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Are Mortgage Applications Up?

Per the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey provided by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) for the week ending the 5th of July, mortgage applications are up – and significantly so. The Market Composite Index measures the volume of loan applications coming in through lenders across the country, and per this index, there was a tremendous increase in applications in the first week of 2018.


Per the Market Composite Index, loan application volume went up 8.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis. On an unadjusted basis, that number is even higher and represents a 46% increase. Of course, the results have been adjusted to account for New Year’s Day, when lenders were unavailable to take application. On top of this, there was an 11% increase in the Refinance Index, and the Purchase Index rose, as well, by 44% on an unadjusted basis and 5% when seasonally adjusted. Though mortgage applications are up, the Purchase Index declined by 1% from the same week in 2017.

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How to Shorten Your Mortgage

Many people today wait until later in life to tackle the challenge of homeownership. Getting out from under student debt takes time, and potential homeowners are working hard to ensure they have the funds to cover their monthly payments. As a result, people are often continuing to make mortgage payments into their 60s – and even past retirement. Here are some tips to shorten your mortgage if you are thinking of homeownership later in life.

Mortgages Then and Now

Back in the 1920s, the average homeowner paid about 40% down and made the remaining payments over the course of only 10 years. People in those days didn’t live as long as they do today, so these terms allowed for what was then considered to be affordable homeownership. It allowed people to spend the first couple decades of their adult lives saving for the down payment, and then paying off their homes quickly. This was ideal at the time and worked well for many people.

Over times, things changed. These days, the most common mortgages require 30-year terms, and while lenders recommend 20% down payments, most people put down about 5%. For people who are now living longer, and with the average age of retirement being about 65, more people than ever before are entering their retirement years with a mortgage balance still over their heads. This can be problematic.

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How Will Tax Reform Affect Real Estate?

Big changes in the tax code went into effect at the start of 2018, and while people across the country continue to try to determine how this will affect their personal and business finances, some are equally worried about how tax reform might affect real estate. Here’s what you need to keep in mind if you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2018.

You Can’t Deduct as Much Interest

For the 2017 tax year, homeowners could deduct up to $1 million in mortgage interest debt when they filed their taxes. In 2018, this number has decreased to $750,000, which is significantly impacting those who own high-end homes. On top of this, any amount of mortgage interest deduction is simply less valuable. Homeowners must itemize their taxes to take advantage of it, but because of increased standard deductions, fewer people will want to itemize, which puts homeowners in a tough situation.

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Is Mortgage Design Changing?

For many years, mortgages have been designed around the buyer – to provide incentives for people to buy homes, and to make it possible for them to do so. However, in the last few decades, things have changed significantly, and if a couple of real estate experts have it their way, things may change yet again in the future.

The Original Mortgage Design

Once upon a time, in the 1920s, lenders designed mortgages with affordability in mind. After all, people could not buy homes if those homes were not affordable, and it was up to the lender to make borrowing affordable enough to entice potential buyers. Back in those days, it was normal for people to put 40% of the value of the home down, then pay off the remaining balance – plus interest – over the course of 10 years. This means lesser risk for the lender, and it also meant that homeowners could pay their homes off completely in a single decade, even if they had to save for a decade to accumulate the 40% down payment.

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Are 30-Year Fixed Mortgages on the Rise?

Just a couple of years ago, the amount of interest you’d pay over time on a 15-year mortgage as opposed to a 30-year mortgage was significantly less. People opted to pay a higher monthly payment for a shorter period of time to save tens of thousands in interest payments alone. However, as the gap between the two mortgage terms continues to grow smaller, more people than ever are opting for 30-year fixed mortgages.

Increasing Long-Term Mortgage Interest Rates

In early December 2017, long-term mortgage rates increased just slightly, which is nothing out of the ordinary. However, per Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the gap between long-term and short-term interest rates continues to narrow nonetheless. This means that homeowners who might otherwise opt for a shorter mortgage term might not save quite as much as they would have hoped, and there may be little benefit in making higher monthly payments over time.

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