Freddie Mac Offers 2015 Housing Market Predictions

Freddie Mac has put together a few housing market predictions for the new year, including expectations of refinance and home improvement activity to exceed purchase activity. Home values are expected to increase approximately 3%, and the multifamily housing market will continue to flourish. Additionally, they expect home sales to increase around 3% and interest rates to slowly climb. More here#img1#

25% Of Americans Could Benefit From Refinancing

According to Black Knight Financial Services, as many as 25% of American borrowers with 30-year mortgages could benefit from refinancing their homes. Trey Barns, the senior vice president of Loan Data Products for Black Knight Financial Services said, “before the most recent reductions in the average 30-year mortgage interest rate, approximately six million borrowers met broad-based ‘refinancibility’ criteria. These criteria assume loan-to-value ratios of 80% or below, good credit, non-delinquent loan status and current interest rates high enough that borrowers have an incentive to refinance.” More here 

Senior Downsizing Tips

As we age, we tend to require or desire a smaller living space. If you are in the process of downsizing or even considering a change, here are a few tips that may make the process easier: Decide which possessions you can not part with, this will give you a general idea of how much space you will need. You may want to consider getting rid of items that you don’t use. Measure your new space and your furniture to see what will and will not fit in your new home. Have a yard sale to get rid of your old things so you can pocket some extra cash, or you can take them to a local thrift store or a Goodwill. More here

Considering Adding On To Your Home?

As your family or lifestyle changes you may consider adding extra space to your home rather than moving into a new space. Here are some tips you should consider before adding extra living space to your home: Look at your options and decide if you want to hire an architect or skip that step and hire a construction company straight-away. Decide how much you are willing to spend. You can use helpful sites like CostHelper.com to estimate your total expense. Consider adding the room to an existing base of your home, like the basement in order to cut costs. Lastly, prepare yourself for a noisy atmosphere or other discomfort while the work is being done. You may want to make arrangements to stay with family or friends while the construction crew is on site. More here

Home Price Growth Expected To Level Out In The New Year

Home prices have gradually increased this year, and while that trend is expected to continue into the first of the year, Capital Economics has stated that home price gains will begin to level out. Experts believe that as we progress into 2015, price gains will average around 4%. Supply is expected to increase helping home price growth become more stable in the coming year. Experts are also expecting interest rates to jump. Paul Diggle, a property economist for Capital Economics said, “a March rate hike is not out of the question. Thereafter, we expect the Fed to continue raising rates more aggressively than the markets expect, with the Fed funds rate reaching 3% by the end of 2016. In turn, that means that 30-year mortgage rates will increase from 4.1% now to 5.5% by the end of 2015 and 5.8% by the end of 2016. Housing affordability will deteriorate, but even by end-2016 affordability will be more favorable than the historical norm.” More here

Hot Housing Markets In 2015

According to Realtor.com, 2015 may be a big year for the housing market. First-time homebuyers are expected to make a significant return to the market next year, and home sales are predicted to increase by approximately 25%. Experts have compiled a list of some expected hot housing markets in 2015 that take into account affordability, employment rates, and growing population. A few cities that top the list are Atlanta, Des Moines, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Denver. More here

Mortgage Rates Drop Significantly

Mortgage rates have fallen to the lowest level since May 2013, according to recent data released by Freddie Mac. The 30-year fixed-rate loan averaged 3.8% nationally this week, while the 15-year fixed-rate loan averaged 3.1% nationally. 10-year Treasury yields have also fallen to the lowest rate seen in 7 months. The vice president of HSH.com said, “plunging oil prices, due to a slowdown in Russia and other global economies, have been sending investors into safe havens like U.S. Treasuries. This is again driving down yields and pulling mortgage rates right along with them.” More here

Research Finds Giving May Benefit Health

A new study From Harvard Business School has found that the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you give a gift might not be a coincidence. Giving has now been linked to long-term positive health benefits. The study involved a focus group, with some people giving various amounts of money to shoppers while the other group kept the money to spend on themselves. Those who gave the money away to shoppers were in better spirits when compared to those who kept the money to spend on themselves. Happier people tend to have lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, and lower heart rates. So give this holiday season and be happier and healthier! More here

Tips For Maintaining Siding

Taking care of the siding on your home can save you the expense of major repairs, or having to replace the siding entirely due to neglect. A few things you can do to ensure your home’s siding looks great and works efficiently are: Clean your siding with soap, water and trisodium phosphate (you should be able to find this chemical at your local hardware store). Use a soft bristled brush to clean off bird droppings, mildew, and hardened mud. You can also use bleach and water for harder-to-clean mildew stains. Be sure to check your siding for any cracks or damage; If you spot something that looks like it needs repair, act fast before it turns into a larger problem. More here

Many Underwater Homeowners Emerge

According to Zillow’s third quarter Negative Equity Report, underwater homes have decreased approximately 40% since the beginning of 2012. The percentage of homeowners with negative equity averaged 16.9%  last quarter, a 4.2% drop from 2013. Stan Humphries, Zillow’s Chief Economist said, “the market has made terrific strides since bottoming out in late 2011 and early 2012, with millions of underwater homeowners freed in just the past few years, and millions more set to surface in coming months and years.” More here