The Housing Market Update – What to Look for


Consumer Sentiment Jumps to Four Year High:

While historically low mortgage rates and attractive home prices are important to make the housing market attractive, it is actually how a consumers feels about the economy and their own situation that drives demand.

U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than four years in May as Americans stayed optimistic about the job market, while higher income households expected to see bigger wage increases, a survey released on Friday showed. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment rose to 79.3 from 76.4 in April, topping forecasts for 77.8 and an initial May reading of the same.

It was the highest level since October 2007.

Half of all consumers said the economy had improved during the past year, while buying plans for vehicles and household durables also improved. The gauge of buying plans rose to 132 from 126.

It looks like a strong season for housing now that we have strong consumer sentiment and historically low rates and excellent home prices.

What Happened to Rates Last Week?

Mortgage backed securities (MBS) lost -18 basis points from last Friday to the prior Friday which caused 30 year fixed mortgage rates to increase slightly.
The highest rates of the week were on Wednesday and the lowest rates of the week were on Tuesday.
MBS traded in a fairly tight range, supported by continued fears of Greece leaving the EU and over Spain’s banks.
We received more good news in the housing market with both Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales rising and beating market forecasts.
We had luke warm Durable Goods Orders but saw a spike in Consumer Sentiment.
We also saw some very strong demand for our 5 year and 7 year Treasury auctions.

What to Watch Out For This Week:

The following are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week. They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages.

Date Time (ET) Economic Release Actual Estimate Prior
29-May 9:00 AM Case-Shiller 20-city Index –2.6% -2.80% -3.50%
29-May 10:00 AM Consumer Confidence -64.9 69 69.2
30-May 7:00 AM MBA Mortgage Index NA 3.80%
30-May 10:00 AM Pending Home Sales -1.00% 4.10%
31-May 7:30 AM Challenger Job Cuts NA 11.20%
31-May 8:15 AM ADP Employment Change 145K 119K
31-May 8:30 AM Initial Claims 370K NA
31-May 8:30 AM Continuing Claims 3265K NA
31-May 8:30 AM GDP – Second Estimate 1.90% 2.20%
31-May 8:30 AM GDP Deflator – Second Estimate 1.50% 1.50%
31-May 9:45 AM Chicago PMI 57.5 56.2
31-May 11:00 AM Crude Inventories NA 0.883M
1-Jun 8:30 AM Nonfarm Payrolls 155K 115K
1-Jun 8:30 AM Nonfarm Private Payrolls 172K 130K
1-Jun 8:30 AM Unemployment Rate 8.10% 8.10%
1-Jun 8:30 AM Hourly Earnings 0.20% 0.00%
1-Jun 8:30 AM Average Workweek 34.5 34.5
1-Jun 8:30 AM Personal Income 0.30% 0.40%
1-Jun 8:30 AM Personal Spending 0.30% 0.30%
1-Jun 8:30 AM PCE Prices – Core 0.20% 0.20%
1-Jun 10:00 AM ISM Index 54 54.8
1-Jun 10:00 AM Construction Spending 0.50% 0.10%
1-Jun 2:00 PM Auto Sales NA 5.0M
1-Jun 2:00 PM Truck Sales NA 6


National Home Values


Another year has passed, and while the last 5 of them have been rough for the housing market, we’ve now seen two consecutive quarters with most states showing incremental appreciation. Cause for celebration? Perhaps not, yet this is beginning to look like stabilization and that of course is the first step towards recovery.

What’s working in favor of prospective home buyers?

In a word – Affordability – Since 1963, it has cost an average of approximately 43% of “per capita” income to finance the cost of a median priced home (20% down payment and prevailing 30 year fixed rate mortgage). Right now it’s less than half that cost, and in many areas the monthly housing payments are less than an equivalent rental.

You can lock in your mortgage cost for life – Imagine if you could have locked in the price of gas back in 2001 when it was only about $1.50 per gallon or less? Think about that the next time you’re standing at the pump filling your tank with $4 gas. How smart would you feel if you knew your cost was forever lower? When it comes to a place to live, that same kind of opportunity is staring us in the face right now. Record low prices and record low rates are here now and plentiful. The beauty of a 30 year fixed rate loan is that it’s a 30 year fixed rate loan. If you lock it in now, it will never go up.

There is still uncertainty – yet there is also clarity that comes from knowing where things stand at present such as rates & prices. Above all else, the state of the market doesn’t change the fact that we need a place to live. Choosing to purchase is one of two options. The other one is to rent or to continue living with family if that’s where you are now.

The trouble is – renting amounts to little more than paying your landlord’s mortgage and in the end, there is nothing to show for that. Living at home gets old at the same rate as we do. The day comes when it’s time to leave and there’s never been a less expensive opportunity to do that than now. At some point, rates will rise and so too will prices. Being ahead of or behind that curve is all dependent on the action you choose to take today.

