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Archives for February 2014

Mortgage rates creep down toward 4%

Mortgage Rates Drop Again

Maybe the days of rock-bottom mortgage interest rates aren’t numbered, after all.

Rates dropped 0.09 percentage point this week to 4.23% for a 30-year, fixed -rate home loan, according to the latest weekly report from Freddie Mac.

Mortgage rates started the year at 4.53%, and have sunk each week in 2014, falling a total of 0.3 percentage point.

Borrowers with a 4.23% mortgage would pay $982 a month on a $200,000 balance, compared with $1,017 on a 4.53% loan.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, attributed the move to cooling home sales.

“Mortgage rates fell further this week following the release of weaker housing data,” he said. “The pending home sales index fell 8.7% in December to its lowest level since October 2011.”

The drop in mortgage bond purchases by the Federal Reserve, the so-called taper, that started last month, was expected to push rates gradually higher.

But worrisome economic news and a plunge in stocks has counter balanced the Fed action, according to Keith Gumbinger of HSH.com, a mortgage information company. Anxious investors have scurried to safe havens like treasury bonds and mortgage backed securities.

“Much to the benefit of mortgage shoppers, this move [to bonds] is dragging down yields and mortgage rates,” said Gumbinger. “This is a nice surprise” for people looking to purchase or refinance their homes in a rising rates environment, he said.

Rates may keep dropping, according to Gumbinger.

“The reduction in Fed support, slowing manufacturing activity here and in China, some less-than-stellar figures on consumer spending, housing, and more are causing some concern that the economy has decelerated over the last couple of months,” he said. “The economy doesn’t need to slow very much to put us back into the kind of funk we’ve been hoping to escape since the recovery began several years ago.”

SOURCE: CNN Money

What’s My Home Worth? Free Market Analysis

Double-Digit Gains for Home Prices in 2013

Home prices made double-digit gains in 2013, posting the highest annual rate of increase since 2005, according to CoreLogic’s latest housing report, released Tuesday. Ten states and the District of Columbia reached new all-time price peaks last year.

“We expect the rising prices to attract more sellers, unlocking this pent-up supply, which will have a moderating effect on prices in 2014,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

CoreLogic’s latest report echoed an earlier report from the National Association of REALTORS® that showed a strong gain in home prices in 2013. The median sales price for all of 2013 was $197,100 in December, 11.5 percent above the 2012 median price, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ December existing-home sales report.

December Existing-Home Sales Rise Strongest in Seven Years

But CoreLogic’s report showed that home prices have eased slightly the last three months. Home prices dropped by 0.1 percent from November to December, and the year-over-year price increase has slowed, the report says. CoreLogic’s report does not adjust for seasonal patterns.

Nevertheless, “the healthy and broad-based gains in home prices in 2013 help set the stage for the continued recovery in the housing sector in 2014,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “After six years of fits and starts, we can now see a clearer path to a durable recovery in single-family residential housing across most of the U.S.”

The following states had the highest home-price appreciation, including distressed sales, according to CoreLogic:

  • Nevada: 23.9%
  • California: 19.7%
  • Michigan: 14%
  • Oregon: 13.7%
  • Georgia: 12.8%

SOURCE: Realtor Magazine

NEW DIRECT FLIGHTS – Denver to Sun Valley

United Airlines will offer nonstop service between Denver and Sun Valley this summer, and those involved in securing the service say they hope it will continue next winter.

The new route, which will add 5,500 additional seats into Sun Valley for the summer, was announced Monday by Fly Sun Valley Alliance, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority and Sun Valley Resort, which worked in partnership to secure the new flights. The route will be supported by a U.S. Department of Transportation Small Communities Air Service Development Program Grant for $500,000, awarded to the airport last fall.

CRJ 700 cockpit - New direct flights from Denver to Sun Valley

The United Express flights will run from July 2 through Sept. 23, 2014, and be operated by SkyWest Airlines using CRJ 700 regional jet aircraft with 70 seats—six in first class and 64 in economy, including 16 extra-legroom seats. The flight will run daily from July 2 to Aug. 25 and five times per week from Aug. 26 to Sept. 23.

The three local partners stated that they are working with United to add winter service for the Denver-Sun Valley route, and hope to confirm a contract by late spring for next winter.

A press release states that the flight schedule has been structured to take full advantage of connections from all major eastern markets:

  • Departs DEN at 7:15 p.m., arrives SUN at 9:03 p.m.
  • Departs SUN at 7:30 a.m., arrives DEN at 9:11 a.m.

This new nonstop route to Sun Valley will allow additional connectivity to eastern U.S. cities and other destinations in United’s global route network

Vic Kerckhoff, United’s director of leisure sales

“We are pleased to be expanding our service to the Sun Valley market and look forward to a long-term successful partnership.”

The new flights can be booked on www.united.com.