See what's happening with home values in more than 400 metropolitan areas with HSH's Home Value Tracker, just updated though the second quarter of 2022.

See what's happening with home values in more than 400 metropolitan areas with HSH's Home Value Tracker, just updated though the second quarter of 2022.

HSH in the news - 2020

December 31, 2020: "How Much Do You Need to Make?", a New York Times "Calculator" column by Michael Kolomatsky incorporated figures from HSH.com's quarterly affordability study:

In this pandemic economy, homes are scarce and competition for them is fierce, meaning prices are rising even as many Americans have less money to spend. How do you know if you can afford a home in a particular city? HSH.com’s quarterly report, which breaks down the annual income required to qualify for a mortgage in the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, is a good starting point.
Using 2020 third-quarter pricing data from the National Association of Realtors, and factoring in the industry standard 28 percent debt-to-income ratio to qualify prospective borrowers, the report determined the earnings required to qualify for a median-priced home in each area. (A 20 percent down payment and a fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage at current rates were assumed, and local property taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs were included.)

December 24, 2020: "U.S. Mortgage Rates Drop to Record Low", a Bloomberg market advisory by Donald Moore included some context from HSH.com vice president Keith Gumbinger:

"The slight decline in rates this week doesn’t change the big picture much for either homeowners or homebuyers," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage and consumer loan information company. "With quiet financial markets and little new economic data out there’s little reason to expect any more movement in mortgage rates than we’ve seen of late."

December 19, 2020: "A Recent Change in Lending Rules Could Make Getting a Qualified Mortgage Easier or Cheaper for Some", a Barrons look at changing mortgage regulations by Shaina Mishkin featured a quote from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

For consumers, getting a qualified mortgage means fewer fees and easier access to credit in times of economic upheaval, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage website HSH.com. "It doesn’t necessarily mean more people can get loans, but it means that more people can get QM loans - and that they would generally retain access to credit in times of financial market stress," Gumbinger told Barron’s.

December 16, 2020: "Experts Predict What The Housing Market Will Be Like In 2021", a Forbes market outlook roundup by Brenda Richardson included a passage by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vce president:

Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage information website HSH.com: While a good year for home sales is likely, it may be hard to improve much on 2020. Record and near-record low mortgage rates will continue to create demand for homes, and these come amid demographic tailwinds from Millennials moving into their prime home-buying years, enhanced by the Covid-19 work-from-home or anywhere trend. However, sales will be met by tempering forces: declining affordability due to still-rising home prices and a lack of supply of houses, especially existing homes. The new home market may provide options for some home buyers, so sales there should be well supported, too.

Dec 15, 2020: "Mortgage Loans Harder to Obtain", a BottomLine feature covering mortgage market conditions included expertise provided by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

Lenders are pulling back in the face of an array of challenges during these unprecedented times. They’re not sure how well employment will rebound - it’s unclear how much forbearance programs, which give homeowners breaks on mortgage payments for six months or potentially a year, will affect lenders’ bottom lines - and lenders recently were blindsided by a new 0.5% mortgage-refinance loan surcharge imposed on them by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
What to do: If one or more of the mortgage-approval complications above apply to you, work with a mortgage broker. Brokers make their living by tracking down mortgage products appropriate for their clients. Brokers typically are paid by lenders, but some fees could be imposed on borrowers, too. Also reach out to credit unions, which sometimes have more flexibility or different policies than other lenders.

October 28, 2020: "Scary Things", a Real Estate Today Radio nationally-syndicated program included an interview by host Stephen Gasque with Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president discussing how solid preparation can eliminate fears when getting a mortgage.

October 15, 2020: "Your Home Loan", a Real Estate Today Radio nationally-syndicated program featured an extended interview of HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger by host Stephen Gasque covering home loan options, how to make good decisions, the mortgage-shopping process and more.

September 13, 2020: "Maximum Buying", a Real Estate Today Radio discussion between HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger and host Stephen Gasque about how home buyers can best align themselves with today's mortgage market.

September 12, 2020: "Grabbing an equity lifeline before it floats away", a Dallas Morning News consumer advisory from syndicated columnist Marilyn Melia included a warning from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

But if you lose your job and start missing bills, it's probably too late to apply for an equity line, since a lender won't approve one. Moreover, if you have an existing line, "a material change in the credit score of the borrower" typically allows the lender to cut your line off, explained Keith Gumbinger, of mortgage data firm HSH.com

August 20, 2020: "US Mortgage Rates Rise on Risk Assessment", a HousingWire review of marker conditions by Kathleen Howley included some context from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

The upward moves come after the Federal Housing Finance Agency approved a new "adverse market" fee for refinancings to compensate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the additional risk posed by the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are assessing a 50 basis point adverse market fee on refinancings is not something that will reassure lenders, whether for refis or purchase loans," said Keith Gumbinger of HSH.com. "That was a beacon telling the market `There’s a lot of risk out here,’ and that’s going to put upward pressure on rates.

