Federal Jobs Report Shows Robust Job Growth April 2013The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its Job Openings and Labor Turnover report for February on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013..

The data was mixed with preliminary figures for all non-farm jobs increasing from 3.62 million jobs in January to 3.93 million jobs in February.

This was the highest month-to- month increase in jobs since May 2008.

Non-farm jobs increased by 399,000 jobs from 3.53 million in February 2012 to 3.93 million jobs in February 2013, an increase of 10.2 percent year-over-year.

More Jobs Means More Opportunities For Home Ownership

More jobs generally means higher incomes and stability which enable more families to buy homes and qualify for mortgage loans.

Hires between January and February 2013 rose from 4.30 million to 4.43 million hires, an increase of 2.70 percent.

Hires between February 2012 and February 2013 fell from 44.9 million to 44.2 million, a decrease of 1.6 percent.

Total non-farm job separations changed little month to month, and remained exactly the same year-over-year at 4.20 million separations.

Numbers of hires and separations surpass job numbers due to workers being hired on and/or separated from more than one job during the reporting period.

Regional Non-Farm Employment Shows Job Growth

  • Northeast: Non-farm jobs fell from 688,000 jobs in January 2013 to 647,000 jobs in February 2013, but increased year-over-year from 589,000 jobs to 647,000 jobs.
  • South:  Non-farm Jobs fell from 1.56 million jobs in January 2013 to 1.50 million jobs in February 2013. Jobs increased year-over-year from 1.34 million jobs in February 2012 to 1.47 million jobs in February 2013.
  • Midwest: Non-farm jobs grew from 712,000 in January 2013 to 780,000 jobs in February 2013 and increased from 740,000 jobs to 780,000 from February 2012 to February 2013.
  • West: Non-farm jobs increased from 806,000 to 830,000 between January and February 2013; on a year-over-year basis, jobs showed noteworthy growth from 650,000 jobs to 830,000 jobs between February 2012 and February 2013.

It’s A Great Time To Buy Or Refinance A Home

Improving labor data indicates that the economy is on the mend, but this could cause mortgage rates and home prices to rise as the economy expands.

A gradual economic recovery suggests that home buyers and others seeking lower mortgage rates and refinancing can still find favorable mortgage terms.

But it would likely be best to take advantage of the still historic home purchase and financing opportunities that are available today.

Contact your trusted, licensed real estate or mortgage professional today to learn how the growing economy can benefit your family as well.

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Why Refinance

To refinance a mortgage means to pay off your existing loan and replace it with a new one.

There are many reasons why homeowners opt to refinance, from obtaining a lower interest rate, to shortening the term of the loan, to switching mortgage loan types, to tapping into home equity.

Each has its considerations.

Lower Your Mortgage Rate
Among the best reasons to refinance is to get access to lower mortgage rates. There is no “rule of thumb” that says how far rates should drop for a refinance to be sensible. Compare your closing costs to your monthly savings, and determine whether the math makes sense for your situation.

Shorten Your Loan Term
Refinancing your 30-year fixed rate mortgage to a 20-year fixed rate or a 15-year fixed rate is a sensible way to reduce your long-term mortgage costs, and to own your home sooner. As a bonus, with mortgage rates currently near all-time lows, an increase to your monthly payment from a shorter loan term may be negligible.

Convert ARM To Fixed Rate Mortgage
Homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages may want the comfort of a fixed-rate payment. Mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages are often higher than for comparable ARMs so be prepared to pay more to your lender each month.

Access Equity For Projects, Debts, Or Other Reasons
Called a “cash out” refinance, Henrico homeowners can sometimes use home equity to retire debts, pay for renovations, or use for other purposes including education costs and retirement. Lenders place restrictions on loans of this type.

A refinanced home loan can help you reach specific financial goals or just put extra cash in your pocket each month — just make sure that there’s a clear benefit to you. Paying large closing costs for small monthly savings or negligible long-term benefit should be avoided.

Many lenders offer low- or no-closing costs options for refinancing. Be sure to ask about it.

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Right To Cancel noticeAs part of the federal Truth-in-Lending Act, refinancing homeowners are granted a 3-day “cooling off” period post-closing during which they retain the right to rescind, or “cancel”, their recent refinance without penalty or cost.

The Right To Cancel is protection against surprises at closing and/or a change of heart. It’s also a safety valve for homeowners signing paperwork under duress. With 3 days to revisit and rethink the terms of a loan, a homeowner can maintain tighter control of his/her financial situation. 

If you ever have the wish (or need) to execute your right to rescind, be aware that the process is a formal one. The required steps must be completed on-time, and in order, or else your request will be invalid.

The process starts with a document labeled “Right To Cancel”. It’s included in your closing package and lists the terms of a rescission in straight-forward language. Among the key points :

  1. You have 3 business days during which to cancel your loan
  2. When you cancel the refinance, the entire transaction is cancelled
  3. You must submit your Right To Cancel in writing

“Business day” is defined by the government to be every day, save for Sundays and federal holidays. A loan that closes on a Monday, therefore, must be rescinded prior to Friday at 12:00 AM.

