VA loan limits



This provides more options for veterans

in choosing a new home!


Effective immediately, VA loan limits have increased to $453,100! This is a 6.84% increase from last year’s loan limit.

What to expect regarding housing during the government shutdown!

Hello All….Below is an article released by the National Association of Mortgage Professionals…….I just want everyone to be “in-the-know” so we all may set expectations up-front regarding Mortgage and Real Estate transactions to our clients.  …..Thanks  for the info Tony Stevenson

Government Shutdown Arrives … Who in the Housing and Finance Sector Feel Its Impact?

NAMB Tue, 2013-10-01 06:16 — Eric C. Peck – …

The midnight hour came and went as Congress battled back and forth and Americans will wake up Tuesday morning to many of its previously offered governmental services shut down or cut back. Our elected officials will resume talks at 9:30 a.m. EST to try to hammer out their issues and come to a resolution and end the first government shutdown in 17 years as it began at 12:01 EST.

With Obamacare at the heart of the matter, federal employees who are considered essential will continue to work. However, for the 800,000-plus deemed “non-essential,” they will be faced with furloughs, unsure of just when they will be able to work or be paid again. Most are expected to be out of their offices within four hours of the start of business Tuesday morning, Oct. 1.

“The shutdown isn’t going to help the U.S. economy continue to grow and interest rates across the board could very well increase, depending on what the bond market does during this time,” said Don Frommeyer, president of NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals.

“Let us resolve our differences,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “The House has voted to keep the government open, but we also want basic fairness for all Americans under Obamacare.”

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) lists a current staff of 8,709. During the shutdown, only 349 of those employees are deemed “essential,” as 8,360 will be furloughed. In a document issued Sept. 27, HUD indicated that the FHA will be able to endorse single-family loans during the shutdown. However, only a limited number of FHA staff will be available to underwrite and approve new loans so the process will take longer. Most loss mitigation for homeowners facing foreclosure (including FHA loan modifications, FHA-HAMP, etc.) will continue. The FHA will also not approve any lender applications during the shutdown. Last week, HUD issued a Contingency Plan detailing ways the Department will deal with the shutdown.

USDA-Rural Development currently employs 4,730, and only a mere 53 will be kept on during the furlough, leaving a total of 4,677 out in the cold. There are certain limited activities conducted by USDA-Rural Development for the purpose of preserving the government’s property. This property includes Rural Development’s loan portfolio, which currently exceeds $190 billion and serves as collateral for loans and borrowers’ funds paid to Rural Development in escrow for real estate taxes and property insurance.

One of the largest government sectors, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employs 332,025 total. Of that number, only a small portion (14,224) are expected to be furloughed. The reason for so many VA employees being kept on is that most are funded through multi-year and other types of appropriations.

Of the U.S. Department of Justice’s 114,486 total workforce, 17,742 are expected to be furloughed, while 96,744 are considered “essential.” The majority of workers at the FBI, ATF, the DEA and other agencies within the Department of Justice would report to work. However, U.S. Attorneys would curtail a good portion of civil litigation and the U.S. Antitrust division would not prepare any new proceedings.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) job is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering, such as mortgage fraud and cyber fraud. Of the Network’s 345 total employees, only 30 will be kept on and the remaining 315 will be furloughed. The Network will continue computer operations to prevent the loss of data and maintaining minimal telecommunications.

A total of 8,752 of the workforce at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be kept on. Employing 94,516 total, a whopping 85,764 would fall victim to the furlough. Impacted by this situation are all of the IRS’s audit functions; examination of returns and processing of non-electronic tax returns that do not include remittances; non-automated collections; legal counsel; taxpayer services, such as responding to taxpayer questions (call sites); information systems functions (except as necessary to prevent loss of data in process); and all planning, research and training and development activities.

One office not impacted will be the employees at the offices of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). Its 193 employees will maintain business as usual, continuing oversight for the 2008 Wall Street bailout. SIGTARP is financed by multi-year appropriations and is essentially exempted from a shutdown.

