Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Property values show boost of 10.25 percent in Port St. Lucie


Property values show boost of 10.25 percent in Port St. Lucie

Increase attributed to rise in construction projects in area



ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Property values countywide are up 6.75 percent this year from last year, according to preliminary estimates released by Property Appraiser Michelle Franklin.

“For the fifth year in a row, St. Lucie County is steadily making gains and continues to capitalize on the upward momentum in the recovering real estate market,” Franklin said in a news release.

The increase is thanks to 1,200 construction projects, mostly new single-family homes in the Tradition community of Port St. Lucie, said Vincent Rahal, director of assessments, tax roll and tangible personal property.

The largest increase was seen in Port St. Lucie, where property values increased by 10.25 percent, according to the preliminary estimate.

“The jump in our community’s assessed valuation is very encouraging and an important indication that we’re moving in the right direction as we continue recovering from the Great Recession,” Port St. Lucie Mayor Greg Oravec said Tuesday.

Fort Pierce property values rose by 5.25 percent, or $2.2 billion, thanks to the city’s aggressive annexation policy and an increase in new construction, such as the Square Grouper restaurant on Hutchinson Island and new homes at Bent Creek, a 692-home subdivision south of Orange Avenue that was approved in 2005. Construction there stopped in late 2008 or early 2009 but has now restarted.

The city’s annexation policy requires anyone wanting city utilities to agree to annexation once their property becomes contiguous with city boundaries. Over the past three years, the city has expanded its southern border at U.S. 1 from Midway Road to Ulrich Road to include the car dealerships.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What Is A Mortgage - How Much To Buy A House

Buying a home might feel like a laughable financial goal, but with some planning and the right information, you might be in better shape than you think.

Source: What Is A Mortgage – How Much To Buy A House

Thursday, May 25, 2017

RE Market Update April 2017

Median sale price went from $175K in April 2016 to $200K in April 2017, for more info and Martin and Palm Beach Counties stats, click on read more below.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Construction: #1 Answer to the Housing Shortage

The biggest challenge to today’s housing market is the shortage of housing inventory for sale. A normal market would see a six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, that number is below four months. This is the major reason home prices have continued to appreciate at higher levels than historic averages.

Source: #1 Answer to the Housing Shortage: New Construction | Keeping Current Matters

Monday, May 22, 2017

Stamp down on mortgage debt.

By overpaying on a mortgage you can drive down the value of debt much more quickly and get a better return on your cash.

Source: Stamp down on mortgage debt | This is Money

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mortgage delinquencies lower in first quarter of 2017

The rate of mortgage delinquencies slipped in the first three months of 2017 according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Source: Mortgage delinquencies lower in first quarter of 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tesla Solar Roof Tiles

The sun provides more than enough energy in just one hour to supply our planet’s energy needs for an entire year. Your home can capture this free, abundant energy source through rooftop solar tiles, turning sunlight into electricity for immediate use or storage in a Powerwall battery.

Source: Tesla Solar | Tesla

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Focus on finance: Refinancing your mortgage.

Question: Mortgage rates still are relatively low. Is now a good time to refinance my home loan?

Answer: Currently, average mortgage rates nationally are remaining near historic lows. In fact, mortgage shoppers are enjoying exceedingly low rates compared to what homebuyers faced just a few years ago.

At this writing, the national average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is hovering around 4 percent annual percentage rate or APR. By comparison, the national average almost was double that, or about 7.15 percent APR in 2001, according to HSH Associates, publishers of Financial Mortgage Rate Survey.

Of course, the mortgage in­terest rate any borrower qualifies for will depends on that individual’s credit worthiness, value of the property to be financed, the loan terms, the lender and other factors.

If you’re considering refinancing your current mortgage, one commonly used rule of thumb is to determine if you can reduce the APR by a percentage point. If so, it may be worth refinancing in terms of lower monthly payments, shorter term or less in overall interest paid.

You also should consider the expenses of refinancing into your cost-saving analysis. Consider any out of pocket fees, such as appraisals, closing costs, pre-paid interest, etc. These closing costs could equal about two percent of your new loan amount. When calculating if refinancing is advantageous, you might consider any savings versus costs of refinancing factored against how long you plan on staying in your home.

One way to decide whether refinancing makes sense is to divide your costs by your monthly savings to figure out how soon you’ll recoup the expense. For example, if you paid $2,500 to refinance and saved $150 each month, it would take you about 16 months (2,500 divided by 150) to recoup your costs. This calculation is known as a break-even analysis.

