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Is It Time to Cut Your Price?
By CHRIS PUMMER, AOL REAL ESTATE COLUMNIST
Call to Action in Property tax laws
The Legislature adjourned Sine Die at 6:28 pm bringing the 2007
Special Session on Property Tax Reform to a close. Both the House
and Senate passed all three bills making up the property tax reform
package. The package includes a statutory rollback and cap of property
tax rates, a proposed constitutional amendment creating a "super
homestead exemption" and a bill designating the upcoming January
29, 2008 presidential preference primary as the date for Floridians
to vote on the "super homestead exemption" amendment.
FAR is very excited about the work that the Florida Legislature
was able to complete in 3 short days!
Below is some additional detail on what is included in the final
deal. Also, attached is an updated chart (side by side) that you
will find useful. We had an amazing response to our call-to-action
and Legislators assured us that this is only the beginning. They
will continue to work on reforms that we consider the top priorities
such as "highest and best use."
The agreement consists of a two-tiered approach to achieve immediate
relief and long-term reform. The combined elements of the plan offer
$31.6 billion in tax relief over the next five years. This is touted
by House and Senate leaders as by far the largest tax cut in the
history of Florida.
1. The Statutory Component - Immediate Tax Relief
Cities and counties must lower their tax rates a certain percentage
based on their past taxing conduct. This component of the plan offers
$15.6 billion of tax relief over five years, with savings beginning
this year. The statutory component affects all properties in a positive
way (homestead, non homestead, commercial).
. First, all cities and counties must adopt the rolled-back rate
for the coming fiscal year. In other words, tax levies for FY 2007-08
must be equal to tax levies for FY 2006-07, excluding taxes levied
from new construction. Then...
. After adopting the rolled-back rate, the bill requires each city
and county to further reduce taxes based on their recent taxing
history (from 2001 to 2006, the period in which property values
rapidly increased). To delve into this further, there will be five
tiers. Between 2001 and 2006, if a County had an average annual
tax levy increase of a certain percentage then they'd have to roll
back a certain percentage more. So, if their tax increase was below
5% the cut is 0; over 5 to 7% tax increase the cut is additional
3%; over 7 to 9% tax increase the cut is 5%; over 9% to 11% the
cut is 7%; and over 11% tax increase the cut is an additional 9%.
The City cuts are similar. The bottom line is that those counties
and cities that increased taxes at a faster rate than the statewide
average must offer larger tax cuts. Those that modestly increased
tax levies will in turn sustain smaller tax cuts.
. Beginning in 2008-2009 and every year thereafter, the bill requires
all local ad valorem taxing authorities except school districts
to set millage rates in accordance with the rolled-back rate, adjusted
by the annual growth of Florida personal income. A local governing
authority may override this cap requirement as set forth in Section
5 on page 13.
2. The Constitutional Component - Long-term Reform
The constitutional amendment cures the inequities in the property
tax system by transforming Save Our Homes through a new "super"
homestead exemption. The new exemption covers 75% of the first $200,000
of homestead value and 15% of the next $300,000, with all homesteads
receiving at least a $50,000 exemption. Current homestead owners
will be given a choice as to whether to keep their benefits and
assessment cap under Save Our Homes or to use the new super exemption.
The bill also authorizes a $25,000 Tangible Personal Property exemption
and allows targeted relief for affordable housing, low-income seniors,
and working waterfronts. This component offers $16 billion of tax
3. The Special Election
This bill authorizes a special election for #2 above. Voters will
have the opportunity to adopt the proposed constitutional amendment
during the presidential preference primary on January 29, 2008.
If voters approve the amendment, it will lower property tax bills
in 2008. If the vote on the constitutional amendment is delayed
until the general election in 2008, the reforms will not take effect
until tax bills are calculated in 2009.
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Real Estate Bargain Bin Undeveloped Lots Drawing Buyers Condo Craze
Coming to a Close Fabulous Pre-Fabs More Real Estate Articles
With the summer home-buying season fast ending, panic is
setting in among sellers in slowing markets nationwide forced to
consider price cuts to unload their properties.
The U.S. inventory of unsold homes hit a record 566,000
units in June. In some of last year’s hottest regional markets,
inventories are five times higher than a year ago.
