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August 11, 2010

California Home Loan Rates Decline

Nationwide reported that San Diego mortgage rates remained at record lows for new home buying and refinancing.   From Oceanside to Chula Vista, San Diego loan applicants continued to see significant home financing opportunities because of the low interest rates that were available locally to qualified borrowers.  Nationwide published a report indicating that 30-year fixed California mortgage rates ranged from 4.32% to 5%.  Southern California home loan rates continue to rescue many homeowners from rising adjustable rates and mortgage payments that many homeowners could no longer afford.

Lenders APR Rates
National Average 4.894% 4.75%
Wells Fargo 4.848% 4.75%
Nationwide Mortgage 4.615% 4.5%

Apparently VA mortgage rates were available at 4.125% for fixed loan terms.  And for those borrowers who were comfortable with an interest rate only fixed for 5 years (5/1 ARM), California FHA loans could be found at 3.75% for qualified loan applicants.


May 17, 2010

Lowest Mortgage Rates of 2017 Drive California Homeowners to Refinance

A thirty-year California mortgage loan with a fixed interest rate, including lending fees, averaged 4.96%, the lowest level since week ended March 12th. California rates were still higher the 4.76% last year and the all-time low of 4.6%.  The demand for refinancing in California rose but the home loan applications declined statewide as the federal home buyer tax credits expired.  The 100% VA loan remained the best bet for homeowners looking to buy a home with no money down.  However VA eligibility is required for the California VA loan.

On average, homes sold last month in the Southern California area were on the market for 122 days before their sales closed. That’s four days longer than in March.  Also this week, the National Association of Realtors reported.    Freddie Mac reported last week yesterday that California mortgage rates had fallen to their lowest rates of the year.  Thousands of borrowers rushed online to shop California mortgage loans after hearing the interest rates were so low for mortgage refinancing.

Compare California mortgage rates


Orange County (Anaheim)



Los Angeles-Long Beach-



Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario






San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos



San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont



San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara




February 25, 2010

Jumbo Mortgage Loan Programs Improving

The recent mortgage meltdown caused jumbo mortgage rates to soar and the availability for non-conformning loans shrunk significantly. However signs are indicating that jumbo rates are declining and lenders are more willing to make loans that top the limits for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the FHA.

Phil Kelly had 18 more months to go before the fixed rate on his $2.5-million mortgage became adjustable.  But when Kelly, a former computer executive living in Rancho Santa Fe, learned he could knock his interest rate down by a full percentage point by mortgage refinancing, he went for it.  “It’s always tough to pick the exact bottom or top of anything,” Kelly said. “But I think this rate is about as low as you’re going to get.” For most California borrowers, jumbo mortgage refinance options have been few and far between.

Jumbo Mortgage Rates:  For home loans greater than $729,750 in counties with the highest-cost housing — shot up during the financial crisis as lenders and loan investors shunned anything tainted with even a whiff of higher risk. Rates on big mortgages were especially high relative to those on smaller loans.  But in a boon for borrowers in California’s expensive housing markets, the jumbo-home loan market is starting to return to normal.

According to rate tracker Informa Research, two weeks ago, the average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate jumbos dropped to 5.79%, a nearly five-year low, Services of Calabasas. It edged up to 5.88% on Tuesday, still very attractive by historical standards. The average has dropped from the 7% in late 2008.  Today, fewer borrowers qualify for jumbo home mortgage loans, because stated income loans have disappeared.

Jumbo rates are even lower on hybrid adjustable mortgage loans. With these hybrid ARM’s, the interest rate is fixed for three, five, seven or ten years before it becomes an adjustable rate loan. (ie. 3/1, 5/1, 7/12, 10/1 ARM)

Banks are also relaxing slightly some of their requirements for jumbo mortgage loans. That’s an encouraging sign because the market for jumbos, in contrast with the rest of the mortgage business, isn’t being supported by government backed bonds.  Unfortunately million dollar home loans are not supported by the Obama Administration.

The lower jumbo mortgage rates and somewhat easier terms reflect newfound confidence among banks in the housing market. That’s because, jumbos loans exceed the maximum loan amounts that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have agreed to insure.  In addition, the private market for mortgage-backed bonds dried up when the meltdown hit. So mortgage lenders offering jumbo mortgage loans in today’s market are willing to take the risk of servicing them in their portfolios.

The maximum amounts for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae “conforming” mortgages, and for FHA mortgages, are set by Congress. The cutoff for single-family homes was $417,000 from 2006 until February 2008, when lawmakers increased it temporarily to $729,750 in certain high-cost areas, including Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties. Conforming loans top out at $500,000 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties and $697,500 in San Diego County.

