Debt-to-income ratio can sink mortgage application – why and how….

WASHINGTON β€” For many home buyers, qualifying for a mortgage not only is a tough challenge but one that ends unhappily: They get rejected.

The reasons for the turndowns typically involve multiple factors, including below-par credit scores, inadequate documented income to support the monthly payments, and little savings in the bank.

But a new survey by credit-score giant FICO offers buyers a rare peek inside the heads of credit-risk managers at financial institutions across the country and in Canada. Researchers asked a representative sample of them what single factor in an application makes them most hesitant to fund a loan request β€” in other words, what’s most likely to prompt them to say no.

The results provide practical insights to anyone who is thinking about applying for a mortgage. Tops on the list? Surprise, it’s not your credit scores. It’s not how much you’ve got for a down payment or what’s in the bank. It’s your “DTIs” β€” your debt-to-income ratios. Nearly 60% of risk managers in the FICO study rated excessive DTIs their No. 1 concern factor β€” five times the percentage who picked the next biggest turnoff.

Yet many new buyers have only a rough idea in advance of an application β€” even for a pre-approval letter β€” about their own DTIs, how lenders view them, and what sort of limits they’re likely to encounter.

Since they are so important to a successful application, here’s a quick overview on what goes into DTIs and why they are such a big red flag. Debt-to-income ratios for home loans are the most direct indication to a bank about whether you are going to be able to afford to repay the money you want to borrow.

Debt ratios for home loans have two components.

The first measures your gross income from all sources before taxes against your proposed monthly housing expenses, including the principal, interest, taxes and insurance that you’d be paying if the lender granted the mortgage you sought.

As a general target, lenders like to see your housing expense ratio come in at no higher than 28% of gross monthly income, though there is flexibility to go higher if other elements of your application are viewed as strong. In May, according to mortgage software and research firm Ellie Mae, the average borrower who obtained home purchase money through investors Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had a housing expense ratio of 22%. Federal Housing Administration-approved borrowers had average housing expense ratios of 28%.

The second DTI component β€” the so-called back-end ratio β€” measures your income against all your recurring monthly debts. These include housing expenses, credit cards, student loans, personal loan payments and others. Under federal “qualified mortgage” standards that took effect in January, your back-end ratio maximum generally is 43%, though again there is wiggle room case by case.

Most lenders making loans eligible for sale to Fannie or Freddie prefer not to see you anywhere close to 43%. In May, according to Ellie Mae, the average approved home purchase applicant had a back-end ratio of 34%. Even at FHA, which tends to be more lenient on credit matters than Fannie or Freddie, the average back-end ratio for buyers was 41%. The average for denied applications was 47%.

A good place to learn more about DTIs and to compute your own is Fannie Mae’s consumer-friendly “know your options” site (www.knowyouroptions.com), which includes calculators and other helpful tools.

The new FICO survey found that the second leading cause of concern for loan officers is “multiple recent credit applications.” Lenders spot these on your credit reports and take them as signals that you are seeking to add on even more debt, which could affect your ability to repay the mortgage money you’re asking them to give you.

In third place as an instant turnoff: your credit scores. Most lenders want to see FICO scores well above 700 β€” Fannie and Freddie averages were in the 755 range in May; FHA average approved scores were a more generous 684.

Bottom line here: If you want to be successful in your mortgage application, be aware of these key turnoff points for lenders and take steps to avoid the tripwires. Most important: Postpone your purchase until your DTI ratios tell you that yes, you can afford the house you want and lenders won’t reject you out of hand.

kenharney@earthlink.net

Distributed by Washington Post Writers Group.

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Pending Home Sales Surge Nationwide

Pending Home Sales Surge Nationwide

Posted by RE-Insider on 7/14/14 β€’ Categorized as Industry News

While much of this year has proven to be a bust for those of us in the RE industry, recent waves of good news have been emerging. Lately we’ve seen mortgage rates going down, inventory going up and new jobs being created – all signs that an improving market is on its way – and now it would seem that our hopes have come to fruition, as a new study has found that pending home sales have jumped the most since 2010.

According to a study performed by the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales surged more than expected in May, the latest sign a sluggish housing recovery is picking up steam.

Nationwide, signed contracts for previously owned homes jumped 6.1% from April, beating the median forecast of a 1.5% rise and the largest bump we’ve seen in four years!

Additionally, buyers closed deals on 4.9% more previously owned homes in May than April and new home sales jumped 18.6% in May.

β€œAn improvement in sales is likely to continue for at least a few more months, a welcomed reprieve after a significantly slow start to the year,” Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza said in a statement. Further gains, Piegza said, will rely on β€œsustained improvement in income and job creation.

Still, the market isn’t humming like last year. Higher prices and fewer foreclosures have investors and families less likely to strike a deal. Pending sales in May were 5.2% below 2013 levels.

Regardless, this is a change which we can all rejoice.

Have noticed the increase of pending sales in your markets? What are your thoughts?

You can read the full story here:

 

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