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I’m quoted in Detroit Free Press regarding mortgage rates at record lows

By Zlati Meyer, Detroit Free Press

Mortgage rates fell to their lowest levels ever this week, giving more reason for optimism that the fledgling housing recovery is gaining traction.

And real estate agents in metro Detroit are elated.

“The effect on the market has been amazing,” said John McArdle, a Remerica Hometown broker in Plymouth. “If you have a home on the market today that is not a short sale or not bank-owned, the buyer pressure on those houses is immense. We’re seeing multiple offers. We’re seeing more inquiries on our inventory and the Realtors are out showing more homes than in the past summers, by far, which is a clear sign we’re in the midst of a moderate local recovery.”

McArdle, who focuses on the I-275 corridor, said a Canton home he was representing went on the market on June 26 for $215,000. By Friday, his clients had seven offers and wound up selling it for $10,000 above the asking price.

“We’re seeing the number of days on the market lowered. We’re seeing unit prices in our office up 11% over last year’s and the number of sales increase over 15% in our office,” he added.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.56% from 3.62% last week, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, dipped to 2.86% from last week’s previous record of 2.89%.

That’s not the rate you might get with possible points and your credit score factored in. But it’s probably lower than what you would have gotten last week, or last year.

Tim Holden, a broker at Coldwell Banker in Birmingham, estimated in his area there are two or three people trying to buy every house on the market, plus the prices they’re paying are going up.

“Under 4% for an interest rate is ungodly,” he said. “Mine was above 6%. I know people who had 7%. I think they’re like, ‘Wow. It’s much cheaper to do that than to rent’ and they’re just (paying) rent and realizing ‘Yes, this is the time to buy.’”

Birmingham-based Max Broock Realtor William Brundage noted that lower interest rates are affecting buyers at all income levels, including first-time homebuyers and people with jumbo mortgages (more than $420,000).

The first-timers now have “the ability to buy more home” and the higher-end buyers are able to move into the higher-end luxury market.

He cited a young couple buying their first home who were looking in the $160,000 range six months ago, but now were able to buy a $235,000 home in West Bloomfield.

“The low mortgage rates are just driving buyers into the marketplace,” Brundage said. “We’re seeing a lot of buyers we talked to 18, 24 months ago that were kind of hemming and hawing and … now, they’re actively looking to buy.”

But the picture isn’t all rosy in southeastern Michigan.

According to the most recent data from RealtyTrac, a foreclosure website, Michigan had the seventh-highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first half of 2012 with foreclosure filings in process affecting 1.02% of all houses.

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