Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low – Third Time this Year

May 29, 2020
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.

Sales of existing homes plunged 17.8% in April, the slowest pace since 2011, reflecting the economic damage from the virus that shut down wide swaths of business and social life. The normally busy spring homebuying season has been upended. At the same time, home prices have been rising.

Bleak economic data, meanwhile, continues to pour in. A government report Thursday showed that the U.S. economy shrank at an even faster pace in the first three months of the year than initially estimated. Economists expect a far worse outcome in the current April-June quarter.

The government also reported that 41 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits since the outbreak intensified in March, though not all are still unemployed. An estimated 2.1 million filed for benefits last week despite the gradual reopening of businesses around the country.

In a glimmer of hope, the overall number of people currently drawing jobless benefits fell for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million, suggesting that some companies are starting to rehire.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Quiet yet busy morning in Celebration

May 29, 2020

Kathy talks about the quiet, yet busy time in Celebration Florida…

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Local Market Statistics for Osceola County

May 28, 2020

Osceola County Stats - April 2020.pptx

Call Imagination Realty (Kathleen Carlson, Owner/Broker) for more details!


As Skittish Investors Back Off, First-Time Buyers Step In

May 28, 2020
RE investors base a purchase price on future expectations, but the pandemic created market confusion. As a result, first-timers face less competition for starter homes.

CHICAGO – The mix of homebuyers has been shifting since the pandemic began: Investor numbers are shrinking, as the number of first-time homebuyers is on the rise. First-timers don’t have to sell one home before purchasing another, and many have a newly boosted appreciation for homeownership after weeks of isolation.

In April 2020, the share of first-time buyers rose to 36%, a year-to-year increase from 32%, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ April 2020 Realtors Confidence Index Survey.

“Homebuyers are facing less competition from investors, and they are also benefiting from low mortgage rates,” says Scholastica “Gay” Cororaton, a, NAR researcher on the Economists’ Outlook blog. With fewer investors, cash sales dropped to 15% of existing-home sales in April, down from 20% a year earlier.

Record low mortgage rates also entice some first-time buyers. The estimated monthly mortgage payment on a home purchased at the median price of $286,800 with a 10% down payment on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was $1,131 – $90 less than the median rent of $1,041 in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, as first-time buyers increase in the marketplace, investors retreat. Those who plan to rent out a home to fix up and rent may perceive greater financial risk associated with renters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cororaton thinks investors are unlikely to purchase single-family properties at the rate they did during the Great Recession, which had sparked a wave of discounted foreclosures.

“In the current health and economic crisis, properties are not being foreclosed,” Cororaton notes. Also, so far, home prices are standing firm.

Source: “5 Housing Market Trends as Of April 2020,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog (May 22, 2020)

© Copyright 2020 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD

New-home sales rise as Americans freed from lockdowns go house-hunting

May 27, 2020

Demand is being boosted by mortgage rates near record lows, says NAHB’s chief economist

New-home sales rose in April as Americans went on a buying spree as soon as state lockdowns were lifted.

Builders sold 623,000 houses at an annualized and seasonally adjusted pace, a gain of 0.6% from the revised March rate of 619,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday in a report that records signed contracts as sales. Economists had expected sales would drop for a third consecutive month in April because of the economic shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was among the group expecting to see a decline in sales, but instead we’re seeing the stabilization of the housing market in April,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. “March may have been the low point.”

New-home sales are being boosted by mortgage rates near the lowest levels ever recorded, said Dietz. It’s helping to overcome “headwinds” such as a spike in the jobless rate and a tightening in requirements to get a mortgage, he said.

“Housing demand is responding to the low interest rates,” Dietz said. “There’s a pent-up demand as states begin to reopen, and it’s showing us that housing really is going to be a sector that helps to lead the economy into recovery mode.”

Three of four U.S. regions posted gains in April, compared to March, led by an 8.7% increase in the Northeast and gains of 2.4% in the South and Midwest. The West region that includes California, the nation’s most populous state, dropped 6.3%, the report said.

The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.24% last week, within one basis point of an all-time low set two weeks earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

The Federal Reserve began buying mortgage-backed securities in mid-March to keep credit flowing amid the economic jolt caused by the pandemic, which boosted competition for the bonds and put downward pressure on rates.