"Buyers are taking a wait-and-see attitude," says Blanche
Evans, editor of Realty Times, a trade publication. "It’s
the nature of buyers to seek a bargain, and if they think prices
are going to go lower, they will wait as long as it takes."
Realtors are advising clients eager to sell to drop their price
before the fall/winter sales slowdown. One leading, Washington,
D.C.-area broker is telling those who want a quick sale now to cut
their asking price to late 2004 levels.
Many sellers are ignoring such advice, suspecting agents are just
trying to win easier sales for themselves. Yet a growing number
of listings are languishing as buyers and their agents perceive
them to be too overpriced to even waste time making an offer on.
"Some sellers think agents just want easy sales, but there
are no easy sales these days," said Boofie O’Gorman,
a top-producing agent in Reston, Va., for Long & Foster, a Mid-Atlantic
realty firm. "I’m encouraging clients to make price reductions
as quickly and deeply as possible. My advice on new listings is
to price where it’s painful now, to avoid it being more painful
So how do you determine if your property is overpriced, and how
much should you shave off if it is? Here are recommendations from
several real-estate experts:
Perish the thought
First, forget about the pie-in-the-sky figure you felt your house
was worth. Just like with tech stocks before their 2000 collapse,
paper gains aren’t worth crying over -- or holding out hope
you’ll regain anytime soon.
To make reducing your asking price easier to stomach, consider
instead how much you’ve made on your home. Calculate your
annualized investment return based on your downpayment, not your
purchase price. You may be pleasantly astounded.
Take a head count
How much interest has there been in your property? If 10 qualified
buyers have been through and it remains unsold, it’s time
to look hard at a price drop.
Evans offers this simple gauge: “If you’re getting
showings but not offers, the buyers think your home is overpriced.
If you’re not getting showings at all, the professionals think
you’re overpriced.” In the latter case, you may be way
overpriced, because the pros aren’t even recommending buyers
take a look.
What’s your motivation?
If you don’t need to move, you can sit tight on your price.
If you’ve bought another home can’t afford to indefinitely
pay two mortgages, and don’t want to be a landlord, the question
is how much lower should you go? In that case, cut your price at
least by the amount of “carrying costs” you’ll
pay on the vacant house until next spring’s selling season,
including taxes, insurance and maintenance. To be safe, consider
a full year’s worth.
Check the clock
How long has it taken to sell homes in your price range in your
area recently? If yours has been on the market nearly half that
time or longer, a price cut’s likely in order.
The reason: Buyers are suspicious about homes up for sale more
than a couple of months – even if the only thing wrong with
them is they were overpriced to start.
A lot to consider
How many listings are there in your area compared with a year ago?
The larger the inventory, the more choices buyers have and the more
price-competitive you need to be.
If your area’s supply is double that a year ago, it may not
be cause for concern, especially in formerly hot markets where inventories
were lean last year. If the number of unsold homes rose four times
or more, you may want to cut your price sharply now to attract attention
in an increasingly crowded field.
Go shopping yourself
On the next Open House day, ask your agent to accompany you on
a tour of all comparable homes for sale in your area. Take the measure
of each – in terms of pluses and minuses vs. your home –
and then set your price low enough that it beats them all.
The advantage here: By scrutinizing the comps with your agent,
you can have an open discussion with him or her that should relieve
any suspicion about their price-cutting motives.
So what’s new?
If there’s significant residential construction in your area,
you may want to make a pre-emptive price cut. Otherwise, you could
soon find a nearby, brand-new home priced less than your similarly-sized,
Reason being: Developers and builders can’t afford to sit
on vacant units, or financing costs will devour their profit. They’ll
generally cut prices far quicker than existing home owners for that
Especially bad timing
If you’re selling a condominium that’s drawn little
interest, you may want to take decisive action. Unlike single-family
home prices that have held up despite declining sales volume, condo
prices already are falling – off 2.7% nationwide in June from
a year earlier – and are likely to drop even further.
The reason: Condominiums historically appreciate fastest in value
in the latter part of a rising home-price cycle, as buyers get priced
out of single-family homes. Conversely, condo prices fall hardest
in the first part of a declining market as single-fame homes become
A reasoned half-measure
If you don’t want to cut your price yet, but want to attract
buyers' attention, consider contributing to the buyer’s closing
costs -- $5,000, $10,000 or whatever the maximum your state allows.
