FHA Mortgage Rates

As a result of the subprime mortgage meltdown and the global economic crisis of 2009, home mortgages have become more difficult to obtain. Even borrowers with good credit are often required to pay higher interest rates and put more money down when purchasing a home or refinancing. Borrowers with bad credit or little credit history may find it very difficult to get home financing. For many borrowers, an FHA mortgage looks like a good solution.

What is an FHA mortgage? The term is often misunderstood, and many buyers believe that FHA mortgage rates are set by the government and are offered to the public.

This is not what the FHA does. The FHA (the Federal Housing Administration, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD) does not make loans. The FHA does not set mortgage rates or sell houses. The FHA works with banks and FHA-approved lenders to insure mortgages on single family and multifamily homes in the United States. Since its inception in 1934 the FHA has become the world’s largest insurer of mortgages, covering over 34 million properties.

How does the FHA help homebuyers? By providing insurance to lenders so that if you default on your mortgage, the FHA will pay off the lender. It is a form of private mortgage insurance, only it is provided by the U.S. government. This insurance allows a lender to make mortgage loans to borrowers who may have poor credit or who otherwise would not qualify for a prime loan rate.

Determining Your FHA Mortgage Rate

When you go to an FHA-approved lender to apply for a mortgage, the lender may ask you to apply for an FHA mortgage (remember, this is just a term of convenience; your mortgage will come from your lender, not the FHA). As part of the application process you will be asked to fill out a separate FHA mortgage application. You will need to supply information about your previous addresses, your employment history, W2 forms, and federal income tax forms for the past two years. Based on the information you provide, plus the results of an FHA investigation into your credit history, the FHA may qualify you and offer to insure your mortgage.

The FHA offer to insure will allow your lender to give you better terms-perhaps by giving you a lower interest rate or accepting a down payment as low as 3.5%. Here are some of the factors that will determine your FHA mortgage rate:

o Amount of loan

o Length of loan

o Adjustable-rate (ARM) or fixed-rate

o Amount of down payment

o Discount points

o Closing costs

o Your credit rating

o Your credit history

o Your income level

o Lock-in period

o Conforming loan limits

Let’s review a few of the factors that affect your FHA mortgage rate. For example, the loan period is a significant factor. Shorter loans (say, 15 years) will raise the cost of your monthly payments but will save you thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of the loan.

At the beginning of each year Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac establish conforming loan limits, which may affect your interest rate. If the amount you borrow exceeds the conforming loan limits that have been set for the year, your interest rate may be higher.

An adjustable rate mortgage may initially give you a lower rate than a fixed interest mortgage, but your payments are subject to increase as soon as the interest rate changes.

The size of your down payment will also affect your interest rate. While FHA loans permit down payments as small as 3.5%, a larger down payment, especially greater than 20%, will get you the best available rates. The more money you can offer as a down payment the better deal you will get, because it shows the lender that you are capable of saving money and you are serious about your finances. And because you are borrowing less, your monthly payments will be lower.

There are many factors that go into determining your FHA mortgage rate. It is worthwhile to apply for an FHA mortgage to get the best deal possible.

How You Can Learn to Predict Mortgage Rates, Too

How you can learn to predict mortgage rates, too.

Many people, particularly, first-home buyers, tend to shop around for the cheapest mortgage rate that they see not knowing, or understanding, that these rates dip and fall. If you get an understanding of how mortgage rates work, you will be in a far better position to land one that really works for you and may even be cheaper than the one you’re ready to commit to, say, today.

Here’s how mortgage rates work.

The firs thing you should know about these rates is that they are unpredictable. They change. A high rate today may be low tomorrow. At one time, these rates were more stable. They were set by the bank. But since the 1950s, Wall Street took over and adjusted them according to supply and demand. Or more accurately, Wall Street linked them to bonds. So that when bonds – that are bought and sold on Wall Street – drop, mortgage rates do, too.

How can I know today’s bonds rates?

It sounds simple: let’s keep up with the prices of bonds and we’ll know when to shop for our mortgage. Unfortunately, only Wall Street has access to this knowledge (called “mortgage-backed securities” (MBS) data). And they pay tens of thousands of dollars for access to it in real-time.

