Annual home price gains are beginning to slow due to rising mortgage rates along with difficulties in qualifying for a mortgage, reports the Case Shiller 20-city Index in February. The Index fell to 12.9%, just below the 13% expected and down from the 13.2% recorded year-over-year in January. The 12.9% is down from a recent high of 13.7% with 13 of the 20 tracked cities posting lower annual rates.
The Conference Board reported this morning that its Consumer Confidence Index fell in April to 82.3, down from the 83.9 registered in March. The 82.3 missed expectations of 83.2. The Conference Board said that consumers assessed current business and labor market conditions less favorably than in March. However, consumers do not see the economy or the labor markets losing the momentum that has been building up over the past several months.
The U.S. homeownership rate fell to its lowest level in nearly 19 years due to rising mortgage rates and higher home prices. The Census Bureau reported that the homeownership rate fell to 64.8% in the first quarter of 2014, down from the 65.2% in the final quarter of 2013. That is the lowest rate since the 64.7% recorded in the second quarter of 1995. The rate peaked at 69.2% in June 0f 2004.
The Labor Department reported this morning that employers added just 113,000 jobs in January, which was below the 175,000 expected, but up from the paltry 75,000 created in December. A freeze in hiring in the health care sector is one of the factors to the lower numbers. The Unemployment Rate fell to 6.6%, the lowest level since October 2008, but that can be due in part to people falling out of the work force than finding jobs.
Filling up at the pumps will begin to be more expensive as spring nears due to more drivers being on the road along with refineries shutting down for winter maintenance, which reduces supplies. The national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline is at $3.26. For 2014, AAA predicts that the nationwide average price will peak between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon with the average price around $3.49.
The Census Bureau reports that the share of Americans who own their own homes was 65.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from 65.4% in the previous quarter. Higher borrowing costs coupled with tight credit were the two factors behind the decline. The rate peaked at 69.2% in June of 2004.
When you apply for a mortgage or refinancing, you will have to go through the process of getting your house, or the house you are wanting to purchase appraised. An appraiser will visit the property and will evaluate the land, dwellings and all the included features. This is called Field Work and their goal is to establish a market value. This process generally can be done within a couple of days, but depending on the complexity of the order it can extend into weeks.
An appraiser will go onto a property and will evaluate the interior and exterior condition. They will look at the quality of the construction and how many upgrades or modernizations there have been. Then they will estimate the square footage by taking measurements of the exterior of the home and assess non-living areas such as covered porches, permanent sheds and garages.
Once the appraiser has all the information they need about the subject property, they will spend time looking at properties close by to further establish the market value of the home. This includes looking at recent sales as well as foreclosures, assessing tax records, courthouse records and their own personal knowledge of the area. This is one of the reasons Alpha Mortgage only uses local appraisers because we want our clients to have the most accurate and dependable source possible. Once the field work is completed the appraiser will finish the report and then submit it to the loan officer.
Once our loan officer has the report they will set up an appointment with you to review the results in detail. You are always welcome to have a copy of the report as well for your own records. Once we have the information we can move forward with the mortgage process and get you one step closer to refinancing or owning a new home. At Alpha Mortgage it is our goal to make the home buying process as simple and easy as possible and we want you educate you each step of the way. Do not ever hesitate to give us a call when you have a question. We’re here for you.
When you are ready to purchase a new home or you want to take advantage of the historically low rates and refinance, one of our loan officers is ready to work with you. We have offices in Wilmington 910-256-8999, Winston-Salem 336-760-3013, Fayetteville 910-484-7272, Asheville 828-552-0330, Jacksonville 910-347-7283, New Bern 252-634-3000, & Jacksonville 910-347-7283. We look forward to hearing from you!