The Coronavirus Effect on Housing

2020 started as the healthiest year for home sales in history.  We’ve relayed the great appreciation rates coming from CoreLogic, where they even indicated annual forecasts of appreciation near 4-5%, showing more strength going forward.   Since the Coronavirus has continued, we are now seeing a slight drop in home buyer demand.  Some models of the virus’s spread are showing a housing market declining from now until August, and others are showing the declining market from now until October.  There is light at the end of this tunnel, however, and we have to play this intelligently.  With either model, there is most likely going to be declining prices in many areas of the country. 

So how do we handle this intelligently? Sellers should still price correctly and know that your crop of buyers is going to be smaller over the next few months during this period, but it will come back soon.  Again, some experts are predicting a bounce-back of the market in August.

For buyers, they should stay in the game and push to purchase a home at a 3-12% discount as some experts are saying.  Combining the fact that interest rates are still very low, with homes potentially selling at a discount, affordability has just increased for home buyers.  This is going to be a bumpy road, but it will be temporary, and if you are looking to purchase, this may be one of the best windows you have to capture a great opportunity before housing comes roaring back.


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30-Second Update:  Conventional Loans with ONLY 3% Down

As an alternative to Federal Housing Authority’s (FHA) 3.5% down payment minimum requirement program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own low, down payment loan products requiring only a 3% down payment.  Fannie Mae’s 3% down program is called Home Ready, and Freddie Mac’s version is Home Possible.  These programs are great for first time home buyers, as well as anyone looking to purchase a home with as little as 3% down.  You do not, however, need to be a first-time homebuyer to utilize these programs.  In addition, both programs allow for the possibility to refinance current mortgages with as little as 3% equity in the property.  Adding to the flexibility of minimal down payment, these products also both offer lower mortgage insurance requirements versus standard conventional products. 

To learn more about these products and the advantages they offer, please reach out to your Advisors Mortgage Group Loan Officer today!

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Jobless Claims and Loan Forbearance

The initial Jobless Claims report came out last week, indicating almost 10 million individuals claimed unemployment over the last two weeks.  Sadly, we know that this number will continue to grow as the coronavirus continues its impact on businesses across the country. 

To try to help with these unemployment rates, the federal government passed the CARES Act which allows borrowers who are unable to repay their mortgage to enter a forbearance period with their loan servicer.  Essentially borrowers can contact their servicer and request a “pause” or a forbearance period where they will not be penalized for any missed payments.  Despite this “pause”, borrowers will have to make up for their missed payments, which is handled differently from servicer to servicer. Some have announced that the missed payments will be tacked onto your outstanding loan balance, others have said that the full amount of missed payments will be due after the forbearance period has ended. 

The most important thing to keep in mind with payment forbearance is that it does NOT happen automatically. Borrowers MUST speak with their servicers to determine their options.  This forbearance period can be very helpful for those affected by income loss or other financial hardship, but if you do not need to use this tool, then it is advised to continue making your payments.


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30 Second Update:  Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/HUD/VA Provide Alternatives to Traditional Appraisals


Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) instructed both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to create alternative solutions for home appraisals.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) followed shortly after.   There still may be times where a full home appraisal will still be required, however, often times an appraisal can be done as a “desktop” appraisal or “drive by” appraisal. 

A desktop appraisal involves reviewing public and private data on-line, analyzing comparative properties, reviewing square footage and pictures, and determining a value.   A drive-by appraisal will also compare data, along with the action of an appraiser driving by the property to review its outside appearance, location, and various other aspects.  Lastly, at times, properties will not require an appraisal at all, and will receive a Property Inspection Waiver.  This is seen more on refinance transactions, but at times may be awarded on purchase transactions.  

Please reach out to your Advisors Mortgage Loan Officer to discuss in more detail these alternate appraisal solutions that have been created to accommodate the continued strong demand for housing, both purchases and refinances.

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Message from the Desk of Steven Meyer


First and foremost, I wish for everyone who is reading this to maintain their health and safety.  Keeping our families, friends, business partners and clients safe is our number one priority, so to take precautionary measures, we at Advisors Mortgage Group have asked all employees to work remotely where possible and practice social distancing.  Even though some of our branches may be physically closed, Advisors Mortgage is still able to conduct business, and we are completely functional.  All systems are a go, and we are operating as close to normal as possible. In addition, we are 100% available to help with any needs or concerns, just like we always are. The housing industry is an instrumental part of the United States' economy, and we take our role very seriously, especially in these trying times. We understand the markets may be very volatile and challenging, but if we all work together, we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever before.  As always, please call us with any questions, but more importantly, please be safe and healthy.

Steven Meyer

President, Advisors Mortgage Group, LLC


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