August 17, 2020 for the 'Heard' column in Bottom Line Personal, a consumer newsletter, Mike Robbins interviewed HSH.com Vice President Keith Gumbinger about a forthcoming refinancing fee from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

A new 0.5% fee is increasing the typical mortgage refinancing cost by $1,400, on average, says mortgage expert Keith Gumbinger. To help offset anticipated pandemic-related losses, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are imposing the fee on refinance loans they back. To avoid the fee, a homeowner likely could instead pay a rate one-eighth-percentage-point higher. The fee doesn't apply to refinanced mortgages not sold to Fannie or Freddie such as FHA loans or private loans.

August 14, 2020: "Refinancing Your Mortgage Just Got More Expensive. Here’s Why", a Barrons, an update on refinancing conditions by Shaina Mishkin included a quote from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's VP:

Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage website HSH, tells Barron’s he doesn’t expect the new fee to dissuade the majority of homeowners considering refinancing. "Collectively, it means that costs for some mortgage borrowers will be a little higher than they otherwise would be, but with mortgage rates already at record lows, it should be fairly painless," Gumbinger says.

August 9, 2020: "Second Homes", a Real Estate Today Radio discussion between HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger and host Stephen Gasque about how financing a second home purchase differs from a primary residence, rental income and more.

July 30, 2020: "Timely reasons to Buy a Vacation Home", a Kiplinger look at second-home markets and financing by Lisa Gerstner included some information imparted by HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

Mortgages for second homes differ from those for primary homes in a few ways. Borrowers who encounter financial difficulties are more likely to default on a second-home mortgage than one for a primary residence, and lenders take that risk into account. Interest rates are often about 0.25 to 0.5 percentage point higher for second-home mortgages than for primary-home loans, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage-information site HSH.com.
You’ll have to make a down payment of at least 10% (for a primary home, you may be able to put down as little as 3% with a conventional mortgage), and some lenders require 20%. Minimum credit-score requirements are a bit higher than those for primary homes. With a loan-to-value ratio (the amount you owe on the loan as a percentage of the home value) higher than 75%, you may need a minimum FICO score of 680 to qualify (on a scale of 300 to 850), compared with about 620 to 640 for a primary-home loan, says Gumbinger.
You’ll likely be required to have cash reserves to cover at least a few months’ worth of mortgage payments. You may expect to earn some rental income (see below), but such potential earnings won’t help you qualify for a loan on a second home. If you won’t occupy the home and plan to rent it out full-time, it’s considered an investment property, and rental income may be considered.

July 29, 2020: "Best Jumbo Mortgage Lenders of 2020" a Money.com ranking of lenders they feel fit jumbo borrowers well by Noel Dávila included a bit of market knowledge supplied by HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

As the word implies, everything’s bigger with jumbo. Whereas a homebuyer could get approved for a conventional loan with a FICO credit score around 600, jumbo lenders require potential buyers to have a score of 700 or higher.
Jumbo lenders also typically require a debt-to-income ratio lower than 43%, the conventional limit. "Generally, DTIs for jumbos may range up to 43%, but in today’s risky and changing lending climate, 35% is probably closer to reality," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.

July 23, 2020: "Mortgage Rates Rise on Job Market Concerns", a HousingWire a mortgage-market conditions bulletin by Kathleen Howley included context from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

If the rate had tracked the 10-year Treasury yield this week, as it normally does, it likely would have set a new record low. Investors are piling into the bond markets because of concerns about the impact on the economy of the worsening pandemic.
But lenders are letting that difference, known as a margin or a spread, widen as they keep a buffer called a "risk premium," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage data firm.
The higher rate may also reflect that lenders are overwhelmed by applications to refinance mortgages and don’t want to worsen the flood of new borrowers, he said.
"In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a flare of refinancing activity," Gumbinger said. "Lenders are thinly staffed, so this could be a little metering of the flow of inbound business."
In the long-term, rates likely are heading lower, he said. "I still think rates are going to go lower as we go forward because of the slow economy, and we probably will see risk premiums easing going forward," said Gumbinger.

