Mortgage Rates Increase Slightly, Pumping the Brakes on the Refinance Boom

Mortgage rates increase slightly, pumping the brakes on the refinance boom

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Mortgage rates increased for only the ninth time this year — putting a damper on refinance activity in the process.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.58% during the week ending Aug. 29, up three basis points from the previous weekFreddie Mac reported Thursday. Nevertheless, mortgage rates remained near the lowest levels they’ve been at over the past three years.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also increased three basis points to an average of 3.06%, according to Freddie Mac. The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.31%, representing a decline of one basis point.

The decline in mortgage rates throughout the summer up until this week has not provided much of a boost to the home-buying market, even though the lower rates have slightly helped to offset affordability concerns caused by high home prices nationwide. Pending home sales slid 2.5% in July after having increased in the previous two months. People’s concerns with the state of the economy are keeping them on the sidelines of the housing markets, economists said.

Mortgage rates track the 10-year Treasury note, the yield on which has fallen sharply over the past year. Treasury yields rose Thursday amid potential signs of de-escalation in the trade war between the U.S. and China. A trade deal between the two countries could go a long way toward improving consumer sentiment and provide a boost to this housing market.

“Low mortgage rates along with a strong labor market are fueling the consumer-driven economy by boosting their purchasing power, which will certainly support housing market activity in the coming months,” Freddie Mac said in the report Thursday.

Meanwhile, the decline in mortgage rates had provided a major lift to the refinance market as existing homeowners sought to lock in the lowest rates the country has seen since the 2016 presidential election. And while rates just barely increased over the past week, that was enough to slow down refinance activity, a sign of how rate-sensitive the real-estate market is today.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday that mortgage application volume fell 6.2% this week from the previous week, driven by a decrease in refinancing applications.

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Quiz: What Style Is Your Dream Bedroom?

Aah… the bedroom of your dreams. Will it include fuzzy pillows or homespun quilts? Perhaps it’s covered wall to wall in plush rugs. Or maybe it’s a clutter-free, serene space.

Rest assured, this quiz will help you discover your style.

Related:
Originally published January 2018.

As Interest Rates Plummet, Should You Refinance Right Now?

alexsl/iStock; realtor.com

As mortgage interest rates continue to drop to record lows, many homeowners are wondering: Should they refinance their mortgage right now?

Timing a refi is always tricky, but the time may indeed seem ripe for one, since according to Freddie Mac’s most recent Primary Mortgage Market Survey released Aug. 22, the average 30-year fixed interest rates have fallen to 3.55%—the lowest rate in nearly three years.

“Now can be a great time to refinance for many Americans who currently have a mortgage rate above 3.5%,” Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, told realtor.com.

“In fact, households that refinanced in the second quarter of 2019 will save an average of $1,700 a year, which is equivalent to about $140 each month,” he adds. “With mortgage rates moving even lower in recent weeks, it’s possible for homeowners to reduce their monthly mortgage payment even more.”

The number of home refinance applications is up 167% from a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Aug. 23. Refinances accounted for 62.4% of mortgage activity this past week.

But whether refinancing is the best option for you depends on several factors. Here are some questions to consider before you refinance your mortgage.

Will mortgage interest rates remain low, or rise?

Interest rates may be low now, but there’s uncertainty over how long it will continue, says Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree.

“The future path is uncertain,” Kapfidze says, “as much of the change is driven by political considerations around the trade war that no one can predict with any confidence.”

With the flux, it may be important to act swiftly. Waiting for an even lower rate could be risky, and homeowners may miss a golden opportunity to refinance, he explains.

“If it lowers your monthly payment and your lifetime interest—or can give you the opportunity to access equity for other life events—it’s a good thing to consider,” Kapfidze says.

Comparing different rates from different lenders will help you get the best deal. For example, a LendingTree analysis revealed that comparing mortgage rates results in average savings of more than $53,500 over the life of a loan.

What’s your credit score and loan-to-value ratio?

Several factors go into determining the actual interest rate offered an individual borrower, says Chris Kemp, vice president of sales at Flagstar Bank in Troy, MI.

“It’s impossible to quote a rate without having a conversation with the borrower,” he says.

For instance, a borrower’s current credit score and loan-to-value ratio can have a big impact on the refi rates offered.