The Social Security Administration’s 62,343-strong workforce will see 18,006 of its employees furloughed. The 44,337 who will continue to work will provide services such as verification of mortgage borrowers’ Social Security Numbers.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are funded outside of the appropriations process, so these agencies will continue to function. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is funded through the annual appropriations process and will not be impacted by the shutdown.

And as Congress goes head to head on these issues, are they really in a big hurry to take action and get these 800,000-plus back into the workforce? It turns out Congressional members are safe from the furlough, as the 533 current members of Congress will continue to be paid, protected by the 27th Amendment which prevents any Congress from changing its own pay.

“The idea of putting the American people’s hard-earned progress at risk is the height of irresponsibility, and it doesn’t have to happen,” said President Barack Obama. “Let me repeat this. It does not have to happen.”  (End Article).

Keep in mind that even Conventional loans may be delayed as most Underwriting guidelines require a copy of Tax transcripts and from my understanding the IRS is shutdown as well.

By all means-keep selling.  As they say, “this too will pass.”  We just have to educate our clients on both sides-Seller and Buyer-as to what to expect and the process involved.

I got this article from Tony Stevenson  He is well informed!! 

Real Estate & Mortgage Industry News

San Antonio has been selected as one of eight cities by the Washington-based Brookings Institution to participate in the Metropolitan Export Exchange Program, aimed at boosting the city’s exports and attracting foreign investments. Great news for the economic development for the Alamo City.  Further news is that the Eagle Ford Shale is expected to last at least 16 years in the South Texas area. When more people are working, more are willing to spend.  That is why when communities invest in their future, such as San Antonio is doing now, can only result in a positive impact for the area.  What  happens in San Antonio/Austin, spills over into the Texas Hill Country as well.

Put October 19th-20th and October 26th-27th on your calendar to experience the Parade of Homes “All Across the Hill Country” in Horseshoe Bay/Fredericksburg,  16 beautiful new completely decorated homes and beautifully landscaped homes will be on display.  For more info go to:  www.hillcountrybuilders.or and


Record low Mortgage rates are helping the Mortgage and Real Estate industries.  The 30 year fixed rate index dropped to yet another record low in the past two weeks to 3.36% and 2.69% for the 15 year fixed rate index.  Keep in mind that these rates include an origination fee and/or discounts points. Refinancing?  The Mortgage Banker Association’s Refinance Index hit its highest level since April 2009 in the week ended September 28, rising 20 percent from the previous week.  The jump in refinancing is attributed to the record low rates as well.  The question to ask yourself ( or someone you know)  is,  “are you going to take advantage of these low rates?”  I am even refinancing clients who to advantage of the times only  about three years ago when rates were considered low back then.  Whether you are considering buying a home or refinancing, doesn’t it feel good to know you got in at the right time? Or, are you……?



Tony Stevenson

Senior Loan Officer, SWBC Mortgage Corporation

NMLS# 216213

9311 San Pedro Avenue, Suite 100
San Antonio, Texas 78216

(210) 376-6133  –  Direct

(800) 460-6990  –  Toll Free

(210) 846-4666  –  Mobile


Economic News Week: September 24, 2012

By Tony Stevenson/SWBC Mortgage

The DOW closed slightly downward at 13,579.47 on Friday.  Global news is that Europe is moving closer to solving its own debt woes. Especially, giving  Spain a way out of its own debt crisis.  Friday, a week ago, the DOW closed at 13,593.  So the see-saw continues  before U.S. election day.  As almost predicted the markets have been fluctuating from 12500 to 13500.  I have noticed that some economists are predicting a “sky is falling” outlook and  that we could take huge losses once again in stocks, using transportation stocks as the predictor. I am not saying either way what I think will happen except phooey!  If the average stock  investor listens to these so-called “woe-is-me” economists, bad things could very well happen, especially  if they  start a sell-off and money grab. But, I like to keep things in perspective and look for the positive.  Besides Europe’s good news, oil has dropped, causing most Americans to have a little more spending cash from the little savings in gasoline prices we have seen recently.  Oil slid from $100 a barrel to $92 a barrel this past week.  Hopefully, gas prices will slide even further in coming days. One other bit of positive news is that the U.S. trade deficit dropped 12.1 percent in  the second quarter. Weekly jobless claims fell slightly last week too.  The U.S. economy is not where we want it to be, but it is far better than it used to be-just a few short years ago. So,  Christmas may be a little brighter this year as a result.  Welcome Fall weather and activities!


