With home values in many areas declining, the market is providing an opportunity for many first time home buyers to purchase homes that previously may have been out of reach. With increased affordability, families can now purchase homes with more square footage, in desirable neighborhoods, and in closer proximity to amenities and public transportation.
· In California, the median price of an existing home declined to $285,680 in November 2008, down 41.8 percent from November 2007 when the median price of an existing, single-family home was $490,511.
· The average rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 5.01 percent for the week ending Jan. 8, according to Freddie Mac. Lower interest rates coupled with lower home prices can lead to more affordable mortgage payments, enabling some homeowners to move up, and first-time home buyers to enter the market.
· To qualify for the record-low interest rates, borrowers will need a down payment of at least 20 percent and a FICO score of 700 or higher. In California, a 20 percent down payment on a median-priced home would be $57,136. Additionally, home buyers will need to pay for any closing costs not paid by the seller. There are though still first time home buyers programs that will help a new home buyer to get into a home with little money down. Just call you Lender for more info to see if you qualify.
· The large number of foreclosures on the market also is presenting an opportunity to purchase a home at a favorable price. However, some foreclosed homes may be in disrepair and may require additional work to make the property livable. A program offered by the Federal Housing Administration, 203K Streamline, allows home buyers to borrow as much as $35,000 more than the mortgage to pay for certain renovations, such as new paint, carpeting and appliances that a foreclosed home may need.
· To calculate how much house is affordable, consumers should follow the general principle of dedicating no more than 28 percent of their gross monthly income to covering the monthly mortgage payment, including property taxes and homeowners insurance. All debt payments combined, including mortgage, credit cards, car payments, student loans, etc., should be less than 35 percent of the gross monthly income.
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Kathy Dyer Realtor CABRE #01723710
KW Coastal Estates
Carmel Ca. 93923