July 23, 2020: "Low interest rates drive boom", a Hartford Courant a look at changing market conditions and mortgage borrower moves by syndicated columnist Ellen James Martin featured some insight from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's VP:

Of course, with the nation suffering through a recession with a still very high level of joblessness, lenders are obviously very nervous, says Keith Gumbinger, a vice president at HSH.com, which has been tracking mortgage markets for consumers since 1979.
To some degree, recent federal legislation has protected consumers’ credit reports, even when a job loss has resulted in late payments on their rent or current mortgage. But don’t expect to get a new mortgage to refinance or buy a better home if you’re currently unemployed.
"Sorry to say, unemployment benefits aren’t considered regular income when you’re applying for a mortgage. That’s true regardless of whether you’re on furlough and anticipate going back to the same employer after the pandemic is over," Gumbinger says.
But Gumbinger says it’s up to consumers to carefully compare a lender’s charges before deciding whether to proceed. To do this, it’s important to study a copy of the lender’s estimated charges. This form should list all the fees you’d pay at closing, with a very small margin for changes. The lender must give you this estimate shortly after you apply for a mortgage.
"People with steady jobs, sterling credit and lots of home equity - or a monster-sized down payment - are in a commanding position to get the lowest fees and the best available rates," Gumbinger says.

July 16, 2020: "Mortgage Rates Drop Below 3% for the First Time", a Barrons review of mortgage market conditions by Shaina Mishkin included some quotes from HSH.com vice president Keith Gumbinger:

The significance of the drop below 3% is more psychological than anything else, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage website HSH.com. While the week-over-week change of 0.05 percentage points amounts to a difference of less than $5 per month on a $200,000 mortgage, "breaking through into the 2s may signal that we are in truly new territory," Gumbinger wrote to Barron’s via email. As rates have fallen, refinances have soared on a year-over-year basis, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
"Mortgage rates were low before the pandemic, but have moved considerably lower for several reasons," Gumbinger said, citing bleak economic prospects, a lack of inflation, the potential for disinflation from future slack demand, and the Federal Reserve’s purchase of bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
In recent weeks, as unemployment has settled, mortgage forbearance requests have declined, and local economies have reopened, mortgage rates have declined regularly "as it appears that the risks of making and investing in mortgages has eased a bit," Gumbinger said.
If those trends continue, "the odds are good that we will set new lows in the weeks and possibly months ahead," Gumbinger said, noting that the future is highly uncertain and much depends on the impact of viral outbreaks and the durability of the economic rebound.

July 12, 2020: "Secrets of the Pros", a Real Estate Today Radio discussion between HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger and host Stephen Gasque about the how home buyers and homeowners can shop the real estate and mortgage market just like the pros do.

June 25, 2020: "Mortgage Rates Remain at All-Time Low", a HousingWire update on interest rates by Kathleen Howley featured a quote from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

Mortgage rates remained at the record low as the three most populous U.S. states - California, Texas and Florida - hit new highs for COVID-19 infections, driving money managers to seek fixed-income investments like mortgage bonds in a "flight to safety," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage-data firm HSH.com.
"With the rising incidents of COVID-19 in some states, there’s definitely a little bit of a shift to safety, a shift into bonds as investors wait to see how the story unfolds," Gumbinger said.

June 18, 2020: Mortgage Rates Tumble to Another All-Time Low", a HousingWire" market review by Kathleen Howley featured some reasoning from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

"The rising incidence of virus is definitely adding more caution to the market, and the Fed had some things to say about the economy that wasn’t encouraging," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. "Those two factors took the wind out of the sales of investor optimism, which put downward pressure on interest rates."

June 13, 2020: "Most Lenders Have Tightened Rules", a Sarasota Herald-Tribune a review of mortgage underwriting trends by industry veteran Lew Sichelman featured a quip from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

"While it is technically possible to buy a home without human contact," agrees Keith Gumbinger of HSH.com, a mortgage reporting company, "it's still not possible to buy a house without income or when on unemployment."
That doesn't mean you won't be able to find financing. Some lenders are still in the market. Movement Mortgage, a top-10 lender that closed more loans in April than during any month in its history, is actually lowering its rates as well as its minimum credit score.

June 8, 2020: "Cleveland Is a House-Flipping Hot Spot, and Covid Adds Fuel", a Wall Street Journal look at real estate investing conditions by Ryan Dezember included some data from HSH.com's Salary Analysis and Home Price Recovery Index:

The median in metro Cleveland is $160,700, according to mortgage data and analytics firm HSH.com. That is well below the national median price of $274,600. Even better, there are plenty of run-down old houses to be had for less than $100,000.
They rented them profitably and started a business, Real Wealth Network, teaching others to invest like that. But the math doesn't really work anymore in Dallas, where HSH.com says home prices have risen 78% from their precrash highs.

June 6, 2020: "Back to the Basics of Home Ownership", a Real Estate Today Radio discussion between HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger and host Stephen Gasque about today's rock-bottom mortgage rates, choosing loan terms and building and using home equity.