Of course reducing or eliminating refinancing costs could make your decision easier. Some lenders offer low or no closing costs for refinances while others waive normal fees during special promotions.

Another possible benefit to refinancing your current mortgage is receiving cash for part or all of the equity you may have. The difference between your home’s current value and the amount owed on a mortgage is known as equity. Borrowing against that equity or receiving a lump sum when refinancing, is known as a cash-out refi. The advantages are that you’ll be able to spend the cash however you want and you’ll typically pay a lower interest rate than you would for a credit card or other type of loan. As with your original mortgage, the house is the collateral for the loan and could be claimed by the lender in case of a loan default.

In the current low rate market, refinancing your mortgage could not only save you money on monthly payments and the total amount of interest you pay, you could opt for additional cash to pay off other bills or for other purchases. Of course, you should analyze the pros and cons for your particular situation, but now could be a good time to refinance.

Source: Focus on finance: Refinancing your mortgage |

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mortgage applications rise 2% as more buyers hit the spring market

The gains are slow and small, but mortgage volume is beginning to improve again, as more homebuyers sign on the dotted line.

Total mortgage application volume increased 2.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week from the previous week. Volume is still nearly 14 percent below year-ago levels because of weaker refinancing, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association .

Even as buyers complain of high home prices and limited listings, mortgage applications to purchase a home gained 2 percent for the week and are 6 percent higher than a year ago.

“Continuing strength in the job market and improving consumer confidence drove overall purchase applications to increase last week,” said MBA economist Joel Kan. “The index for purchase applications reached its highest level since the beginning of October 2015, which was the week prior to the implementation of the federal government’s ‘know before you owe’ rule.”

That rule had lenders concerned that compliance would delay the mortgage process, which it did for a short time. Demand for mortgages was likely high just prior to its implementation, as buyers rushed to get in and avoid those delays.

Mortgage applications to refinance a home loan rose 3 percent for the week but are still 32 percent below last year, when interest rates were lower.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of $424,100 or less remained unchanged at 4.23 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.32, including the origination fee, for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

Mortgage rates have been inching higher in general and have only moved lower on three out of the past 15 business days, according to Mortgage News Daily.

“While that sort of losing streak sounds fairly unpleasant, the size of the movement has been far from threatening,” said Matthew Graham, Mortgage News’ chief operating officer.

Source: Mortgage applications rise 2% as more buyers hit the spring market

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

7 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Mortgage

Getting ready to buy your first home? This is an exciting time, but it can also be an overwhelming one. Even though taking out a mortgage on a home is something that you probably grew up expecting to do, there are still a lot of complexities within the process, many of which are easy to overlook.


In fact, here are a few important facts you might not know about mortgages. Any of these could trip you up and make life more difficult if you are not aware of them in advance.


  1. You really need to look at the APR


A lot of first-time home buyers look at the mortgage rate when considering how much house they can afford, but they do not realize this does not really provide them with a full picture.


You can get a much better feel for the real cost of purchasing a home by looking at the APR, which stands for “annual percentage rate.”


The APR includes not just the mortgage premiums and interest rate, but also accounts for origination and closing fees, mortgage points and other costs.


It is a common practice for lenders to advertise low mortgage rates, and then turn around and hit customers with high fees after they have committed. If you check the APR, you can avoid walking into this trap.


  1. You have to shop around if you want the best rates and the lowest fees


If you find the whole process of searching for a home and applying for a mortgage stressful, you may feel tempted to go with the first affordable offer you see—but this is not a good move.


You need to check rates offered by different lenders in order to find the best possible deal. Remember, you are entering into a long contract, and this decision is going to have a massive impact on the rest of your life. Even though there are standardization programs in place to try and curb dodgy behavior by lenders, there is still a surprising amount of variance in both rates and fees.


  1. The government offers programs which can help you reduce the cost of your down payment


Can’t afford to put a 20% down payment on a home? While this is the amount that you generally are expected to pay, there are situations where you might be able to get around it.


If for example you get a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage, you may be able to get away with as little as 3.5%. If you happen to be a military vet, look into VA loans. Sometimes these include no down payment at all.


  1. You may need mortgage pre-approval to see all your options


Looking to buy a home in a posh neighborhood? If it is a competitive market, there is a good chance you will not even be able to look at all the homes available if you do not have mortgage pre-approval. Agents often reserve these tours exclusively for those who do.


