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Government Shutdown

by John Riggins

If you are in the process of purchasing your home and are worried about the government shutdown, recent news from Freddie Mac may have you sleeping a little better.

The announcement, effective October 8, 2013, allows lenders to use signed federal tax returns as income verification rather than a tax transcript for loans, loan modifications, and certain other home loan programs.

Asking lenders nationwide to “minimize disruptions” in a recent bulletin about the shutdown, Dave Lowman, Executive Vice President, of Single-Family Business at Freddie Mac said, "We're issuing this guidance to help ensure the continued smooth operation of the mortgage market during the temporary shutdown of the federal government.”

“Today's bulletin [issued October 7, 2013] is intended to give lenders the certainty to continue approving and delivering new mortgages that meet Freddie Mac guidelines to eligible borrowers, such as federal employees and contractors, during the temporary shutdown,” he explained. This news should comfort many potential homeowners affected by the government shutdown, in public and private employment, who temporarily find themselves without an income.

Lowman also reiterated the presence of forbearance provisions, which can be made available for a time period of three to twelve months to qualifying borrowers. “We are also reminding servicers of our forbearance options to assist qualified homeowners with Freddie Mac mortgages,” he added, “to minimize the shutdown's impact on our nation's families and communities."

Find out more about how the temporary government shutdown may affect your home ownership by clicking here.

When Rates Go UP

by John Riggins

When Rates Go Up

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Rising interest rates are great if you are renewing a certificate of deposit but not so much when you’re borrowing money. With interest rates on the rise as well as home prices, housing affordability is a concern for would-be homeowners.

A rough rule of thumb is that a person’s or family’s housing should not exceed 28% of their monthly gross income. While rental rates and home prices have been consistently increasing, mortgage rates have been soaring in the past month. In one week, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, they jumped by .5%.

This means that people have to pay a larger percentage of their income for housing unless their incomes have been increasing at an equal pace.  A $200,000 mortgage would be over $100 more per month if closed in July compared to closing at the interest rates available in January of 2013.

If rates increase by .5% by the time you close on the same size mortgage, payments would increase by almost $60 per month. In order to keep the payments the same, a borrower would have to put an additional $11,000 down to lower the mortgage amount. 

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Check out how your payment would be affected if interest rates continue to rise.

The National Association of REALTORS® suggests that housing is more affordable now than one year ago. However, with all of the variables in play including inflation that was not addressed in this piece, it is unclear how long conditions will remain “affordable”. 

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Contact Information

Photo of John Riggins REALTOR RB11175 Real Estate
John Riggins REALTOR RB11175
John Riggins Real Estate
1003 Bishop Street, suite 2700
Honolulu HI 96813
808.523.7653
808.341.0737
Fax: 888.369.3210