June 4, 2020: "Mortgage Rates Are Crazy Low Right Now. Here’s How to Take Advantage.", a Fatherly.com look at how to get the best mortgage by Daniel Kurt included context and advice from HSH.com Vice President Keith Gumbinger:

Different lenders can quote vastly different rates and fees for the same customer, making it imperative to shop around. Online mortgage rate comparison tables can be a good starting point, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of the mortgage information website HSH.com.
Also consider engaging mortgage brokers, who get offers from multiple lenders. According to Gumbinger, these loan intermediaries can be particularly helpful for people who are self-employed, generate seasonal income or don’ have traditional income documentation. "If your credit or financials place you outside the plain vanilla lending box, a broker will likely be your best bet to secure a loan," he says.
According to Gumbinger, the first point you pay on a 30-year fixed mortgage may lower the rate by 0.25 percent, but the next point will be somewhat less. Therefore, expect a diminishing return with each additional point you fork over. "You couldn't, for example, pay 12 points today and get a 0.25-percent interest rate," he says.

June 3, 2020: "A First for the Housing Market: Mortgage Rates Below 3%", a Money.com look at today's mortgage market conditions by Daniel Bortz included some quotes from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

Borrowers can thank the Federal Reserve for today’s unprecedented mortgage rates, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage site HSH.com. With the economy in a tailspin during COVID-19, "the Fed rightfully worried about the effects of the economic shutdown, so it took unprecedented steps to lower mortgage rates to emergency levels," Gumbinger says.
Generally, borrowers need a FICO score of 740 or higher to qualify for the lowest mortgage rates on a conventional loan, Gumbinger says. Which is why it’s important to find out what your credit score is" - using a website like MyFico.com, Gumbinger suggests - and to review your credit reports for errors.
Paying extra points can help drag down your mortgage rate. Points are fees paid to a mortgage in exchange for a lower mortgage rate. One point is equivalent to 1% of the loan amount.
"If you want to get below 3% for a 30-year fixed mortgage, you ’d need to pay about 1.5 points right now," Gumbinger says. On a $300,000 mortgage, that would mean forking over $4,500 at closing. "If you pay no points, your rate would be about 3.4%," Gumbinger says.

June 3, 2020: "Mortgage rates could stay low for weeks, months - but there's a catch", a Detroit Free-Press look at mortgage market conditions by Susan Tompor included a bit of context provided by HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

More than 40 million American workers have filed for jobless claims since mid-March as restaurants, factories, stores and other places of business began to close in order to limit social contact and the spread of the virus.
Those high jobless rates - and the expectation that home values ultimately will drop or soften in the future - are driving some lenders to take a more cautious approach, according to Keith Gumbinger, a mortgage expert and vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage information website.
"Certainly, with risks on the rise," Gumbinger said, "it's to be expected that at least some lenders would be trying to limit their exposure to potential future loss."
Even so, not all lenders are reacting the same way. "So," he continued "if a consumer cannot find a lending response they need on one side of town they will need to keep looking."

May 31, 2020: "Most Lenders Have Tightened Mortgage Rules", a Banker & Tradesman look at mortgage underwriting by industry veteran Lew Sichelman featured a quote from HSH.com's vice president Keith Gumbinger:

"While it is technically possible to buy a home without human contact, it’s still not possible to buy a house without income or when on unemployment," said Keith Gumbinger of HSH Assoc., a mortgage reporting company.

May 6, 2020: "Refinancings may hit a 7-year high", a HousingWire.com update on market conditions by Kathleen Howley featured some perspective from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

Mortgage holders who ardent among the more than 30 million people who have lost jobs during the pandemic will be eager to lock rates that are the lowest ever recorded, said Keith Gumbinger, a vice president at HSH Associates, a mortgage research firm.
While rates have bumped around in recent days, they ’re still near the all-time low set last week that broke the old record set in early March, Gumbinger said.
"We keep touching these record lows, and for folks who are reasonably well aligned with changing underwriting standards, there’s a good opportunity here to free up some cash," Gumbinger said.
Much of that cash will go to the consumer spending that typically accounts for about 70% of GDP, he said. Even with half the nation still under strict lockdowns to stem the spread of coronavirus, there are still plenty of opportunities to spend the extra money, supporting businesses, he said.
"If someone saves a few hundred dollars a month by locking in at a lower rate, that’s money that’s typically spent into the economy, supporting economic growth," Gumbinger said.

April 30, 2020: "U.S. Mortgage Rates Tumble To A Record Low", a Financial Advisor magazine article by Bloomberg.com's Prashant Gopal included a statement from HSH.com vice president Keith Gumbinger:

The coronavirus outbreak has fueled chaos in the mortgage market. Rates had ticked slightly higher in recent weeks, in part because lenders were pricing mortgages defensively. They had more customers than they could handle with rates so low. Now, the slowdown in the economy has curbed demand for new loans while they work through the backlog.
"This is a sign that the mortgage market is functioning better," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage information website. "The backlog of refinancing is working its way through the pipeline. So lenders are feeling more comfortable passing low rates to the consumers."

