Cost of new or refinanced mortgage about...


Cost of new or refinanced mortgage about same

QUESTION: Are closing costs less for a refinance mortgage loan than for a new purchase loan? ANSWER: Here's how Russell Sherman, an executive with Chicago Title Co., responds to that question:

"When refinancing, you can expect to pay the lender a variety of fees typically associated with a new mortgage loan. From the lender's perspective, a refinanced loan is no different from any other mortgage loan. The requisite service fees and expenses, such as a new charge for title insurance, apply as with any other mortgage."

Up to 48% of homebuyers are first-timers

Q. What proportion of homebuyers today are first-time buyers?

A. First-time homebuyers have been carving out a larger and larger slice of the home-buying market for some time, sparked by the steadily declining mortgage interest rates. Their slice is now up to about 48 percent of the total market, as a national average.

The share of repeat or step-up buyers has dropped a bit during the past two years. It now stands at about 52 percent.

Rising home sales forecast for 2nd quarter

Q. What's the outlook for home sales during the second quarter of this year?A recent survey conducted by the RELO Relocation Network shows an increasingly active market shaping up for the second quarter.

"About 90 percent of our broker members foresee an increase in the volume of residential real estate activity in their market during the next three months," said William Sage, RELO president.

Iowa values bode well for U.S. farmland sales

I know home sales are improving, but how about farmland?

A: The value of farmland in Iowa has long been considered an excellent barometer for agricultural land in the United States, said Murray R. Wise, president of the Westchester Group, a farm research, marketing and management firm.

"The average value of Iowa farmland on a per-acre basis has risen for the past six years," Mr. Wise said. The average per-acre price has risen from $786 in 1987 to $1,165 at the end of last year. And it's still rising.

Baby boomers could stabilize home values

Q: How is the baby-boom generation now affecting the home-selling market?

A: As the baby-boom population grows older, people in that age group will continue to buy homes, resulting in steady sales and stable home values throughout the next decade, according to a recently concluded study sponsored by the Herbert U. Nelson Memorial Fund of the National Association of Realtors.

James M. Woodard

Copley News Service

(Send questions to James M. Woodard, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 190, San Diego, Calif. 92112-0190.)

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