Real Estate, Mortgage Industry, and Other Economic News


The Unemployment rate dipped to 6 percent in August for San Antonio, down from 6.8% the month before.  This is the Alamo City’s lowest level in more than three years as 4,300 jobs were added according to the Federal Reserve Board in Dallas.  The jobless rate for Texas is 7.1% compared to the U.S. average which is 8.1%.  Austin has the lowest unemployment rate for metro areas at 5.7%.  Keith Phillips, the senior economic policy advisor for the Dallas Fed in San Antonio said, “I look at the numbers and see a pretty healthy San Antonio.”  He said the area’s job picture has been clouded since the summer of 2011 when government hiring fell off, mostly related to layoffs in schools. In my opinion, our state government should be ashamed of themselves  for cutting back on our children’s future. Keep pressure on your Texas Legislatures to find a better way to fund education in Texas.


Statewide, “a major component in Texas’ long term economic development is consistent job growth, and that is exactly what we are seeing across a number of different industries (in Texas),”  commission chairman Andres Alcantor said in a recent news conference. I will also add that yes, jobs are a major component in growth, but  so is income.  We have to have good paying jobs to create a better economy as well.  The Eagle Ford Shale is helping in that area.


Existing home sales rose 7.8% in August year-over-year to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.82 million the National Association of Realtors said.  This is the highest increase since May 2010 when a government first-time home buyers assistance program was in existence. According to the Commerce Department, housing “Starts”  were up 29% in August compared to August 2011 as well.  Confidence among home builders rose this month to its highest level in six years according to the National Association of Home Builders.  The housing markets seem to be rounding the corner in most areas across the nation.  I know that in Texas-as a whole-we are experiencing better housing numbers among the major metro areas, including the Texas Hill Country. I recently had closings in Boerne, Johnson City, Fredericksburg, and Kerrville. Business has been good and I expect it to get even better.


Kudos to Boerne for making “Liveabilitys”  Top 10 list of places to live/visit/vacation in the U.S. ranking at the number 4 spot nationwide.  Like many other Hill Country towns, Boerne offers a number of amenities, including the arts, beautiful nature areas and rivers , outside sports, shops, restaurants, and its good people.  Boerne also hosts events such as Boerne Berges Fest, Kendall County Fair, the annually Dickens on Main, and Christmas Parade, and much more.  Way to go Boerne!


According to Freddie Mac, the average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to its previous record of 3.49 percent last week.  The rate on the 15 year fixed Mortgage rate hit a new record, 2.77 percent. Keep in mind that these rates include a 1% origination fee and/or discount point.  After the Fed announced QE3 last week, we expected rates to drop further. The Fed’s announcement to purchase $40 billion in Mortgage-backed securities did cause rates to drop, but not to expected levels.  Mortgage Bankers/Lenders are having to calculate their losses in newly re-locked rates as some consumers threatened to go elsewhere if their  current rate-lock was not adjusted downward. What most folks don’t realize is that when a Mortgage rate is locked, it  costs Lenders and the secondary markets  money.  Those losses were calculated into current rates. Still at historically low levels, Mortgage rates and home prices are now at levels that it may be worth more to buy a home, than to rent.  Find a Local realtor and Local Mortgage Loan Officer and let them be your guide in the most important purchase you will most likely make in your lifetime.  Oh, and by the way, it is still fun and exciting  to buy a home as long as you find the right folks to help you with the process.