April 20, 2020: "Mortgage forbearance? Lump-sum bill could come due before crisis ends", a Newsday consumer advisory by Maura McDermott included some market context from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's VP:

Ordinarily, forbearance programs are intended for people who are coping with short-term problems, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage information website. With no way to know when the pandemic will end, "the pressure has been on servicers," and a growing number seem to be giving borrowers more time to pay back missed payments, Gumbinger said.

April 8, 2020 "Housing market shifts to the cyber side amid the pandemic", a Washington Post look at mortgage and real estate tech and the coronavirus pandemic by Michele Lerner include a couple of quotes from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

"Technology allows us to do things that were unthinkable even just a few years ago," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, a consumer mortgage information site. "Digital mortgage platforms can remotely verify employment and assets and the ability to communicate electronically means we can function. A decade ago, the housing market would have been completely shut down during a situation like this."

April 8, 2020: " Mortgage Income Tax Credit and IRS Form 8396", a Fool.com look at the value of a mortgage credit certificate (MCC) by Marc Rapport referenced some useful content at HSH.com:

Plus, check out this detailed example from HSH.com about how a typical mortgage credit certificate can allow a homebuyer to use Form 8396 with his or her tax return to reduce the income needed to qualify for this $250,000 mortgage by more than $11,000 to $53,571. "The credit helps people qualify for a better house by increasing their take-home pay," the article notes.

April 2, 2020: "How to Get Help With Your Mortgage During the Coronavirus Pandemic", a Consumer Reports reader advisory by Scott Medintz included some background and advice from HSH.com's VP Keith Gumbinger:

Of course, many of us have no idea whether our mortgage was ever connected to one of these entities. But there’s a good chance the law applies to you: The National Housing Law Project says roughly 70 percent of outstanding single-family mortgages in the U.S. are owned or backed by a federal agency. And about 90 percent of mortgages created since the 2008 financial crisis are covered by the law, estimates Keith Gumbinger, vice president of the mortgage-information site HSH.com.
Your mortgage servicer should also know for certain, Gumbinger says, and in any case you'll need to contact your servicer to take advantage of the new protections.
Even if it turns out your mortgage is not covered by the law, it’s probably worth contacting your servicer and discussing your options, Gumbinger says. "In the current environment, regulators and legislators are strongly encouraging lenders of all stripes to work with borrowers."
And third, your decision to seek forbearance can’t be reported to credit agencies as nonpayment. After all, Gumbinger says, not being able to pay your mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic "is not a reflection of your creditworthiness."
Also keep in mind that the mortgage protections are in place for the length of the declared emergency or the end of the year, whichever comes first. We don't know when President Donald Trump will declare the emergency over, so think ahead. "You may have no problem paying your mortgage this month, but what about a few months from now?" Gumbinger says. "Don't wait until you're deep in the hole. It could be too late."

April 2, 2020: "30-Year Mortgage Rates Are Back Near Record Lows - For Some Borrowers", a Money.com review of current market conditions by Ian Salisbury included some commentary by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

"Markets are erratic," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage site HSH.com. "They will continue to be erratic."
The bad news is homeowners who don't meet those standards may pay much more or struggle to find a lender at all. That includes borrowers looking for large-dollar "jumbo" loans, which are above Fannie and Freddie size limits, as well as those who are self-employed or otherwise face hurtles proving they have a steady income, according to Gumbinger.
"If you're not a borrower that fits into the mainstream mortgage pipeline, you are going to have a hard time," says Gumbinger. "And the farther outside the mainstream you are, the harder it’s going to be."

March 31, 2020: "What to Do If You're Having Trouble Paying Bills", a Consumer Reports guide to managing finances in difficult times by Penelope Wang included some advice by HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

Your mortgage servicer also may know - and you'll need to contact them to take advantage of the new protections anyway, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, a mortgage-information resource.
Be aware that some states have placed a moratorium on mortgage payments, as they have for renters. So check to see whether that relief applies in your area.

March 31, 2010: "Here's a Fast (And Overlooked) Way to Refinance Your Mortgage", a Money.com look at how to take advantage of the low-rate climate by Gabriella Cruz-Martínez featured some advice from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

While streamline offers many shortcuts to the approval process, you still need to provide certain documents to apply. As per FHA requirements, these may include two months of bank statements to prove you can afford out-of-pocket expenses, a copy of your mortgage loan that shows your current loan rate and term, as well as proof of homeowners insurance.
"There are no real 'cons' to the process, per se, but just because a process may be simpler or easier does not necessarily mean it will come at the best possible price," said Keith Gumbinger, Vice President of HSH Associates. "As such, homeowners should consider what their lender has to offer as a component of their mortgage-shopping process - it might be their first call, but should not be their last or only call."

