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Dear Homebuyers: Learn About Your Down payment

Dear Homebuyers: Learn About Your Down payment

Dear homebuyers: Please stop thinking you need 20% down payment

NEW YORK – Feb. 18, 2019 – First-time buyer surveys consistently show the top hurdle to homeownership is saving up for the down payment. But potential home shoppers may be misunderstanding the amount of money they really need to buy a home.

“Paying 20 percent down is, quite frankly, a myth,” Karen Hoskins, vice president at NeighborWorks, told HouseLogic. “Most buyers pay only 5 percent to 10 percent down – some even pay zero.”Several assistance programs can help buyers with down payment concerns break into homeownership. For example, 69 percent of about 2,500 homebuying programs tracked by Down payment Resource offer down payment assistance. The average amount of assistance from these programs tops $11,000.

HouseLogic offers several places where buyers can search for down payment assistance, including through national government programs. The Federal Housing Administration offers loans to first-time buyers with down payments as low as 3.5 percent. Programs like the USDA Rural Development Loans and VA Home Loans offer eligible buyers zero-down payment loans. Mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer eligible buyers loans where they can put down as little as 3 percent of the purchase price.

When buyers put down less than 20 percent, they pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) each month to protect the lender’s interest, though the PMI can often be cancelled once they build up 20 percent equity in the property. Many state and local homebuying programs offer assistance programs too. There are many different forms of assistance, such as forgivable loans and grants (gifts for some or all of the down payment and closing costs) to soft mortgages (down payment assistance loans that are deferred for some period of time based on the program’s requirements).

Mortgage brokers should also be able to supply buyers with information about programs in their area and help determine eligibility.

SOURCE: © 2019 Florida Realtors®

Fla.’s housing market: Median prices, inventory up in Dec.

Fla.’s housing market: Median prices, inventory up in Dec.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 22, 2019 – Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices and increased inventory (active listings) in December compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. However, buyer uncertainty from rising mortgage rates and the federal government’s shutdown may have impacted home sales, which were lower than the level of sales a year ago. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,633 last month, down 9.9 percent compared to December 2017.

“Florida’s housing sector is continuing to show signs that inventory levels are finally easing in many local markets after being constrained for a long time,” says 2019 Florida Realtors President Eric Sain, =””> statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $185,000, up 2.8 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.


According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in November 2018 was $260,500, up 5 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $554,760; in Massachusetts, it was $395,000; in Colorado, it was $375,000; and in New York, it was $275,000.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market in December, statewide closed sales totaled 8,156, down 11.4 percent compared to a year ago. Closed sales data continued to show fewer short sales and foreclosures in November: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 39.7 percent and foreclosures fell 33.7 percent year-to-year; while short sales for single-family homes dropped 49.8 percent and foreclosures fell 26.8 percent year-to-year. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

“Notably, this year-over-year decline in sales for December was felt across the nation, not just in Florida, which is evidence that interest rates played at least some role in dampening the number of closings,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates began to ramp up in September and had reached a multi-year high of close to 5 percent by mid-October, which is typically when financed sales closing in December go under contract.”

Interest rates likely will continue to play a role in determining the direction of Florida’s housing markets going forward, O’Conner adds. “Homebuyers considering sitting on the fence until prices come down might want to take note that we’re also likely to see significantly higher mortgage rates by that point. While there has been a slight softening in the pace of home price growth since mid-2018, there are currently no signs that Florida home values will experience any wholesale declines over the next year.”

Potential homebuyers should also note that Florida’s active listings – or inventory levels of for-sale homes – have been trending up across the state, according to O’Connor.

“Statewide, active listings of existing single-family homes have been on the rise since July, which has helped contribute to the softening of price growth, and they continued to climb in December,” he says. “At year’s end, inventory was up over 13 percent compared to the end of 2017. Importantly, inventory levels are now rising across most of the pricing spectrum, including in some of the more affordable ranges.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.64 percent in December 2018, up from the 3.95 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Research & Statistics section on Realtors also have access to local market stats (password protected) on Florida Realtors’ website.

SOURCE: © 2019 Florida Realtors®