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January 2013

Found 15 blog entries for January 2013.

How to Play the Mortgage Game if  You’re Self-Employed

A look at the extra hurdles facing self-employed borrowers


January 15, 2013

Mortgage lenders have tightened requirements across the board in the wake of the housing crisis, but now—even as the workforce increasingly moves away from traditional 9-to-5 employment—self-employed borrowers have a tougher time securing a mortgage. It's an issue felt by many, as the Small Business Administration reported that the number of Americans who were self-employed approached 9.9 million in the second quarter of 2012.

Sally Herigstad, a freelance writer in Enumclaw, Wash., encountered problems last year when applying for a mortgage. Before offering to place a 26-percent down payment on a

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Let’s check out the three price tiers for the Seattle area, as measured by Case-Shiller. Remember, Case-Shiller’s “Seattle” data is based on single-family home repeat sales in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

Note that the tiers are determined by sale volume. In other words, 1/3 of all sales fall into each tier. For more details on the tier methodologies, hit the full

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Let’s have a look at the Seattle area’s employment situation.

First up, year-over-year job growth, broken down into a few relevant sectors:

Seattle-Area YOY Job Gains / Losses

Construction is posting gangbuster gains—up 11.5% year-over-year—as homebuilders attempt to capitalize on the inventory crunch. Finance / Real Estate is posting the smallest gains at just 0.8% year-over-year growth.

Here’s a look at the overall Seattle area unemployment rate compared to the national rate:

Seattle-Area Unemployment Rate

Unemployment fell again in Seattle and Washington State from November to December, as it more or less flat-lined nationally. As a result, Washington State’s unemployment rate fell below the national rate for

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Let’s have another look at our monthly sales histogram.

The sales distribution curve flattened out a bit between November and December, with low-priced homes inching up and many of the high-price buckets dropping a bit. In November the mode (i.e. the bucket with the most sales) for non-distressed sales was at $350,000 to $400,000, with 19 more sales in that range than any other. The non-distressed mode didn’t change in December, but the next two buckets down ($250,000 to $300,000 and $300,000 to $350,000) both came within 4 sales of the $350,000 to $400,000 range.

I expect we’ll see the curve sharpen back up and probably shift more toward the expensive ranges over the next few months.

To generate the chart below, I took all the sales data for

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Frank Hinkley
NMLS #110907
Senior Mortgage Originator
Axia Home Loans - Bellevue Branch
(425) 214-4643

Dear Jared,

I hope this email finds you and your family well and enjoying the New Year. As your mortgage professional, I want to make sure you are aware of the current mortgage industry trends including details about the current historically low rates.

The first half of this year will be a period of adjustment to fiscal restraint as well as uncertainty of policy going forward. Yet, most economists feel GDP growth will gain momentum over the course of the year, as households and businesses adjust to the new fiscal framework and residential

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Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Forget the myth that winter is a bad time to sell real estate. While sales usually inch lower in the cooler months, some real estate pros are saying this winter in particular may be a great time to sell a home. 

Here’s why: 

1. Mortgage rates are near record-breaking lows. 

2. Home prices are starting to rebound in the greater . The NWMLS reported that home prices in December were 8.5 percent higher than a year earlier. 

3. Homes still remain a good deal: Prices are rising but remain mostly below 2007 highs, and in many areas, the cost of buying is cheaper than renting. 

4. Distressed homes that typically sell at big discounts -- up to 20 percent off -- are beginning to decline.

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U.S. home values in 2012 rose 5.9 percent over 2011, according to data in Zillow’s latest Home Value Index (HVI).

The 5.9 percent appreciation rate is the largest annual gain since August 2006, near the peak of the housing bubble.

While the market still has some ground to cover before it’s completely healthy again, Zillow said in a release that 2012’s appreciation rate “far exceeded yearly rates of appreciation typically associated with healthy markets,” which “can expect annual home value appreciation of roughly 3 percent on average.”

Looking ahead, the Zillow Home Value Forecast projects an appreciation rate of 3.3 percent in 2013, more in line with historic norms.

In addition, the fourth quarter of 2012 saw home values rise to an average

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Daily Real Estate News | Friday, January 18, 2013  

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released new guidelines for mortgage servicers on Thursday that set out to help protect home owners who may be facing foreclosure. 

CFPB Director Richard Cordraysays the new rules are aimed at trying to prevent “unnecessary foreclosures” as well as “ensure fair treatment for all borrowers and establish strong protections for those struggling to save their homes.” 

Among the CFPB’s new guidelines: 

  • Mortgage servicers are prohibited from foreclosing on a home owner who is seeking loan modifications. Servicers will be unable to file a foreclosure notice until a home owner is at least 120 days behind on a mortgage payment. 
  • A foreclosure sale on the home
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Source - seattlebubble.com

It has been a while since we had a look at the local affordability index, and now that we’ve got all of the data for 2012, it seemed like a good time to take another look.

As a reminder, the affordability index is based on three factors: median single-family home price as reported by the NWMLS, 30-year monthly mortgage rates as reported by the Federal Reserve, and estimated median household income as reported by the Washington State Office of Financial Management.

The historic standard for affordable housing is that monthly costs do not exceed 30% of one’s income. Therefore, the formula for the affordability index is as follows:

Affordability Formula

For a more detailed examination of what the affordability index is and what it isn’t, I

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Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, January 09, 2013  

With 11 months of data reported, 2012 will clearly go down as a record year for favorable housing affordability conditions and a great year for buyers who could get a mortgage, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

NAR’s national Housing Affordability Index stood at 198.2 in November, based on the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power; recordkeeping began in 1970.

An index of 100 is defined as the point where a median-income household has exactly enough income to qualify for the purchase of a median-priced existing single-family home, assuming a 20

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