Here’s how you can make an educated guess:

Calculate according to, what’s called, the Thirty-year mortgage rates.

These are the events that lower rates in any given 30 years:

  • Falling inflation rates, because low inflation increases demand for mortgage bonds
  • Weaker-than-expected economic data, because a weak economy increases demand for mortgage bonds
  • War, disaster and calamity, because “uncertainty” increases demand for mortgage bonds

Conversely, rising inflation rates; stronger-than-expected economic data; and the “calming down” of a geopolitical situation tend to elevate rates.

The most common mortgages and mortgage rates

You’ll also find that mortgages vary according to the level of your credit rating. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to win a lower mortgage rate.

Mortgage rates also vary by loan type.

There are four main loan types each of which has a different level of interest. In each case, this level of interest hinges on mortgage-secured bonds. The four loan types together make up 90 percent of mortgage loans doled out to US consumers.

Which mortgage loan do you want?

Here is the list:

1. Conventional Mortgages – These loans are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac who have set regulations and requirements for their procedures. The Fannie Mae mortgage-backed bond is linked to mortgage interest rates via Fannie Mae. The Freddie Mac mortgage-backed bond is linked to mortgage-backed bonds via Freddie Mac.

Mortgage programs that use conventional mortgage interest rates include the “standard” 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate for borrowers who make a 20% downpayment or more; the HARP loan for underwater borrowers; the Fannie Mae HomePath mortgage for buyers of foreclosed properties; and, the equity-replacing Delayed Financing loan for buyers who pay cash for a home.

2. FHA mortgage – These are mortgage rates given by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The upside of these loans is that you have the possibility of a very low downpayment – just 3.5%. They are, therefore, popular and used in all 50 states. The downside is that the premium is split in two parts.

FHA mortgage interest rates are based on mortgage bonds issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA). Investors, by the way, tend to call GNMA, “Ginnie Mae”. As Ginnie Mae bond prices rise, the interest rates for FHA mortgage plans drop. These plans include the standard FHA loan, as well as FHA specialty products which include the 203k construction bond; the $100-down Good Neighbor Next Door program; and the FHA Back to Work loan for homeowners who recently lost their home in a short sale or foreclosure.

3. VA mortgage interest rates – VA mortgage interest rates are also controlled by GMA bonds which is why FHA and VA mortgage bonds often move in tandem with both controlled by fluctuations from the same source. It is also why both move differently than conventional rates. So, some days will see high rates for conventional plans and low rates for VA/ FHA; as well as the reverse.

VA mortgage interest rates are used for loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs such as the standard VA loan for military borrowers; the VA Energy Efficiency Loan; and the VA Streamline Refinance. VA mortgages also offer 100% financing to U.S. veterans and active service members, with no requirement for mortgage insurance.

USDA mortgage interest rates – USDA mortgage interest rates are also linked to Ginnie Mae secured-bonds (just as FHA and VA mortgage rates are). Of the three, however, USDA rates are often lowest because they are guaranteed by the government and backed by a small mortgage insurance requirement. USDA loans are available in rural and suburban neighborhoods nationwide. The program provides no-money-down financing to U.S. buyers at very low mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates predictions for 2016

Wondering what your chances are for getting a mortgage for a good rate the coming year? Wonder no further.

Here are the predictions for the 30-year trajectory:

  • Fannie Mae mortgage rate forecast: 4.4% in 2016)
  • Freddie Mac forecast: 4.7% Q1 2016, 4.9% Q2 in 2016
  • Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) forecast: 5.2% in 2016
  • National Association of Realtors (NAR) forecast: 6% in 2016.

In other words, mortgage rates are projected to rise slightly in 2016.

Why the Lowest Mortgage Rate is Not Always the Best Rate For You

Many times I am contacted by mortgage clients asking about what my best mortgage rate is. It is common to believe that everything is an apples vs. apples comparison with regards to mortgage rates, and that the lowest rate is always the best deal. However, this is often not the case.

