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Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low – Third Time this Year

At 3.15%, the median 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage set another record. It’s down from last week’s 3.24% and the lowest since Freddie Mac started tracking in 1971.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week as the key 30-year home loan marked an all-time low for the third time in the last few months since the coronavirus outbreak took hold.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan tumbled to 3.15% from 3.24% last week. It was the lowest level since Freddie started tracking rates in 1971. A year ago, the rate stood at 3.99%.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.62% from 2.70% last week.

Spurred by the fall in borrowing rates, demand for home purchases by prospective buyers has rebounded from a decline of 35% in mid-April to an 8% increase as of last week, Freddie economists noted.

Sales of existing homes plunged 17.8% in April, the slowest pace since 2011, reflecting the economic damage from the virus that shut down wide swaths of business and social life. The normally busy spring homebuying season has been upended. At the same time, home prices have been rising.

Bleak economic data, meanwhile, continues to pour in. A government report Thursday showed that the U.S. economy shrank at an even faster pace in the first three months of the year than initially estimated. Economists expect a far worse outcome in the current April-June quarter.

The government also reported that 41 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits since the outbreak intensified in March, though not all are still unemployed. An estimated 2.1 million filed for benefits last week despite the gradual reopening of businesses around the country.

In a glimmer of hope, the overall number of people currently drawing jobless benefits fell for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million, suggesting that some companies are starting to rehire.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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By Kerry Smith

April new U.S. listings on fell 44.1% – but in Jacksonville, only 19.4%. Both Orlando and Tampa metros had drops around 33%; only S. Fla. saw bigger declines.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Many U.S. sellers decided to hold off as the COVID-19 pandemic grew in April, and reports that its number of new listings was down 44.1% for the month – but only one Florida metro area was higher than the U.S. average.

In Jacksonville, the number of new listings fell only 19.4% year-to-year in April. In a list of the top 50 biggest U.S. metro areas, Jacksonville ranked No. 47 – only three other metro areas saw less of a decline – with No. 50 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia, ranking last with a 15.0% year-to-year decline.

The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area came in at No. 38 in’s top 50 list, with a year-to-year new-listing decline of only 33.1%. And at No. 35, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area had a 34.1% year-to-year decline.

Only South Florida (Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area) had a year-to-year April decline in new listings that was greater than the U.S. average, though at No. 15, 14 other U.S. metros still had even greater drops. In South Florida, the number of listings on was down 50%. In No. 1 ranked Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, new listings fell 80%.

The April report is the first month of data to show the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on residential real estate listings throughout the U.S. In the Northeast – the region hit hardest by the pandemic – new listings fell 59.4%. It was followed by declines of 49.5% in the Midwest, 44.1% in the West and 31.4% in the South.

“The good momentum we saw at the start of the year has helped to somewhat insulate the housing market from the coronavirus’ negative impact on buyer and seller confidence across the U.S.,” says Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “Although we saw sharp drops in new listings, an increase in the time it takes to sell a home and a flattening of prices in April, May is likely to see some of these metrics worsen.”

However, the drop may be a temporary speedbump as sellers hold off listing their home during the height of the pandemic.

“Just how significantly the housing market is impacted by the pandemic will depend on how effective the country is at containing the virus and how the economy responds,” says Hale. “If all goes well, we could see buyers returning to the market aggressively this summer to make up for the spring they lost.”

© 2020 Florida Realtors®


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For more information or to schedule a virtual showing, contact us!


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By Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press

The Fed noted the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the economy and made clear it would continue to do all that it could to provide support.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it will keep its key short-term interest rate near zero for the foreseeable future as part of its extraordinary efforts to bolster an economy that is sinking into its worst crisis since the 1930s.

The Fed noted the gravity of the crisis that has gripped the economy in the face of the coronavirus outbreak and made clear it would continue to do all that it could to provide support. But at a news conference, Chairman Jerome Powell cautioned about any prospects for a swift or a robust economic recovery.

“I would say that it may well be the case that the economy will need further support from all of us if the recovery is to be a strong one,” Powell said.

Powell suggested that given the depth of the U.S. economic catastrophe, with perhaps 30 million people having lost jobs in the past six weeks, it will “probably will take some time for us to get back to a more normal level of employment and ultimately maximum employment.”

The chairman and the Fed itself sought to provide reassurance, though, that their aggressive intervention could help mitigate the vast damage to the economy and to millions of workers. In its statement, the Fed said it is “committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time.”

The viral outbreak and measures to contain it,” the statement noted, are “inducing sharp declines in economic activity and a surge in job losses.”

Under Powell, the Fed is confronting a deeply perilous moment for an economy that had looked robust just a few months ago. Since the virus struck with full force last month, widespread business shutdowns have caused roughly 30 million workers to lose jobs. As layoffs mount, retail sales are sinking, along with manufacturing, construction, home sales and consumer confidence.

