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John Donahue's Blog

By John Donahue | Agent in Newtown, PA
  • Information That Hits Us Where We Live.

    Posted Under: Home Buying  |  December 2, 2013 12:29 PM  |  81 views  |  No comments
    INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... It certainly is a nice improvement over silence to report that Building Permits for new homes were up 5.2% in September, 6.2% in October, and are now up 13% in the past year. The multifamily sector is hot right now, accounting for most of the monthly increases and for 60% of the annual gains. But single-family permits were also up from September to October and are now at a seasonally adjusted rate of 620,000 units, an 8.8% gain versus a year ago. The Census Bureau said September and October Housing Starts would be released with November numbers on December 18.

    Home prices also continued to strengthen.
    The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index went up 1% in September, to a 13.3% gain for the year, increasing in all 20 metros measured. The FHFA index of prices for homes financed by conforming mortgages edged up 0.3% in September and is up 8.5% over last year. Speaking of conforming mortgages, the acting director of the FHFA announced last week that the $417,000 conforming loan limit will not be lowered, good news for the housing market. A glitch: Pending Home Sales dipped 0.6% in October, but some expect existing home sales to start back up in December.

    Information received from; Susan Gran, First Choice Loan Services Inc.
     
    John Donahue ABR, CDPE, GRI, SRES
    RE/MAX properties, ltd.
    REALTOR / Partner
    27 Years Full Time Service
    215-968-7423 / 7400
    215-605-6532 Cell
    V.A. Mortgages / No Money Down
    www.JohnDonahueHomes.com
    www.BucksCountyLocation.com
    www.InternetTopHomes.com
  • Forcast For The Week.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bucks County  |  November 26, 2013 12:42 PM  |  97 views  |  1 comment
     Forecast for the Week  
       
     

    The upcoming week's economic data is crammed into three trading days, given the Thanksgiving Holiday.

    • Housing data is plentiful this week and kicks off on Monday with Pending Home Sales. Tuesday brings the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, as well as September and October data for Housing Starts and Building Permits. September's Housing Starts and Building Permits were never reported due to the government shutdown.
    • Tuesday also brings a read on Consumer Confidence, with the Consumer Sentiment Index following on Wednesday.
    • Also on Wednesday, look for Weekly Initial Jobless Claims, Durable Goods Orders, and news from the manufacturing sector with Chicago PMI.

    All capital markets will be closed on Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving. The Bond markets will be open on Friday and will close at 2:00 p.m. ET, while Stocks are also open and will close at 1:00 p.m. ET.

    Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond that home loan rates are based on.

    When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving – and when they are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

    To go one step further – a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes were on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

    As you can see in the chart below, it was a volatile week for Bonds as the Fed minutes renewed talk of tapering the Fed's Bond purchase program. I'll be watching the markets closely in the coming weeks as more discussion on this topic is sure to continue.
     

    Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Nov 22, 2013)
    Japanese Candlestick Chart
     
       
  • Mortgage Rates Reach the Lowest Point in Four Months

    Posted Under: Market Conditions  |  November 18, 2013 2:38 PM  |  101 views  |  No comments
    Mortgage Rates Reach the Lowest Point in Four MonthsTue, 29 Oct 2013 16:06:01 GMT by Shashank ShekharMortgage rates continue to trend lower, with the rates now dropping to a 4-month low. Freddie Mac’s latest survey reported that the average fixed mortgage rates hit their lowest levels since June 2013 amid market speculation that the Federal Reserve will not taper its bond buying purchases this year. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage
  • Delinquencies have continued to decline, lowest level since 2008.

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Southeastern, Financing in Southeastern, Foreclosure in Southeastern  |  November 9, 2013 10:39 AM  |  169 views  |  2 comments

    Delinquencies have continued to decline, hitting their lowest level since 2008.

    New data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's National Delinquency Survey shows that the delinquency rate on one-to-four unit residential properties fell in the third quarter to 6.41% of all loans. This represents the lowest proportion since the second quarter of 2008. The delinquency rate fell 0.55% from the previous quarter, and 0.99% from a year ago.