By minimizing the cash your buyer needs to bring to the table,
you’re essentially helping them get into your home. You still
may have to come off your asking price by a fair amount, but you
may entice more buyers to take a look with the closing-cost offer.
Walk a mile in their shoes
Ultimately, the best indicator of whether your home is overpriced
is to ask yourself: “What would I pay for my house today?”
Put aside sentimental attachments and instead take note of all the
home-improvement projects you never got around to.
After years of home sellers making out like bandits, buyers will
soon be scoring deals. So at what price do you think your house
would be a great deal these days? Add on two or three percent for
negotiating room and that may be an attractive asking price –
at least for the moment.
RISMEDIA, Jan. 31 — (KRT) — If you're buying a
single-family home or condominium, plan to live in it long
term because the days of making fast cash in real estate are
over, industry experts said.
"Everybody can't be Donald Trump,"
said Henry Fishkind, an Orlando economist who spoke at an
Urban Land Institute seminar at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel
& Casino in Hollywood. "I'd be cautious right now."
Fishkind and other analysts agree that the
housing sector has peaked and predicted problems for the condominium
markets in West Palm Beach and Miami, where thousands of units
are expected in the next few years.
The condo market in Fort Lauderdale is in
better shape, mostly because of restrictions on supply imposed
by the city, analysts said.
In Miami-Dade, more than 71,500 units are
built or planned, Miami real estate consultant Jack Winston
said, adding that only 9,100 units were completed countywide
in the past 10 years. He did not release figures for Broward
or Palm Beach counties.
Some small banks will be in trouble because
they've loaned money to condo developers who won't follow
through on building plans as the market softens, analysts
said Friday. They think falling land prices are inevitable
during the next year.
Likewise, real estate speculators will take
hits if supply continues to outpace demand, hurting their
ability to resell or rent units. Already, agents are reporting
price reductions in some condo resales.
"Miami is ground zero for the housing
bubble," Winston said. "It's going to be severe
in Miami, and it's going to be problematic in West Palm. We've
built too many units compared to the projections for real
More than 6,000 units are coming to West Palm
Beach, mostly in the downtown corridor, officials have said.
But unlike Miami, West Palm can't count on a large contingent
of international buyers to scoop up condos, Winston said.
Developers point to the growing numbers of
young professionals who want to live in downtown condos, Winston
said. "The problem is, while they are an emerging market
... they can't afford the product," he said.
Mortgage rates could climb above 7 percent
this year -- which would be enough to slow housing growth
but not enough to cause markets to crash, Fishkind said.
Converting apartments to condos was one of
the industry's hottest trends in 2005, but it will slow somewhat
throughout South Florida this year, Deerfield Beach consultant
Jack McCabe said. As a result, condo converters will head
to other areas, such as Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.
The cost and scarcity of building supplies,
particularly cement, will continue to affect development for
a third consecutive year in 2006, said Ken Simonson, chief
economist for the Associated General Contractors of America.
Simonson is more optimistic about the national
housing market than other experts, saying he expects no more
than a minor decline of 1 to 3 percent in 2006.
Copyright © 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.
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Time To look at Title, Escrow Fees
by Proderick Berkins
Advocates suggest demanding a receipt for each and every charge
on the settlement statement, but be prepared for resistance and
be prepared to delay closing to get them. If you choose to go the
receipt route, ask for a waiver of any fee not accompanied by a
Authorities are investigating title and escrow companies again
and that's a signal for you to also take a look at the firms you
hire and the charges you pay for the Title work.
Five of California's largest title companies are under investigation
for charging too much following allegations by Consumers Union that
refinancing homeowners are getting hit hard.
In New York, eight class-action suits against large title insurance
companies allege that they intentionally overcharged homeowners
refinancing their loans.
Two years ago, California went after the title and escrow industry
and collected millions of dollars in the nation's largest ever suit
against the industry, for allegedly bilking the state's consumers
out of a half billion dollars.
Maryland's insurance commissioner obtained a court order to take
control of a title company and suspend the company's and two agents'
licenses in an investigation of more than $1 million in missing
escrow funds and insurance premiums owed to home buyers, sellers,
insurers and others.
Also during the same crack down era, Colorado fined seven title
insurance agencies for violating state insurance laws and regulations,
among them, charging the wrong rates to customers and applying unregulated
"We urge the (California) Insurance Commissioner to investigate
whether insurers are charging excessive rates and to help consumers
save money by fostering greater competition in the marketplace.
