Mortgage Rates Hit Lowest Level in Over a Year
It’s been an ‘interest’ing rate market to watch over the years, that is an understatement. When most have predicted rates to slowly rise this year (with also the ‘potential’ mild recession estimated between now and 2021), in recent days rates have fallen to their lowest levels in over 12 months. We are closely monitoring interest rates as always.
** We are trying to notify all past clients that may benefit from refinancing, but if you wish to review the numbers please contact us. As a reminder, we shop and make the best wholesale lenders compete resulting in lower rates and fees. Please contact me directly for questions or a quote anytime and happy to analyze the numbers. This will ensure you get access to more favorable terms opposed to contacting the current loan servicer as you’ll want to avoid these retail lenders directly and retail margins. Again, please contact us if you’re interested in a refinance ‘check-in’ to see if any benefit. We also greatly appreciate referrals for anyone you know buying or refinancing!
The Continued Fight for Transparency & Honesty in Mortgage Lending
Since the financial crisis over a decade ago, many people know that we have fought for a better and more transparent primary mortgage market in the United States. Although we may only be licensed in Oregon & Washington, I’ve fought for improvements both locally and in Washington DC.
VA loans are targeted by many retail lenders and one of the most abused benefits today, meant to favor the brave men and women that have served our country. Last month I recorded this video below to expose these practices that went mini-viral on social media. Vital that Veterans and ALL consumers hear this message. While Veterans are harmed most, it impacts all consumers.
We will continue to hammer this message across the US. Pardon my French in the video, but enough is enough.
Spring Break in Full Swing
I hope you and your family are able to enjoy some down time as we enter the spring season. For those of us born and raised in the Northwest, we appreciate every sunny day we can get.
If you’re staying in town, there are a lot of great places to visit. HERE are 12 spring break destinations to see in the Pacific NW.
Home Equity Check Up
We have a great new tool with comprehensive property and comparable data available to all past clients, along with their friends and family. If you or anyone you know would like information on a property address, we’re happy to share this interactive report which many find very useful. If just getting an idea on current equity, considering selling, or getting information on a property of interest, it’s useful.
Oregon & Washington Real Estate Update
The median home value in Oregon is $346,100. Oregon home values have gone up 5.6% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.9% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Oregon is $213. The median price of homes currently listed in Oregon is $374,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $337,300. The median rent price in Oregon is $1,700.
Foreclosures will be a factor impacting home values in the next several years. In Oregon 1.1 homes are foreclosed (per 10,000). This is lower than the national value of 1.2
Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Oregon is 0.6%, which is lower than the national value of 1.1%. With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth. The percent of Oregon homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 4.1%.
The median home value in Washington is $385,400. Washington home values have gone up 6.6% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 4.7% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Washington is $227. The median price of homes currently listed in Washington is $399,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $364,000. The median rent price in Washington is $1,950.
Foreclosures will be a factor impacting home values in the next several years. In Washington 0.8 homes are foreclosed (per 10,000). This is lower than the national value of 1.2
Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Washington is 0.6%, which is lower than the national value of 1.1%. With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth. The percent of Washington homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 4.3%.
Tax Time – 2018 Tax Reform Impact
April 15th is fast approaching.. as many know, Congress has passed the largest piece of tax reform legislation in more than three decades. The bill went into place on January 1, 2018, which means that it will affect the taxes of most taxpayers for the 2018 tax year.
Most are curious of how they will be affected and we suggest a tax professional or CPA for any specific and personal questions. However, here is a quick recap of some of the major tax provisions in the new tax bill and how they may impact you.
Lower Tax Rates and Changed Income Ranges
The bill retains the seven tax brackets found in current law, but lowers a number of the tax rates. It also changes the income thresholds at which the rates apply.
- The current brackets are: 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%
- The new brackets will be: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%
The income thresholds at which these brackets kick in have changed, as well.
Alternative Minimum Tax Exemptions Increased
The bill also eases the burden of the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) by raising the income exempted from $84,500 (adjusted for inflation) to $109,400 married filing jointly and from $54,300 (adjusted for inflation) to $70,300 for single taxpayers, so fewer taxpayers will pay it.
Tax Relief for Individuals and Families
Increased standard deduction:
The new tax law nearly doubles the standard deduction amount. Single taxpayers will see their standard deductions jump from $6,350 for 2017 taxes to $12,000 for 2018 taxes (the ones you file in 2019).
Married couples filing jointly see an increase from $12,700 to $24,000. These increases mean that fewer people will have to itemize. Today, roughly 30% of taxpayers itemize. Under the new law, this percentage is expected to decrease.
Increased Child Tax Credit:
For, families with children the Child Tax Credit is doubled from $1,000 per child to $2,000. In addition, the amount that is refundable grows from $1,100 to $1,400. The bill also adds a new, non-refundable credit of $500 for dependents other than children. Finally, it raises the income threshold at which these benefits phase out from $110,000 for a married couple to $400,000.
Eliminations or Reductions in Deductions
Personal and dependent exemptions:
The bill eliminates the personal and dependent exemptions for 2018, which were $4,050 for 2017.
State and local taxes/Home mortgages:
The bill limits the amount of state and local property, income, and sales taxes that can be deducted to $10,000. In the past, these taxes have generally been fully tax deductible.
The bill also caps the amount of mortgage indebtedness on new home purchases on which interest can be deducted at $750,000 down from $1,000,000 in current law.
The bill eliminates the tax penalty for not having health insurance after December 31, 2018. It also temporarily lowers the floor above which out-of-pocket medical expenses can be deducted from the current law floor of 10% to 7.5% for 2017 and 2018
So for 2018, you can deduct medical expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income as opposed to the higher 10%.
Self-employed (contractors, freelancers, sole proprietors) and small businesses:
The bill has a myriad of changes for business. The biggest includes a reduction in the top corporate rate to 21%, a new 20% deduction for incomes from certain type of “pass-through” entities (partnerships, S Corps, sole proprietorships), limits on expensing of interest from borrowing, almost doubling of the amount small businesses can expense from the 2017 Section 179 amount of $510,000 to $1,000,000, and eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT).
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