     

    VA loans in particular saw an improvement in delinquencies, and are now at their lowest delinquency rate since 1980.

    Foreclosures fell as well, with the percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started decreasing from 0.64% to 0.61%, the lowest since early 2007.

    “The degree to which the mortgage delinquency and foreclosure problem has changed over the last five years is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that last quarter New Jersey led the nation in the increase in the percentage of foreclosure actions filed, followed by Delaware, Maryland and Indiana.  While Florida still leads the nation in the percentage of loans in foreclosure, that percentage is falling.  In contrast, New York and New Jersey were the only two states that saw an increase in the percentages of loans in foreclosure,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s Chief Economist and SVP of Research and Education.

    While foreclosures are set to continue their decline, Brinkmann said they could remain above historical averages for some time.

    "While home prices have shown some considerable improvement, in only a small number of states are they back above their pre-2007 levels.  This is noteworthy because roughly three-quarters of all seriously delinquent loans were originated in 2007 or earlier.  So even if the economy continues to improve, those loans are more likely to proceed to foreclosure in the event of a divorce, illness or loss of a job because of lack of borrower equity.  This will keep the foreclosure rates above historical norms for a few more years despite the strong credit standards of recent vintages."
     

    Information from Mortgage Profession America

    John Donahue ABR, CDPE, GRI, SRES
    RE/MAX properties, ltd.
    REALTOR / Partner
    27 Years Full Time Service
    215-968-7423 / 7400
    215-605-6532 Cell
    V.A. Mortgages / No Money Down
    www.JohnDonahueHomes.com
    www.BucksCountyLocation.com
    www.InternetTopHomes.com

  • 5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

    Posted Under: Credit Score  |  October 26, 2013 2:07 PM  |  117 views  |  No comments

    5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

    October 12, 2013 ·

     

    By David Bakke, Money Crashers

    In today’s world, your credit score can have a significant effect on the financial aspects of your life. Your credit history determines loan and credit card interest rates, can raise your insurance premiums, and can even be a determining factor for getting a job.

    Therefore, it’s very important to take steps to achieve and maintain a healthy credit score, and to check up on it frequently to ensure that it is accurate.

    1. Pay Your Bills on Time

    Your bill payment history accounts for roughly 35% of your credit score, and includes payment of credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and utility bills. Recent late payments in your credit history have the greatest impact on your score, so if you’ve missed a payment before, avoid repeating this costly mistake!

    If you want to boost your credit score, do whatever it takes to pay your bills in a timely manner every month. Use online reminders to help you remember to pay your bills, and inquire at your bank or check with your credit card company to see if they offer email reminders about due payments.

    Many companies also allow customers to change the due dates for monthly bills, allowing you to streamline all of your bill payments into one or two occurrences per month.

    2. Review Your Credit Report on a Timely Basis

    Inaccurate or outdated information can appear on your credit report at any time, and this can significantly hurt your credit score. Identify and correct errors on your credit report quickly using the following steps:

    • Request a Free Copy of Your Credit Report. You can order your free credit report online from AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only website that offers free credit reports, and provides access to reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Once you sign up on the site, you can stagger when you review each of your three credit reports, reviewing one report every four months or so. You can also receive a free credit report if you are denied credit.
    • Review Your Credit Report. Once you obtain a copy of your credit report, review your contact information to make sure it is correct. Look for inaccurate information, outstanding balances, and late payments. If you have an open account with the company that reported the late payment, you can call them and ask that they remove it from your credit report. You may also notice a number of inquiries on your credit report, which often merely reflect credit card companies’ efforts to market their products to you. If any inquiries seem unusual, research to find out why they are being made on your account.
    • Check Carefully for Bankruptcies and Charge-Offs. Review the details for any bankruptcies and charge-offs on your credit report to ensure their accuracy.
    • File a Dispute. If you find errors or incorrect information on your credit report, file a claim to dispute and fix the errors with the reporting agency.