February Freeze Out for Hunger – Cook’s Corner Mall Brunswick,Maine

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program’s fund raiser and hunger awareness event will find hardy volunteers braving the cold from 10 a.m. Saturday, February 18, until 10 a.m. Sunday, February 19, at Cook’s Corner Mall.

To join the effort or for more info phone Mary Turner at (207) 729-8647 or email or visit

Five Steps To Buying A Home in Maine


Five Steps To Buying A Home in Maine

1. How much can you afford?

Getting in touch with a lender is the best way find out what you qualify for. Your Maine loan officer will take your debt to income ratio, run your credit and give you what is known as a “prequalification letter”. Once you have been pre-qualified by your loan officer, you can begin to put in offers. The best lenders to use are located here in Maine.  If you are unsure what lender to contact, a real estate agent can help you.


2. The Home Shopping Prerequisite.

What city or area do you want to live in? What kind of home and amenities do you want? 2 story, tile flooring, fireplace, a pool, patio, fenced, rv access, ranch style, traditional, horse property? Before spending precious time looking at plenty of houses that do not match your needs, talk with your agent about all the amenities you may need in a house. They can help you go through your options and get a strategy to find a home you will love.


3. Look for homes for sale.

Look for homes that are available in the area, including Fannie Mae, HUD homes, Foreclosures, short sales, and more. Instead of choosing one as the way to go, try looking into all of your options and that will open your range of houses up. Some of the best home deals are HUD homes. Not all agents can show you these homes, so you are better off working with an agent who can.


4. Make the seller an offer.

This is one of the most exciting steps of the real state process, however, always make sure you are serious about buying the house you make an offer on because you are signing a legal contract. After signing the offer to purchase, you will write a check for the earnest money deposit of the property,  along with your prequalification letter.


5. Your offer gets accepted and escrow starts.

Your agent will set up appointment with the inspectors, other agents, and escrow to get everything done to make that house yours. Your total down payment will be submitted before the end of escrow, minus the deposit you already gave to your real estate agent in the form of a personal check or money order. Your down payment depends on what type of financing you get. There is FHA financing, which is 3.5% down, or conventional which is at least 5% down.  Maine is also a great state for the USDA RD loan. This is only available in rural areas of Maine (Most of Maine qualifies) and it provides 100% financing.

At the end of escrow, the house is yours.

Calculate the bankruptcy payments in order to avoid payment problems




In general people file bankruptcy under two chapters and these are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are required to handover all of your assets to the bankruptcy trustee. They analyze your debt amount and then sell off the assets to pay the creditors and lenders. However, in case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are required to make the debt payments through a reorganization plan ascertained by the court. Thus, in this case you can retain your assets. Thus, it becomes important for you to calculate the payments through a useful mortgage calculator. In the same way, you can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy calculator.

Calculating the bankruptcy payments

 The bankruptcy proceedings under Chapter 13 bankruptcy involve helping out the debtor so as to allow him/her to pay off debts using future earnings. Thus, in case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy you do not lose your assets. Rather the bankruptcy trustee is appointed to check your assets. The bankruptcy proceedings can be entered by you as a debtor or can also be initiated by the creditors. After the bankruptcy is filed, the creditors cannot seek to collect the debts directly from you, outside the process of distribution by the bankruptcy trustee. You cannot even sell off or gift your assets and property to anyone which has been declared as part of your bankruptcy estate.

 So, how can you calculate the payments that you will be required to make to the creditors under Chapter 13 bankruptcy? Now, in order to calculate the payments, you need to first understand that there are three main types of creditors to whom you owe the debts. So, the three main types of creditors are the unsecured, secured and the post creditors. Moreover, the post creditors and the secured creditors are not considered in the payment calculations in case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

 Now, in order to calculate the monthly bankruptcy payments under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to make a list of the estimated monthly expenditure. This will include the utilities and tuition payments, the tax and food payments, payments on other necessities, mortgage, car loan and other debt payments. However, expenditures on entertainment, vacations and other such expenses are not considered. In addition, you will have to calculate the regular monthly income coming from all kinds of sources.

 After that, you will have to subtract all of the necessary expenses from regular monthly income (gross) to get some idea on the cash figure. Like, if you have a stable monthly income; let us take around $3,000 and if the secured creditor payments amounts to $2,600 then around $400 will be available for the unsecured debt payments. This is considered to be the key calculation in case of bankruptcy payments.

 Now, if your affordability rises, you can talk to the court and the trustee. They may analyze the situation and help you in increasing the amount that you are required to pay each month to the creditors under the bankruptcy program.

 Other than calculating the payments on your own, you can also use a bankruptcy calculator. Just like a mortgage calculator, you will easily be able to find a bankruptcy calculator with various websites. You can use such calculators to calculate the monthly payment that you will be required to make under the Chapter 13 repayment plan.

 So, you can see that in both ways you can calculate the payments that you will be required to make to the creditors under bankruptcy. This is going to help you in maintaining the payments and get out of the bankruptcy early enough.