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August 13th, 2010 11:52 AM

FHA Delays Increasing MIP Costs to Buyers - But Not for Long.  Hurry!

Thursday, August 12, 2010 by Doug Atkinson, Fifth Third Bank Loan Specialist


The Federal Housing Administration has delayed for one month — at the industry's request — the implementation date for its new mortgage insurance premium structure.

The government mortgage insurance agency shifted the effective date to October 4 from September 7.


"Over the past week, the industry responded with support of the new fee structure, but voiced strong concern about having system changes ready in time to meet the original deadline," said HUD deputy assistant secretary Vicki Bott. "FHA took this feedback seriously and has accommodated the need for additional time."


Congress recently passed a bill that allows FHA to increase its annual premium up to 1.55%. The previous statutory limit was 0.55%.


With its new authority, FHA has decided to lower its 2.25% upfront premium to 1% and raise the annual premium based on loan-to-value ratios.


The annual premium for loans with LTVs up to, and including 95% will be 85 bps. The annual premium for loans with LTVs above 95% will be 90 bps.


What does this mean for buyers? If you are intending to buy a home, don't delay. Purchasing prior to the deadline (under contract and loan started but not closed) will save you money. While interest rates are lower than ever, the 'cost' to get these low rate loans will be going up. Remember the cost to purchase a home is not just the purchase price but the total cost to you - purchase price, loan terms & closing costs, and concessions negotiated by your real estate agent.

*What Does Basis Point - BPS Mean?
A unit that is equal to 1/100th of 1%, and is used to denote the change in a financial instrument. The basis point is commonly used for calculating changes in interest rates, equity indexes and the yield of a fixed-income security.

**If you would like to discuss more cout the cost of home loan programs, Doug Atkinson is available by calling directly, cell 919-610-9801 or office 919-573-1984.

Posted by Barbara Gressens on August 13th, 2010 11:52 AMPost a Comment (0)

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August 13th, 2010 11:52 AM

Record Low Drops for Home Loan Rates

Thursday, August 12, 2010 by Doug Atkinson, Fifth Third Bank, Loan Specialist **


Freddie Mac's closely watched rate survey for the week ending Aug. 12 met expectations for further drops in three key rates to lows not seen since the agency began tracking them.


The average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which Freddie has been tracking since 1971, dropped five bps* to 4.44%. This was down from 4.49% the previous week and 5.29% a year ago. The move came in the wake of Federal Reserve officials' recent near-unanimous decision to take steps to hold both short- and long-term rates low and an earlier weak employment report.


The average rates for 15-year FRMs and for five-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages also dropped to survey record lows during the most recent week, with average points lowest on 15-year loans at 0.6. The 15-year FRM rate fell to 3.92% from 3.95% the previous week and from 4.68% a year ago. Freddie Mac has been tracking this rate since 1991. During the week ending Aug. 12, the five-year Treasury hybrid rate declined to 3.56% from 3.63% the previous week and from 4.75% a year ago. Freddie Mac has been tracking this rate since 2005.


The average rate for one-year Treasury ARMs also dropped in the latest week, falling to 3.53% from 3.55% a week ago and from 4.72% a year ago.


Average points for all loans except 15-year FRMs were 0.7 during the week ending Aug. 12

*What Does Basis Point - BPS Mean?
A unit that is equal to 1/100th of 1%, and is used to denote the change in a financial instrument. The basis point is commonly used for calculating changes in interest rates, equity indexes and the yield of a fixed-income security

**If you would like to discuss more about interest rates or home loan programs, Doug Atkinson is available by calling directly, cell 919-610-9801 or office 919-573-1984.


Posted by Barbara Gressens on August 13th, 2010 11:52 AMPost a Comment (0)

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MAY-2010 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter

Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau and reports, videos, key market indicators and real estate sales statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more. Please click here to view the MAY-2010 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the Home Evaluator link for a free evaluation report.

Posted by Buyer Agent on May 20th, 2010 11:22 AMPost a Comment (0)

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Pending home sales in the South jumped 12.7% to an index of 121.2, which is 28.3% higher than March 2009.


RISMEDIA, May 5, 2010—Pending home sales increased again in March 2010, affirming that a surge of home sales is unfolding for the spring home buying season, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Read Full Article 

Posted by Buyer Agent on May 5th, 2010 9:12 AMPost a Comment (0)

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Incentive for HomePath® Properties Complements Ongoing Efforts to Stabilize Neighborhoods in Raleigh and Across the Country

News Release - April 27, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC — Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE) today announced the extension of its seller assistance incentive on all Fannie Mae-owned HomePath properties. Buyers will receive 3.5 percent of the final sales price to be used toward closing cost assistance or their choice of selected appliances. The offer is available to any owner-occupant who closes on the purchase of a property listed on by June 30, 2010. Read Complete Press Release.

