Local housing market FACES SLUGGISH END TO 2014

realestate-dec14AS THE YEAR WINDS DOWN, THE NATIONAL HOUSING MARKET HAS HAD ITS HIGHS AND LOWS FOR 2014.

The year started slow, gained momentum and is ending slower than expected. Our local market has felt the same wave. We will report on the final number for the year in January.

Today’s buyer should be prepared when shopping in today’s market.

With lower inventory, multiple offers are not uncommon. If you require a mortgage, the first order of business is to start the application and qualification process with a lender before you begin to search for a property.

Since the Dodd-Frank Act was passed in 2010, lending regulations have become more stringent and you may be surprised by something on your credit report that may need attention before a loan would be approved.

Be proactive, not reactive, to the lending process. Once you are assured of a mortgage, you can leverage your ability to make an offer to purchase by being prequalified. Your Realtor will work directly with your lender to assure a successful closing.

Despite the year’s sluggish ending, the Hilton Head region continues to be discovered as the ideal place to live, work and play. If you are selling or buying a home, remember to ask if your agent is a Realtor and a member of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.

MORTGAGE RATES STILL NEAR YEARLY LOWS

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is hovering around 4 percent. This has been keeping borrowing costs low for refinancers and homebuyers.

Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for mortgage rates:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.01%, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.02%. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.35%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.2%, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.21% average. At this time last year, 15-year rates averaged 3.35%.
  • Five-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.02%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 2.97% average. A year ago, five-year ARMs averaged 3.01%.
  • One-year ARMs averaged 2.43%, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 2.45% average. At this time last year, one-year ARMs averaged 2.61%.

Jean Beck is the executive vice president of the Hilton Head Island Association of Realtors.