Borrowers often overlook the terms of the mortgage, or do not receive disclosure of items that are not attractive to an offer (particularly from Canadian banks). Below are some of the situations where taking the lowest rate will often cost you money in the long run:

-Many times the bank will not even approve you for the amount you need to buy the home you want. However, there are other “A” mortgage lenders out there who will approve you and also give excellent rates.

-I have also had clients who were with a bank who required that the money was taken from an account at their institution, which is not where they banked, and they found it very inconvenient to have to transfer money every month.

-Your mortgage lender may offer you a low rate to get into the door, and then when it comes time to renew your mortgage provide you an offer that is significantly higher than the market is offering. At that time it may be difficult for you to get an approval elsewhere and you could be stuck with their offer.

-If you get a variable mortgage with the intention to lock in to a fixed mortgage rate at a later date, many bank lenders will only give you posted rates when you lock in, meaning your interest rate will be much higher.

-Do you want mortgage life insurance coverage to protect yourself in case of death or disability? Many lenders including all the banks offer coverage that is strictly tied to their institution, so if you become sick during that coverage and try to move your mortgage, they will discontinue coverage and you will be paying much higher premiums to be re-insured elsewhere.

-Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) mortgages are often reported on the credit bureau, particularly with the banks and credit unions. It is generally much more favourable to have a HELOC mortgage that is not reporting on your credit bureau, as it is more favourable for your credit score. This could save you money and allow you to borrow money easier in the future.

-Sometimes a lender has a product that works with a strategy that is of benefit to you but may not offer the very lowest rate to get those benefits. An example of this would be the TDMP mortgages, which is a structure to make your mortgage tax deductible in Canada, and can help to create a great deal more wealth than a lower rate may offer.

Save Money on your Mortgage, Not Just on Your Mortgage Rate

These are just a few examples of things that could cost you much more money than saving.1% on your rate will give you. Keep this in mind next time you meet with your banker about your mortgage and often it is best to seek a second opinion from a mortgage broker who can give you helpful advice.

Relationship Between Treasury Notes And Mortgage Rates – 3 Facts You Should Know

Who wants to know in which direction mortgage rates are headed? Answer: just about anybody who is looking to buy a home, move house, or refinance their home mortgage.

As hard as leading economists try, nobody knows for sure in which direction rates are heading. For the aspiring prognosticator, all we have is the ability to look at recent trends. But, in order to get a better handle on what determines mortgage rate changes, it is helpful to gain an understanding of the relationship between Treasury notes and mortgage rates.

If you are wondering about whether treasury notes affect mortgage rates, check out these 5 facts you should know:

1. Treasury notes are the safest type of investment:

Treasury notes are sold by the U.S. federal government in an auction-style format as a way of paying for the national debt. Yields on Treasury notes go up or down based upon whether they are auctioned at above face value (low yield) or at below face value (high yield).

They are considered a very safe investment because they are guaranteed by the United States government. They are even safer of an investment than are investment options such as CDs and money market funds. Of course, the return on investment for Treasury bills is also very low, due to the low risk.

2. Treasure notes directly affect mortgage loan interest rates:

When Treasure note yields are higher, mortgage interest rates go up. The converse also remains true: when note yields are lower, mortgage interest rates go down. Why is this? The reason is that investors who want a predictable (fixed) return on their investment will shop for Treasury notes – or else they will shop for CDs, money market funds, mortgages, or corporate bonds. Each of these progressively has a slightly higher risk – and therefore return.

3. What are mortgage-backed securities?

Investors looking for a better return on their investment are also willing to take more of a risk. They will buy a mortgage rather than the safer – but lower return – Treasury bills. Instead of buying an actual mortgage, however, these investors will buy mortgage-backed securities.

Of course, as the yields on Treasury bills go up, mortgage lenders will need to provide even higher returns in order to attract lenders. This means higher rates for the mortgage borrower.

Note that the relationship between Treasury notes and mortgage rates only applies to fixed-rate mortgages, not adjustable-rate mortgages. The adjustable-rate mortgages are affected more by the Fed funds rate, which is set by the Federal Reserve.

As you try to guess where mortgage rates are headed, consider these 3 facts you should know about how Treasury bill yields affect fixed mortgage interest rates.