At his news conference, the chairman noted that layoffs have struck hardest at the lowest-income American workers, many of whom had just begun to make progress in the 11th year of an economic expansion that has now ended.

“It is heartbreaking to see that is threatened now,” Powell said.

During two emergency meetings in March, the Fed cut its benchmark rate to a range between zero and 0.25%. It has also announced nine new lending programs to pump cash into financial markets and provide support to large and medium-sized businesses as well as cities and states.

In its statement Wednesday, the Fed said it will also keep buying Treasury and mortgage bonds to help keep rates low and ensure that companies can lend easily to each other amid a near-paralysis of the economy caused by the coronavirus. It did not specify any amounts or timing for its bond purchases.

It said it will keep its rate at nearly zero “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.”

That’s the same language it used in its previous statement last month.

Nor did the Fed provide details about the pace of its purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities. It has tapered those purchases recently as markets have calmed. But earlier this month, it bought as many Treasury securities in a day as it did during an entire month in the 2008-2009 Great Recession.

In its statement, the Fed also raised concerns about slowing inflation, which is likely to sink further below its 2% target level in the coming months.

“Weaker demand and significantly lower oil prices are holding down consumer price inflation,” the statement said.

The Fed’s statement came on the same day that the Commerce Department released grim news about the economy: Economic output shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the first three months of the year – the worst showing since the Great Recession struck near the end of 2008.

The economic picture is expected to grow ever darker, with the economy forecast to contract at a shocking 30% to 40% annual rate in the April-June quarter. The unemployment rate could reach 20% when April’s jobs report is released next week.

The central bank has already slashed its benchmark interest rate to near zero and escalated its purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities to pump cash into financial markets to smooth the flow of credit. It has also said it will buy corporate bonds and lend to states and cities – two actions it has never previously taken.

“The fact that they are operating in those markets is unprecedented,” said Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income and a former director of international finance at the Fed. “They are coming up on the extent of their legal authorities here.”

Yet this crisis is unlike any other, and it comes against a backdrop of horrific economic data. More than 26 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits since the viral outbreak shuttered much of the U.S. economy in mid-March.

As economic activity has collapsed, inflation has also begun to fall. Economists expect it to drop below 1% by next year, far under the Fed’s 2% target level. That poses another problem for the Fed: Declining prices can eventually lead consumers to delay spending, thereby slowing the economy further.

Earlier this month, as part of a $2.3 trillion lending program, the Fed said it would buy municipal bonds issued by state and local governments, up to $500 billion. It also unveiled a Main Street Lending Program, which will lend $600 billion to medium-sized companies of up 10,000 employees.

These loans are intended to support mostly companies that are too large for the government’s small business lending program, which targets those with fewer than 500 workers. Companies that borrow from the Main Street program must “make reasonable efforts” to retain their workers, the Fed says, and cannot repurchase their shares or pay dividends. The Fed has said it will disclose the recipients of its Main Street loans.

Still, neither the municipal nor Main Street programs have yet started. The Fed has yet to buy any municipal securities or corporate debt. Even so, just the announcements that it will do so have smoothed markets.

These new programs have exposed the central bank to concerns that it will inevitably favor some companies or municipalities over others. The Fed, whose independence is seen as vital to its role in the financial system, has always steered clear of such potentially politicized actions.

It has come under pressure from Congress to help specific sectors. Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, wrote Powell on Friday urging that the Fed set up a lending facility specifically for small and medium-sized companies that work with the beleaguered oil and gas industry.

Doing so, though, would likely spur other industries to ask for similar help.

“Why oil and not hospitality? Or some other sector?” Sheets said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission. AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.


So now that you’re stuck indoors for the foreseeable future, you may be wondering how you are going to fill your time. If you have plans, or are just considering, putting your house on the market when this is all over, now is the best time to get it ready! What better way to pass the hours and be productive than preparing your house for sale? While some checklist items may be obvious, there may be a few to-do list boxes you aren’t sure you need to check. Here is a list for you to get your house ready for sale!

Start Outside

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere having nice spring weather right now, take advantage of being outdoors without breaking any local rules. In most cases, you are permitted to enjoy the sunshine on your own property, so now is the best time to spruce up the outside. If you have a power washer, clean your siding and any sidewalks or driveways attached to your home. Boost your curb appeal by mowing the lawn, touching up any landscaping work.

Make Any Repairs

Take care of whatever repairs you can that don’t require an unnecessary trip to the store. Swap out old lightbulbs, fix that window that keeps jamming shut, and patch up any dents or scrapes on your indoor walls.

Make Your Home Inviting

If you have any paint on hand, give your front door a fresh coat and add a new floor mat (ordered online!) to make your home feel approachable. If a potential buyer doesn’t feel welcome approaching your home, they likely won’t want to live in it.