March 27, 2020: "Dead deals, slashed prices: Coronavirus drags down Southern California home sales", a Los Angeles Times look into cornonavirus-changed housing markets by Andrew Khouri included some context by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's VP:

Keith Gumbinger, vice president of the research firm HSH Associates, said non-qualifying mortgages have dried up because investors who typically purchase the loans from originators don't know if they are going to get their money back.
Jumbo mortgages are more readily available. Those are loans that exceed the limit to qualify for guarantee by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac; in Los Angeles County, that’s $765,600. But they too have grown more difficult to find.
"From an investor standpoint, there is a preservation of cash and an aversion to risk," Gumbinger said. "It’s going to be a little bit difficult for time to find" non-qualifying and jumbo mortgages.

March 27, 2020: "Now Is a Good Time for Retirees to Refinance. Here Are Some Points to Ponder.", a Barron's article on opportunistic refinancing by Sarah Max featured comments by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

If saving money over time is your primary objective, first do the math to see if that pans out. For one thing, there are upfront costs, which typically range from 2% to 5% of principal. Depending on how much time you have left to pay, that money might be better used prepaying your mortgage by putting additional funds toward principal each month, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.
Other Caveats
In general, qualifying for a mortgage in retirement is no different than it is in the working years. Lenders want to see stable sources of income, such as pensions, annuities, and Social Security. They'll also factor for retirement savings withdrawals, though they typically assume only 70% of an investment portfolio in their calculations, says Gumbinger.
Retirees thinking about a refi should not assume that rates are going to go lower. Among other factors, "there has been an absolute crush of refinancing business that is overwhelming the mortgage-lending system," Gumbinger says, noting that applications for refinance mortgages shot up 79% in the week ended on March 6. To try to temper incoming demand "some lenders stopped passing along new declines in rates and others began to price defensively so as to deter new business from coming in the door."
While there are many uncertainties, including how the coronavirus outbreak will affect appraisal access and home values, refinancing may be more feasible once the wave of consumer interest subsides.
In the meantime, retirees should organize their documents and start talking to lenders. There’s no need to rush, says Gumbinger: "The low-rate climate is likely to be with us for a fair while."

March 26, 2020: "As Jobless Claims Surge, Here Are 7 Things To Do If You Lose Your Job", a Newsweek action advisory by Daniel Bortz included a quote by HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

"Don't wait until you start missing payments to reach out," advises Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage information website. "Servicers are likely to become very busy in the weeks and months ahead with requests for help."

March 21, 2020: "How to pay the bills during the coronavirus crisis", a USA Today look at how to navigate challenging financial times by Susan Tompor of the Detroit Free Press featured some advice to troubled homeowners from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

Keith Gumbinger, a mortgage expert and vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage information website, noted that some lenders including Bank of America are already putting such programs in place.
"If you are or think that you will be experiencing difficulty in making mortgage payments due to the coronavirus, you should be proactive in contacting your mortgage servicer to get any relief process started as soon as possible," Gumbinger said.
"Don't wait until you start missing payments. Lenders are likely to become very busy in the weeks and months ahead with requests for help."

March 15, 2020: "The Spring Market", a Real Estate Today Radio discussion between HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger and host Stephen Gasque about the changing and challenging spring housing market.

March 10, 2020: "Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Record Lows. Time to Refinance?", a AARP.com look at mortgage refinance markets by John Waggoner include tips from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

"People refinance for a lot of reasons," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, a mortgage information website. "Do you want a lower payment? Do you want to pay off your loan by a certain date?"
If you want to repay your loan by a certain date - say, when you retire - bear in mind that you can simply prepay your existing loan. Prepayments are optional, so you have some flexibility in your monthly payments, which you wouldn't have if you locked into a 15-year mortgage.
If you do refinance, you have multiple costs associated with the new loan, from the aforementioned discount points to state property taxes, insurance and appraisals. You can get a good sense of costs by digging out your original loan papers from when you bought the house, Gumbinger says.

March 7, 2020: "Want to refinance? Make sure you understand the new tax laws", a San Francisco Chronicle article looking at the complexities of the mortgage interest deduction by Kathleen Pender included comments by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's VP:

What happens if you refinance a grandfathered mortgage? Suppose your original debt was $1 million, and the remaining balance is $850,000.
As long as you refinance no more than the remaining balance, $850,000 in this example, your loan remains grandfathered and you can deduct interest on the full amount.
What if you refinance more than the balance, say $900,000?
In this case you can still deduct interest on up to $850,000, but you cannot deduct interest on the extra $50,000, no matter how it is used, said Keith Gumbinger, a vice president with mortgage website HSH.com

March 6, 2020: "Twin Cities mortgage offices busy as low rates spark rush to refinance", a Minneapolis Star-Tribune review of surging mortgage activity by Jim Buchta featured some quotes from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

The uncertainties surrounding both COVID-19 and the upcoming presidential election have made the situation particularly complex.
Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, said the deeper the markets fall and the lower rates go, the greater the chance of a sharp economic turnaround that could be triggered by a coordinated central bank move or a breakthrough in containment or treatment. Even a slowing in the rate of expansion of the virus might be enough to see a sudden change in direction for stocks and bonds yield, Gumbinger said.
"It’s a shame all this is happening, in more ways than one," he said. "If not for the ‘panic-demic’ in markets, we would likely be talking about firming interest rates as the economic picture has generally been brightening."