“Loan-to-value ratio means how much are you refinancing based on the value of your home,” Kemp says. “If your home is appraised at $100,000, and you’re refinancing $80,000, you have an 80% loan-to-value ratio.”

The higher this ratio, generally the higher your interest rate. “Your interest rate is going to be higher than if your loan to value is 60%,” Kemp adds.

How much will it cost to refinance?

In the same way that getting a mortgage comes with closing costs, there are costs to refinancing too. The costs vary, but homeowners need to factor how much they’ll have to pay upfront to refinance, says Ilyce Glink, author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask” and publisher of personal finance and real estate site ThinkGlink.com.

“How much will that refinance cost? How quickly will you pay it off?” she says. “If you can pay off the cost of that refinance in two years or less, and you plan to own the property at least that long, most experts would tell you to go ahead and refinance.”

Kemp urges homeowners looking to refinance to talk to their lender about the exact terms, conditions, and costs.

“Ask for a refinance quote with costs and without costs so you know exactly what fees you’re paying,” Kemp says. “Lower interest rates can come at a cost.”

Will refinancing offer a ‘net tangible benefit’?

Refinancing may be a great option if there’s a “net tangible benefit to the homeowner,” Kemp says, and if the owner plans to stay in the home for a while.

Glink says that a “home run refinance” allows the homeowner to lower the interest rate, lower their monthly payment, shorten the loan term, and have the ability to pay off the refinance in two years or less.

“If you can answer yes to all four of these rules, then your refinance is a no-brainer,” Glink says. “But it may be worth doing even if you can only get two or three of them. It depends on your personal finances.”

The post As Interest Rates Plummet, Should You Refinance Right Now? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Dallas Mansion Featured in Controversial Photo Lands on Market For $5.9M

dallas mansion

realtor.com

A gated mansion in Dallas filled with the stuffed carcasses of animals killed on hunting safaris is on the market for $5.9 million. The taxidermied animals are not included with the sale.

In 2015, a National Geographic photo of the homeowners, businessman Kerry Krottinger and his wife, Libby Krottinger, posing in their Dallas home created a stir.

The image of the couple among their animal trophies quickly went viral. The creatures covering the walls from floor to ceiling led some outlets to dub the montage the “wall of death.”

Animal rights activists recoiled at the duo sitting among dead rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, and zebras. While the animals were taken in legal hunts, the image still raised concerns about killing African wildlife for sport. 

A British-based organization called LionAid posted the photo on Facebook. “This is just one Texas trophy hunter with a ‘love’ of Africa,” LionAid wrote. “Is it any wonder that Africa’s wildlife is disappearing?”

Four years later, with the Krottingers’ home on the market, photos show room after room still decorated with stuffed animal heads and bodies.

While no photo of the trophy room visible in the National Geographic spread is evident in the current listing photos, there’s still plenty to find hanging around the house. Dead heads gaze from the walls in the living room. A cheetah stands guard in the office. No less than a lion and gazelles pose in the screening room.

And the listing photos are eliciting much the same reaction as the still-life image from years ago.

“This house is stuffed so full of corpses that it should properly be listed as a funeral home,” says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals President Ingrid Newkirk.

Dallas home renovated in 2007

realtor.com

Living room with fireplace and animal heads

realtor.com

Office with a cheetah

realtor.com

Large bar

realtor.com

Master suite with fireplace

realtor.com

Screening room with lion

realtor.com

Covered patio

realtor.com

Built in 1993, the 12,000-square-foot mansion in the city’s Preston Hollow comes with five beds and 5.5 baths. The estate was fully renovated and expanded in 2007. The entry opens to a floating staircase and custom chandeliers. Details include limestone floors, cypress-paneled ceilings, and hand-distressed wood beams. 

The grand salon features a two-story fireplace, and the master bedroom comes with a fireplace as well. The chef’s kitchen offers custom cabinets and top-of-the-line appliances.

Luxury amenities include a gym, study, bar, home theater, and wine grotto.

Upstairs you’ll find a second master suite, three bedrooms, a game room, and a bonus room. Outside, the property boasts a covered patio and a pool.

However, will the taxidermy still visible be a turnoff? PETA’s president thinks so.

