Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low – Third Time this Year

At 3.15%, the median 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage set another record. It’s down from last week’s 3.24% and the lowest since Freddie Mac started tracking in 1971.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week as the key 30-year home loan marked an all-time low for the third time in the last few months since the coronavirus outbreak took hold.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan tumbled to 3.15% from 3.24% last week. It was the lowest level since Freddie started tracking rates in 1971. A year ago, the rate stood at 3.99%.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.62% from 2.70% last week.

Spurred by the fall in borrowing rates, demand for home purchases by prospective buyers has rebounded from a decline of 35% in mid-April to an 8% increase as of last week, Freddie economists noted.
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FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT PLANS TO LOWER BILLS

 
Florida Power & Light (FPL) announced Monday in a letter to customers that it is taking the unprecedented step of asking the Florida Public Service Commission to allow the utility to fast-track a significant decrease in electric bills beginning in May, which would result in FPL’s average residential customer who currently pays about $96 each month, receiving a one-time decrease of nearly 25% on their May bill. Business customers also will see a significant one-time decrease in May. Click here to learn more. ​​​​​​​

Florida – PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT DUE DATE EXTENDED

PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT DUE DATE EXTENDED

Department of Revenue Executive Director Jim Zingale has issued an emergency order to extend the final due date for property tax payments for the 2019 tax year. Order of Emergency Waiver/Deviation #20-52-DOR-001applies to all 67 Florida counties. Property tax is normally due by March 31 in the year following the year the taxes are assessed. The Department waives the due date so that payments remitted by April 15, 2020, for the 2019 tax year will be considered timely paid. Property taxpayers can visit the official Lee County Tax Collector website to complete their payment online. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 16 directed the Department of Revenue to provide flexibility on tax due dates to assist those adversely affected by COVID-19. In addition, Zingale issued Emergency order #20-52-DOR-002 in relation to filing deadlines for Florida businesses. Taxpayers adversely affected by COVID-19 are encouraged to send questions to email questions here. For more information, click here.

Study: It’s 16% Cheaper to Buy Now than Late 2018

Home prices are going up; mortgage rates are going down. A study by Black Knight found that the buyer savings from mortgage rate drops more than offsets the rise in home prices by about 16% (about $48,000) in just over a year’s time.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville-based Black Knight Inc. examined home price growth and affordability in the context of today’s lower-interest-rate environment in its latest monthly report. It found that the negative impact of rising home prices has been more than offset by mortgage interest rate declines.

“Even with home price growth accelerating, today’s low-interest-rate environment has made home affordability the best it’s been since early 2018,” says Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske. “At that time, the housing market was red-hot with national home price growth at 6.6% and climbing – before rising rates and tightening affordability triggered a pullback in growth rates.”

Even though average home prices have increased by almost $13,000 a little over a year ago, “the monthly mortgage payment required to buy that same home has actually dropped by 10% over that same span due to falling interest rates,” Graboske says.

Black Knight analysis

  • Home prices continue to react to falling interest rates. December marked four consecutive months of acceleration in the annual rate of growth and had the largest single-month acceleration in more than 6.5 years
  • After falling from nearly 7% in early 2018 to 3.8% in August 2019, the national home price growth rate gained nearly a full percentage point increase over the last four months of 2019, climbing to 4.7% to close out the year
  • Still, 30-year interest rates fell to 3.6% in late January 2020 and made housing the most affordable it’s been since early 2018
  • Despite the average home price increasing by nearly $13,000 from just over a year ago, the monthly mortgage payment required to buy that same home has dropped by 10% over that same span due to falling interest rates
  • It now requires 20.6% of median monthly income to purchase the same home as it did just over a year ago – the smallest such payment-to-income ratio in two years Put another way, buying power for those shopping for the average-priced home has increased by 16% (approximately $48,000) in just over a year’s time

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

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Florida Listed No 8 in Kiplinger’s Most Tax-Friendly States

The study, which looked only at taxes, praised Fla.’s lack of income tax, “reasonable” property tax, homestead exemption and “average” state and local tax rates.

  • State income tax: None
  • Average state and local sales tax: 7.05%
  • Average property tax: $1,041 per $100,000 in home value
  • Estate tax/Inheritance tax: No/No

The Sunshine State is very popular with retirees, not just because of its forgiving climate but also because it has no state income tax. Sales taxes, though, can go as high as 8.5%, depending on where you live. The average combined state and local tax rate is 7.05%, which is about average.