Economic Data Due this week:  Watch for Thursday’s 2nd quarter GDP report.  And  Friday’s Consumer Spending report as it will  show  how well consumers are doing just that-spending/consuming.  70 percent  of our economy relies on consumer spending.  The question is, “ did consumers tighten their wallets?”  Tuesday:  Consumer Confidence Index.  Tuesday:  Case/Shiller Home Price Index.  Wednesday:  New Home Sales report.  Thursday:  Weekly Jobless Claims.  Thursday:  GDP 2nd Quarter.  Thursday:  Durable Goods report.  Thursday:  Pending Home Sales Report.  Friday:  Consumer Spending Report.


Economic News Week: March 26, 2012

U.S. stocks rose on Friday and ended up closing at 13080.73. Despite slowing economic news from China, U.S. stocks were able to hold their own.  So  yes, it really does matter what the price of “something” is in China.  What happens economically over-seas doesn’t always stay over-seas as we might wish sometimes.  Yet, our U.S. economy is still on a positive roll.  However, Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke said the slow recovery from the Great Recession and 2008 financial crisis illustrates how vulnerable the global economy is.  He urged economic policy makers to learn from that lesson.  Mr. Bernanke also reassured a congressional panel that U.S. banks could withstand shocks from Europe, even if the debt crisis there significantly worsened.  The Conference Board says its index of leading economic indicators rose 7 percent in February, after just a .02 percent increase in January-which is  more welcomed news for our U.S. economy.


Real Estate, Mortgage Industry, and Other Economic News

 Business is  growing  again at Stinson Municipal Airport in South San Antonio.  Mainly because of improving economic activity in the Southside and spinoff activity from energy production in the nearby Eagle Ford Shale.  In  San Antonio/Austin- it seems that there a jobs being offered all around.  The problem facing some employers is that there are not enough “trained” applicants.  Especially in the manufacturing sector.   Go figure, more jobs than applicants,  that’s a problem other state’s wished they had.  San Antonio has been ranked the #3 Metro city for jobs in a recent study.  Austin was ranked #1.


San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is asking for approval of an 1/8th of a cent sales tax to bolster aid for children to attend pre-kinder classes for public schools.  He gets it.  You cannot have a thriving economy if your children are not educated or trained.  Studies have shown that children who attend pre-kinder have a better chance of succeeding at higher grade levels and eventually graduating high school and college.

“Home re-sales post best winter in years”, was a mini headline in the S.A. Express News this past Thursday.  The report stated that U.S. home sales are gradually coming back.  A mild winter and stronger job markets have helped boost sales ahead of the crucial spring buying season.  The past two months made up the best winter for sales of previously occupied homes in five years, when the housing crisis began.  The sales pace in January was the highest since May 2010, the last month that buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit.  February’s sales dipped slightly to a seasonally adjusted 4.59 million, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday.  Still, that’s 13 percent higher than the sales pace just this past July.


New Home builders requested 5 percent more permits in February to build single-family homes and apartments in the coming months. That increased the annual rate to a seasonally adjusted 717,000 permits, the Commerce department said on Tuesday.  It’s the highest level since October 2008. The rise in permits suggests builders see that interest translating into sales over the next 12 months which is how long it typically takes to build a home after a permit is obtained.


Mortgage rates jumped to 4.08 percent, up from 3.92 percent just a week ago, according to Freddie Mac.  There was an article in this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal that says that it might just be time for homeowners to “pull the trigger” on a deal if they are wanting to refinance their current homes.  The article continued to state that while rates are below where they were a year ago, some economists say they are likely to keep rising throughout 2012 and into 2013. That means that your window of opportunity to lock in a rock-bottom rate might be closing soon. “If you’re considering refinancing, there’s really no point in waiting,” says Frank Nothaft, the chief economist at Freddie Mac.  I would include homebuyers as well.  There is no time like the present to buy a home while inventories and rates are at their best in years.