The increased upper limits, which have been extended until the end of this year, have created a three-tier system in expensive areas, mortgage professionals say: loans of up to $417,000, which are the easiest to obtain and carry the lowest rates; “conforming jumbos” from $417,000 to $729,750, which are somewhat harder to get and have slightly higher rates; and true jumbos, with the toughest standards and highest rates.

In the boom years of 2005 and 2006, jumbo mortgage rates were typically no more than a quarter of a percentage point higher on jumbo loans than on conforming loans, according to Informa Research. That widened as the mortgage meltdown intensified and home prices dropped in late 2007. The spread ballooned to nearly 1.7 percentage points in early 2009 after the entire credit system froze.

But this year the rate spread has narrowed to less than a percentage point. It could shrink more if conforming-loan rates rise as expected after the Federal Reserve wraps up a $1-trillion-plus program to support the market for conforming loans next month.

In addition to lower rates, down-payment requirements are being relaxed in some cases. For example, to write a jumbo loan in coastal areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage looks for a 20% down payment or that percentage of equity, down from 25% last year, said Brad Blackwell, a national mortgage sales manager at the lender.

The reason: Wells believes high-end home prices are stabilizing in those coastal counties. But the bank still requires higher down payments in the Inland Empire and other battered housing markets such as Florida, Nevada and Arizona, where prices for jumbo-size homes don’t appear to be stabilizing, he said.

Jumbo loans remain much harder to get than before the credit crunch and recession. Borrowers typically must have a credit score of at least 700, compared with boom-era minimums in the 600s, though Laguna Niguel mortgage broker Jeff Lazerson said at least one lender was again making sub-700 jumbos available.

What’s more, unless their down payments are very large, borrowers must provide evidence of high income, have sizable bank accounts as a cushion against the unforeseen and occupy the houses themselves.

But there are clear signs that the jumbo market has loosened. One is an increasing availability of “stated income” loans — those that don’t require proof of income — of as much as $2 million to borrowers with at least a 40% down payment, said mortgage broker Gary Bluman, owner of Real Estate Resources in Brentwood.

Also, instead of a true jumbo loan, some “piggyback” second mortgage loans are available again to help certain borrowers with 25% down payments pay for high-priced homes, Lazerson said.

Of course, adjustable, stated-income and piggyback loans were big contributors to the mortgage meltdown. But such provisions are less risky if a borrower has 25% to 40% equity.  Despite the confidence in the market that such terms imply, lenders and mortgage investors are still dealing with piles of bad jumbos made during the boom.

Delinquencies of 60 days or more on prime jumbo loans that were packaged into securities jumped to 9.6% in January, up from 3.7% a year earlier, Fitch Ratings reported this month.  The jumbo delinquency rate in California climbed to 11.3% from 4.1% a year earlier.

For now, the jumbo market remains limited to the volume of loans that banks are willing and able to keep on their books. But there is hope for a return to private outside funding. Although no jumbo loans have been turned into securities for at least two years, packages of delinquent jumbos have begun to be sold again to “vulture” investors, a sign that the secondary market for the home loans may revive, said Michael Fratantoni, vice president of research at the Mortgage Bankers Assn.  “The ice sheet,” he said, “is starting to crack here and there.”


December 11, 2009

California Mortgage Rates Rise

California homeowners have taken quite a hit in home values over the last few years.  Many local residents are hoping the record low interest rates will help soften their losses.Just a few weeks ago California mortgage rates hit a new all time record low of 4.375% on a 30 year fixed mortgage. The current California mortgage rates have crept up slightly for conventional, FHA, VA and jumbo home loans. As a result the 10 year treasury yield, used to forecast mortgage rates, has also steadily risen over the past 2 weeks and sits at 3.482% as of close on Thursday afternoon. California home prices have stabilized as pending home sales are at a 2 year high.


Current California Mortgage Rates

FreeRateUpdate.com reported the latest rates for wholesale mortgage lenders in California mortgage rates shows California interest rates are up from record lows but holding at present levels. The buy rate for California thirty-year fixed rate is currently at 4.75%.  The current rate for California fifteen-year fixed rate is 4.25%, up from 4.125% last week.


FHA Mortgage Rates

Check the California FHA Loan Limits for restrictions by county.  Today’s California jumbo 30 year fixed mortgage rate is 5.875%, up from 5.75% last week. California FHA mortgage rates are near record lows. Today’s California FHA mortgage rates start at 4.75% 30 years fixed, up from 4.375% 2 weeks ago.