Are you planning to move this year?

31009982 - woman sealing boxes ready for house move2018 is shaping up to be a big year for interstate moving activity. But where are people moving to — and from? That’s a question that can be answered by the United Van Lines’ Moving Study. The 41st annual report by the nation’s largest moving company tracks state-to-state migration patterns.

According to the company, the top inbound states in 2017 — where most people are moving to —were Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and South Dakota. The survey includes people moving for employment and for other reasons, such as retirement.

Markets ‘in balance,’ meaning that there’s about the same number of people moving in as are moving out, include states such as New Hampshire and Nebraska. Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Kansas are the five states with more people moving away than moving in. For more information about the study, go to this link.

Are you planning on making a move this year? With more than 280 locations nationwide and growing, Primary Residential Mortgage is probably somewhere you want to find us.

Renting? Now may be the time to buy a home

Finally a home of our ownShould you continue to rent a home in 2018 or is it time to buy? Your job situation plays a big role in that decision. How stable is your employment? Buying could make more sense right now if you aren’t thinking about switching jobs, your employer is not reducing its workforce or if your company isn’t planning to move you to a different city or state.

How long do you plan to remain in your home? Generally, the more time you plan to live in a home, the more sense it makes to buy. The U.S. Breakeven Horizon, compiled by real estate website Zillow.com, is designed to provide an estimated number of years one needs to live in a home for buying to make more sense than renting. Factors such as expected growth in rents and home values, price-to-rent ratios and mortgage interest rates are included in the analysis. Nationally, that figure is 1.8 years. For more information about the Breakeven Horizon, go to this link.

While a variety of factors may influence the buy-versus-rent decision, there’s one that continues to make buying a home so attractive: Low mortgage rates. Take a look at average mortgage rates since 1971 and you’ll see that today’s rates are extremely favorable. Low mortgage rates help families stretch their home buying dollars.

The link between homeownership and happiness

71266853 - excited family explore new home on moving dayDid you know that numerous studies over many years show a link between owning a home and happiness and overall well-being? The most recent one, from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, shows that homeowners generally have higher financial well-being than non-homeowners.

In the CFPB’s report, homeowners have an average financial well-being score of 58. That’s higher than both renters (with average of 49) and those who neither rent nor own (average of 50). The U.S. average financial well-being score is 54. You can read the entire report at this link.

Research studies have linked owning a home to a number of positive outcomes. Researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of San Diego, for example, have linked homeownership to a reduced risk of teenage pregnancy and a lower possibility that a child will drop out of school. A study conducted by Ohio State University found that children of parents who own their own homes are more likely to score higher in reading and math and have fewer behavioral problems.

At the very least, buying the right home can be a key ingredient in being happy, according to a report by HomeAdvisor. The company’s research in the area has found that homeowner happiness boils down to an affordable and comfortable home in a safe and connected neighborhood and with a reasonable commute. Good things to keep in mind during your next home search.

Five housing trends for 2018

9042176401What’s in store for the nation’s housing market in 2018? The National Association of Realtors offers a glimpse at some of the most significant changes that are expected. Here are five key takeaways:

Housing inventory is expected to increase. Strong demand has depleted the inventory of available homes in markets throughout the country. The association projects U.S. year-over-year housing inventory growth to enter positive territory by fall 2018 for the first time since 2015. That’s good news for home buyers. Most of the inventory growth is expected in U.S. homes priced above $350,000, followed later by lower-priced starter homes.

Price appreciation expected to moderate. U.S. home prices are forecasted to slow to 3.2 percent growth year-over-year nationally, down from about 5.5 percent in 2017. Appreciation likely will end up being highest with lower-priced entry-level homes, which continue to be in extremely high demand.

Millennials will be a bigger part of overall home buying activity. Millennials are on track to comprise about 43 percent of home buyers taking out a mortgage by the end of 2018, up from an estimated 40 percent in 2017. Their influence on the US. housing market is expected to grow in the coming years.

Demand is pushing home sales higher in the South. Cities such as Tulsa, Okla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Dallas; and Charlotte, N.C. are expected to see home-sales growth of 6 percent or more, compared with 2.5 percent nationally.

Uncertainty surrounds tax reform. Tax reform could have a positive effect on housing in some respects, not so much in others. Stay tuned.

Jumbo loan rates: Similar to rates for conforming mortgages

41296455 - interest rate shoppingYears ago, jumbo loan rates were higher — sometimes much higher — than rates on traditional or conforming mortgages. Today, rates on both types of loans are near historic lows. Recently, the difference in rates between regular (conforming) and jumbo (nonconforming) mortgages has been minimal. On some days, the rates for jumbo loans are even lower than those for conforming loans.

A nonconforming or jumbo mortgage is a type of mortgage that has a balance that is above the limits for government-sponsored loans. In most parts of the country, any loan for a single-family home greater than $424,100 is considered to be ‘jumbo’. (Some high cost-of-living areas, along with Hawaii and Alaska, have higher thresholds.) Jumbo loans are useful where real estate is expensive or for home buyers who want to purchase a higher-priced property. Jumbo loans can be either adjustable rate or fixed rate mortgages.

Qualifying for a jumbo mortgage, however can be a bit more difficult. Generally, you’ll need a credit score of at least 700. The required downpayment is typically higher with jumbo loans than with traditional mortgages. Questions about jumbo loans? At PRMI, we have answers!

