will refinancing through HARP reduce the principal amount that I owe on my loan? No. HARP is designed to help borrowers get into more affordable loans, but will not reduce the principal amount you owe on your mortgage. However, refinancing through HARP can benefit you with a new loan that has more favorable terms, such as a lower interest rate that will save you money by reducing your monthly payment and the amount of interest that you pay over the life of the loan. Is HARP the only refinance program available? What if I am not eligible? HARP is only one of several refinancing options that may be available to you. HARP is unique because it enables homeowners with little to no equity in their homes to take advantage of today's low interest rates and other refinancing benefits. If you find that you are not eligible for HARP, we encourage you to contact your existing lender or another lender in your area to explore other refinancing options that meet your specific needs. Are offers from companies promising to help me get a HARP loan legitimate? Many borrowers have become wary of the multiple solicitations they receive to refinance their mortgage. Legitimate offers often have specific information identifying your current mortgage, including the loan number your mortgage servicer uses with your mortgage — which is printed on your statement. Valid offers will not require you to pay an upfront fee for services. If you are unsure if an offer is legitimate, we recommend you call your lender before responding to third-party companies that advertise themselves as "mortgage experts" or "foreclosure specialists" to apply for a HARP loan.

 

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