The photos “will repulse the majority of viewers who cherish animals and see that trophy hunters lack empathy, understanding, and any respect for wildlife,” says Newkirk.

In a 2018 video for NRA TV, Libby Krottinger discusses her love of hunting while offering glimpses of the couple’s mansion.

“How am I an animal lover, but I can hunt? I hunt because I do love animals. I hunt because it’s the most ethical thing to do for conservation,” says Krottinger.

This isn’t the first home to draw attention for its exotic decor. A hunting lodge in Minnesota with a trophy room lined with stuffed animal heads was the most popular listing of the week on realtor.com® in February.

The Minnesota property is still on the market—albeit with a reduced price. In truth, it’s a little hard to pay attention to the property with all of the animals staring at you.

Kelly Marcontell with Ebby Halliday holds the listing for the Dallas mansion.

The post Dallas Mansion Featured in Controversial Photo Lands on Market For $5.9M appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Dallas Mansion Featured in Controversial Photo Lands on Market For $5.9M

realtor.com

A gated mansion in Dallas filled with the stuffed carcasses of animals killed on hunting safaris is on the market for $5.9 million. The taxidermied animals are not included with the sale.

In 2015, a National Geographic photo of the homeowners, businessman Kerry Krottinger and his wife, Libby Krottinger, posing in their Dallas home created a stir.

The image of the couple among their animal trophies quickly went viral. The creatures covering the walls from floor to ceiling led some outlets to dub the montage the “wall of death.”

Animal rights activists recoiled at the duo sitting among dead rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, and zebras. While the animals were taken in legal hunts, the image still raised concerns about killing African wildlife for sport. 

A British-based organization called LionAid posted the photo on Facebook. “This is just one Texas trophy hunter with a ‘love’ of Africa,” LionAid wrote. “Is it any wonder that Africa’s wildlife is disappearing?”

Four years later, with the Krottingers’ home on the market, photos show room after room still decorated with stuffed animal heads and bodies.

While no photo of the trophy room visible in the National Geographic spread is evident in the current listing photos, there’s still plenty to find hanging around the house. Dead heads gaze from the walls in the living room. A cheetah stands guard in the office. No less than a lion and gazelles pose in the screening room.

And the listing photos are eliciting much the same reaction as the still-life image from years ago.

“This house is stuffed so full of corpses that it should properly be listed as a funeral home,” says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals President Ingrid Newkirk.

Dallas home renovated in 2007

realtor.com

Living room with fireplace and animal heads

realtor.com

Office with a cheetah

realtor.com

Large bar

realtor.com

Master suite with fireplace

realtor.com

Screening room with lion

realtor.com

Covered patio

realtor.com

Built in 1993, the 12,000-square-foot mansion in the city’s Preston Hollow comes with five beds and 5.5 baths. The estate was fully renovated and expanded in 2007. The entry opens to a floating staircase and custom chandeliers. Details include limestone floors, cypress-paneled ceilings, and hand-distressed wood beams. 

The grand salon features a two-story fireplace, and the master bedroom comes with a fireplace as well. The chef’s kitchen offers custom cabinets and top-of-the-line appliances.

Luxury amenities include a gym, study, bar, home theater, and wine grotto.

Upstairs you’ll find a second master suite, three bedrooms, a game room, and a bonus room. Outside, the property boasts a covered patio and a pool.

However, will the taxidermy still visible be a turnoff? PETA’s president thinks so.

The photos “will repulse the majority of viewers who cherish animals and see that trophy hunters lack empathy, understanding, and any respect for wildlife,” says Newkirk.

In a 2018 video for NRA TV, Libby Krottinger discusses her love of hunting while offering glimpses of the couple’s mansion.

“How am I an animal lover, but I can hunt? I hunt because I do love animals. I hunt because it’s the most ethical thing to do for conservation,” says Krottinger.

This isn’t the first home to draw attention for its exotic decor. A hunting lodge in Minnesota with a trophy room lined with stuffed animal heads was the most popular listing of the week on realtor.com® in February.

The Minnesota property is still on the market—albeit with a reduced price. In truth, it’s a little hard to pay attention to the property with all of the animals staring at you.

Kelly Marcontell with Ebby Halliday holds the listing for the Dallas mansion.

The post Dallas Mansion Featured in Controversial Photo Lands on Market For $5.9M appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.