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BofA helps homebuyers; Rates rising; Zestimates just got real 😱

By February 26, 2021 No Comments

Here’s how BofA will help more than 60,000 families purchase a home by 2025

Bank of America is like, “our Down Payment Grant program is good.”

And they’re also like, “our America’s Home Grant program is pretty good too.”

So how is the bank taking it one step further to help more than 60,000 families purchase a home by 2025? By allowing  homeowners to access BOTH grants!

“When the two grant programs are used together, homebuyers receive an average of $14,000 to help with their home purchase,” said Michele Lerner, writing in this metered paywall piece on WaPo. “In addition, many of these buyers choose a fixed-rate, low-down-payment mortgage to keep upfront purchase costs low.”

“Some of the bank’s loan programs have a down payment requirement as low as 3 percent and require little or no mortgage insurance,” Lerner writes. “Approximately 85 percent of those loans are given to first-time homebuyers.”

The new, combined program is meant for low- and moderate-income households that struggle to save the cash needed for a down payment and closing costs.

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Mortgage rates likely to rise, again, on Treasury sell-off

Yesterday was an interesting day on the bond markets, to say the least. 

Julian Hebron posted this NSFW tweet that summed up the activity nicely (edited): “Holy shit mortgage bond selloff! MBS 2% coupon down 35 ticks or 109 basis points. This means rates now up 0.5% in Feb. And as much as .25% of that is today,” Hebron exclaimed. 

“If you were fence-sitting on a refi, get your head in the game,” he tweet-added. “Also Freddie 2.97% rates released today  are a week old.”

[Related: You could soon earn money from your tweets through Twitter's new ‘Super Follow' feature]

What’s interesting is twofold. First, the expected, subsequent rise in rates is being driven by investor activity, not Federal intervention. Second, the Fed is cool with it. 

“Right now I am not worried about that. … We will keep an eye out. … I am not expecting that we will need to respond at this point in terms of our policy,” Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said Thursday.

[Related: Full market coverage available behind NYTimes mastered paywall.]

The forced sellers Hebron is referring to are investors in the $7 trillion mortgage-backed bond market. Their problem is that when Treasury yields — which strongly influence home-loan rates — suddenly rise sharply, many Americans lose interest in refinancing their old mortgages. 

A reduced stream of refinancings means mortgage-bond investors are left waiting for longer to collect payments on their investments, Bloomberg reports. The longer the wait, the more financial pain they feel as they watch market rates climb higher without being able to take advantage of them.

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Zillow announces Zestimate will be valid amount for cash offer

For years, real estate agents charged that Zillow’s Zestimates were too rosy of an evaluation. 

And Zillow always countered that Zestimates were not meant to be the sole determination of a property valuation.

Not anymore. The Zestimate just got real.

Zillow has just announced that it will be pairing its Zestimate with its iBuying arm, Zillow Offers, as the latest way to use technology to “simplify and streamline real estate transactions from beginning to end.”

The Zestimate is now available as an initial cash offer for eligible homes in the following cities:

  • Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.

  • Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.

  • Miami and Jacksonville, Fla.

  • Orlando and Tampa, Fla.

  • Portland, Ore.

  • Denver, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colo.

  • Nashville, Tenn.

  • San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside and Sacramento, Calif.

  • Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas

  • Las Vegas, Nev.

  • Atlanta, Ga.

  • Minneapolis, Minn.

However, the cash offer for a property’s Zestimate is only available in a limited subset of homes in these markets, RIS Media reports.

Those who own qualifying homes will see the cash offer displayed at the top of their property information on Zillow, the company reports. As Zillow Offers grows, the company expects to continue expanding the number of eligible homes for the Zestimate cash offer.

“Presenting the Zestimate as a cash offer to qualifying homes up front will save time, reduce friction and provide greater transparency—getting us closer to our vision of helping customers transact with the click of a button,” said Zillow Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Wacksman.

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