Mortgage rates fell last week during the shortened trading week


Last week mortgage rates fell during the shortened trading week. Existing home sales rose in October after under-performing for most of 2017. October durable goods were weak, but this came after a very strong September (upwardly-revised), so the market didn’t pay much notice.

Mortgages got their direction for the week on Wednesday when the minutes from the November FOMC meeting kept December tightening on-track but painted a picture of a deeper split at the Fed between those who want to continue to tighten / normalize and those who worry about continuing to raise rates into low inflation.

Source: Caliber Home Loans

Fannie Mae’s Loan Limits to increase in 2018

Fannie Mae has issued Lender Letter LL-2017-10 to confirm the general and high-cost area loan limits announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The new loan limit in most of the country will be $453,100, which represents a 6.8 percent increase over the 2017 limit. All but 71 counties (or county equivalents) will see a loan limit increase.

The new limits are effective for whole loans delivered to Fannie Mae and loans in MBS pools with issue dates on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

I have listed the loan limits for Spokane County below:

2018 Loan Limit for a 1 Unit Dwelling: $453,100

2018 Loan Limit for a 2 Unit Dwelling: $580,150

2018 Loan Limit for a 3 Unit Dwelling: $701,250

2018 Loan Limit for a 4 Unit Dwelling: $871,450

Mortgage Rates Tick Upwards

Chart with key to success

Mortgage rates increased last week with the European Commission’s boosted growth forecasts being the main culprit, while selling of European Debt is dragging down U.S. Treasuries and MBS prices. Equity Prices also declined last week, with confidence that Congress will be able to pass a tax cut bill this year beginning to wane.

Source: Caliber Home Loans

Spokane area sees October’ sales volume up 19.7%, average sale price up 5.3% and median sale price up 5.5%


Reported closed sales of single family homes on less than one acre including condominiums picked up for October after a slight down turn in September. 803 closed sales were reported, up 19.7% over the 671 closed sales reported for October last year. The average sales price for this October was $227,733 compared to $216,326 last October, an increase of 5.3%. The median sales price for October was $209,900 an increase of 5.5% over last October’s median sales price of $199,000.

Year to date sales through October total 6,773 sales, an increase of 7.2% over the total of 6,316 through October 2016. The year to date average sales price is $228,123, up 7.1% over last years average sales price through October of $212,936. The year to date median sales price is $210,000 up 7.5% over the same period last year when the median sales price was $195,279.

New construction sales reported for October increased significantly. In October new construction totaled 83 compared to 72 in October 2016. Year to date new construction sales lag behind last year 627 compared to 699 in 2016, down 10.3%. Inventory continues to be tight with current inventory of 1,709 properties. This is the same total inventory the Spokane MLS had last year at this time.

For market information specific to your immediate neighborhood, contact us!

North Spokane (North Indian Trail & Five Mile) Sees Year-over-Year Median Sale Price Increase of 8.17%

MLS Area 331

The median year over year sale price in North Spokane’s North Indian Trail and Five Mile neighborhoods (MLS Area 331) was found to indicate a year over year median sale price increase of 8.17%.

The year over year median sale price in the MLS area increased from $240,000 in 2016 (based on 786 data points between 10/30/2015 and 10/30/2016) to $259,609 in 2017 (based on 896 data points between 10/30/2016 and 10/30/2017).

Among one unit housing, the neighborhood’s low price was $72,000. The neighborhood’s high price was $840,000. The predominant neighborhood value was $260,000.

Among one unit housing, the neighborhood’s age range was zero years on the low end, 117 years on the high end and the predominant neighborhood age was 19 years.

896 units were found to have been sold in the MLS area over the course of the last 12 months. This indicated an absorption rate of 74.66 units per month.

As of the effective date of this report, 259 active and pending listings were noted in the MLS area which indicated a 3.46 month supply (an under supply) of inventory.

Typical exposure time in the MLS area as a whole was found to be 28 days based on the median DOM of sold homes in the MLS area over the course of the last 12 months.