3.5% Closing Cost Assistance and Appliance Incentive Extended Through June 30, 2010

Fannie Mae is extending the 3.5% incentive for homebuyers who purchase and close on a Fannie Mae-owned home by June 30, 2010. Buyers purchasing properties listed on will continue to be offered an incentive of up to 3.5% of the final sales price to be used towards one of the following:

  • Closing costs
  • The purchase of new Whirlpool® appliances
  • A mix of closing costs and appliances, at the buyer's discretion, up to the maximum 3.5%.


To be eligible for this incentive:

  • Property sale must close on or before June 30, 2010
  • Buyer must be an owner-occupant (second homes are eligible as long as they are owner-occupied) -- investors are excluded

The incentive reinforces Fannie Mae's commitment to stabilizing communities and assisting buyers. For more information about this incentive, visit


Posted by Buyer Agent on April 30th, 2010 11:29 AMPost a Comment (0)

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The 7th Annual Franklin County Farm Tour

Saturday, May 15th & Sunday May 16th

11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Farm Tours (11 stops)
  • Dinner on the Green Featuring Local Foods
  • A Bluegrass Band
  • Youth Fishing Rodeo
  • Quilt Show & Sale
  • "Farm Life" Photography Contest
  • Local Heritage Artisans

Buy buttons at Person Place on Main Street in Louisburg Starting at 10:00 a.m.     919.496.3344

Posted by Buyer Agent on April 29th, 2010 4:45 PMPost a Comment (0)

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April 26th, 2010 2:33 PM

Raleigh named No. 8 Best Place to Live!

Excerpt from April 21, 2010 Triangle Business Journal - by Amanda Jones Hoyle

The Raleigh metro area ranks among the top 10 places to live in the United States for 2010, according to a new study by the Web-based research firm

Raleigh took the No. 8 spot among the 100 U.S. municipalities nominated for the award. The rankings were based on interviews with local leaders, feedback from residents and a compilation of data related to the community’s economic, environment, education, crime, employment and housing stability.

Read more: Raleigh named No. 8 best place to live - Triangle Business Journal, April 21, 2010

Posted by Buyer Agent on April 26th, 2010 2:33 PMPost a Comment (0)

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Raleigh-Cary Housing Market Poised For Growth in 2010

The Raleigh/Cary market is poised for housing market growth in 2010 according to Boyce Thompson who writes in, Price adjustments have been worked out, employment levels are rising, and excitement has returned to the real estate market.” The Builder Market Health Index: Complete 2010 Rankings 

The analysis relies upon projections for employment, household formation, income, permit activity and home values to determine the healthiest and weakest markets for 2010. Raleigh-Cary ranks #2 out of 100.

Raleigh-Cary, NC 

Market Health Indicator: 50.5

2009 Total Building Permits: 5,145

2010 Building Permit Forecast: 7.267

          "Though home to 1.14 million, Raleigh should produce nearly as much building permit activity as Charlotte in 2010. One of the strongest household formation rates in the country, 3.3% in 2009, should increase slightly this year. The area is expected to regain in 2010 most of the jobs it lost the previous year. One of the secrets to Raleigh's strength is that its population has been growing rapidly, at a 5% rate, for the last five years. It's home to many high-tech businesses, multiple universities, and the state capitol. IBM is its largest employer, followed by North Carolina State University. The single-family market is already showing signs of recovery--permits rose 46% year over year in the fourth quarter, even though total permits dropped 57%. Meanwhile, the city recently announced a big urban revitalization effort."


Get local market data and more on Builder's Raleigh/Cary Local Market Page

Posted by Buyer Agent on April 14th, 2010 12:40 PMPost a Comment (0)

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Mortgage Rates Rising – Expected to Approach 6% By Years End