And if the Commissioner determines that companies have been charging
excessive rates, he should order them to make refunds to consumers,"
said Norma Garcia, senior attorney for Consumers Union's West Coast
Regional Office regarding the latest case against title and escrow
Given the title and escrow industry over the past few years has
remained as rife with complaints about the fees it charges as the
subprime mortgage market has been with complaints about predatory
lending, it behooves consumers to be just as diligent scrutinzing
title and escrow fees as they should be when examining loan papers.
Title and escrow fees, among others, come into play when the seller
accepts a buyer's offer and the two "open escrow" with
a title or escrow company or, in some cases, an escrow attorney.
The escrow account holder is supposed to be a neutral third party
that holds onto, and then exchanges, disburses and transfers deeds
and other documents and money. With disbursements it pays off existing
loans and it records deeds, prorates property tax payments and interest
and it helps with the transaction's other transfer details.
Most of the monies associated with the home purchase are funneled
through the escrow account including the buyer's deposit, money
for the escrow account itself and related services, title insurance
and title search fees, the mortgage money and associated fees, the
real estate agent's commission, recording fees, filing fees, transfer
fees, notary fees, courier fees and a host of others.
All these costs become "settlement costs" recorded on
the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's HUD-1 "Settlement
Statement" or a reasonable facsimile, which discloses all of
a housing transaction's costs for both the buyer and the seller.
If you want too keep title and escrow companies out of your wallet,
follow these guidelines.
Educate yourself. Consider investing $20 in Sandy Gadow's "Your
Real Estate Closing" (McGraw Hill $19.95), an investment that
can save you hundreds of dollars. The book is a model guide to title,
escrow and other closing issues. Gadow's web site EscrowHelp.com,
is also an invaluable resource on the subject.
Before hiring a title or escrow company or escrow attorney, obtain
several referrals from those you trust, family, friends, co-workers,
real estate agents and others who've recently closed a satisfactory
Ask for a referral to the title or escrow officer, not the company.
The officer should be familiar with the type of home you are selling,
especially if it's a condo or other multiplex home.
The escrow office should be conveniently located or able to tap
branches near you. Saving time saves money.
Consider a professional who is patient, exacting and willing to
give you the time and information you need to understand escrow.
Compare the costs of different escrow and title companies before
agreeing to use one. Fees can vary widely. Ask for all escrow costs
from title insurance and search and escrow service fees to all the
little so-called "garbage fees" that crop up in escrow.
Be aware that refinance-related title discounts, for example, may
be available when the loan being refinanced is less than 10 years
old. State regulations vary on allowing the discount, but the recent
Consumers Union survey of California companies reported that the
average rate quote on a $250,000 refinancing made by six of the
largest title companies was $750 -- well above $275, one the lowest
refi prices available in the market.
Be sure when you complete an application for a loan you get settlement
costs and good faith estimate information. RESPA requires the lender
or mortgage broker deliver these documents to you within three days
of receiving the application.
Remember, the good faith estimate is only an estimate or range
of charges. For example, the lender may not know the costs for a
escrow agent or title company that you use, or the exact amount
that will be collected for title insurance and other costs not levied
by the lender.
To avoid surprises, let the lender and settlement agent (escrow
or title company) know that you will want to see the settlement
statement one day in advance and that you won't be rushed on closing
Compare the good faith estimate with the settlement statement,
contact the lender as well as the title/escrow company, demand that
they explain any differences. Ask the lender, title or escrow companies
to waive any fees that were not listed in the good-faith estimate.
On closing day, come prepared with plenty of time, pencil, paper,
a calculator, and an inquisitive, demanding mind. You are allowed
to have your representative -- a real estate agent, mortgage counseler
or other professional -- attend closing with you.
Do not hesitate to question any amount that you do not understand
and sign nothing until you understand each charge.
Hard nosed consumer advocates suggest demanding a receipt for each
and every charge on the settlement statement, but be prepared for
resistance and be prepared to delay closing to get them. If you
choose to go the receipt route, ask for a waiver of any fee not
accompanied by a receipt.