If you live outside of these North Spokane neighborhoods and would like a snapshot of how things are doing in your neighborhood, feel free to contact me.

Winterizing Your Home


Winter appears to be settling in early for a long and chilly season. Before Spokane’s temperatures dip too far south, follow these simple guidelines to winterize your home and save money on utilities.

Inside Your Home
Have your furnace system serviced to ensure it’s working efficiently and not emitting carbon monoxide.
Clean permanent furnace filters and replace paper or disposable filters.
Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
If you have a wood stove or fireplace, have your chimney swept thoroughly. It should be cleaned before the soot build up reaches one-fourth inch thickness inside the chimney flue.
Check your hot water heater for leaks and maintain proper temperature setting (120 degrees recommended by Department of Energy). On older water heaters with less insulation, for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit you lower the temperature, you save 6 percent of your water heating energy.
Check the attic to see if insulation needs to be added or replaced. This is the most significant area of heat loss in many homes, so it is also important to see that it has proper ventilation. Inadequate ventilation could lead to premature deterioration of the insulation materials. You may also need to check insulation in exterior walls, crawl spaces and along foundation walls.
Check all windows and doors for air leaks. Install storm windows and putty, caulk or add weather stripping as needed.
Check basement and cellars for seal cracks or leaks in walls and floor.
Make sure all vents are clean and operating properly.
Clean and vacuum baseboard heaters, heating ducts and vents.
Remove or winterize air conditioning units.

Outside Your Home
Store or cover outdoor furniture, toys and grill.
Purchase rock salt for melting snow and a shovel or snow blower if you don’t already have one. Make sure you have the right kind of gas and oil on hand for your snow blower in the case of an unexpected snowstorm.
Caulk joints and minor cracks on exterior walls and siding.
Look for deteriorating finishes. Minor problems can be patched to preserve the wood. Put bigger jobs, such as scraping and refinishing painted or stained areas, on the calendar for next spring or early summer.
Drain and shut off sprinkler systems and other exterior water lines to avoid frozen and broken pipes. Leave all taps slightly open.
Insulate exterior spigots and other pipes that are subject to freezing but can’t be drained or shut off.
Rake and compost leaves and garden debris, or put out for yard-waste pickup.
Clean storm drains, gutters and other drain pipes.
Check the foundation for proper drainage. To do this, spray yard with a hose to see if water runs away from the house. A little shoveling to reshape the earth next to the house may make the water run away from the foundation.
Make sure dirt or piles of wood don’t come into contact with or touch siding, inviting termites and carpenter ants into the house.
Seal driveway and walkway cracks, if needed, before ground freezes regularly.
Inspect the roof for loose, damaged or missing pieces.
Check attic vent openings for nests or other blockages.

What is an Appraisal Review?


As stated in an announcement by the Federal Reserve, “financial institutions must have an effective, independent real estate appraisal and evaluation plan,” and that appraisers fulfilling reviews ought to “have the knowledge and skillfulness to assess compliance with the Federal Reserves appraisal regulations and guidelines.”

Appraisal reviews “should determine whether the appraisal or evaluation is well-suited for the transaction, the liability of the transaction, and whether the means by which the collateral valuation is obtained ensures independence and quality,” the Federal Reserve says. Moreover, they “must denote whether the appraisal or evaluation report is compatible with the engagement letter, which gives an account of the extent of the appraisal assignment.” Last, The Federal Reserve says that “some financial institutions reinforce routine reviews with post-funding assessments of appraisal quality for a few of their higher-risk or greater-value dealings as a way to aid in uncovering valuation concerns.”

In addition to adjusting our work to the procedures and guidelines of our review clients, there are four Fannie Mae forms that are largely used for review services, and we will formulate an appraisal review on any one of them. They include an appraisal “desk” review, a “field” review, a “short” form and a “narrative” form. Here at Edwards Appraisal Group, we’re trained in every form of appraisal review, review practice and the requirements of review appraisers.

Edwards Appraisal Group understands what the greatest inadequacies are, particularly in our home market, as well as what constitutes a quality appraisal.