March 4 2020: "Your Money: Fed's surprise cut is a cure for mortgage rate envy", a Reuters update on quickly changing mortgage market conditions by Beth Pinsker outlining mortgage market opportunities for some included quotes and advice from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president"

If your goal is to get out of debt sooner or save costs over the long-term, think about shortening your loan term to a 15- or 20-year loan instead of the more common 30-year mortgage. You could get rates below 3% now, depending on the circumstances.
This move is not for everyone, however, because shorter loans come with higher monthly payments, even if the rates are lower. If you are not planning to stay in your home past the time your payments end, then you might not enjoy the benefits of speeding it up. In the meantime, you might have been able to use that extra monthly money for other uses, like building an emergency fund or saving for retirement.
"Once you've committed, you can't make a change easily or without cost," warned Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, a mortgage information website.
Of course, whether or not you will ever have a chance to get such low rates again is a hard game to play.
But then again, "It’s amazing how often these once-in-a-lifetime things happen," Gumbinger said.

March 4, 2020: "Single Women, Minorities Flock To Digital Mortgage Lenders; Here’s How Minority Homebuyers Can Get A Leg Up", a Forbes article detailing how to approach today's changing mortgage environment by Aly J. Yale contained some context provided by HSH.com vice president Keith Gumbinger:

Separate the emotion.
"To the extent possible, try to separate emotion and logic. People talk about buying a home, but ‘home’ is an emotional concept. You are buying a house, a physical object with features and shortcomings, and need to evaluate it carefully and relative to your capabilities. You need to consider the time and cost commitment needed for maintenance - let alone improvement - and consider things like the cost and time component of a changing commute, for example. Getting in over one's head isn't likely to happen from the mortgage side, but it can get overwhelming from the management/maintenance/change-of-lifestyle side."

March 4, 2020: "Coronavirus scare, lowered interest rates could be chance to refinance your home", a Detroit Free Press look at federal reserve actions and mortgage rates by Susan Tompor included some context from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

All the added economic uncertainty has been driving investors to seek safety in bonds, sending long term rates tumbling and contributing to a fall in mortgage rates.
"Right now, it's all coronavirus all the time," said Keith Gumbinger, a mortgage expert and vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage information website.
Gumbinger offered this example: Take someone who bought a home in 2014 but did not refinance yet. The original 30-year mortgage was $200,000. And the rate was 4.37%. The monthly payment was nearly $1,000.
Say the borrower refinances the remaining balance of $177,497. And say the refinance rate will be 3.45% on a 20-year mortgage.
The monthly payment would be a tad more at $1,025 a month. But over the life of the mortgage, the consumer would save around $37,000 after closing costs and fees.

March 4, 2020: "How to Get a Mortgage When You're Self-Employed", a Money.com review of difficulties and challenges of getting a mortgage today by Chris Taylor featured some market realities provided by HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

Documentation is your friend
Even if freelancers have up and down months, you want to show lenders your long-term averages. That means furnishing at least a couple of years of documentation, which will let banks see the numbers in black-and-white and help them breathe easier. "In general, a lender will want to see a two-year history of earnings to establish an income pattern," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage information site HSH.com. If you can demonstrate more than that, even better.
If you do get turned down for a loan as a freelancer, don't take it personally, and don't give up. LendingTree and other websites allow you to compare rates from multiple lenders, and local mortgage brokers often specialize in handling difficult-to-place loans.
Says Gumbinger: "Just because one place may say ‘No,’ doesn't mean that all doors are closed to you."

