In its post-meeting statement, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise the current federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent. Although FOMC members acknowledged further improvement in the U.S. economy and jobs markets, the committee cited the following as influencing its decision not to raise the current federal funds rate:
Household income continued to rise, but consumers have “moderated” their spending.
Inflation is expected to remain below the Fed’s goal of two percent in the near term.
Temporary influences including low energy and import prices are expected to ease.
FOMC monetary policy decisions made in April’s meeting were guided by the Fed’s dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and its inflation goal of two percent. Labor markets improved since the Committee’s March meeting, but inflation is not expected to reach the Fed’s goal in the near term.
No Fed Rate Increase in April; Moderate Increases Expected
While the FOMC did not raise the federal funds rate, its statement suggested that future rate increases are likely. Potential increases in the federal funds rate would be gradual into the medium term. FOMC’s April statement hinted that incremental rate increases over time would be expected to facilitate further economic growth and help achieve the two percent inflation goal. According to the statement, any potential increases in the federal funds rate would be “accommodative.” This indicates that FOMC members do not want to raise rates too quickly, which could interfere with current economic growth.
Fed Concerns over Global Economy Ease
Notably absent from April’s FOMC statement were concerns over global economic conditions and developments. In March, the Fed characterized global economic and financial conditions as a risk to U.S. economic growth, but April’s statement said that FOMC members would continue monitoring global news and developments with no mention of potential risks.
Analysts said that the Fed could have been “more hawkish” in its position, but also said that a rate increase could occur in June if FOMC members conclude that economic conditions are favorable. FOMC statements typically indicate that monetary policy decisions are pre-determined way, but rely on the committee’s ongoing review of global and domestic financial and economic developments.
Unless economic developments intervene, Fed policy makers opened the door to a rate increase in June. Past FOMC statements indicated plans to raise the federal funds rate up to four times in 2016, but these plans were revised to two potential rate increases for 2016.
With the Home Affordable Refinancing Program recently being extended until the last day of December, 2016, many homeowners who have found their assets in a challenging situation have been given a second chance to apply and receive an affordable mortgage.
By taking advantage of the HARP program, eligible borrowers can refinance to the current mortgage rates on their homes while avoiding paying for private mortgage insurance or putting down the principal.
A Quick Primer On The HARP Refinancing Program
With the economy in a strong downturn in 2008, the value of millions of American homes plunged and the owners found themselves owning property with negative equity.
The Home Affordable Refinancing Program was created by the government to assist people whose home values were lower than the outstanding balance on their mortgages. Previously it would have been impossible to refinance for a better interest rate on the current value of the home, so HARP was designed to help any of these borrowers stay above water.
Who Is Eligible For HARP Refinancing?
There is a certain set of criteria that needs to be met in order to qualify for the HARP refinancing program, but two major points stand out: The mortgage must have been granted earlier than May 31, 2009 and it must have been granted by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
It is important to point out that many banks do not back their own mortgages and work as a servicer, a middle-man to collect the mortgage that is actually backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Many borrowers believe they do not qualify without double checking with their lender to see if the mortgage was granted by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, so it is imperative to contact the lender or check online to see who granted the mortgage.
There are also several disqualifiers that should be known. With certain exceptions, many borrowers who have previously refinanced their home under the HARP program are ineligible. The other major factor is that homes must have a loan-to-value ratio of 80% or higher.
What Is The Next Step For Eligible Borrowers?
The next step for anybody eligible for the HARP refinancing program is to check the current rates and see if refinancing would be beneficial. Your local mortgage professional will have experience with the HARP application process and will be able to confirm today’s rates to see if applying is the right move.
With all the work that goes into finding the kind of home you’ll want to put an offer on, it can be easy to forget about all the little things that happen after the deal has been made. While the paperwork involved in purchasing may seem like a long way off, here’s a quick review of some of the documents you’ll need when the time comes to seal the deal.
Your Credit Report
It’s important to review your credit before putting an offer in, so ensure that you request your credit report in advance and review it for any errors that may be present. If there are any discrepancies negatively impacting your credit score, you’ll be able to have them corrected before they can cause an issue with your real estate purchase.
Pay Stub Proof
In order to ascertain your ability to pay your monthly mortgage, you will need to provide pay stubs from your current place of employment. You won’t want to give away your originals, but a photocopy of your paychecks usually serves as adequate verification.
Recent Bank Statements
The number of bank statements required to prove your credit history may change depending on the lender you’re dealing with, but you’ll probably need photocopies from the last two to three months. This will be a means of proving your financial health as well as your ability to pay your monthly mortgage.
Tax Return Copies
Your federal tax returns will provide further proof of your employment and financial standing, so the last two years of these – complete with your signature – will need to be submitted. Keep in mind that any schedules you’ve filled out to complete your yearly returns should also be included.
Additional Asset Statements
In addition to recent bank statements, if you have any stocks and bonds, mutual funds, RRSPs or other investments, you should also provide statements of proof for these. While these accounts will only require your most recent statements, they will be beneficial in providing a more comprehensive picture of your finances.
There are many aspects of purchasing a home that can be time consuming, but having the documents you need beforehand can save a lot of stress when crunch time comes. If you’re planning on purchasing a home soon, contact your trusted local mortgage professional for more information.