Archives for September 2012

The Fed Says…Let’s Twist

No surprise that the FOMC is not making any changes to the Fed Funds rate. What may have surprised some is the Fed’s focus on trying to keep mortgage rates low with it’s purchase of mortgage backed securities.  From today’s press release:

To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee agreed today to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. The Committee also will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. These actions, which together will increase the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities by about $85 billion each month through the end of the year, should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

….If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities….

The efforts to keep mortgage rates low will be in contrast to the increase in the “g-fees” by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact the Feds efforts will make.

Stay tuned for Ben Bernanke’s press conference happening in a few hours. Meanwhile… let’s twist!

Major Bank Jacks up the Cost to Extend Rate Locks

When a mortgage rate is locked, it’s committed for a certain period of times, such as 30, 45 or 60 days. When a mortgage refi or purchase that has been locked does not close by that date, the lender may charge a fee to extend.  The fee is essentially the cost to buy additional days to add to the original lock commitment. 

I just received this notice from one of the lenders we work with that they’re dramatically increasing their extension fees and, even worse, they’re only giving us ONE DAY’S NOTICE!  Kind of stinky if you ask me. This is the same bank that increased their fees just over a month ago.  The bank is doing this as a result of the 0.10% increase to G-Fees by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Extension Fees 001

Thankfully we work with several lenders and we’re not limited to only working with this bank.

More often than not, it’s better to error on having a longer lock period than a shorter one and paying for an extension.

UPDATE: Another bank just announced they are increasing their pricing by 0.500% basis points to their rates (not extension) as a result of the “G Fees”.

What may impact mortgage rates the week of September 10, 2012

Although at first glance, this week may seem like there’s not a lot scheduled that may impact mortgage rates, what is scheduled is significant. We have the FOMC meeting winding up on Thursday following last Friday’s weaker than expected Jobs Report. Friday is packed with reports that may reveal signs of inflation, which tends to drive mortgage rates higher. 

Here are some of the economic indicators scheduled for this week:

Thursday, Sept. 13:  FOMC Meeting; Producer Price Index (PPI); Initial Jobless Claims

Friday, Sept. 14: Retail Sales; Consumer Price Index (CPI); Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)

For your personal mortgage rate quote for your home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me.  

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook where I provide live rate quotes and mortgage tid-bits throughout the day.

Extension Fees 001
Extension Fees 001

FHA Rate-Term Refi’s may be a Great Option for Higher Loan Amounts

I have been working with a couple of Seattle area home owners who either have a jumbo mortgage or have a mortgage that used to be “high balance conforming” and were caught “in the gap” when conforming high balance loan limits were rolled back to $506,000 in King County.  A jumbo (aka non-conforming) mortgage is a loan amount over $506,000 in King, Pierce or Snohomish counties for a single family dwelling.

Jumbo mortgages typically require an 80% loan to value for a refinance. This can also cause a challenge if the home has lost equity and the values are “underwater” or above an 80% loan to value. Homeowners with an existing Jumbo mortgage do not qualify for HARP 2.0 since their existing mortgage is not securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Homeowners who have a High Balance Conforming mortgage from prior to to loan limit roll back may qualify for HARP 2.0 – however, their loan limit will be restricted to the current levels ($506,000 in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties) causing them to have to bring “cash in” to close.

One client, let’s call him “Mike in Magnolia”, has a jumbo mortgage at 6.500% with a balance of $640,000 and estimates the value of his Seattle area home to be around $600,000.  He’s really like to refinance and take advantage of the current low mortgage rates.  

One option would be an FHA jumbo which would allow a loan amount up to $567,500. Based on this scenario and pricing as of 1:30pm 9/6/12, his rate would be 3.500% for a 30 year fixed (apr 4.382). This would provide him a PIMI (principal, interest and mortgage insurance) payment of $3,155.46 and cash for closing would be around $78,000. His home could appraise for as low as $585,000 and still have this scenario work at an 97.75% loan to value.

If Mike is willing to bring $142,000 to closing, he could consider a conventional refinance at $506,000. His home would need to appraise for around $600,000. Based on current rates of 3.875% for a 30 year fixed (apr 4.117); his PIMI payment would be $2640.83. His home would need to appraise for at least $600,000 for an 85% loan to value.

I’m working with another client who has a condo in downtown Seattle that has lost value. They obtained their mortgage after May 31, 2009, so it does not qualify for HARP 2.0. The condo IS on HUD’s approved list for FHA financing which will allow them to take advantage of today’s lower FHA mortgage rates with a loan to value of up to 97.75%.

FHA rate-term refinances are a “full doc” loan and will require an appraisal.  FHA mortgages may be assumable to a qualified buyer should these clients decide to sell their homes in the future.

If you’re interested in an FHA mortgage or having me review your scenario for your home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me.

FHFA Announces Increase in G-Fees for Conforming Fannie/Freddie Mortgages

Last Friday, the FHFA announced they’re increasing the “guarantee fee” (aka “g-fee”) by an average of additional 0.10 basis points on single family mortgages.  What is a guarantee fee? From the FHFA annual report:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac acquire single-family mortgages from mortgage companies, commercial banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Lenders may exchange loans for mortgage-backed securities (MBS) backed by those mortgages or sell whole loans for cash proceeds.

When lenders receive MBS in exchange for their loans, they may hold them as an investment or sell them in the capital markets. The Enterprises also issue MBS backed by pools of loans acquired from multiple lenders.

Each Enterprise [Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac] guarantees the payment of principal and interest on its MBS and charges a fee for providing that guarantee. The guarantee fee covers projected credit losses from borrower defaults over the life of the loans, administrative costs, float income (or expense), and a return on capital.

From Housing Wire:

Lenders paid an average 28 basis points in 2011 for Fannie and Freddie to guarantee their loans in the bonds issued to investors, up from 26 bps the year before, according to a report released by the FHFA Friday.

The GSEs raised their fees by 10 basis points in April in order to pay for a tax cut passed by Congress in December. But before the enactment, the FHFA pledged to raise the fees through 2012 in order to allow private issuers room to compete.

Do not expect banks or lenders to absorb this cost. The 0.10% increase in basis points will be passed on to consumers and factored into the pricing of mortgage interest rates. This is set to happen towards the end of this year, however I wouldn’t be surprised to see lenders factoring in the fee increase much earlier.

What May Impact Mortgage Rates the Week of September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day! Our office is closed today and will reopen for business as usual on tomorrow, September 4, 2012. Here are a few economic indicators scheduled to be released this week which may impact mortgage rates, including Friday’s Jobs Report.

Tuesday, Sept. 4: ISM Index

Wednesday, Sept. 5: Productivity

Thursday, Sept. 6: ADP National Employment Report, Initial Jobless Claims and ISM Services Index

Friday, Sept. 7: The Jobs Report

On Thursday, we may see mortgage rates impacted by Europe following the Central Bank meeting lead by Mario Draghi. Remember, mortgage rates are based on bonds (mortgage backed securities) and when investors seek the safety of bonds over the potential higher return with stocks, mortgage rates tend to improve and vice versa. 

If you are interested in a mortgage rate quote for a purchase or refinance for a home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me.  You can also see live mortgage rates I’m quoting on Twitter.