American Pacific Mortgage

American Pacific Mortgage

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

SUPERBOWL and SWIFT Insurance Changes!

I had to get a comment in about the increase of younger women, “Swifties” watching the Superbowl.  Wow!  What a great game, a nail-biter up to the end!  And the half-time show was entertaining!  Of course I am an Usher fan.  We watched the game at Dana Point Yacht Club, here is the sunset view.

Rate and Market Updates

Rates have crept back up near their highs.  The next move down will depend primarily on the CPI figures coming out this week.   If inflation is decreasing, we should see a reduction in the Fed rate sooner than later.  If not, we may be waiting for June before we see any appreciable change.

Regardless, activity is definitely picking up, with many coming off the sidelines when rates started their drop at the end of last year. To quote a local Real Estate professional, “Stop holding your breath waiting for prices to fall.”  They won’t, barring a National or International Disaster.

Baby boomers are not selling their homes and, for the most part, are not moving.  So, get into the market if you aren’t already, any way you can, even if you have to buy an investment property and/or combine forces with a friend or relative.  Don’t wait for your dream home or you may be priced entirely out of the market here in California.

Insurance Woes

In case you have not heard, we have an insurance crisis.  Insurance costs are rising dramatically for homes, cars and more.  A number of carriers have stopped writing insurance on homes in California, or pulled out of our market altogether.  This means many homeowners have had their policies cancelled by their carriers, and find they now have to resort to the “Fair Plan” provided by the State, with an additional “wrap” policy.  These are all expensive! 

Why is this happening, may you ask?   Well, fires, floods, and earthquakes.  Climate change is bringing more frequent and more serious weather events.  The number of weather-related disasters have risen dramatically in the US over the past 20+ years.  Insurance companies are losing money, and they are for-profit enterprises. 

So far, the companies that have exited or stopped writing new policies include The Hartford; State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, Kemper, and USAA.

Auto rates are climbing as well, primarily due to high costs to repair autos. 

What does this all mean?  Well, it has a rather dramatic effect on home affordability if your insurance premium is double or more than initially expected. Lenders require insurance and it is not wise for anyone to go “bare” without insurance, even if you don’t have a loan on your property.

We have to remind our clients to get busy contacting agents to get insurance in order ASAP,  or it can and will slow down closings.

However, if you think it is bad here, take a look at Florida.  There, many homeowners are being forced to sell as they can’t afford the enormous increase of their insurance policiy.  Others are paying off their mortgage and going “bare” so they don’t have to pay giant premiums where policies have doubled or tripled due to hurricanes.

If you need help with insurance, reach out!  We can help!

We are looking forward to Spring!

Karen, Katie and Stephanie

Monday, January 8, 2024

MYTH-BUSTING THE REAL ESTATE NEWS

Welcome To 2024!  There is a lot of information floating around out there that is either in conflict from one day to the next, wishful thinking, or just plain wrong information.  We are here to inform you of what is happening in the real estate market today, and provide real up to date information.

Recession?  Nope!  Employment is too strong, and unemployment is still relatively low.  This is going to provide what economists call a “soft landing” for the country, unless we have an unforeseen catastrophe.  If we do enter recession, it will be very mild.

Wave of Foreclosures?  No way!  Homeowners have far too much equity to go into foreclosure.  Should a homeowner lose their job, and be unable to pay their mortgage (although there are still lots of jobs out there) they can sell and retain their equity before they might go into a foreclosure situation.

It's Too Hard to Qualify?   Although rates are higher than most of 2023, they have begun to come down.  At the same time there are more programs to make it easier for self-employed borrowers to qualify without providing tax returns.  Minimum down payments have been reduced for some loan programs, and there are many DPA (Down Payment Assistance) programs out there.  It has been a full-document environment for so long, there is nothing more difficult about today’s lending environment.  Both FHA and conventional programs are pretty liberal when it comes to debt-to-income ratios.  And, gift funds are always allowed to help with down payment.

Real Estate Crash?  No Way! Since the major “Meltdown” of 2008 – 2010 many things in the lending industry have changed.  Foremost of these is that virtually all homeowners who bought after the Meltdown qualified for real on paper for their loan.  And, today they have an absolute TON of equity in their home.  The last and biggest crash in 2008 was precipitated by an enormous number of “liar loans” where there was no income documentation required.  Those loans were packaged and sold to pension funds all over the world as “AAA” paper mortgages.  When they began to fail, the domino effect took over.  It was devasting for many people both in and out of the RE industry.  It absolutely can’t happen again with the safeguards now in place.

Home Prices will Drop? Prices have to come down, right?  Not in most areas of California.  We are uniquely insulated from major price fluctuations due to location, location, location...especially the closer to the Coast you are.  Most in the industry believe that as soon as rates begin to normalize into the low 6’s and 5’s, all the prospective buyers sitting on the sidelines will come out in droves, creating a frenzy of buying and bidding wars.

You Should Wait for rates to come down!  This is one of our favorites. The Cost of Waiting is enormous as you miss out on property appreciation and equity buildup through amortization (principal paydown).  Homeowners build wealth through real estate ownership. If you wait for five years on an $850K purchase you lose $275K. YES.  $275,000.  The interest rate is not as important as the price of the home.  Regarding prices, see above.

We hope all this helps you to see through the barrage of non-information coming your way.  We look forward to a productive 2024 for all!

Happy New Year from The Card Team!   


Karen, Katie, Stephanie