Typically, rescission requests are faxed to the settlement agent, notary, or title company assigned with the refinance. It’s good practice to ask for an acknowledgement of receipt as proof of delivery, too.

There are some refinances for which the Right to Cancel does not apply, however. This includes refinances linked to an investment property, and loans not collateralized by residential real estate. There are other conditions, too, that may supersede your right to rescind so be sure to ask your lender.

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According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, for 13 straight weeks, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has held below 4.000% for mortgage applicants willing to pay up to 0.8 discount points plus a full set of closing costs.

These are the lowest mortgage rates in history and now — with a bevy of loan programs for the nation’s 11 million “underwater homeowners” including HARP, the FHA Streamline Refinance, and the VA IRRRL — millions of U.S. homeowners can exploit the current mortgage rate environment.

In this 4-minute clip from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn about today’s mortgage market and your refinancing opportunities in Virginia.

The video begins by telling us that 14 million credit-worthy Americans have yet to refinance their respective mortgages, and are leaving an average of $471 in “wasted savings” on the table each month which adds up to more than $5,600 annually.

That’s a big number.

Some of the video’s other key points include :

  • Refinancing is “worth the hassle” when mortgage rates are as low as they are today
  • The best rates are reserved for homeowners with the highest credit scores
  • Comparison shop — your current mortgage lender may not offer you the best rates

Furthermore, the video reveals the characteristics of the homeowner type most likely to benefit from a refinance. These traits include having with 20% equity in the home; have plans to live in the home for at least the next 36 months; carrying a current mortgage rate of 5 percent or higher.

It should also be added that, with a zero-closing-cost or low-closing-cost mortgage, even a small reduction in your mortgage rate can make a refinance worthwhile.

Mortgage rates are low but can’t stay low forever. If you haven’t participated in the Refi Boom, talk with a loan officer and review your mortgage options. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars per month with just modest closing costs. 

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Mortgage payments down 13%

Falling mortgage rates make owning a home more affordable. Mortgage rates are directly tied to monthly mortgage payment so as mortgage rates drop, so does the cost of home-ownership.  

It’s a money-saving time to buy a home in Richmond — or to refinance one. Mortgage rates have never been this low in history.

According to Freddie Mac, last week, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.87% nationwide for borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus closing costs. 0.8 discount points is a one-time closing cost equal to 0.8 percent of your loan size, or $800 per $100,000 borrowed.

This represents an incredible value as compared to February of last year. 

It was exactly one year ago that mortgage rates begin their long slide lower. On February 11, 2011, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage reached its peak for the year, reading 5.05% in Freddie Mac’s nationwide survey. If you are among the many U.S. households that bought or refinanced a home around that time, you could choose to replace your current home loan with a new one and save close to 13% on your monthly mortgage payment.

13 percent saved on your mortgage is a noteworthy statistic.

Look at this 30-year fixed rate mortgage payment comparison over the last 12 months :

  • February 2011 : $539.88 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed
  • February 2012 : $469.95 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed

Because of falling mortgage rates, a homeowner with a $250,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage would save at least $175 per month just by refinancing into a new loan at today’s mortgage rates. That’s $2,100 in savings per year. 

Even after accounting for discount points and closing costs, the “break-even point” on a mortgage like that can come relatively quickly.

We can’t predict mortgage rates so there’s no promise rates will stay like this forever. If you’re planning to buy a home or refinance one, the best way to keep your monthly payments down is to lock your rate while rates are still low.

The market looks ripe for that now. 

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With mortgage rates at all-time lows, you may be asking “Is now a good time to refinance?”. This short interview from NBC’s The Today Show offers good insight.

Refinancing a mortgage is about more than just “low rates”. For example, there are costs associated with giving a new mortgage and even with the average, 30-year fixed rate mortgage near 4 percent, the costs of a such a move can outweigh the benefits — both in the short- and long-term.

The video originally ran in September when mortgage rates averaged 4.09%. Rates are different today, but the offered advice remains relevant.

Some of the key points raised include :

  • The lowest rates come with the highest costs. Consider a slightly higher-rate option from your bank.
  • Falling home values may make it harder to qualify for a refinance in the future. Your best time to act may be now.
  • If you’re many years into a 30-year loan, you can consider switching to a 15-year mortgage to avoid “resetting” your term.

And, lastly, the interviewee makes a strong point that your refinance should save you enough money to make paying the closing costs “worth it”. Make sure the break-even point on your closing costs versus your monthly savings occurs within a reasonable time frame.

At 4 minutes, the The Today Show video is short, but dense with quality information. For follow-up on whether a refinance makes sense for your situation, be sure to talk with your loan officer.

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