Homebuyers scramble as mortgage rates jump

From: Associated Press/AP Online
Posted on: April 8, 2010

WASHINGTON:  The average rate on a 30-year loan has jumped from about 5 percent to more than 5.3 percent in just the past week. As mortgages get more expensive, more would-be homeowners are priced out of the market - a threat to the fragile recovery in the housing market.
And if you wanted to refinance at a super-low rate, you may have missed your chance. Mortgages under 4 percent are still available, but only for loans that reset in five or seven years, probably to higher rates.
Rates are going up because of the improving economy and the end of a government push to make mortgages cheaper.
For people putting their homes on the market this spring, rising rates may actually be a good thing. Buyers are racing to complete their purchases and lock in something decent before rates go even higher.
"We are seeing some panic among potential buyers who have not found houses yet," said Craig Strent, co-founder of Apex Home Loans in Bethesda, Md. "They're saying: Man, I should have found a house three weeks ago or last month when rates are lower."
It's all about affordability. For every 1 percentage point rise in rates, 300,000 to 400,000 would-be buyers are priced out of the market in a given year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The rule of thumb is that every 1 percentage point increase in mortgage rates reduces a buyer's purchasing power by about 10 percent.
For example, taking out a 30-year mortgage for $300,000 at a rate of 5 percent will cost you about $1,600 a month, not including taxes and insurance. But the same monthly payment at a rate of 6 percent will only get you a loan of $270,000.
Good economic news is the first reason rates are rising: U.S. government debt, a safe haven during the recession, is losing its appeal as investors turn to stocks and riskier corporate bonds.
Lower demand for debt means the government has to offer a better interest rate to sell its bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is closely tracked by mortgage rates, hovered above 4 percent this week, the highest since June, before falling back slightly.
The second reason is the Federal Reserve. Last week, the Fed ended its program to push mortgage rates down by buying up mortgage-backed securities. When demand from the central bank was high, rates plummeted to about 4.7 percent for much of last year. And business boomed for mortgage lenders as homeowners raced to refinance out of adjustable-rate mortgages and into fixed loans.
As of Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association put the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5.31 percent. One week ago, it was 5.04 percent.
Many analysts forecast rates will rise as high as 6 percent by early next year. If they go much higher, the already shaky housing recovery could stall. And that could slow the broader economic rebound.
In a normal market, with home prices steadily rising, a jump in rates doesn't cause a big dip in demand. That's because people know their homes will eventually rise in value, and are willing to accept a higher mortgage payment.
But now home prices are flat nationally and still falling in some places. Potential buyers are nervous about jumping in.
"In this environment, any rise in mortgage rates does significant damage because people don't think they're going to get their money back" if prices fall, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.
For people who bought their first home in the 1980s, when rates stayed over 10 percent for several years, paying 6 percent for a home loan may seem like a steal. But it's coming as a shock to many first-time homebuyers this spring.
In Overland Park, Kan., Sirena Barlow checks mortgage rates online once a day. She's been shopping for a something around $130,000 and wants to sign a contract this month, to take advantage of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers.
Barlow, a legal assistant, has already told her landlord she's moving, so her stress level is high. Her real estate agent, Michael Maher, has been doing his best to calm Barlow and other clients, but rising rates are making them anxious.
"It's like giving hyperactive kids ice cream," he said. "It has really taken the ones who are focused on buying and amped them up a little bit."


Posted by Buyer Agent on April 14th, 2010 12:02 PMPost a Comment (0)

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Accolades to Fuquay-Varina Community and Builder for Small Home Design

Royal Oaks Home in Fuquay-Varina

Traditional two-story homes and ranches sell well in Southern Oaks.

Buyers Advantage Group Realty Applauds Southern Oaks Community and Royal Oaks Builders for design ingenuity and recognition by Builder Magazine.

Selling Small

  By: Teresa Burney (03-17-10) Builder The Information Source for the Home Building Industry

Southern Oaks, Fuquay-Varina, one of ten communities across the country where builders cracked the code for selling small houses

Tapping into the first-time buyer and the down-sizing buyer market has helped make Southern Oaks a success story for the Royal Oaks Building Group.

It was a challenge to appeal to one without alienating the other, says company president Richard Van Tassel. So, in a subtle play for downsizing older buyers, he added a single-story ranch plan to his offerings in the community as well as first-floor master suites in some of the two-story models.

He closed 51 homes in the community last year, and almost half were single-story homes or downstairs masters. But that’s not the only reason the community has continued to sell well for five years through the downturn. Pricing his houses in the middle of the market has helped too—the average price of a home sold at Southern Oaks was $192,000—and so has the option of increasing square footage by finishing out attics.

The community’s Fuquay-Varina location, close to the pricier and trendier Cary area, is also a draw, catering to “the people who would love to live in Cary, but they don’t want to pay the prices or can’t pay the prices,” says Van Tassel.

“[Southern Oaks is] doing well for myriad reasons,” Van Tassel adds. “You have got to have all the boxes checked these days to be successful.”

Project: Southern Oaks

Location: Raleigh, N.C.

Builder: Royal Oaks Building Group, Raleigh

Rate of sales: 4.25 per month

Price range: $170,000 to $220,000

Product type: Single-family detached

Posted by Buyer Agent on April 9th, 2010 12:30 PMPost a Comment (0)

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