Real estate-related community news (and a bit of awesomeness).

REAL ESTATE news

Sales of existing homes slipped 0.7 percent in July, fourth straight monthly decline

House

Lower priced homes are experiencing fewer price reductions than upper end properties

Why hospitals are investing in real estate

Home value growth slowing in several hot markets

MORTGAGE & FINANCE news

Young homebuyers funding home down payment from their retirement account

retirement

Before you buy that first investment property, read this

Massive student debt makes homeownership almost impossible

HOME trends

Guide to understanding your home’s value

Declutter your kitchen and double your storage space Kitchen

Questions to ask before buying a condo

LOCAL news

seattle

Seattle-area frenetic growth has cooled, but boom is still on

Buyers see hope on the horizon in cooling Seattle market

Seattle-area drops to the #12 market for home price growth

Home price acceleration slows, but it’s still a challenge if you’re a buyer

Seattle #2 on list of best cities for ice cream lovers

icecream

Performing arts and affordable housing come together in planned Rainier Valley development

Why do so many apartment buildings in Seattle look the same?apartment

New Hugo House opens in Seattle

The SR-99 tunnel gets its stripes (and some running stick figures)

Amazon leases Expedia’s entire Bellevue tower

Renton’s Kenworth Truck assembly plant celebrates 25 yearstruck

Port of Everett breaks ground on huge and historic modernization project

SunsetandGrand_Everett

Economic outlook for Washington State

Where do Washington State’s billionaires live?

Homes throughout the Northwest continue to appreciate

WEEKLY DOSE OF awesomeness

What do the smart home systems of the wealthy have that Alexa doesn’t?

future

(hint: Morgan Freeman)

Curious on bank owned properties?

Here is a current list of just listed bank owned in the Snohomish County area. If you would like more information or to see one of these feel free to reach out to me.

Click Link to View Property 23115 ALDER DR
GRANITE FALLS, WA 98252

2.0 br, 2.0 ba | 1380 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1058850
$251,450
Just Listed

 

Click Link to View Property 2931 NEWBERG RD
SNOHOMISH, WA 98290

2.0 br, 2.0 ba | 1504 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1058443
$379,900
Just Listed

 

Click Link to View Property 25 E BEECH ST
EVERETT, WA 98203

2.0 br, 1.0 ba | 771 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1056881
$262,500
Just Listed

 

Click Link to View Property 3431 159TH PL NW
STANWOOD, WA 98292

3.0 br, 2.0 ba | 1062 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1037488
$264,900
Back on Market

 

Click Link to View Property 11220 180TH ST SE
SNOHOMISH, WA 98296

3.0 br, 2.5 ba | 1330 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1036137
$450,000
Price Reduced

 

Click Link to View Property 19231 SOUNDVIEW DR NW
STANWOOD, WA 98292

2.0 br, 2.0 ba | 0 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1040470
$329,900
Price Reduced

 

Click Link to View Property 9620 54TH AVE NE
MARYSVILLE, WA 98270

3.0 br, 2.0 ba | 1211 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1027039
$229,900
Active

 

Click Link to View Property 6811 74TH DR NE
MARYSVILLE, WA 98270

3.0 br, 2.5 ba | 1354 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1026982
$324,000
Active

 

Click Link to View Property 14423 368TH AVE SE
SULTAN, WA 98294

2.0 br, 1.0 ba | 880 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1013263
$74,900
Active

 

Click Link to View Property 7513 HERMOSA BEACH RD
MARYSVILLE, WA 98271

3.0 br, 1.0 ba | 620 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1024843
$119,900
Active

 

Click Link to View Property 13516 131ST AVE NE
LAKE STEVENS, WA 98258

3.0 br, 3.0 ba | 2058 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1027729
$474,900
Active
Click Link to View Property 4404 106TH PL NE
MARYSVILLE, WA 98271

4.0 br, 3.0 ba | 1512 sq. ft.
MLS ID: 1057708
$289,500
Active

Mortgages may be easier to get than potential home buyers believe

Many potential buyers think they need near-perfect credit scores to get a home loan. But lenders may be loosening their tight underwriting standards.

WASHINGTON — Are you on the home-buying sidelines this spring because you think you won’t be able to qualify for a mortgage? Do you know what sort of FICO credit scores are being accepted by lenders at the moment — they’re lower than they were a year ago — and whether yours could now be good enough?

You may be part of the surprisingly large crowd of folks who fear the home-loan unknown. A new national consumer survey found that 56% of potential purchasers of homes say they’re out of the market because they don’t want to face the possibility of rejection by lenders. Even 30% of current homeowners believe that they wouldn’t pass muster today.

Using a statistical sample of 1,055 Americans 18 and older, survey research firm OmniTel, polling on behalf of mortgage lender LoanDepot, documented widespread uncertainty and lack of specific knowledge about current market conditions when it comes to qualifying to buy a home. According to the survey, 74% of potential buyers who would need a mortgage concede that they have not scoped out the current market or taken the steps needed to qualify.

Many potential buyers believe that they need near-perfect credit scores to get a home loan. Half of those surveyed said they had no idea what minimum FICO score is needed for a mortgage, and nearly a fifth (18%) said the minimum score might be 770 or higher.

Debt-to-income ratios are another insurmountable obstacle in many potential buyers’ eyes — enough so that they don’t even try to obtain a mortgage.

Most lenders use two forms of debt ratios: a “front end” ratio that compares the monthly costs of the proposed new mortgage and other housing expenses with the applicant’s monthly income, and a “back end” ratio comparing all recurring monthly debt obligations — housing expenses, student loans, credit cards and the like — with the applicant’s monthly income. Roughly a third of potential buyers on the sidelines believe that their debt ratios are too high.

But what’s the statistical reality on debt ratios, FICO score minimums and down payments? What are lenders approving?

The best answers come from a company called Ellie Mae, whose loan origination and tracking software is widely used by lenders. Every month Ellie Mae analyzes a huge sample of new mortgage originations nationwide and issues an overview report rich with the sort of detail that buyers sitting on the sidelines could use.

Here’s what it found in its report on March:

•Thirty-three percent of new loans last month had borrower FICO scores below 700. A year ago it was just 27%. (FICO scores max out at 850, which is considered excellent credit; applicants with scores under 700 present higher credit risks to lenders.) Federal Housing Administration-insured home purchase loans had an average FICO in March of 684. Conventional mortgages, those designed for purchase by investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, still have relatively high FICOs — they averaged 755 in March, but that was down slightly from 759 a year before. Lenders are doing far fewer refinancings this year, so they are loosening up on FICO minimums for purchasers.

•Debt ratios also are more generous than many sidelined potential borrowers probably imagine. The FHA’s average front-end (housing costs) ratio last month for purchase loans was 28%. In other words, if your projected housing and mortgage-related costs represent 28% of monthly income, you’re average. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans averaged 22% ratios on the front end. Back-end (total recurring debt) ratios for FHA averaged 41%. For Fannie and Freddie it was lower — 34%.

•Down payments can be small if that’s what you need. FHA’s average down payment last month for home purchases was 5%, but many borrowers put down just 3.5%. Fannie and Freddie allow 5% down as well, provided that you can pay mortgage insurance premiums. VA loans can go to zero down if your veterans status allows you to qualify. Department of Agriculture home buyer loans, which are designed for people who live in small towns, also allow for no down payments.

The point here: If you’re on the sidelines, check out what’s really going on in the mortgage market. There may be more opportunities — even in an era of tighter underwriting — than you think.

Article by Ken Harvey

%d bloggers like this: