First-time buyers should not give up the hunt – Orange County Register

What’s up with mortgage rates? Jeff Lazerson of Mortgage Grader in Laguna Niguel gives us his take.
Rate news summary
From Freddie Mac’s weekly survey: The 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.92 percent, 4 basis points better than last week’s 3.96 percent. The 15-year fixed averaged 3.20 percent, down 3 basis points from last week’s 3.23 percent.
The Mortgage Bankers Association reported no change in loan application volume from the previous week.
Bottom line: Assuming a borrower gets the average 30-year fixed rate on a conforming $424,100 loan, last year’s rate of 3.48 percent and payment of $1,900 was $105 less than this week’s payment of $2,005.
What I see: Locally, well-qualified borrowers can get the following fixed-rate mortgages at one point cost: A 15-year at 2.875 percent, a 30-year at 3.625 percent, a 15-year agency high-balance ($424,100 to $636,150) at 3.125 percent, a 30-year agency high-balance at 3.875 percent, a 15-year jumbo (over $636,150) at 3.5 percent and a 30-year jumbo at 3.875 percent.
What I think: According to a recent analysis by Chase Bank and Google, 44 percent of 2017 online mortgage search activity is for first-time mortgages, an 11 percent increase from 2016 and an all-time high.
And, the top three mortgage-related questions asked on Google are: How much mortgage can I afford, how much can I qualify for and what type of mortgage can I afford?
Another interesting factoid: 46 percent of searches by home type from 2014 through 2016 were for apartments. No clear numbers were provided for 2017.
Consistent with these results, I see more and more first-time buyers applying for home loans, trying to figure out what they can afford compared to continuing as renters.
What’s not part of the conversation is the failure rate of those would-be first-time buyers. In my experience, well over half of the first-timers who apply and get pre-approved eventually just give up on their home-buying search.
It’s the usual suspects: Low inventory leading to…

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