A home in Maywood, located at 138 S. 14th Ave., recently renovated by Maywood-based nonprofit Housing Helpers. Click the image to see more photos. | Housing Helpers
Thursday, June 2, 2016 || By Michael Romain
An April report by Chicago Magazine delivers a glimmer of hope and optimism to the local real estate markets, especially in western suburbs like Bellwood and Maywood.
Using data compiled by the real estate research company Zillow, the magazine noted that median home values Chicago, the suburbs, Cook County and five other counties increased by around 2 percent to $193,000 from 2014 to 2015.
According to Zillow economist Svenja Gudell, that trend should be continuing throughout 2016, albeit ‘slow and steady.’ In some Proviso Township suburbs like Maywood and Bellwood, however, the growth in housing prices has been a lot speedier. To read more, click here.
Looking to make mortgage moves? Read this article, published in Chicago Magazine, by financial reporter Beth Braverman:
6 Smart Mortgage Moves
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates in December, right? Guess I’ve missed the boat on the lowest mortgage rate.
Wrong. What the Fed raised (from a range of 0.0 percent to 0.25 percent to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent) was the federal funds rate—the rate banks charge each other for overnight loans. Yes, mortgage rates tend to move in the same direction as the federal funds rate over the long term. But not so much in the short term. Thanks in part to recent stock market volatility and plummeting oil prices, the rate on the average 30-year fixed-rate home loan—a common benchmark—has actually fallen, from 4.15 percent at the end of December to 3.85 percent at the end of February, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. What’s more, even if the Fed continues to raise rates this year, it has made clear that it will do so very gradually. So from a purely interest-rate perspective, now is a great time to buy.
What are these new “Know Before You Owe” rules I’ve been hearing about?
They’re a victory for borrowers that make it “much easier to decipher exactly what you’ll be paying,” says Tom Pilafas, a vice president of the Chicago-based title industry company Near North National Title. Late last year, Congress passed a law requiring each potential lender to give you a three-page loan estimate—including details on rates, fees, and closing costs—in a format that’s easy to compare with competitors’ estimates. Your lender must also give you a disclosure sheet at least three days before your scheduled closing that spells out exactly what your final costs will be (no more closing-table surprises!). To make the most of the new rules, use the information from the loan estimates as ammo to negotiate a better deal. And always compare the disclosure sheet with your estimate to make sure they match.
I need a jumbo loan. Any tips?
Yes: Celebrate. It used to be that interest rates on jumbos (currently defined as loans of more than $417,000) were about half a point heftier than on nonjumbos (or “conforming loans,” in broker-speak). But competition among banks for high-end borrowers has shaved down that difference. The average 30-year fixed jumbo now goes for 3.80 percent, even less than the going rate for the conforming version. The required down payment for the best rate has also come down, with some lenders offering loans without private mortgage insurance for borrowers putting down as little as 15 percent. Eliminating PMI could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
To read the other three tips, click here. VFP
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