Rates on 30-year fixed mortgage rises to 4.81 percent

San Francisco Chronicle – Fixed mortgage rates edged up this week, but even 30-year rates below 5 percent have done little to boost home sales. Read the full story

Housing inventory increases, listing prices fall

The Wall Street Journal – Nationally, the inventory of unsold homes on multiple-listing services increased by 0.6 percent in February from one month prior. Over the past year, inventory is up by 13 percent, according to Move Inc. Read the full story

Home resales fall 9.6 percent in February and prices are near 9-year low

Los Angeles Times – Sales of previously owned homes dropped 9.6 percent in February and prices fell to their lowest level since 2002, reflecting a continued slump in the U.S. real estate market. Read the full story

More borrowers are opting for adjustable-rate mortgages

The New York Times – In the years since the financial crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, with their low initial interest rates that changed over time, have been considered riskier than fixed-rate loans and shunned by most buyers. But these days more people are being persuaded to give the loans a try. Read the full story

New home sales tumble to record low

CNN Money – New home sales fell 16.9 percent in February, to the lowest level since the government began keeping records in 1963, as the reeling housing market failed to generate any momentum. Read the full story

Are buyers turning away from new homes in weak markets?

Mercury News – A new home, the dream of many would-be buyers, makes less and less financial sense in many places. A wave of foreclosures has driven down the cost of previously occupied homes and made them even more of a comparative bargain. By contrast, new homes have become more expensive. Read the full story

Mortgage mod test becomes clearer

Yahoo Real Estate – Mortgage borrowers who are turned down for loan modifications may now get additional information that could help them understand why they didn’t qualify under the so-called “HAMP test.” Read the full story

What you should know about the market

  • Buying a home can be time-consuming. One way to save time is by organizing all the necessary documents most lenders require, such as those that prove employment and income. Typically, lenders want two recent pay stubs, two years of tax returns, bank statements, proof of assets, such as 401(k) and trusts, and debts, such as credit card statements. Documents are especially important for borrowers who are self-employed.
  • Even if a home purchase is months or years away, having good credit history is essential. A few points on a FICO score can mean the difference between a higher or lower interest rate offered on a mortgage loan.
  • Borrowers also are advised to monitor home-lending rates. Every Thursday, Freddie Mac officials calculate average mortgage rates by compiling rates from lenders across the U.S. on Monday through Wednesday. Rates can be found at freddiemac.com/pmms.