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A Look Back: What We Learned in 2018

Here are four things we learned about real estate and lending in 2018:

1. We may have taken low interest rates for granted. Although mortgage rates have leveled off recently, the sub-4.0 percent rate environment is gone, at least for now. The rate on a 30-year fixed-rate was just below 4.0 percent at the beginning of 2018, but rose throughout the year, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The high point came in mid-November when the rate on the 30-year fixed topped out at 4.94 percent.

2. Changes to the tax laws may have a big impact. Congress revamped the tax code in late 2017 and it may have radically affected real estate and mortgage taxes. The new laws provide revised guidelines for property taxes, state and local income taxes, and mortgage interest deductions, as well as the standard tax deduction. We should see the impact in the coming year.

3. Consumers aren’t the only ones who can improve credit scores. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian made changes to the way credit information is reported. Certain negative information—such as civil judgments, tax lien data and medical bills paid through insurance—is no longer a part of credit reporting. Although many of these changes were actually made in 2017, millions of consumers began to see real improvement in credit scores last year.

4. Home values aren’t necessarily dependent on market conditions. Despite higher rates, low housing inventory and declining existing-home sales in the middle of 2018, home values continued to rise. For October of 2018—the most recent data available—home values went up 7.7 percent over the past year, according to Zillow’s Home Price Index. Many experts predicted a bursting of the real estate bubble in 2018, but rising home values continue to prove that real estate is a good investment.

For more than 25 years, Omega Financial has been serving mortgage clients in Massachusetts. Our brokers have approximately 50 years in the mortgage business. You always will receive fast, courteous, and accurate information. Omega Financial, Inc. is a company duly licensed to operate in Massachusetts as a Mortgage Brokerage. We are located in the Town of Norwood, Massachusetts where we have been operating as Omega Financial Incorporated since 1988.

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