Pending Home Sales Remain Steady


Posted: 08 Oct 2015 KCM CrewPending Home Sales Remain Steady | Keeping Current MattersThe National Association of REALTORS’ just released the results of their latestPending Home Sales Index, which showed a small 1.4% decline in signed contracts in August. Pending sales remain strong year-over-year as they were 6.1% higher than August ’14 and have now risen for 12 consecutive months. 

What is the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)?

NAR’s PHSI is “a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings”. The higher the Pending Home Sales Index number, the more contracts have been signed by buyers that will soon translate to sales. In every major region of the country, pending sales are up year-over-year as shown by the graph below:Pending Home Sales By Region | Keeping Current Matters

What does this mean for the market?

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR explained:

“Pending sales have leveled off since mid–summer, with buyers being bounded by rising prices and few available and affordable properties within their budget.”

There is no need to worry

Yun went on to say, “Even with existing–housing supply barely budging all summer and no relief coming from new construction, contract activity is still higher than earlier this year and a year ago.”

So What Does This Mean To Buyers?

There is a lot of competition out there right now for your dream home. Prices are going to continue to climb, act now before you are priced out of your future home. 

What Does This Mean to Sellers?

If you are on the fence about listing your home for sale and debating whether now is the time to move on with your plans of relocating… don’t wait! There are more buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy their first, second, third, vacation, or investment property now than there has been in years! The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with the demand of these buyers. Listing your home for sale now will give you the most exposure to buyers and the best sales price. 

Bottom Line

Whether you are planning on buying or selling a house this year, waiting to act no longer makes sense.

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5 Common Down Payment Misconceptions

What you don’t know could be holding you back


According to Down Payment Resource, consumers are motivated to buy, but the down payment continues to be a primary obstacle.

“Most homebuyers don’t know to look for or ask about homeownership programs that could help them both in the short and long term. The requirements and benefits of programs vary greatly and may help buyers save on their down payment and closing costs, gain a lower interest rate or enjoy a healthy tax credit for the life of their loan,” said Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource.

To help sort through the confusion, Down Payment Resource compiled this list of five misconceptions homebuyers have about down payments.

Myth 1: Programs are only for first-time homebuyers.

While first-time homebuyer programs may be common, it’s important to note that the definition of a first-time homebuyer is someone who has not owned a home in three years. In addition, the index finds that 37% of programs do not have a first-time homebuyer requirement.

Myth 2: Homeownership programs make financing more difficult.

There are now more than 2,400 programs available across the country and 85% have funds available for homebuyers. It’s important for new buyers to seek homeownership education. It’s often a requirement for down payment programs and it gives buyers confidence with the home buying process, financing options, including down payment programs, and budgeting.

Myth 3: You need to put 20% down.

Today, a 20% down payment is not required and depending on the buyer’s situation, it may not be optimal. Homeownership programs allow buyers to save on the down payment and retain savings for home maintenance and improvements. Today’s programs include grants, first mortgages with below-market interest rates and annual tax credits.

Myth 4: Programs aren’t available in my area.

There are programs available in every community across the country – rural and urban. It’s important for buyers to search for programs early in their home-buying journey because it may help determine the most affordable part of town or price point.

Myth 5: It’s too expensive to buy in my market. 

More than 14% of programs are designed for individuals providing an important community service, including educators, protectors, healthcare workers, veterans and other special circumstances. Especially helpful in high-cost markets, these programs help workers live in the communities they serve.

For more help, here is a list of the top 10 most affordable housing markets for low down payments.

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Mortgage Applications Skyrocket More Than 25%

Big pre-TRID rush boosted final week of September


After a summer of subdued or declining activity, mortgage applications increased 25.5% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Oct. 2, 2015.

The market composite index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 25.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 26% compared with the previous week. The refinance index increased 24% from the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index increased 27% from one week earlier. The unadjusted purchase index increased 27% compared with the previous week and was 49% higher than the same week one year ago.

“The number of applications for purchase and refinance mortgages soared last week due both to renewed rate volatility and as many applications were filed prior to the TILA-RESPA regulatory change. The average loan size of applications in the weekly survey increased by 6.9%, driven by a 12.1% increase in the average size of refinances,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 57.4% of total applications from 58.0% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.6% of total applications.

The Federal Housing Administration share of total applications decreased to 12.7% from 13.8% the week prior. The Veterans Affairs share of total applications decreased to 9.2% from 10.3% the week prior. The Department of Agriculture share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.7% the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.99%, the lowest level since May 2015, from 4.08%, with points increasing to 0.46 from 0.45 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased to 3.89%, the lowest level since April 2015, from 3.96%, with points decreasing to 0.25 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.80%, the lowest level since May 2015, from 3.87%, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.24%, the lowest level since May 2015, from 3.29%, with points decreasing to 0.38 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.96% from 2.95%, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.


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Home Equity: You May have More Than You Think

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 KCM CrewHome Equity: You May Have More Than You Think | Keeping Current MattersCoreLogic recently released their 2015 2nd Quarter Equity Report which revealed that 759,000 properties had regained equity in the last quarter. That means that 91% of allmortgaged properties (approximately 45.9 million) are now in a positive equity position. Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, reported:

“For much of the country, the negative equity epidemic is lifting. The biggest reason for this improvement has been the relentless rise in home prices over the past three years which reflects increasing money flows into housing and a lack of housing stock in many markets.”

Obviously, this is great news for the financial situation of many homeowners.

But, do they realize their equity position has changed?