Property taxes are reasonable in Florida. The average annual property tax on a $400,000 home in the state is $4,166, which is also average. Florida residents ages 65 and older who meet certain income limits can also receive an extra homestead exemption of up to $50,000 from some city and county governments and/or an exemption equal to the assessed value of the property, as long as the real estate has a fair market value of less than $250,000, the homeowner has maintained permanent residence at the location for at least 25 years, and household income does not exceed $30,174 in 2019. Any widow or widower who is a Florida resident may claim an additional $500 exemption as well.

You don’t need to worry about estate or inheritance taxes in Florida, either.
© 2019 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Rocky Mengle

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Mortgage Rates Fall Again – Edge Closer to 4%

U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell slightly this week, marking a third straight week of declines as a continued inducement to purchasers in the spring homebuying season.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage eased to 4.07% from 4.10% last week. By contrast, a year ago the benchmark rate stood at 4.61%.

The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans declined this week to 3.53% from 3.57% last week.

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Mortgage Rates falling Again – Good News For Buyers!

WASHINGTON (AP) – Feb. 21, 2019 – U.S. long-term mortgage rates dipped this week to the lowest average in more than a year, providing a possible boost to the start of the spring homebuying season in March.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.35 percent from 4.37 percent last week. The key 30-year home borrowing rate averaged 4.40 percent a year ago.

This week was the lowest average since the week of February 8, 2018.

The average rate this week for 15-year, fixed-rate loans declined to 3.78 percent from 3.81 percent.

Mortgage rates hew closely to changes in the interest charged on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes. Lower borrowing costs should help boost home sales, as rising mortgage rates in 2018 caused homebuying to tumble last year.

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 Copyright 2019 The Associated Press, Josh Boak. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Kiplinger: Florida No. 4 tax-friendly state – and top 3 are cold

NEW YORK – Oct. 17, 2018 – The economy is booming, with the unemployment rate at the lowest level in nearly 50 years. Wages have remained relatively stagnant, though, and for many workers, the only way to get a raise is by changing jobs, which sometimes means moving to another city or state.
But before you start packing, check out the cost of living in your prospective employer’s city. You’ll want to look at the cost of housing, of course, and don’t overlook the impact of state and local taxes on your bottom line. Our annual guide to state taxes shows that tax rates are literally all over the map – and the difference between living in a high-tax or a low-tax state can be thousands of dollars each year, depending on your tax situation.
Updated for 2018, here is our list of the 10 most tax-friendly states in the U.S. The top five states on our list have no state income tax at all. Take a look.
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Is Florida looking at a renter crisis if Amendment 2 fails?

Floridians will soon be considering a number of constitutional amendments that could drastically impact the state and its approximately 21 million residents. Chief among those ballot considerations is Amendment 2, which seeks to preserve the 10 percent cap on annual increases of non-homestead property taxes that has been in place for the last 10 years.

Non-homestead properties are properties that don’t serve as a person’s primary residence – and rental homes are one of the largest segments of non-homestead properties in Florida. According to the most recent Census estimates, rental homes house more than one-third of the state’s population currently – the highest amount since the 1980s.

“The really scary thing about Amendment 2 failing is the domino effect that will start to ripple through our communities, starting with our renters,” says Zach Sanchez, a broker for THINK Real Estate in Panama City Beach. “Many renters live on fixed incomes and don’t have much room in their budget to absorb a rent increase that is sure to come if property owners start seeing tax increases in excess of 10 percent a year.”

Florida voters approved the current 10 percent cap in 2008 as a way to solve an ongoing property tax crisis that was punishing non-homestead property owners and renters. According to data contained in a Revenue Estimating Conference analysis conducted in 2011, 30 percent of all non-homestead Florida properties were hit with an 80 percent tax increase in just one year – from 2005 to 2006. This meant a property valued at $300,000 in one year could be taxed at $540,000 or more the next. That same year, nearly 75 percent of all non-homestead properties in the state suffered an increase of more than 10 percent in value.

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U.S. mortgage rates up; 30-year at 7-year high, 4.72%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sept. 27, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates are up for the fifth straight week, with the key 30-year rate reaching its highest level in more than seven years.

Costs for would-be homebuyers continue to climb. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.72 percent from 4.65 percent last week. The average benchmark rate has risen from 3.83 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans increased to 4.16 percent this week from 4.11 percent last week.
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