For those who have been waiting for the fed to drop interest rates, you may be waiting longer than you anticipated. On Tuesday, February 13, the latest inflation report came out showing that inflation was still higher than expected. This followed very strong jobs report showing that way more jobs were created in January and December than expected or previously reported.

Many people don’t necessarily feel like the economy is doing well because prices for almost everything are much higher than they used to be and they’re not expected to go down. But the underlying fundamentals of how we usually grade an economy, such as unemployment and GDP growth, have been very strong. There's a very big disconnect from the statistics of the economy and labor market…

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In the challenging South Florida real estate market, there's a new silver lining for homebuyers. Interest rates have recently dropped from their highs down to roughly 6.7%. This is a huge increase in purchasing power for everyone. If you were looking to keep your budget under $3,000 per month, this means you can now aim for homes valued around $453,000. This is a notable increase in purchasing power – nearly $40,000 more compared to October 2023, when the same budget could afford a home worth $416,000 at an average rate of 7.8%.

How much home can you afford as mortgage rates change?

The median priced home in South Florida is currently around $615,000, meaning it would cost roughly $3,572 at a 6.7% rate for Principal & Interest (not including…

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Mortgage Applications Skyrocketing!

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has this cool thing called the Market Composite Index. It's basically a fancy way of tracking how many mortgage loan applications they're getting. And guess what? There's been a whopping 10.4 percent increase on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week. This is hot on the heels of a 10 percent jump at the start of the year. Even without seasonal adjustments, we're talking a 26 percent rise!

We've been saying that once rates come down the market is going to become much more competitive with buyers jumping back in the market and we're starting to see the beginning of this. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Refinancing

Refinancing is getting hotter, too. Refis are up…

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In sunny and vibrant Florida, a surprising trend is emerging - especially among retirees: many people are choosing to relocate due to the escalating cost of living. This shift is driven by several factors that are making it increasingly challenging for retirees and working people alike to maintain their lifestyle in the Sunshine State. Here's a closer look at the seven key expenses that are influencing this trend:

Rising Housing Costs

It's pretty wild what's happening in Florida's housing market. Redfin's data shows that home values have shot up by a whopping 80% in just five years. Even with mortgage rates climbing, people are still buying – home sales went up by 5% in September 2023 compared to the year before. This boom isn't just about more…

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Last week, Democrats in Congress proposed two separate bills aimed at reshaping the housing market as a direct response to the increasing involvement of big investors, like hedge funds, in the residential real estate market. If you got outbid in the last few years by a cash buyer, there’s a good chance it was one of these large institutional hedge funds that were the buyer.

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There are 2 separate bills. The Senate bill would require hedge funds to sell off all their single-family homes over the next decade and bans them from buying any…

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Navigating Home Financing with Rate Buy Downs

In the ever-evolving landscape of South Florida real estate, understanding your financing options is crucial. A mortgage interest rate buy down, especially in a market with higher rates, can provide significant financial benefits.

How Does A Rate Buy Down Work?

This strategy involves temporarily reducing the mortgage interest rate, resulting in lower initial monthly payments. For a 3/2/1 buy down, the rate decreases by 3% in the first year, 2% in the second, and 1% in the third, before reverting to the standard rate.

Applying It to a $750,000 Home Purchase

With the current standard rate at roughly 6.9% as of early December 2023, let's see how this impacts a 30-year fixed mortgage:

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Understanding mortgage payments can be overwhelming, especially if you're having trouble paying your mortgage. In the dynamic South Florida real estate market, many homeowners find themselves in this challenging situation. Understanding that while this can be a stressful experience, there are viable strategies and solutions available is important. This guide helps you deal with late mortgage payments by giving understanding advice and useful tips.

Understanding Your Mortgage and Late Payments

It's important to know your mortgage contract, especially your monthly payment and what happens if you pay late. Typically, lenders notify credit bureaus after 30 days of a missed payment, which can adversely affect your credit.

Many mortgages have a grace…

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The State of the Housing Cycle: Insights from Experts

For prospective homebuyers in South Florida, the current market dynamics present a challenging yet stable landscape. Ken H. Johnson, a noted real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University, observes that while we're possibly at the apex of the housing cycle, with sales moderating and prices leveling, this doesn't necessarily foretell a market crash. According to Johnson, the equilibrium we're seeing is characteristic of a market at its cycle's zenith. The consensus among housing economists is that a significant downturn is unlikely, primarily due to the imbalance between the limited housing inventory and the high demand in Southeast Florida.

This imbalance, where demand continuously…

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These HUGE updates in the real estate market could significantly impact your home buying or selling plans. And they’re not just interesting – they're potentially game-changing!

Increased Loan Limits

Let's dive into the big news first: the increase in loan limits. The conventional loan limit has now been increased to $765,550, and the FHA loan limit has risen to $621,000.

What does that mean?

Any mortgage amount above these new loan limits is considered a Jumbo loan which usually has stricter requirements to qualify such as higher credit scores, higher down payments, and lower debt-to-income ratios.

You can now buy a home for up to $805,000 with only 5% down using a conventional loan. If you’re getting an FHA loan, you can now buy a home for…

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Just when we thought mortgage rates were on a one-way trip to the sky, they've thrown us a curveball. Last week, we were looking at a pretty steep 7.92% for the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate. Fast forward to today, and it's like we're in a whole new world – and a much better one for anyone thinking about buying or selling a home!

We saw something similar last November when rates had shot up to new highs before some unexpectedly good economic news came along and gave them a nudge back down.

Last year, it was a surprisingly low inflation report that got everyone's hopes up. But that turned out to be a bit of a tease, and rates didn't really start to come down until February 2023. Since then, it's been mostly uphill.

This week, though,…

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