    3. Never Close Old Lines of Credit

    Many people believe that consumers should close old or unused lines of credit to improve credit scores. Actually, it may be more advisable to keep these lines of credit open.

    A large portion of your credit score (approximately 30%) is determined by the amount of available credit you are using. If you have a lot of available credit, but only use a small portion of it, you can improve your credit score.

    If you have a few credit cards that you no longer use, don’t let them languish – instead, use them occasionally for a few small purchases and pay them off in full each month. If you don’t use the cards, the issuers may reduce your credit lines or close your accounts. Closing a credit card hurts your credit score.

    4. Open New Credit Judiciously

    Based on the previous point, you might think that opening multiple new lines of credit will improve your credit score. This isn’t true, however, as opening several new lines of credit in a short period of time will negatively affect your score.

    New credit accounts for about 10% of your score, and credit reporting agencies constantly monitor your activity, so open new lines of credit judiciously. If you find good deals on cash back credit cards or credit card sign-up bonuses, tread lightly.

    5. Carefully Mix Credit Lines

    The mix of credit lines accounts for about 10% of your credit score. If you have a mix of credit cards, loans, and other types of credit, you can positively impact your score. Walk this line carefully so that you do not overextend yourself, however.

    Final Thoughts

    In addition to paying your bills on time and maintaining lines of credit, other factors play a role in determining your score. For instance, the length of time you have had credit also accounts for about 15% of your credit score.

    Over time, as you build and establish your credit, your score will improve. With careful, regularly scheduled awareness and monitoring, you can improve your score and enjoy all the benefits that come with a solid credit history.

  • Partner with a REALTOR.

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Rentals  |  October 22, 2013 11:57 AM  |  140 views  |  No comments
     
    “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

    ― George Bernard Shaw    

    One mistake to avoid is buying, selling  or renting a home without the help of a REALTOR. Be sure to ask questions, such as; how are you differant from others, explain your marketing strategy, how easy is it to contact you? Partner with a REALTOR and get thing done on time and with less stress.
  • Housing Starts Rose in October

    Posted Under: Market Conditions  |  November 20, 2012 11:09 AM  |  142 views  |  No comments

    Housing Starts Rose in October

    By
    Published: November 20, 2012
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    Builders in the United States started construction last month on the most homes and apartments since July 2008, more evidence that the housing recovery was gaining momentum.

    The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on homes in October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000. That’s a 3.6 percent gain from September.

    Single-family home construction dipped 0.2 percent to an annual rate of 594,000, down from a four-year high in the previous month. Apartment construction, which is more volatile from month to month, rose 10 percent to an annual rate of 285,000.

    Applications for building permits, a sign of future construction, fell 2.7 percent to 866,000, after jumping 12 percent in September to a four-year high. Still, permit applications to build single-family homes rose to their highest level since July 2008.

    “The overwhelming trend here is a housing market that has clearly shifted into recovery mode,” Robert Kavcic, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

    Housing starts were 87 percent above the annual rate of 478,000 in April 2009, the recession low. But it was still short of the 1.5 million annual rate considered healthy.

    The hurricane that struck the Northeast had minimal impact on the October figures, the government said, although it could delay some construction in November. Still, residential construction activity in the region could move higher soon after, when builders begin replacing homes destroyed by the storm.

    The housing market has been making consistent gains this year, helping prop up an economy that is being squeezed by a global slowdown and looming spending cuts and tax increases.

    Builder confidence rose to its highest level in six and a half years, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo. Their index of builder sentiment rose to 46 points this month, up from 41 in October. It was the highest reading since May 2006, just before the housing bubble burst.

    Readings below 50 signal negative sentiment about the housing market. The index has been rising since October 2011, when it was 17. It has surged 27 points in the past 12 months, the sharpest annual increase on record.

    Though new homes represent less than 20 percent of the housing sales market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to data from the home builders group.

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