92°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Mortgages stand still as lenders adjust to rules

Mortgage rates mostly didn’t budge this week as the lending industry continues to adjust to new disclosure forms implemented less than three weeks ago.

n The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 3.93 percent, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. One year ago, that rate was 4.01 percentage. Four weeks ago, it was 4.06 percentage. The mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.2 discount and origination points. Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 3.99 percentage. This week’s rate is 0.06 percentage points lower than that 52-week average.

n The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.11 percent from 3.14 percent.

n The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage remained at 3.18 percent.

n The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate jumbo fell to 3.87 percent from 3.88 percent.

“Rates are stable on the lower side,” says Pava Leyrer, chief operating officer of Northern Mortgage Services in Grand Rapids, Mich. “And I think those lenders who were prepared for these disclosure form changes and explained it to real estate agents and buyers are now seeing a larger uptick in business because a lot of people are nervous about what’s going on. No one wants to risk a delay.”

Mortgage volume rebounds

The level of mortgage applications recovered from a steep decline two weeks ago. Mortgage applications jumped 11.8 percentage last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Purchase applications rose 16 percentage while refinances were up 9 percentage.

The trade group expects mortgage application volume to be choppy in the next few weeks as mortgage brokers and loan officers adapt to new disclosure forms that went into effect Oct. 3 and were mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act.

“What is going to be interesting is a month from now when the closings start,” says John Stearns, a senior mortgage banker for American Fidelity Mortgage in Milwaukee. He also notes that his transition to the new forms has so far been smooth. “If there are any problems at all, they’d be at the end of the process, not the beginning,” he says.

Stearns notes that business has slowed some, but he still is getting a good mix of purchases and refinances.

Across the country, the number of new single-family homes that broke ground in September was up percentage 0.3, while the number of permits for single-family units was down by the same percentage, according to the Commerce Department. Overall, housing starts increased an unexpected 6.5 percentage because of a surge in apartment building.

Still, homebuilders feel confident in the housing market. A sentiment index from the National Association of Home Builders hit a reading of 64, the highest level since late 2005. Any reading above 50 signals that builders see sales conditions as positive rather than negative.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Las Vegas is moving toward modern architecture

Early this year, California-based architect sparked ire and even some agreement among Las Vegas home designers and builders when he criticized the residential architectural landscape of Southern Nevada.

Summerlin and Inspirada lead new home sales

Summerlin and Inspirada led the way in master plan net sales during the first quarter of 2019, according to data released by Home Builders Research. Net sales for the quarter overall were down 19 percent compared to a robust 2018 but similar to 2017.

New-home sales rebound in early 2019

Home Builders Research reported that the 810 closings in February were 27 percent higher than February 2018. For the first two months of the year, the 1,421 closings are 75 more or 5.6 percent higher than a year ago. In releasing his numbers, Home Builders Research President Andrew Smith said the final two months of 2018 made the short term outlook, for the market “a bit worrisome” but sales figures “have rebounded nicely” since the start of 2019.

Expert points to positive signs for new homebuilding

“With the first two months of 2019 nearly in the books, the new home segment of the housing market in Southern Nevada is performing well enough to temper some of the growing concerns many felt about the future in the fourth quarter of 2018,” said Andrew Smith, president of Home Builders Research.

Last year new home sales strongest since Great Recession

Southern Nevada homebuilders finished 2018 on an upbeat note and the year’s closings turned out to be the strongest since the Great Recession. Prices also set a record for single-family homes, creating an opening for more affordable attached housing.

Las Vegas master plan communities continue to develop

Summerlin, which was as low as 25th in the nation in 2011 with 221 sales, has steadily climbed back up the rankings since then. It reported 437 sales in 2014 when it was 15th in the nation and jumped back into the top 10 in 2015 and has stayed there since. It had 769 sales in 2016.

 
KB showcase Google Home

During the first week of this year, KB Home unveiled a new model within Inspirada, a Henderson master-planned community, that highlighted a theme: “Where tomorrow lives.”