Declutter Your Home

This is the best time to realize how much you actually use items in your home. If you’ve been stuck indoors for several weeks and you still haven’t used an item, add it to your donate or toss pile. Not only is this great to help prepare for sale, but it will help your mental health while you are stuck inside. Clearing clutter is extremely beneficial for many reasons, and it will make your move that much easier.

Clean & Organize Your Home

After you’ve decluttered, it is time to clean and organize. When someone tours your home, they want to feel like it can be theirs. If your home is scattered with items and there is barely room to walk around, it will be hard for them to picture themselves living there. Having your items cleaned and organized will also help you when it is time to pack and move on!

Eliminate Odors

You are probably craving fresh air anyway, so why not spend those sunny days with every window in the house wide open! This will help eliminate any residual odors you aren’t aware of and it can help keep air flowing while you are using chemical products to deep clean your home.


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Being prepared for big events is generally a smart idea. Taking out a mortgage is certainly a big event in most people's financial lives, to say the least.

Speaking to a lender - or multiple lenders - about your eligibility for a home loan is a great way to prepare. This step usually results in either a letter of pre-approval, or a letter of pre-qualification.

These terms sound very similar, and they're often used interchangeably by lenders and people you'll communicate with during the homebuying process. But, there are some slight differences between the two.

What does "pre-qualified" mean?

Pre-qualification is thought of as the first step in the mortgage process, according to Zillow. It typically involves describing your income, credit, debt and any assets you have. It's a fairly informal process, and often doesn't require proof of any of this information.

Some lenders may check your credit during this process.

If you pass the lender's requirements for a mortgage based on the information you provided, you'll receive a letter of pre-qualification. It'll include information like how large of a loan you qualify for and the interest rate. This will help immensely when you begin shopping for homes, as it will help you stay within budget.

However, it's important to remember that the pre-qualification letter is not a guarantee, NerdWallet explained. You may find, when it's time to actually take out the loan, the lender offers you a different loan size or interest rate.

What does "pre-approved" mean?

Getting pre-approved is a common second step in the mortgage process with some lenders, or it may be the only step for others. Some lenders only have a single process, which they refer to as pre-approved or pre-qualified interchangeably.

Typically, the pre-approval process is a bit more stringent than the pre-qualification process. Instead of simply describing your financial situation, like income and debts, you'll provide W-2s, pay stubs and other documents.

Since the lender will already have much of your information by the time you need to secure a loan - when you're ready to make an offer on the house - the underwriting and loan approval process will go by much quicker after you've been pre-approved.

If you qualify for a loan, the lender will provide you with a letter of pre-approval. Just like a letter of pre-qualification, it will include information about the loan size, type and interest rate you qualify for. And, like the letter of pre-qualification, this document is not a guarantee of the terms of the loan you may end up with.

Which is better to have?

Since the process varies from lender to lender, there's no definitive right answer to whether a letter of pre-qualification or pre-approval is better.

The benefits of getting pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage include:

  • Getting a sound understanding of your financial position.
  • Understanding how the loan process works at the lenders of your choice.
  • Showing sellers and real estate agents that you're serious and ready to buy.
  • Expediting the underwriting and loan process.

In either case, getting pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage is a smart first step in the homebuying journey. At The Federal Savings Bank, you can take the first step toward getting pre-approved for a home loan online.


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127 Articles Found

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Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low – Third Time this Year
Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low – Third Time this Year At 3.15%, the median 30-year,...

Just Rented - Turnberry Village
just R E N T E D ✔️ 20000 E Country Club Dr #PH04 | Aventura 🌳 . $3,400/... Fla. Less Impacted by Sellers Who Decide to Wait
By Kerry Smith April new U.S. listings on fell 44.1% – but in Jacksonville,...

New Listing | Hollywood
New Listing ✔️ Mayfair Apartment Condo Hollywood . 1 Bed | 1.5 Bath | 665 SF . List...

Fed Likely to Hold Rates Near Zero for Months
By Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press The Fed noted the gravity of the COVID-19...

New Listing - Victoria Park
New Listing ✔️ Victoria Park Fort Lauderdale 🌴 . 3 🛏 | 2.5 🛁 | 2,220 SF 📐 . List...

Prepping to Sell During Quarantine
So now that you’re stuck indoors for the foreseeable future, you may be wondering...

New Listing - Victoria Park Place
New Listing ✔️ Victoria Park Place Fort Lauderdale 🌴 . 3 🛏 | 2.5 🛀🏻 | 1,957 SF 📐 For...

Luxe Commercial Listing
Commercial Listing-Warehouse North Miami Beach Commerce Center 1,040 SF 📐| includes...

What's the difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage?
Being prepared for big events is generally a smart idea. Taking out a mortgage is certainly...

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