March 3, 2020: "Treasury yields have fallen to record lows. Why haven't mortgage rates followed?", a San Francisco Chronicle look at the relationship of mortgages to wild financial markets by Kathleen Pender included a review of items driving mortgage rates by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

Interest rates are all about supply and demand. Last week, as stocks fell more than 10% in their swiftest correction in history, investors worldwide were piling into the perceived safety of U.S. Treasurys. That pushed their prices up and their yields, which move in the opposite direction, down.
But those same buyers were not necessarily buying mortgage-backed bonds, which help set the direction of mortgage rates, said Keith Gumbinger, a vice president with HSH.com, a mortgage website. Mortgage bonds "are not nearly as liquid" as Treasury bonds, and thus not as easy to buy during a panic and dump later.
Although Treasury and mortgage yields are closely aligned, "it’s not a perfect lockstep relationship," he said.
If the coronavirus sends the economy into a tailspin, they might not see this as the best time to be making 30-year home loans. Right now, mortgage defaults and delinquencies are near all-time lows, "similar to where they were in 2003-04," Gumbinger said. At that time "everyone said these things never default, we can do anything and there is no risk. That is part of what led" to the financial crisis.
It’s also possible that the Treasury mania could be short-lived. In that case, "we may not get to the 2012 lows" in mortgage rates this week, Gumbinger said.
If rates do keep falling, some homeowners may want to refinance their mortgages. However, rates have been so low for so long, it might not be worth it for many people. "We have had rates within a percentage point of where we are now for about seven years," Gumbinger said.

February 26, 2020: "Tips to Avoid Being House-Poor ", a syndicated Smart Moves column by Ellen James Martin looking at mortgage risks included a quote from HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

But in reality, many buyers with solid jobs and decent credit scores can still obtain a home loan so large they're at risk of financial peril, says Keith Gumbinger, a vice president at HSH Associates (hsh.com), which tracks mortgage rates throughout the country.
One reason many buyers can qualify for too large a mortgage has to do with the way lenders evaluate applicants. Though household expenses have risen dramatically in many categories, including for health and education, lenders still rely heavily on applicants’ gross income as the main gauge of their borrowing capacity.
"Lenders don't know how much money you have left over after you've met all your other obligations," Gumbinger says.

February 22, 2020: "Mortgages 2020", a Real Estate Today Radio discussion between HSH.com vice president Keith Gumbinger and host Stephen Gasque regarding mortgage market conditions in 2020.

February 17. 2020: "Here's How to Buy a Home If You Can't Save for a Down Payment", a Money.com look at alternatives for cash-strapped homebuyers by Daniel Bortz included some context provided by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's VP:

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans were created for low- and moderate-income households that would otherwise be locked out of the housing market, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage information website. They require a minimum down payment of 3.5% and a minimum credit score of 580, but borrowers with a credit score of 500 to 579 can qualify by making a 10% down payment.

February 16, 2020: "7 facts about FHA loans you should know", a Inman News article looking at the features, benefits and drawbacks to FHA-backed mortgages by Steve Cook included some HSH rates and expertise provided by HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger:

FHA mortgage rates began to be consistently lower than conforming loan rates by 0.125 to 0.25 percent in 2010, partly because of the lack of penalties on FHA loans for having a lower credit score or a higher loan-to-value, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of the mortgage site HSH.com

February 14, 2020: "How Much House Can I Afford?", a Money.com article addressing homebuyer concerns in today's tight real estate market by Catherine Alford included a mindset suggested by Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

When you do start looking at properties, keep in mind that you will most likely be looking at previously-owned homes and that your choices will be limited to what is available in the real estate market. You'll probably have to compromise on some of the features you would ideally like to have in your new home. "Knowing what you don't want can be just as valuable as knowing what you do want," says Keith Gumbinger, Vice President of HSH.com, an online consumer’s mortgage resource. "Develop a sense of what you're willing to compromise on." By doing so, you avoid being dissatisfied with the result.
Focusing on the preparation required to purchase as opposed to the excitement of it can help you stay on budget. "Try to the extent possible to separate emotion and logic," says Gumbinger. "People talk about buying a home, but 'home' is an emotional concept."

February 1, 2020: "Homeownership in the Roaring 20s", a Real Estate Today Radio interview with HSH.com vice president Keith Gumbinger and host Stephen Gasque on mortgage and housing market conditions as we begin a new decade.

January 16, 2020: "4 key questions to ask now before you decide to refinance your mortgage", a CNBC.com look at refinancing strategies by Ilana Polyak included quotes from Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president:

Many observers, like Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage data company HSH.com, expect refinancing will stay elevated throughout 2020 but taper off as the year progresses and more borrowers take advantage of the low rate and are no longer interested in refinancing.
For most people, the goal of refinancing is to lower monthly bills. Say you have a 30-year mortgage for $250,000 that you took out a year ago at 4.46%. That would bring your monthly payment to $1,260.78, according to the refinancing calculator at HSH.com. Refinancing would reduce that payment to $1,147.37. Better yet, you’ll save more than $34,000 in interest over the life of the loan.
"Paying cash for your closing costs means never having to worry about higher payments down the line," said Gumbinger of HSH.com.

January 11, 2020: "Buying in the Roaring 20’s", a Real Estate Today Radio discussion about housing market conditions in the start of the new decade included an interview on mortgage strategies with Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president.

Back to HSH.com in the News — 2019

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