Have you been touring the Texas Hill Country and observing the Texas Bluebonnets along the highways and farm to market roads?  If you haven’t, you still have plenty of time.  But don’t miss out.  I have been out and about and can tell you it is worth the trip.  I hear that the Bluebonnets are beautiful along IH 10 to Houston.  However, I have not driven the Willow City Loop yet (Fredericksburg, TX  area) but, plan to do so very soon.

Economic Data due this week:  Consumer gas prices are weighing heavily on consumer’s minds- and pocket books.  The High Court will hear arguments from both sides this week regarding the Healthcare Reform Act.   Monday– Pending Home Sales.  Tuesday:  Consumer Confidence report.  Wednesday:  Durable Goods Report.  Thursday:  Weekly Jobless Claims.  Thursday:  Gross Domestic Product Report (GDP).  Friday:  PCE Index.  Friday:  Personal Income and Spending reports.  Friday:  Consumer Sentiment.

Economic News Week: February 20, 2012

Better-than-expected U.S. economic news and signs of a resolution to the Greek debt crisis propelled stocks higher this week. “Close, but no cigar” as the DOW stopped just 50 points short of making its way to the 13000 mark. It ended at 12949 on Friday-its best posting since May 2008. The NASDAQ-meanwhile closed at its highest level since December 2000 on Thursday—closing at 2952. Besides the Retail Sales report showing positive numbers once again, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 348,000 the week ending February 11, the lowest since March 2008- a sign that U.S. economic recovery may be gaining traction.

An economist on the WSJ Report (Wall Street Journal) stated that we are seeing better signs for the 3 “R’s”. Firstly, Resolve: Meaning that as long as Europe gets its own debt situation under better control-then stabilization will persist. Secondly, Resilience: Job numbers are trending better than expected. Housing Starts are looking better, and consumer spending remains to be stronger. Thirdly, Recovery: Global concerns are trending downward, but albeit slowly. Market sell-offs are showing little signs of panic attacks.

Real Estate, Mortgage Industry, and Other Local Economic News

Recent comments from Dallas Federal Reserve Bank president and CEO, Richard Fisher said that low interest rates and monetary policy set by the Fed is not enough to solve the U.S. employment crisis. I totally agree. Even though these help greatly, it is not just up to our U.S. Congress but, also our State Legislatures. Look at what our own Texas Legislature is having to focus on at the moment- “redistricting”. What a waste of taxpayer money. This is an attempt by both sides to gain traction for their own political parties to garner votes. On a national level, Congress should be working together to help Americans gain jobs. Instead all I see is both parties pointing fingers and blaming each other for current joblessness in America (which is getting better by the way). Personally, we as Americans should use our “fire” power and voting power by electing officials we truly believe have our nation’s true interest at heart. Some of those interests may vary. I believe in helping those who are less fortunate and making America stronger and better for all Americans by creating an educated society. Yes, it will take hard work on everyone’s part. We’ve all heard the slogan, “No child left behind”. How about a new one, “No American left behind”!

Helped by good early growing conditions, Hill Country peach growers are looking forward to a terrific crop of the sweet tasting fruit. However, concerns are that peaches may be maturing a little too early as we could still get a late freeze. Pray for more rain-no freezes. Everyone knows that with a wonderful peach crop, tourists from around the state will flock to the Hill Country. Another report says that bluebonnets will be better this year than previous years due to recent rains and warmer than expected weather. In any case, this should be a great year for touring and spending money in the beautiful Texas hill Country.

Finally, a report in the S. A. Express News said that there are five things economists say you can expect in 2012: 1. An improving national economy, which makes people feel better about home purchases. 2. Texas still out performing the national economy. 3. The continuation of low mortgage rates. 4. Filling out lots of paperwork for mortgage loan documentation. 5. Low inventory levels that could, set the stage for price increases.

Hope you had a great Presidents Day!