PRMI: One of Utah’s best places to work

Top Workplaces 1Once again, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. has been recognized as one of the top places to work in Utah by The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper. This year, the publication named 70 companies and organizations in the state to its annual list. Companies are ranked based on employee input. This year, PRMI is ranked No. 4 among large companies, up from No. 8 last year.

At PRMI, our mission is to help individuals and families nationwide achieve the dream of homeownership through a positive and personal experience. We achieve that by creating an incredible environment for our employees that’s based on mutual trust as well as open and honest communication. Get to know PRMI’s core values and how they help our company be such an incredible place to work and get a home loan:

Teamwork. At PRMI, we believe in the power of teamwork. Working together gives our customers better results than we could ever achieve individually.

Stability. Our decisions are deliberate and careful. They have to make sense today and tomorrow.

Advocacy. We believe that what’s good for our customers is good for us, too. We are allies for our customers—advocating for sensible laws and stronger accountability.

Empowerment. When we are empowered, we do more—for each other and for our customers. We take charge of each situation with a solutions-oriented approach.

Integrity. A dedication to a high level of business ethics guides all of our decisions. When we act with integrity, we build trust by always making the right choice, regardless of circumstance.

Excellence. The pursuit of excellence is a guide to our true potential. We seek to be better, smarter, and more effective people—for ourselves and for our customers.

Happiness. A happy work environment and a great customer experience go hand-in-hand. When we enjoy what we do, it’s easy to deliver a knockout experience.

For more information on the newspaper’s annual ranking, go to this link.

Four reasons for refinancing

9737664 - dollar house isolated over white.With today’s low mortgage rates, refinancing activity is on the rise. Does it make sense for you to refinance your home loan? Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider it:

You want a fixed rate home loan. When you purchased your home, you took out an adjustable-rate mortgage. But you plan on staying in your home over the long term and want the predictability of a fixed-rate home loan.

You want to get rid of your monthly mortgage insurance payment. Generally, private mortgage insurance is required with a down payment of less than 20 percent. In some cases, though, if you have increased your home equity past the 20 percent mark, refinancing can help you get rid of your monthly mortgage insurance premium. It all depends on your home value as determined by an appraisal and your outstanding mortgage balance.

You want to tap your home’s equity. Depending on the amount of equity you have in your home, you may be able to ‘cash-out’ of some of your equity during the refinancing process.

You want to lower your monthly payment. If today’s mortgage rates are lower than when you purchased your home, you may want to refinance to lower your monthly payment. It’s estimated that there are millions of homeowners with higher-rate mortgages who could save money by refinancing.

When it comes to loan terms, you have choices

35806698 - discussion with a real estate agent at the officeWhen financing a home, it’s estimated that 80 percent of all home buyers elect to take out 30-year fixed-rate home loans. It’s a popular option because of the low monthly payments.

Less popular are 15-year and 10-year fixed-rate home loans. The big downside with these shorter-term options are the higher monthly payments. With a 15-year home loan, for example, you can expect to have a monthly payment that’s 28 to 30 percent higher higher than with a 30-year home loan. And, you’re locked into paying that higher payment.

The main advantage of a shorter-term mortgage is the earlier payoff and substantial savings. You’ll pay your home off more quickly and pay significantly less in interest over the life of the loan.

In addition to fixed-rate mortgages, home buyers also have a variety of ARMs to consider. Today’s ARMs are often based on a 30-year repayment schedule with a period of five, seven or 10 years in which the loan’s interest rate remains fixed. After that set period, the rate adjusts. After the adjustment period begins, the loan’s mortgage rate — and the monthly payment — could go up or down.

At Primary Residential Mortgage, we are dedicated to helping our customers find the right loan — and loan term — that’s right for them.

Two simple ways to help keep your family safe

Two simple ways...social postMoving into your new home? Here are two important ways to help keep your family safe for years to come.

Test your smoke alarms and replace batteries. It’s one of the first things you’ll want to do after getting the keys to your new home. The batteries in battery-powered smoke detectors should be changed every six months. The units themselves should be replaced every 10 years. You’ll want to test units monthly. If you aren’t sure how old the smoke detectors are in your new home, replace them. And make sure you have enough smoke detectors. The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

Check or install carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Make sure your new home has CO detectors on each floor and ensure they are replaced every five years. (Check each alarm’s manufacture date so you know when it’s time for replacement.) You don’t need carbon monoxide detectors only during the winter months — carbon monoxide is a year-round threat.

Is now the time to tap your home’s equity?

House made from dollars. 3D image

Home equity is on the rise. U.S. home owners with mortgages saw their home equity increase by $766.4 billion from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of this year, an increase of 11.2 percent. The average homeowner saw their home equity increase by $13,400 over that time period, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic.

Home equity is basically the difference between your home’s market value the total amount you owe on your mortgage. There are two basic ways to tap your home equity— through a home equity loan (also called a second mortgage) or a home equity line of credit. A loan can provide money in one lump sum, as opposed to a line of credit that can provide access to money you don’t have to use all at once. With the line of credit, you’ll pay interest only on the money you use, not the entire available line.

One of the most popular uses for home equity is to fund home improvements, although the proceeds from a home equity loan (also called a second mortgage) or line of credit typically can be used for a wide variety of things. Home equity loans and lines of credit can be a lower-rate alternative to borrowing money and are potentially tax deductible to homeowners who itemize (it’s always a good idea to check with your tax advisor about your specific situation).

Is now the time to tap your home equity? Stop in and find out more about home equity loans and lines of credit. Click here to find a PRMI location near you.