Published: April 18, 2003
WHAT IS A HOME BUYER'S AGENT? A true home buyer's
agent represents only the buyer in the transaction. Another agent,
called the listing agent, usually represents the seller. Or, in
about 20 percent of home sales, the home seller might not have any
agent, such as a do-it-yourself, for-sale-by-owner seller. These
sellers are called "fizzbos.
Before beginning the home purchase search, smart
home buyers get pre-approved in writing by an actual mortgage lender.
This step is known as mortgage pre-approval.Realty agents can often
advise as to which local lenders offer the best terms and easiest
However, beware of any lender who merely says you're "pre-qualified"
for a mortgage. A pre-qualification letter from a mortgage broker
or other lender stating the prospective home buyer appears qualified
to obtain a home loan means absolutely nothing.
Especially when doing business with a mortgage broker, be sure
the broker obtains your pre-approval letter or certificate from
an actual lender.
Can you keep a little secret, just between us? Any licensed real
estate agent can be your exclusive buyer's agent.
Most states now require realty agents to provide written disclosures
as to who they represent in the home sale, such as buyer only, seller
only or both, which is called "dual agency."
WORKING WITH A BUYER'S AGENT USUALLY COSTS HOME BUYERS NOTHING
EXTRA. In a typical home sale, the listing agent splits the sales
commission equally with the selling agent who obtained the buyer.
That means a buyer's agent usually costs a home buyer nothing extra.
However, a possible situation where a buyer's agent might cost
the home buyer extra is when the buyer's agent arranges the sale
of a for-sale-by-owner residence.
Most do-it-yourself sellers realize they must pay at least half
of a customary sales commission to gain access to home buyers represented
by buyer's agents. In such a situation, where the seller pays the
buyer's agent half of a normal sales commission, hiring a buyer's
agent costs the buyer nothing extra.
The unlikely situation where working with a buyer's agent will
cost the buyer extra occurs when the buyer's agent shows the buyer
a FSBO home but the seller refuses to pay the buyer's agent even
half of a customary realty sales commission, typically 3 percent
of the sales price. In that rare situation, the buyer is obligated
to pay the buyer's agent the agreed-upon amount, usually half of
the normal sales commission in the area.
WHEN BUYER'S AGENTS HAVE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. As explained earlier,
any licensed real estate agent can be your buyer's agent representing
your best interests in your home purchase.
However, when a buyer's agent works at a realty brokerage where
another agent obtained the listing on the home the buyer wants to
buy, there's a conflict of interest problem.
Legally, it's called a "dual agency." That means one
agent obtained the listing and another agent obtained the buyer,
but both agents work for the same brokerage. Another dual agency
situation can arise when the home's listing agent finds a buyer
for that home. In the brokerage business, it's called "double
ending" the sale by representing both seller and buyer.
A few states have enacted laws for that situation allowing one
agent in the brokerage to represent the home seller while another
agent with the same firm represents the buyer.
Although dual agency is perfectly legal in all states when it is
disclosed to the buyer and seller, it is potentially a conflict
of interest with the same brokerage representing both buyer and
However, this problem won't arise when a home buyer purchases a
home listed for sale by another brokerage. Then the buyer's agent
works for one firm and the seller's listing agent works for another
ASK WHO REPRESENTS WHOM? It is very easy to get confused when buying
a home about who represents whom. For example, suppose you wander
into a Sunday afternoon open house. You fall in love with the home.
You're ready to buy because you're already pre-approved for a mortgage.
The friendly realty agent holding the open house will gladly accommodate
you and prepare your purchase offer.
However, be sure to ask, "Who do you represent in this home
sale?" The agent will probably disclose she represents the
seller. Or, with the seller's permission, she can act as a dual
agent representing both seller and buyer. But that's an inherent
conflict of interest.
Better yet, maybe you should pick up a phone, call your own buyer's
agent and say, "Get over here fast to prepare my purchase offer
on my dream home." Then you will have your own buyer's agent
looking out for your best interests.
SUMMARY. Most home buyers need their own buyer's agent to look
out for their best interests. But buyers should be aware of the
potential conflicts of interest, especially when a buyer's agent
shows a home listed by the same brokerage by a seller's agent. Be
sure your agent provides a written agency disclosure so you know
who represents whom in the home sale.
