Skip to content

Lending Cafe Bookmark and Share

Monthly Archives: July 2015

Lower FHA premiums draw first-time buyers into the market

According to a new report from real estate database RealtyTrac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has succeeded in its goals of drawing more young, low-income and first-time homebuyers into the market with lower insurance premiums. The report shows that with the help of more affordable financing options, millennials may finally be starting to buy homes as the country emerges from the shadow of the 2008 housing crisis. 

RealtyTrac's Midyear 2015 Home Sales Report found that FHA loans were used in 23 percent of all homes bought with mortgages in the second quarter of 2015. During the same period in 2014, only 19 percent of financed purchases were made with FHA loans. 

This increase can be credited to the FHA's decision to lower its premiums earlier this year, decreasing borrowers' payments by an average of $900 per year. For low-income homebuyers, this represents a significant savings. 

How to get the most out of your home inspection

Once your offer on a home is accepted, you'll have the opportunity to get it inspected. This is your chance to both be alerted to any red flags about the house and get to know its good sides better, so make sure to take full advantage of it. Here are a few ways to make sure you get the most out of your home inspection:

  • Be there. This may sound obvious, but some buyers let their real estate agent handle the whole inspection process, assuming that they can just hear the results from the agent later. This is a mistake because your real estate agent won't be able to communicate what the house and any flaws in it actually look like, so you'll get a diluted version of the information you need.

More Americans are taking on DIY home improvements

According to a recent survey of 507 homeowners by the Home Projects Council (HPC), significantly more people are planning to undertake outdoor do-it-yourself home improvement projects this year than last year. 45 percent of homeowners surveyed said that they planned to spend $1,000 or more on a DIY home project this year, as compared to 37 percent in 2014.

Building projects saw an especially dramatic increase from last year. 88 percent more homeowners said that they planned to build a shed or storage building, 50 percent more said they planned to build a deck or a porch, and 43 percent more intended to build a patio or walkway. 

New home sales at highest rate in seven years, but local markets vary

According to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau, newly built single family homes have been selling like hotcakes recently. In May, new-home sales jumped by 2.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units, the highest rate since February of 2008. 

"This month's new-home sales report is consistent with other government data and rising builder confidence that indicate a continual recovery of the housing market," National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) chief economist David Crowe said in a press release. "The uptick in existing-home sales bodes well for builders, as it shows that the sellers are able to buy a new home."

Flower gardening for beginners

Whether you've just moved into a new home and want to spruce up the yard or you're trying to add curb appeal to your current home before you sell it, there's nothing that livens up the appearance of a house with a small yard like a flower garden. However, if you've never planted anything before, it can be intimidating to get started. Fortunately, this type of gardening is relatively simple if you take some time to learn about it beforehand.

First, it's important to decide which types of flowers you want to plant, as the rest of the planning will follow from there. The main decision to make is between perennials, which will continue to bloom every year after being planted but bloom only for a short period of time, and annuals, which bloom only once for a longer time.

Home buyer confidence the highest it's been this year

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence in the new single-family home market is on the rise. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) shows that home builders' confidence in the market rose by five points as measured by the index, from 54 to 59. This is the highest level it has achieved in nine months, since September 2014.

The data used in the HMI is collected weekly in a survey that the NAHB has been conducting for the past 30 years. The organization surveys builders on whether they think the current single-family real estate market is good, fair or poor, as well as rating the pace of their business as high, average or low. A reading of more than 50 reflects that the market is generally perceived as good and builders are experiencing a higher than average pace of business. 

Home prices stabilize after years of fluctuation

According to Neil Irwin writing for the New York Times, the housing market in general, and home prices more specifically, seem to be stabilizing at last after nearly a decade of dramatic ups and downs. Buyers are no longer feeling the need to either put off buying for a better time or jump in immediately to get the best deals as the market becomes more regular over the long term.

"In contrast to the periods of irrational optimism and pessimism, the market is settling into a balance in which buyers are comfortable spending what they can afford given their income and savings, but aren't willing (or able to persuade lenders) to stretch beyond that," Irwin writes.

More than 2 million homebuyers will return to market in next 5 years

According to a recent study conducted by TransUnion, many homeowners who were impacted by the housing market crash in 2008 will be able to access home loans again over the next few years, marking a major milestone for the housing market's recovery. Specifically, about 700,000 so-called "boomerang buyers" will be able to re-enter the housing market in 2015, 1.5 million will be able to do so over the next three years, and 2.2 million over the next five years.

For the purposes of the study, TransUnion defined "boomerang buyers" as those who were at least 60 days late (delinquent) on a mortgage, lost a home in a foreclosure or a short sale, or were involved in a negative mortgage modification. The analysts looked at the anonymized credit histories of 180 million U.S. consumers between 2006 and 2014 to determine how many of them would be eligible to enter the housing market again over the next few years.

4 time-saving landscaping tips

Whether you're planning to sell your home soon or expecting to stay there for years to come, a well-cared-for yard is key. Good landscaping significantly increases the curb appeal of a home and improves the quality of life of the people who live there. However, it can also become a time and money sink at times. Here are some tips to help you maintain your landscaping as easily and cheaply as possible: