75 Years of VA Home Loan Benefits
Today, on Veterans Day, we salute those who have served our country in war or peace, and we thank them for their sacrifice.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of VA Home Loan Benefit offerings through the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI Bill. Since 1944, this law has created opportunities for those who have served our country, ranging from vocational training to home loans.
Facts About VA Home Loans:
- Nearly 24 million home loans have been guaranteed by the Veterans Administration.
- Nearly 82% of VA home loans are made with no down payment.
- The VA also provides grants to help seriously disabled Veterans purchase, modify, or construct a home to meet their needs. Last year the VA provided 2,000 grants totaling $104 million.
Benefits of a VA Home Loan:
- No down payment
- No Private Mortgage Insurance*
- Lower credit score requirements
- Limitation on closing costs
- Lower average interest rates
The best thing you can do today to celebrate Veterans Day is to share this information with those who can benefit from these opportunities. For more information, or to find out how to qualify to use a VA Home Loan Benefit, let’s get together to navigate through the process. Thank you for your service!
VA Home Loans by the Numbers [INFOGRAPHIC]
- The Veterans Administration (VA) Home Loan is a benefit that is available to more than 22 million veterans and 2 million active duty service members to help them achieve the dream of homeownership.
- In 2018, $161 billion was loaned to veterans and their families through the program.
- In the same year, the average loan amount was $264,197 and 610,513 loans were guaranteed.
Forget the Price of the Home. The Cost is What Matters.
Home buying activity (demand) is up, and the number of available listings (supply) is down. When demand outpaces supply, prices appreciate. That’s why firms are beginning to increase their projections for home price appreciation going forward. As an example, CoreLogic increased their 12-month projection for home values from 4.5% to 5.6% over the last few months.
The reacceleration of home values will cause some to again voice concerns about affordability. Just last week, however, First American came out with a data analysis that explains how price is not the only market factor that impacts affordability. They studied prices, mortgage rates, and wages from January through August of this year. Here are their findings:
“In January 2019, a family with the median household income in the U.S. could afford to buy a $373,900 house. By August, that home had appreciated to $395,000, an increase of $21,100.”
Mortgage Interest Rates
“The 0.85 percentage point drop in mortgage rates from January 2019 through August 2019 increased affordability by 9.7%. That translates to a $40,200 improvement in house-buying power in just eight months.”
“As rates have fallen in 2019, the economy has continued to perform well also, resulting in a tight labor market and wage growth. Wage growth pushes household incomes upward, which were 1.5% higher in August compared with January. The growth in household income increased consumer house-buying power by 1.5%, pushing house-buying power up an additional $5,600.”
In the article, Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained it best:
“Focusing on nominal house price changes alone as an indication of changing affordability, or even the relationship between nominal house price growth and income growth, overlooks what matters more to potential buyers – surging house-buying power driven by the dynamic duo of mortgage rates and income growth. And, we all know from experience, you buy what you can afford to pay per month.”
Millennials: Here’s Why the Process is Well Worth It.
Millennials have waited longer than any other generation to become homeowners, but the wait for this cohort is just about over.
According to National Mortgage News,
“Millennials, those young adults now aged 23 to 38, are now entering their peak household formation and homebuying years.”
If you’re a Millennial, you’re already well aware that you’re among a generation of those who favor fast-paced, real-time answers – and results. When you’re ready to make a decision, it’s go-time, and you probably want the latest technology at your fingertips to make it happen.
National Mortgage News agrees, stating,
“Millennials are different than previous generations—not only in their delayed homebuying but also in how they approach interactions with financial institutions, including mortgage lenders. Taking a picture of a check on their phone and depositing it without visiting a branch is not novel, it’s the way Millennials learned to do banking. They expect real-time access to account and transaction data and are frustrated when it’s not available.”
Here’s the catch – the overall speed of the homebuying process can take some time, and it might feel like it is slowing you down. When you’re ready to buy, you can make an offer and go under contract quickly, but the rest of the process might take a little longer. The same article explains why:
“When Millennials apply for a loan, the mortgage lender must qualify the borrower and determine who owns the property, how much the property is worth, and the property’s risk profile. Traditionally, this has been one of the most time-consuming and fragmented parts of the mortgage process…There are many moving pieces, each data point being sourced from a different provider, which can ultimately lead to a lengthy or delayed process.
What has historically been accepted as the process norm does not align with the expectations of the most prominent generation in the home buying market today. Millennials have come to expect rapid, digital workflows in their daily purchase decisions, and in their mind, the home buying process shouldn’t be any different.”
So, where do you go from here?
If you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, that will help speed things up. But the steps it takes and the time to finalize a loan with most traditional lenders may feel like an eternity to you and your generational peers. Don’t worry, though – it’s well worth the wait when you finally get the keys to your new castle!
The financial benefits of homeownership, like increasing your net worth by building equity, and the non-financial benefits, like being able to customize and improve your space, will ultimately set you on the course to happiness, success, overall satisfaction, and much, much more.
If you’re feeling like it’s go-time, let’s get together and get the process moving to determine if homeownership is your next best step.
Planning on Buying a Home? Be Sure You Know Your Options.
When you’re ready to buy, you’ll need to determine if you prefer the charm of an existing home or the look and feel of a newer build. With limited existing home inventory available today, especially in the starter and middle-level markets, many buyers are considering a new home that’s recently been constructed, or they’re building the home of their dreams.
According to Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB),
“The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by the gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months.”
This is great news for homebuyers because it means there is additional inventory coming to the market, giving buyers more choices. The most recent data from NAHB shows,
“The inventory of new homes for sale was 321,000 in September, representing a 5.5 months’ supply. The median sales price was $299,400. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $328,300.”
Another added bonus is that builders are very aware of buyer demand in this segment, so they’re now building in a price range where there are more interested buyers ($299,400 instead of $328,300). With a reduced sales price and low-interest rates, today’s buyers have strong purchasing power.
If you’re thinking of buying a home, you may want to consider a new build to meet your family’s needs. Let’s get together to discuss the process and review what’s available in our area.
The #1 Reason to List Your House in the Winter
Many sellers believe spring is the best time to put their homes on the market because buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. What they don’t realize is if every homeowner believes the same thing, then that’s when they’ll have the most competition.
So, what’s the #1 reason to list your house in the winter? Less competition.
Housing supply traditionally shrinks at this time of year, so the choices buyers have will be limited. The chart below was created using the months supply of listings from the National Association of Realtors.As you can see, the ‘sweet spot’ to list your house for the most exposure naturally occurs in the late fall and winter months (November – January).
Temperatures aren’t the only thing that heats up in the spring – so do listings!In 2018, listings increased from December to May. Don’t wait for these listings and the competition that comes with them to come to the market before you decide to list your house.
Added Bonus: Serious Buyers Are Out in the Winter
At this time of year, purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. You and your family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere ‘lookers.’ The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.
If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s get together to determine the best time to list your house.
The Difference an Hour Will Make This Fall [INFOGRAPHIC]
Every Hour in the U.S. Housing Market:
- 614 Homes Are Sold
- 95 Homes Regain Positive Equity
- Median Home Values Go Up $1.38
Taking the Fear Out of the Mortgage Process
A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from the real estate market because they’re uncertain about the buying process – particularly when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage.
For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!
In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need a down payment (the average down payment on all loans last year was 5%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income, and a good credit history.
Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps Freddie Mac suggests to follow:
- Find out your current credit history and credit score– Even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score® for all closed loans in September was 737, according to Ellie Mae.
- Start gathering all of your documentation– This includes income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
- Contact a professional– Your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer who can help you develop a spending plan, as well as help you determine how much home you can afford.
- Consult with your lender– He or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
- Talk to your lender about pre-approval– A pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change) and demonstrates to home sellers that you’re serious about buying.
Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure you’re ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.