A recent study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are unaware that their equity position has changed…in some cases dramatically. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, only 9% of homes are in that position. The study also revealed that, though 69% of homes had “significant equity” (greater than 20%), only 37% of Americans realize it.Significant Equity | Keeping Current MattersThis means that 32% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing). Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

Every homeowner should be aware of the true equity in their house and also realize the opportunities that go along with it. If you are unsure of the savings you currently have built up in your home, contact a real estate professional to help ascertain that number. You may be surprised.

#homeequity #MarshfieldRealEstate

Follow Len and Leslie Marma of Success! Real Estate on their facebook business page, “Marshfield Matters” …. click LIKE to receive real estate info and what’s happening in Marshfield.  They also have a blog entitled, “”

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The Design Center Hosts Boston Design Market

It’s a two-day design immersion event—here’s what to check out.

For two days this week, October seventh through eighth, the Seaport’s Boston Design Center is opening its doors for Boston Design Market 2015, featuring keynote events, panel discussions, demonstrations, workshops, and product launches throughout the building. With events open to the public, you’re free to wander through the halls, check out what’s new in the showrooms, and mingle with the design minded while you plan your next home renovation project.

See a full list of happenings here, and check out what not to miss below.

20x20xDesign: What’s Next?
Keep your ears open as industry experts share their perspective on what’s next in design.
October 7, 4 p.m., The Seminar Room, 5th Floor, Suite 548

Behind the Walls: An Inside Look at Wallcovering
Phillip Jeffries’s Director of Marketing Michelle Daniels will discusses the art of handcrafted wallcoverings.
October 7, 2 p.m., The Designer Lounge, Suite 342

Kerry Joyce: My Life in Design
Award-winning interior designer Kerry Joyce will talk with Chuck Comeau of Dessin Fournir, the company with a roster of elite clients like Oprah, Elton John and Janet Jackson..
October 8, 1 p.m., The Seminar Room, 5th Floor, Suite 548

Furniture Repair & Restoration
Join Craig Lupien from Trefler’s, the Boston company that specializes in the repair and restoration of personal treasures, will demonstrate a restoration.
October 8, 1:30 p.m., The Market Stalls, Suite 203

Wired & Inspired: Behind the Scenes of a Virtual Showhouse
The Designers of BDC’s Dering Hall digital show house will discuss the project’s inspiration.
October 8, 4 p.m., The Seminar Room, 5th Floor, Suite 548

#BostonDesignMarket #DesignCenter #wallcovering #FurnitureRestoration

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Nine Fall Workout Tips from Personal Trainers

Three Equinox trainers share advice on staying warm, keeping motivation up, and getting the best results possible.

Fall workout

After sweating profusely all summer, fall provides a welcome weather refuge for many Bostonians. But if you’ve gotten used to exercising outdoors in just shorts and a tank top, colder days may make for a rude awakening.

We asked three trainers from Equinox—Alex Figueroa, David Cheal, and Kristen Mercier—for their best fall workout tips as autumn weather hits.

Alex Figueroa

1. Pay attention to your fingers and your face. “Fingers and face are usually the first to get cold, so a good pair of gloves and a warm beanie, or even a mask, are good ideas,” Figueroa says.

2. Incorporate active recovery. Instead of letting your body get cold as it stands between sets, Figueroa recommends light movement during rest periods. “Fluctuations in body temperature make the cold more uncomfortable and allow the cold to creep into your clothes,” he says.

3. Create smaller loops. If you’re a runner or walker, resort to laps—instead of long journeys—in case the cold gets to be too much. “Create shorter loops and repeat them more often,” Figueroa says. “This will allow you to decide on the fly if you can do another [lap] every time you hit your starting point.”

David Cheal

1. Start preparing now. “Preserve and build your muscle mass now so your body will burn fat rather than muscle in colder temps,” Cheal says. In other words: Hit the gym, stat.

2. Do the workouts you avoided all summer. Some workouts are just too painful in hot summer months—so do them now. “Outdoor track workouts can be brutal in the heat, but right now is the perfect time to hit the track for that workout you’ve been craving all summer,” Cheal says.

3. Invest in the right gearCheal’s must-haves for cold weather exercise are gloves, compression pants, and light layers that can be removed as your body heats up.

Kristen Mercier

1. Pay attention to your warm up. Logically, warm ups are extra important when it’s cold outside, Mercier says. “Light, dynamic movement is the best way to [warm up],” Mercier says. “One of my favorite warm up moves is the yoga pose downward-facing dog. It increases core temperature and mobilizes the hips and shoulders.”

2. Work your whole body. To stay warm, Mercier says not to isolate any one muscle group. “The more muscle groups you can recruit, the warmer you will keep your body,” she explains. “Push-ups, burpees, walking lunges, and jump squats are all great exercises for this.”

3. Plan your route wisely. “Your best bet is to stay away from areas of high wind, such as the ocean and other bodies of water,” Mercier says. “Tree-lined streets or trails would be a better bet.”

 #FallWorkoutTips #MarsfieldMA

Follow Len and Leslie Marma of Success! Real Estate on their facebook business page, “Marshfield Matters” …. click LIKE to receive real estate info and what’s happening in Marshfield.  They also have a blog entitled, “”   

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Sales Up in (Almost) Every Price Range!

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 KCM Crew

Sales Up In (Almost) Every Price Range! | Keeping Current MattersThe National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Reportrevealed that home sales were up rather dramatically over last year in five of the six price ranges they measure. Only those homes priced under $100,000 showed a decline (-7.7%). The decline in this price range points to the lower inventory of distressed properties available for sale and speaks to the strength of the market. Every other category showed a minimum increase of at least 5.6%, with sales in the $250,000- $500,000 range up 16.9%!

Here is the breakdown:

Sales Up In Almost Every Price Range | Keeping Current Matters

What does that mean to you if you are selling?

Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, perhaps it is time to sit with your agent and see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

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