The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show that the main reason why non-homeowners do not own their own homes is because they believe that they cannot afford them.
This brings us to two major misconceptions that we want to address today.
1. Down Payment
A recent survey by Laurel Road, the National Online Lender and FDIC-Insured Bank, revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan.
According to the survey, 53% of Americans who plan to buy or have already bought a home admit to their concerns about their ability to afford a home in the current market. In addition, 46% are currently unfamiliar with alternative down payment options, and 46% of millennials do not feel confident that they could currently afford a 20% down payment.
What these people don’t realize, however, is that there are many loans written with down payments of 3% or less.
Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
An Ipsos survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores for approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.
The average conventional loan closed in May had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with an average score of 676. The average across all loans closed in May was 724. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in May.
If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but you are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options today.
Some homeowners have recently done a “cash out” refinance and have taken a portion of their increased equity from their house. Others have sold their homes and purchased more expensive homes with larger mortgages. At the same time, first-time buyers have become homeowners and now have mortgage payments for the first time.
These developments have caused concern that families might be reaching unsustainable levels of mortgage debt. Some are worried that we may be repeating a behavior that helped precipitate the housing crash ten years ago.
Today, we want to assure everyone that this is not the case. Here is a graph created from datareleased by the Federal Reserve Board which shows the Household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages as a percentage of disposable personal income. The ratio is the total quarterly required mortgage payments divided by total quarterly disposable personal income. In other words, the percentage of spendable income people are using to pay their mortgage.
Today’s ratio of 4.44% is nowhere near the ratio of 7.21% during the peak of the housing bubble and is instead at the lowest rate since 1980 (4.38%).
Bill McBride of Calculated Risk recently commented on the ratio:
“The Debt Service Ratio for mortgages is near the low for the last 38 years. This ratio increased rapidly during the housing bubble and continued to increase until 2007. With falling interest rates, and less mortgage debt, the mortgage ratio has declined significantly.”
Many families paid a heavy price because of questionable practices that led to last decade’s housing crash. It seems the American people have learned a lesson and are not repeating that same behavior regarding their mortgage debt.
Interest rates hovered around 4% for the majority of 2017, which gave many buyers relief from rising home prices and helped with affordability. In the first quarter of 2018, rates have increased from 3.95% up to 4.45% and experts predict that rates will increase even more by the end of the year.
The rate you secure greatly impacts your monthly mortgage payment and the amount you will ultimately pay for your home. Don’t let the prediction that rates will increase stop you from purchasing your dream home this year.
Let’s take a look at a historical view of interest rates over the last 45 years.
Be thankful that you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.
Mortgage interest rates have already risen by over a quarter of a percentage point in 2018. Many are projecting that rates could increase to 5% by the end of the year.
What impact will rising rates have on house values?
Many quickly jump to the conclusion that an increase in mortgage rates will have a detrimental impact on real estate prices as fewer buyers will be able to qualify for a loan. This seems logical; if there is less demand for housing then prices will drop.
However, in a good economy, rising mortgage rates increase demand as many prospective purchasers immediately jump off the fence to guarantee they get the lower rate.
Let’s look at home prices the last four times mortgage rates increased dramatically.
In each case, home prices APPRECIATED and did not depreciate. No one is projecting as dramatic an increase in rates as the examples above. Most are projecting an increase of approximately 1% by the end of the year.
The last time mortgage rates increased by 1% over a twelve-month period was January 2013 (3.41%) to January 2014 (4.43%). What happened to house prices during that span? They appreciated by 9.8%.
Just two weeks ago, Rick Palacios Jr., Director of Research at John Burns Real Estate Consultingexplained:
“Mortgage rates have risen 1% or more ten times in the last 43 years, with little impact on home sales and prices when the economy was also strong…Historically, rising confidence, solid job growth, and higher wages have more than offset reduced demand for housing resulting from higher mortgage rates.”
When mortgage rates increase, history has shown that prices appreciate (and do not depreciate) during that same time span.
Urban Institute recently released a report entitled, “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” which revealed that “eighty percent of consumers either are unaware of how much lenders require for a down payment or believe all lenders require a down payment above 5 percent.”
Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”
Buyers often overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the same report:
“Consumers are often unaware of the option to take out low-down-payment mortgages. Only 19% of consumers believe lenders would make loans with a down payment of 5% or less… While 15% believe lenders require a 20% down payment, and 30% believe lenders expect a 20% down payment.”
These numbers do not differ much between non-owners and homeowners; 39% of non-owners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment and 30% of homeowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment.
While many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, they do not realize that programs are available that allow them to put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”
Similar to the down payment, many either don’t know or are misinformed about what FICO®score is necessary to qualify.
Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.
To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.
As you can see in the chart above, 53.5% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.
Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach. Call me if you want to discuss this further at 407-925-7721
A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.
For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!
In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (73% of all buyers made a down payment of less than 20%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.
Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of whom perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.
Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests you follow:
- Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO® Score of all closed loans in September was 724, according to Ellie Mae.
- Start gathering all your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
- Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
- Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
- Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!
Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.
To start the year, housing experts all agreed on one thing: 2017 was going to be the year we would see mortgage interest rates begin to rise. After years of historically low rates, and an improving economy, the question wasn’t if they would increase but instead how much they would increase. Some thought we could see rates hit 5-5.5% by the end of the year.
However, the exact opposite has happened. Instead of higher rates as we head into the middle of 2017, we now have the lowest rates of the year (as reported by Freddie Mac). Here is a graph of mortgage rate movement since the beginning of the year:
Projections still call for an increase…
Four major entities (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors) are still projecting that rates will increase by the fourth quarter of the year.
No one knows for sure where interest rates will be in six months. However, if you are thinking about buying your first house or trading up to the home of your dreams, you can still get a mortgage at historically low rates RIGHT NOW.