Economic Data due this week: Monday: Markets closed for Presidents Day. Wednesday: Existing Home Sales Report. Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims. Thursday: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates. Friday: New Home Sales Report.

Economic News Week: January 9, 2012

Stocks rose last week kicking off the New Year on a high note. The Dow Jones industrial average added 1.2% and ended last Friday at 12359.92.   The S&P 500 rose 1.6% and the Nasdaq gained 2.7%. But the tone on Wall Street has been cautious and trading volumes have been low. Many investors have taken to the sidelines rather than commit to stocks. That could change in the coming weeks as U.S. companies begin to release fourth-quarter reports and corporate leaders discuss the outlook for 2012-all this from CNN’s Money Watch.


Another bit of good economic news is that Auto sales were up for 2011.  Auto sales remain an American economic booster when folks are ready to replace there old vehicles for newer ones. Auto sales do not happen when folks are  concerned about losing their jobs as they do not wish to take on increased debt.  So, an increase in sales means our economy is shifting gears for the better.


Local Economic, Real Estate, and Mortgage Industry News


“San Antonio is tops in small-business hiring report” was a headline in Saturday’s S.A. Express News.  A report from a national payroll services company showed that the San Antonio area increased hiring more than any other city in the U.S. last year.  Economists said the small-business job numbers that SurePayroll recorded for San Antonio reflect more growth than expected when the government finalizes overall job counts for 2011.


Home prices will rise and more people will be buying homes in the San Antonio area according to some speakers at the San Antonio Board of Realtors “Housing Forecast” last week.  A 1-2% increase in both sales volume and prices is expected.  “We’re not expecting any great boom”, said James Gaines, research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M.  “But it beats the heck out of going down.” In another comic  commentary, Mr. Gaines also added, “this economy feels sort of like a long family car trip where the kids keep asking, “are we there yet?”  I think he is just about correct in his assumptions about the economy.  However, I will add that all other economic indicators are pointing to better times ahead f0r 2012.  Slowly but surely things are getting better.


Finally, The average rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage fell to 3.91% last week for a short period of time according to Freddie Mac.  That matches the record low reached just two weeks ago.  Again, I am hearing from some Realtors that business seems to be picking-up as compared to this time last year. I would agree.  Home refinance application have picked-up as well.  I guess people are noticing that mortgage rates are still at very attractive levels.  However, the really smart homebuyers have probably also heard that rates/costs are fixing to get higher as when Congress passed the recent tax payroll two month extension they added a cost to be added to home mortgages to help pay for it.  If you or somebody you know is going to be in the market for a home soon, let them know that they had better get a move on if they do not want to pay the extra!


Economic Data due this week:  Monday:  Consumer Credit Data released.   Tuesday:  Wholesale Trade Inventories for November.  Wednesday:  Beige Book released.  Thursday:  Weekly Jobless Claims Report.  Thursday:  Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.  Friday: International Trade Data for November.

Economic News Week: June 6, 2011

By Tony Stevenson/SWBC Mortgage

Stocks fell for a fifth time in as many weeks as the DOW ended this past  Friday at 12151.  Unemployment concerns and concerns over  European debt were the main culprits for the decline.  Moody’s Investor Service is talking about lowering the U.S.’  triple AAA rating if we don’t increase our debt limit.  Keep in mind though that Moody also gave triple AAA ratings for  certain mortgage backed securities during the housing bubble only just a few years ago.   So,  I don’t know how serious their ratings would be taken in the first place.  That being said, Congress really needs to raise the debt limit-if anything-to keep global concerns from spiraling further.  Most economists agree that we are in a “temporary” economic downturn.  The U.S. unemployment rate increased  slightly to 9.1% as the private sector gain 54,000 jobs for the month.  Which is still better than  the 750k job losses we were digesting  just two and a half years ago.  Other causes for the global economic slowdown are the Japanese tsunamis (down 30% car production in San Ant0onio alone), home price declines and foreclosures, the situation in  Libya, and tornados and flooding in N. eastern and southern U.S. states.  It may be time  U.S. corporations to take the bull by the horns and start spending some of their huge earnings  and start re-investing and hiring instead of waiting for the government to intervene again.


