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Apr 09

The Latest In Real Estate News

by EmilyDir

MGIC cutting mortgage insurance prices for borrowers

The reduction will bring mortgage insurance premium rates on the most popular premium plans down by an average 11%. The news today is causing mortgage insurance stocks to fall. The company announced this reduction is a result of the lower corporate tax rate signed into law in 2017 through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. MGIC explained that incorporating the tax benefit and allowing all lenders access to the reduced premium rates will enable lenders to fund sustainable low down payment lending solutions. “Over the last few months we've seen our competitors offer reduced borrower-paid premium rates too many, but not all, customers,” MTG and MGIC CEO Patrick Sinks said. “Our decision to incorporate the new tax rate into our borrower-paid premiums allows all lenders and their borrowers to benefit from lower premiums.” – From Housingwire

Homebuyers want to text their realtors; these emojis can help

Let’s talk texting
It seems real estate agents should get to work on their texting skills. According to a recent survey from Ellie Mae, homebuyers are increasingly expecting to text with their realtors – as well as other industry pros – throughout the buying process. Fortunately, a new emoji app can help.
Turning to texting
Ellie Mae recently launched its newest survey, “Great TEXTpectations,” to gauge interest in texting. And overwhelmingly, both buyers and housing pros alike want to text – particularly to speed up the process. According to Nick Hedges, an Ellie Mae senior vice president, texting's simply a good fit for their fast-paced lifestyles. “Consumers have been telling us that text messaging is well suited for their on-the-go, digital lives,” Hedges said. “This detailed feedback can be invaluable for sales professionals looking to make smarter decisions about integrating text messaging into their digital lead generation and sales workflows.” Still, consumers don’t want texts about everything. According to the survey, “both consumers and sales professionals voiced confidence in text’s potential to improve the buying experience by speeding up key processes. But consumer responses also show that text messaging can hurt sales efforts if not used in an appropriate fashion.” – From TheMortgageReports.com

Rate Hikes and Millennial Homebuyers

Even with interest rates going up, millennials are still taking out loans for new homes, according to Ellie Mae. The Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker found that 83 percent of mortgage loans made to millennial buyers were for new home purchases, a two percent increase month over month, but a three percent decrease year over year. Meanwhile, interest rates have been on the rise. In February, interest rates went up from 4.24 percent to 4.39 percent month over month. While this seems to have pushed some buyers away, with non-millennial purchase loans declining from 57 percent of total closed purchase loans in December to 55 percent in February, millennials have been taking out more mortgage loans. According to February’s data, these loans average around $199,352 for male millennial borrowers and $189,084 for female millennial borrowers. According to Ellie Mae, these millennials prefer conventional loans over FHA loans, as 68 percent of loans to millennials in February were conventional loans. Ellie Mae notes that this is the highest percentage of conventional loans since 2016, while FHA loans were at their lowest of 28 percent. –From TheMReport

Researchers Say Reverse Mortgages Deserve A Second Look

What’s the deal with reverse mortgages? This question was addressed in a recent Housing Wealth in Retirement Symposium held on March 23, 2018, in Washington, DC. The event was co-hosted by The American College of Financial Services and the Bipartisan Policy Center. While the symposium took a broader look at housing wealth and retirement security, a constant theme was the role of reverse mortgages under the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program sponsored by the federal government. A key takeaway from the researchers and policymaker presentations at the event was that reverse mortgages are underutilized by seniors today and can help provide added retirement funding security to Americans when used appropriately. – From Forbes

What Consumers Can Expect From Rising Interest Rates

On March 21, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate from 1.5% to 1.75%, the highest it has been since the Great Recession. It was, most likely, a big mistake. The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to keep employment high while keeping inflation low and relatively stable. It pegs this around a goal of approximately a 2% annual rate of inflation. Any higher and the bank generally feels like the economy is expanding too quickly. Much lower and the bank believes there's room to grow. The relationship between interest and inflation has to do, essentially, with employment. Low interest rates make it easier and cheaper to borrow money, causing both individuals and companies to spend more. (The Federal Reserve's interest rate tends to influence corporate borrowing more than individual consumers, but it touches most everything.) This spending stimulates the economy, moving money that otherwise would have stagnated in bank holdings into retailers, manufacturers and service providers. The upshot is an increase in hiring as those vendors, now flush with new customers, go out and hire workers. That makes the labor market tighter, pushing wages up as companies have to fight harder for talent, and everyone gets richer. Those workers go out and become wealthier consumers in their own right, driving more spending and creating a self-perpetuating cycle of employment, which the Federal Reserve tries to stimulate with those original low interest rates. –From TheStreet

Can You Negotiate Rent? How to Haggle With a Landlord and Win

Can you negotiate rent? While rental leases may appear set in stone, they're more flexible than many tenants think—so if you think your rent is too damn high, it's definitely worth speaking up. Negotiating rent with a landlord might seem like a hard battle to win, but it's entirely doable if you can prove two things: 1) the rent being charged is higher than similar units elsewhere, and 2) you're a model tenant who pays rent on time. Such negotiations can be done whether you're applying to rent a new apartment or just want cheaper rent where you currently reside. Here's how to negotiate rent and help your landlord realize you're worth the sacrifice. –From Realtor.com

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This post was created by: Emily Dir, Marketing Coordinator, Rainier Title

Emily Dir
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