Contract Signings Surge, But They Could Be Even Higher – According to the National Association of REALTORS®, real estate pros are having a busy winter, and with buyer demand high, it could be even busier if it wasn’t for a lack of inventory continuing to plague many markets. Pending home sales rebounded in January, rising 5.2% month over month. Contract signings are up 5.7% over year-ago levels. “This month’s solid activity, the second-highest monthly figure in over two years, is due to the good economic backdrop and exceptionally low mortgage rates,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “We are still lacking in inventory. Inventory availability will be the key to consistent future gains.”
Source and link to the full article: National Association of REALTORS®
Housing Permits Increase to 13-Year High – Based on the latest data released from the Commerce Department, total housing starts fell 3.6% in January, but that’s not what housing economists were focused on. Instead, it was the gauge on future home building with housing permits that had them upbeat about what could be coming. Housing permits last month climbed to the highest level since March 2007. Still, it wasn’t all great news to the industry: Housing starts dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.57 million units in January, the Commerce Department reported. But “the latest month’s decline in housing starts is nothing to be concerned about,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS®. “The housing data is quite jumpy. What is important is the trend line, which is clearly on an upward path. Higher housing permit issuances are also a positive indicator for even greater production in the months ahead.”
Source and link to the full article: “Housing Production Shows Solid Start to 2020,” National Association of Home Builders (Feb. 19, 2020)
Study: Many Homeowners Have No Clue About Their Mortgage Rate – According to a new study published by Bankrate, more than one in four U.S. homeowners, or 27%, don’t know the interest rate on their current home. That lack of knowledge may be prompting homeowners to miss out on refinancing their mortgage into a lower rate and saving on monthly costs. Mortgage rates have recently been hovering at three-year lows. Younger homeowners are the most likely to be unaware of their mortgage rate. About 34% of homeowners between the ages of 29 to 39 say they’re unsure what their mortgage rate is. On the other hand, for comparison, 23% of homeowners between the ages of 56 and 74 don’t know their mortgage rate.
Source and link to the full article: “Don’t Know Your Mortgage Rate? You’re Not Alone, Study Finds,” FOX Business (Feb. 13, 2020)
How Buyers Can Instantly Improve Their Credit Scores – Based on a recent story aired on CNBC, the higher your credit score, the better your chance to snag a lower mortgage rate and potentially save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. But one missed payment or a default can instantly bring a credit score down. “Depending on your credit history, a 15- or 20-point shift could mean the difference between being approved or declined or better terms or higher costs,” Rod Griffin, the director of public education at Experian, told CNBC. The top way to increase your credit score: Pay your bills on time and reduce your credit card balance. That habit alone can improve a score as quickly as within a few billing cycles. “As a rule of thumb, you could see an appreciable difference in six months,” Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at CreditCards.com, told CNBC. However, “if a missed payment has dragged your score down, your score could rebound in a month or two; a series of late payments will take longer to make a full recovery,” Griffin adds.
Source and link to the full article: “Here’s How to Improve Your Credit Score Right Away,” CNBC (Feb. 25, 2020)