Local Economic News

Gov. Perry has ordered our state Congress back in special session to resolve issues not answered during regular session.  Education funding being at the top of the agenda. Let’s hope they don’t put our children’s future at the bottom of the list. Most economists agree that any economic turnaround includes a well-educated community.


Oil did drop 10 percent in May which helped Memorial Day weekend travelers.  The Texas Hill Country was well traveled as river bound floaters and other tourists spent their weekend traveling the Texas highways stopping for short visits along the way.


Bankruptcy filings in South-Central Texas continue to slide.  A 26% drop in filings from just a year ago, May 2010.  Even though our state is finding itself in the throngs of penny-pinching and trying to find cuts- even among the elderly, our state has still been the shining star for the nation.  And I’m not talking about the Texaco Star.  We are being admired for our job growth.  The Eagle Ford Shale has come to the rescue as jobs are being filled daily as  the oil and gas boom in South Texas continues to share its wealth.

Real Estate and Mortgage Industry News

Home prices fell  4.2% in the first quarter to 2002 levels. This provides for an even  better buyer’s market.  Mortgage rates fell again too!  The 30 year fixed rate index fell to 4.55% from 4.60% just a week ago.  Great housing selection, low prices, and low mortgage rates, what else could potential home buyers be waiting for?  It shouldn’t be for lack of money as Mortgage lenders are loaning money.  You just have to have good credit and the ability to pay-along with a minimal down payments-for now.  This can all change at the drop of a hat.  When inflation does eventually raise its ugly head, folks will have wished they bought now-than later.


Personal Note:

SWBC Mortgage welcomes Tamara Tapman as  our Texas Vet/VA Liaison.  Tamara brings  a wealth of knowledge to our staff regarding Texas Vet and VA type loans. Tamara was previously employed by the Veterans  Land Board in San Antonio for 21 years. So, if you know of anyone needing a Texas Vet and/or VA  loan, please keep me in mind.   I promise to make it an even easier process for our Texas Veterans and Military personnel.

Economic Data Due this week: Wednesday: Fed Beige Book=information released for current economic conditions here in the U.S. from all the Fed’s covered regions.   Thursday: International Trade Balance=  this is a report regarding imports vs. exports of U.S. products.  Thursday: Weekly jobless claims.  Thursday: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.


Quote of the week!

Bless your past for the best that has happened

and forget the rest.

— —Brian Buffini


Stupid Joke of the week!

A farmer was quoted in the town newspaper as having “2008 pigs”.

He showed up the next morning to declare to the editor,  “That’s a

misprint!” He continued, “I  never said I have 2008 pigs. I told your reporter that I had 2 sows and 8 pigs.”


Please remember Karen Franz and I with any mortgage referrals you can send us!

