Home sales and starts increased in October
The housing market showed some improvement in October, according to data collected by the National Association of Realtors. Existing-home sales increased 2% to 5.48 million, while pending home sales had their best month since June. The Pending Home Sales Index increased to 109.3, a 3.5% increase over September's rating.
While the month-over-month change looks promising, both figures came in below those of October 2016. The Pending Home Sales Index was 0.6% higher in October 2016 than it was this year, and existing-home sales were 0.9% higher last year as well.
A major factor that contributed to the year-over-year decline has been a continuous theme over the past year: A lack of inventory that prevents prospective homebuyers from finding a home in their ideal location and price range.
"Home shoppers had better luck finding a home to buy in October, but slim pickings and consistently fast price gains continue to frustrate and prevent too many would-be buyers from reaching the market," Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, explained in a press release.
Economic advances lend to greater homebuying activity
Though an inventory deficit prevented some home shoppers from making a purchase, other factors lent to the increase in activity compared to September 2017. Yun pointed out that job growth and wage increases have allowed some consumers to consider buying a home.
In October, 261,000 nonfarm payroll positions were added throughout the U.S., and unemployment ticked down to 4.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hourly earnings didn't change much from the month prior, but September boasted an impressive 12-cent increase in the average pay per hour. As such, the average hourly pay of $26.53 seen in October is a positive indicator for the jobs landscape.
Hurricane-related setbacks ease up
After the U.S. was impacted by a string of hurricanes, it was understandable that homebuying activities would slow down for some time. However, the most recent data released by NAR suggests that the negative effects of the natural disasters are reducing.
"The residual effects on sales from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still seen in parts of Texas and Florida," Yun explained. "However, sales should completely bounce back to their pre-storm levels by the end of the year, as demand for buying in these areas was very strong before the storms."
Homebuilding was strong in October
In addition to the positive gains in home sales, October also experienced an uptick in housing starts, according to information released by the U.S. Census Bureau. There were 1.3 million housing starts in October, a 13.9% increase over September's estimated numbers. Despite the increase, however, this remains 2.9% lower than the number of housing starts realized in October 2016.
About two-thirds of the housing starts were single-family homes, the most popular housing type among homebuyers. The remaining units were constructed in buildings with five units or more.
Housing completions were up 12.2%, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million. Slightly fewer than two-thirds of these were single-family homes.
The future for home construction looks bright as well, with 1.3 million building permits authorized in October. This is an increase of 0.9% over October 2016's numbers and 5.9% higher than September 2017.
Prospective homebuyers hoping to purchase a home yet this year may want to get preapproved for a residential mortgage to help the closing process go faster and more smoothly. To find out what loan programs would best suit you, reach out to Academy Mortgage.
Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2016 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.
Don't believe these 3 credit score myths
Checking your credit score is generally a good idea before taking out any new credit, like a residential mortgage, auto loan or new credit card. But, according to a survey from MoneyTips, 14% of Americans have never pulled their credit reports, and nearly half haven't looked up their three-digit score in six months.
Not only are many consumers unaware of what their credit score is or how to find out, but many also hold false notions about what the score means. Here are three commonly held myths about credit scores and the truth behind them:
Myth No. 1: Checking your credit will lower it
This is a common misconception that many people hold. It's most likely derived from the fact that a hard pull on your credit report really can lower your score. Unfortunately, however, this myth has caused many people to neglect to check their score or pull their own report for fear of lowering it.
To understand this myth, it's important to know the difference between a hard inquiry and a soft inquiry on your credit. A hard inquiry is when you apply for credit and the lender pulls your credit report.
If you apply for multiple credit cards or loans in a short period of time, thus implementing multiple hard pulls, creditors may interpret that has an inability to secure any credit and is considered a red flag. Therefore, your credit score will drop a few points, CreditKarma reported. It most likely won't be enough to disqualify you for anything you would have been eligible for otherwise.
A soft inquiry, on the other hand, is any time your credit is pulled by yourself or someone who's not seeking to give you credit. For example, your employer or landlord may pull it at some point as part of a routine background check. This won't harm your credit.
You can - and should - check your credit report on your own on a regular basis. You're entitled to three free credit reports every year: one from each Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Simply order one from annualcreditreport.com, a government-mandated website that provides consumers free access to their credit reports.
Myth No. 2: When you get married, you get a joint credit score
When you get married, you'll combine a lot of things: your kitchenware, your book collection and maybe even your finances. But you'll never get a joint credit score; every individual always has his or her own unique score. Despite this fact, a survey from MoneyTips found that nearly three-quarters of respondents believed that when two hearts become one, so do their credit scores.
However, when you and your spouse apply for credit together, the lender will analyze and make a decision based on both party's scores. As such, it's always a good idea to have the "money talk" with your beau before applying for a home loan or any other form of shared credit.
Myth No. 3: I can't get a mortgage because my credit is too low
Your credit report is one of the many documents your mortgage lender will need to review before finalizing your home loan. The better your score, the easier it may be to obtain a loan, and the lower the interest rate you might qualify for.
However, that's not to say that if you have a low credit score, you can't get a mortgage. According to a survey conducted by Fannie Mae, many Americans falsely believe that a score of at least 650 is required to get a home loan. In fact, Fannie Mae only requires people to have a score of 620. Some programs will even work with prospective homebuyers with no credit history at all.
If you think your score is too low to get a mortgage, don't let that stop you from homeownership. Reach out to your lender to find out if you qualify - there's no harm in asking.
To get more information about applying for a residential mortgage, contact Academy Mortgage. We can help you decipher your credit score and help you discover what loans you're eligible for.
Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2015 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.
Tips for simple loan approval
Here is a list of useful tips to facilitate an effortless loan process. These DO’s and DON’Ts will help you avoid any delays and costly challenges with your loan approval.
If you encounter a special situation like identify theft, it is best to mention it to us right away so we can help you determine the best way to achieve your goals.
DO call us if you have any questions.
DO provide requested documentation promptly and in its entirety.
DO continue living at your current residence.
DO continue making your mortgage or rent payments.
DO continue to use your credit as normal.
DO keep working at your current employer.
DO keep your same insurance company.
DO stay current on all existing accounts.
DO expect requests for additional documentation throughout the loan process.
DO let us know if you will be receiving gift money before it is deposited into your account.
DON’T change your employment status.
DON’T make any major purchases (car, furniture, jewelry, etc.).
DON’T change bank accounts.
DON’T make any large cash deposits into your bank accounts.
DON’T transfer any balances from one account to another.
DON’T close any credit card accounts.
DON’T consolidate your debt onto one or two credit cards.
DON’T apply for new credit or open a new credit card.
DON’T max out or overcharge on your credit card accounts.
DON’T take out a new loan or co-sign on a loan.
DON’T pay off any loans or credit cards, charge offs, or collections without discussing it with us first.
DON’T finance any elective medical procedure.
DON’T join a new fitness club.
DON’T open a new cellular phone account.
DON’T have your credit pulled or dispute any information on your credit report.
DON’T pack away or store any important documents, even if they aren’t initially requested.
Let us show you how simple securing a home loan can be.