The average 30-year fixed rate probably will continue dropping through the rest of 2020, Fannie Mae said in a forecast earlier this month. It likely will average 3.2% in the current quarter, 3.1% in the third quarter, and 3% in the final three months of the year, Fannie Mae said.


Call Imagination Realty (Kathleen Carlson, Owner/Broker)  to start your search!            321-939-1300

Just Another Day in Celebration~Ville!

May 26, 2020


Restrictive measures being applied, of course, however some amenities are available, such as pools!

We were able to honor in memory all fallen soldiers on Saturday at Veterans Park.

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Studies Suggest Buyers Prepared to Hit the Ground Running

May 22, 2020
Google and report a big uptick in buyer activity – time spent searching for homes, viewing specific listings and sharing homes with friends – and two Fla. cities rank near the top for increased buyer interest: No. 3 Jacksonville (up 96.08%) and No. 4 Miami (up 81.82%).

ORLANDO, Fla. – While listing inventory remains a wild card, and Google Searches released data that suggests a lot of buyers see the pandemic as a pitstop on the way to homeownership rather than an end-point.

According to, “listing visits, saves and shares are all up significantly since the first wave of shelter-in-place orders took effect on March 16 – especially for those listings with virtual tours.”

Google Searches compared a metro area’s lowest day of home searches during 2020 to home searches at the end of April to measure improvement. Out of 50 cities listed, two Florida cities ranked in the top 10. At No. 3, the Jacksonville metro area had 96.08% more home searches at the end of April than it had on its slowest day of 2020 so far. And at No. 4, Miami had 81.82% more searches at the end of last month.

Tampa ranked as No. 35 with a 44.26% increase in buyer interest, and Orlando ranked No. 39 with a 34.92% increase. Tucson, Arizona was number one for home search increases with 164.71%; Indianapolis bottomed out at No. 50 on Google’s list, but home search activity still was up 8.62%. listed the increased use by home-search function on its website:

  • Up 30%: Listing views for single family homes and condos
  • Up 76%: Saved homes
  • Up 95%: Sharing home listings with other users
  • Up 14%: Time spent per unique user

“Data suggests that home shoppers who had paused their search are now picking it back up, and the spring homebuying season won’t be lost, but merely pushed into the summer months,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at “Tools such as virtual tours and Livestream Open Houses are enabling consumers to safely continue their home search while maintaining social distancing guidelines.”

“There are probably people who think there are going to be bargains in the marketplace,” says Tendayi Kapfidze, LendingTree’s chief economist. “They might be anticipating … fewer buyers competing because many people have had a disruption to their incomes or are uncertain about the outlook for their jobs. The low interest rates also make it an attractive time.”

Since shelter-in-place orders began, the growth rate for listing visits to homes that offer virtual tours has been twice as high as those without virtual tours. User visits were also 29% higher for listings featuring virtual tours, with increased engagement and a greater likelihood of a consumer connecting with an agent. According to

  • Two thirds (64%) of its users took a virtual tour, and of those, 45% prefer listings that offer virtual tours
  • 65% of home buyers believe virtual tours will continue to be a great resource in their home shopping process even after the pandemic
  • An additional 8% think virtual tours can be a replacement for in-person tours
  • When asked what they like about virtual tours, top responses include: They help me eliminate homes that aren’t for me (52%); they help me see the details of a home without having to step inside (43%); they help me create a shortlist of homes I want to see in person (38%); and they allow me to see more homes quickly without having to drive around to open houses (30%)

By Kerry Smith

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

Just Another Day in Celebration~Ville!

May 18, 2020

Please share some of the things you are doing to keep busy during this time!

Here’s the latest from Celebration!

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Kathy giving thanks!

May 15, 2020

What are some of the things you are thankful for?

Today? This week? This month? This year?

It’s always good to take time to appreciate the simple things in our lives!

Homeschooling with Grandpa

May 14, 2020

The Carlson house is participating in the “Homeschool” program like everyone else.

Check out the video of Grandpa Carlson with his 4 year old twins.

They’ve discovered a fun way to learn!