Economic News Week: January 31, 2011

“DOW declines 166 On Egypt Unrest” was a headline in the “DOW declines 166 On Egypt Unrest” was a headline in the Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition. The DOW broke its eight week winning streak on the Egyptian crisis. On a more positive note, the WSJ also reported that the economy is picking up steam as output returns to 2007 levels. Even the Consumer Confidence Index climbed to an eighth month high of 60.6 in January. U.S. economic output finally regained the level reached before the recession as growth sped up on stronger consumer spending and exports the WSJ report stated. GDP (Gross Domestic Product)–a broad measure of all goods and services produced–grew at a 3.2% rate in the fourth quarter, the government said last Friday. That’s up form the 2.6% reported the quarter before. This is more proof that the economy is growing and will soon start to bring down unemployment. Consumer spending and businesses investing and building current inventories are at the heart of the economic growth. Huge corporate earnings have helped as well. “With a little more money in their wallets and a little less fear in their hearts, American consumers helped pull the economy up by its bootstraps in the final months of last year,” an article in the New York Times said. Hopes are of course that the economic momentum keeps going and growing. Local Economic Data San Antonio’s venture investment was up and more than tripled last year, the latest MoneyTree report showed. Texas’-as a whole-investments increased 30% from $687 million in 2009. Texas has been and continues to be a great place for businesses and investments. Four area firms were among the “Best places to work” in Texas in an article by Texas Monthly. They are Nustar Energy LP, Randolph Brooks FCU, The San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, and GlobalScape Inc. Also, just announced last week, the San Antonio job market expects another 27,000 jobs for 2011. San Antonio/Austin seem to be the place where folks are coming to in order to live, work, and raise a family. Now, it is up to our State Congress to come to grips with its budget and not allow us to step backwards when it comes to educating our children. Real Estate and Mortgage Industry News The average rate on the 30 year fixed mortgage rose to 4.80% last week from 4.74% the previous week, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Mortgage rates are still at historic levels. I have seen an uptick in purchase Mortgage applications recently. Realtors I have talked with say they have been busier than normal as well. This usually happens when rates start to increase. The fence sitters are testing the waters as they finally realize now may be the time to purchase a home and still get a great rate and a great buy on a home. Its not as hard to get a mortgage loan as some folks may think either. FHA requires only a 3.5% down payment (plus closing costs/escrows) and a FICO credit score of 640 in most cases. USDA Rural Community loans offer a 100% loan program for qualified communities and borrowers as well. I mention this over and over but, I feel it is important to remind folks who are getting ready to take the plunge and buy into the American dream to please find a local Realtor-not someone from out of your buying area. All Real Estate is local. So, if you want the best representation please get with a Realtor who is local and knows the area. Not your sister’s brother-in-law’s cousin who lives 2 hours away! Economic Data due this week: Besides the State-of-Egypt , our Nations unemployment rate will be announced Friday. Monday: PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditure)= This is a measure of goods and services targeted by individuals and consumed by individuals. This is also the Feds favorite gauge on inflation. Thursday: ISM Services Index= This is a survey of purchasing executives from industries such as financial, insurance, real estate, communications, and utilities. Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims. Friday: Unemployment Rate.

Economic News Week: January 24, 2011

The DOW continued its 8th straight week of gains last Friday closing at 11,871.  As 4th quarter corporate earnings begin to roll in, most are beating expectations which in turn is helping stocks.  Southwest Airlines reported a 13% increase in profits as a stronger  economy led more people to fly.  New York banking giant-Morgan Stanley earnings rose 60% in the last three months of the year on strong banking results.  One recent report stated that Americans are starting to get their household finances in order.  From the encouraging earnings reports, major banks say fewer mortgages are going bad, credit card defaults are down and more people are paying their bills on time. Personal spending accounts for  about 70% of the U.S. economy and most economists agree that a fiscally fit consumer is critical to a strong economic recovery. Most economists would also agree that another way to a strong economy is through education. If so, then why cut education?

Local Economic News
San Antonio’s December jobless rate fell to 7.6% from 7.8%.  San Antonio’s unemployment total is still stronger than Texas’ and the nation’s.  The State’s is 8.3% while the nation’s is 9.4%. Austin’s, however is even better as it boasts a 6.8%  unemployment rate. The San Antonio/Austin areas are primed for more jobs.  The announcement last week that San Antonio-alone will be producing some 27,300 jobs for 2011. This is progress in anyone’s book.

Real Estate and Mortgage Industry News
San Antonio was the fourth most-popular real estate market in the country for online searches in 2010, according to  After San Antonio, Austin was in the top ten as well.  The top 10 most searched real estate markets in 2010 were established based on the number of visitors that viewed properties in each city between January and December 2010 on  Mortgage rates remained about parr for the week.  A flitter here and a flitter there caused rates to remain active, but not far from the 4.870% range of last week for the 30 year index..  Still, rates remain at very attractive levels which seems to be causing a stir in the purchase market.