(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
McLEAN, Va. (CBS.MW) --
( march 13 2003) The benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell
again to a new low this week, averaging 5.61 percent nationwide,
Freddie Mac said Thursday. That puts the average at its lowest since
the mortgage agency began tracking loans in 1972 and matches the
FHA rates dating to the early 1960s. The 15-year mortgage, a popular
refinancing alternative, fell below 5 percent to 4.93 percent, also
a record low
How Your REALTOR Keeps You And Your
Sellers, one of the best reasons to hire a
REALTOR(r) to represent your home in the marketplace is for security
FEB 25, 2003
Sellers, one of the best reasons to hire a REALTOR(r) to
represent your home in the marketplace is for security reasons.
Realtors are trained to help protect your safety while promoting
your home to buyers in a wide variety of mediums from the Internet
to the sign in your yard.
Because they work closely with the public in unique ways, Realtors
are considered by law enforcement officials to be in a high risk
profession. Realtors are mobile, work in a variety of locations,
and are often in the company of consumers whom they may not know
well. To protect their own personal safety, as well as your property,
Realtors have evolved a number of safety guidelines that might be
helpful for you as a consumer to know.
One advantage of working with a Realtor is that buyers won't come
to your home without being accompanied by a professional. Realtors
make themselves the point of contact so that you don't have to open
your door to just anyone who comes along. They also share information
about your home in a broker cooperative called the multiple listing
service (MLS), so that other brokers may bring their buyers.
The buyers that your Realtor and others bring are also likely to
be better qualified to purchase your home. Realtors work with buyers
to make sure they are capable of making a sound offer on your home,
but they also do some qualifying for their own personal safety.
As they accompany buyers to your home, they know they can be victimized
as well as you if they aren't careful and know who they are dealing
Promoting your home with virtual tours and multiple photos
Realtors promote your home on Internet sites such as Realtor.com,
where homes are showcased with virtual tours and multiple photos.
According to Realtor.com, homes with virtual tours are viewed 40
percent more often by consumers than those without. Internet consumers
have been proven to choose a home, buy more expensive homes and
close more quickly than offline buyers, according to the California
Association of Realtors.
Your Realtor may suggest a virtual tour or multiple photos, but
for your personal safety and the protection of your valuables, she
or he may insist that precious items, such as collectibles or rare
paintings, not be displayed. In fact, your Realtor may suggest that
you store valuables while your home is being marketed.
Most Realtors who offer open houses do so with increased security.
Either they will ask another Realtor or a lender to accompany them,
or they will notify their offices and other persons of their whereabouts.
Realtors request visitors to sign in and many are starting to request
drivers' licenses of buyers before allowing them to view the home.
Because open houses are so public, rarely do buyers attend with
the intention of pilfering anything, but you can foil people who
want small items such as high-cost prescription medicines by cleaning
out your medicine cabinets for the duration of the open house. Also,
clear off any bric-a-brac and collectibles, and keep jewelry under
lock and key.
Your personal safety
Don't ever open your door to anyone who says he or she is interested
in seeing your home. If the buyer is genuine, he or she will be
accompanied by a Realtor, but keep in mind, that no Realtor would
stop and knock on your door without going through a proper procedure
to consult the MLS for showing instructions. So if you get a knock
on the door, direct the buyer to contact your agent, and let the
agent qualify the buyer and determine if the buyer is represented
by a Realtor or not.
Copyright © 2003 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.
Long Term Mortgage Rates Fall Even
In Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate
mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.79 percent, with an
FEB 28, 2003
McLEAN, VA -- In Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey,
the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.79 percent, with
an average 0.6 point, for the week ending February 28, 2003, down
slightly from 5.84 percent last week, and setting still another
record low. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.80
The average for the 15-year FRM this week is 5.14 percent, with
an average 0.6 point, down from last week's average of 5.21 percent,
also the lowest ever recorded since Freddie Mac started tracking
it in 1991. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.28 percent.
One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged
3.83 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from
3.81 percent last week. At the same time last year, the one-year
ARM averaged 4.94 percent.
"Debilitating forces, such as looming war clouds in the Mideast,
declining consumer confidence and other issues, are making an economic
rebound difficult," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist.
"And when the economy is weak, interest rates tend to follow
"Low rates will continue to keep the housing industry busy
this year, and indications are that there is a good chance home
sales may set yet another record in 2003."
Copyright © 2003 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.