To get pre-approval, you will need to have a solid credit report, employment history and income. Get your documents ready in advance—you are going to need a lot of them—and then get in touch with a mortgage officer to kickstart the process.


Note that if you are self-employed, this could be a bigger challenge. You are expected to have at least two years of business under your belt in most cases.  Your AGI also will be used as your income figure—not your initial gross income.


  1. If your down payment is less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, you will need insurance


It’s great if you can get away with a lower down payment, but you need to know that it comes with a cost in the form of mortgage insurance. Generally this is a monthly cost you will have to pay for at least several years. After that time elapses, you will no longer be considered such a high-risk borrower, and you may be permitted to drop the insurance.


  1. If you use credit while a mortgage is pending, you could lose the opportunity


One thing a lot of people applying for a mortgage do not know is that they should avoid using credit while their application is pending. Doing so may result in a denial. There are a lot of reasons you might want to whip out your credit card at this juncture (maybe to purchase furniture or appliances), but resist the urge until the mortgage is approved.


  1. Buying a home costs more than you think


Finally, one more thing that you may not realize is that buying a home is a lot more expensive than it looks at first glance.


Many people think only of the down payment and the monthly premium they will be paying, but you also need to tack on additional costs like:


Opening and closing costs

Other fees

Interest on your home loan

Costs for repairs and renovations

The price of furnishings and appliances

Utilities costs

Mortgage and homeowner’s insurance

Property taxes

There may be additional costs on top of those. And if your mortgage rate is adjustable, you really have no idea just how high those costs could skyrocket in future years.


Do your best to add everything together and come up with the most accurate estimate you can of what you will be paying now and over the future. Only move forward with a purchase if you really are sure you will be able to afford the home.


Many new home buyers are shocked at all the factors they need to consider when taking out a mortgage. Making one seemingly small mistake now could cost you a lot of money in the future, so it is worth taking the time to do as much research as you can in advance so you are prepared for all the complexities of the process.

Source: 7 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Mortgage | Benzinga

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Habitat for Humanity homeowner pays off mortgage

DANVILLE — Paying off a mortgage is a big feat for anyone. Sunday it was cause for celebration for one Habitat for Humanity homeowner.

Stephanie Howard has been paying her mortgage for 15 years. She moved into her home in 2002. Since then, she’s slowly made payment after payment, even when tragedy struck. She reunited with the friends, family and volunteers who helped make it happen.

Take a look around Stephanie Howard’s house and you see inspiration everywhere. On the walls are words she lives by.

“I try my best to take care of where I live because I appreciate it,” Howard said. “Because it could be somebody else.”

17-years ago Howard was a married mother of five working at Wal-Mart. Each month, a chunk of her paycheck went to rent. But every time she paid the bill, she knew her money could go further elsewhere.

“It was always my goal and my dream to own my own home,” Howard said. “Because I felt as though, if I was working, I wanted to see what I was working for. Not just working.”

One day, she picked up an application for Habitat for Humanity. After months of working, her dream finally came true. Howard and her husband moved in and raised their kids. Each child eventually went off to college, but Howard never expected her husband would leave too.

“He died from cancer,” Howard said. “He had a lot of health issues.”

Her husband, Charles, passed away in 2010. Through the pain, Howard kept up with the house; the last place he lived.

“I feel like a part of his spirit is still here.”

Seven years later, Howard paid off her $40,000 mortgage in full.

“I’m still trying to really soak in that my home is purchased,” Howard said. “I’m 51 and to have a house purchased at that age, I think it’s a blessing.”

Her friends, family and Habitat organizers came together for a celebration of the woman whose door is always open.

“It just speaks testament to how when you work for things that you want, eventually in the end, you’re going to come out on top,” Demetrius Howard, her son, said.

And whose life inspires them all.

“I’m sad my father’s not here to see it but, he’s looking down and he’s enjoying the moment so I’m very happy for her.”

Howard says the money she used to spend on her mortgage every month will now go toward savings.

Source: Habitat for Humanity homeowner pays off mortgage – Story

Monday, May 8, 2017

2017’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business

Americans are born with an entrepreneurial streak. It’s in our DNA. From Manifest Destiny and the Gold Rush to the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Age, intense periods of innovation have molded our economy and sparked important societal advancements.

Source: 2017’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business | WalletHub®