New Season, New Rules for Housing!
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The housing market headed into fall on a high note. And like the changing season, the home loan process ushered in change for homebuyers.
Home Sales and Home Prices Increase
Historically low home loan rates, high housing demand and limited supply strengthened home sales and home prices.
August New Home Sales were up 15.2 percent from August 2014. Year-over-year Existing Home Sales in August also were up 6.2 percent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. While sales of new homes did fall in September, sales of existing homes increased. Overall the housing market continues to show positive signs of recovery.
Likewise, home prices rose 6.9 percent in August 2015 from August 2014, according to research firm CoreLogic’s Home Price Index Report. This trend is forecast to continue.
Know Before You Owe … or Risk Closing Delays
The “Know Before You Owe” rule went into effect on October 3, 2015.
Championed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), this rule requires specific timeframes for consumers to receive and review their Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosures. The new home loan procedures also provide streamlined forms that spell out in plain, understandable language a borrower’s monthly payment, costs of getting a mortgage, the costs to close the loan and other information about the loan.
While all of this is great for homebuyers—to know before they owe—any changes made throughout the loan process could delay closing in order to meet required time frames. Consumers can minimize closing delays by conducting home inspections early, clearing contingencies quickly and scheduling a final walk-through before the Closing Disclosure is issued.
The key takeaway here is to avoid last-minute loan changes that could push closing dates back.
FED Holds Steady, Investors at the Ready for Rate Hike
A disappointing September Jobs Report and other mixed economic data validated the Fed’s decision to leave its benchmark Federal Funds Rate unchanged at its September and October meetings. The Fed Funds Rate is the rate banks use when lending money to each other overnight. Everyone is keeping a watchful eye on data for signs of sustainable growth across the U.S. economy. When the Fed does increase the Fed Funds Rate, it’s possible home loan and other consumer rates may rise as well, depending on the markets and other economic conditions.