Seasons Savings

Seasons Savings

Well it seems the weather went from shorts to winter jackets in a flash.  A few weeks ago it was beach weather, and now snowflakes could be in the air by week’s end.  This time of year is all about family, holidays, and bills!

You probably heard last week that the Fed reduced the benchmark lending rate by .25%.  This is something that we expected and I had prepared my clients to be ready to jump when rates dropped.  Why did I want them to jump?  Thirty year mortgage rates are not tied to the Fed benchmark rates, but more to the 10 year treasuries.  The 10 year moves in line with the stock market, and that has been at record highs recently.  When the stock market goes up, generally the yield on 10 year treasuries generally go up.  That means mortgage rates go up.  However, when the Fed reduces rates, the yields generally go down and you get better rates.  Today we have both lower yields and a record stock market.  That’s why we have to jump on low rates when we have them.  These rates will move on both fronts, which makes rates volatile.  My clients, who took my advice, got great deals last week and this week.

When setting up these refinances and talking to clients about how it works, one thing kept jumping out at me.  It’s that all of these refinances are closing between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Because of that, my clients who are refinancing are going to skip a December or January mortgage, or both!  That is a great side benefit of refinancing this time of year.  You can get a little bit of cash flow for the holiday shopping season. Furthermore, I am having my clients get their year-end financials in place so when February 2020 comes, they are ready to do their taxes since their paperwork is altogether.

If you are interested in saving money, generating cash flow during the holidays, and getting your financial affairs in order, please contact me today.  Talking to me is always free.  Preapprovals and credit reports are free too.  Contact me today in person at my office at 180 Main Street in Gloucester, email at, phone or text at 617.688.6891 or online at

Here’s to a great holiday savings season!

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Rates are like the waves, Down and Up

Rates are like the waves, Down and Up

Now that the meteorological season has turned to fall, its not only the weather that is changing, it’s also the economy.  With tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Caribbean, it seems our interest rate market is forming their own cyclones.

At the beginning of last week, I was able to offer the lowest rates I have given on a 30 year fixed rate since 2013…..3.5%.  I contacted as many clients as I could to take advantage of rates plummeting like a rock.  It was also a good time to refinance because kids are back to school and I can get peoples attention.  That’s no easy feat from July 4th through Labor Day because people have vacations and kids prepare to go back to school.  That’s along with everything else we deal with on a daily basis.  So the timing was perfect for a period of extended low interest rates, or so I thought.

Monday and Tuesday last week I worked late to get all the refinances into the system as I could.  I prepared to work more late nights the rest of the week.  I know when mortgage rates tumble really low out of the blue, they generally don’t last long.  Unfortunately history stayed true and that’s exactly what happened again last week.  First Wednesday we lost .25%.  Then Thursday and then Friday happened with another .125% higher in rate each day.  Rates went from the 3.5% area to now almost 4% in a few days.  All those people I contacted to refinance last week now aren’t able refinance.  Well they can still refinance, but the hundreds of dollars a month they were poised to save went to under $100 a month.  I got in touch with everyone that missed this low point in rate to let them know rates jumped up.   The message I conveyed wasn’t bleak though.

As fast as rates went up, they can go down that fast again.  The mortgage rate forecast for the rest of 2018 is for lower rates and that’s what I expect too.  We will jump on the next rate dip and in the meantime get the refinance process going to make it easier.  It’s not only about interest rates, but it’s also about ease of transaction and knowledge of the financial and real estate markets.

If you want to take advantage of the next wave of lower rates and have an easy refinance process, please feel free to reach out to me.  You can apply online at, on the phone at 617.688.6891 or in person at the CrossCountry Mortgage branch in downtown Gloucester (by appointment only).

If you are not sure if you can refinance, and want to make it easy, text me a photo of your current mortgage statement to 617.688.6891 and you will hear from me within the hour (8am-8pm 7 days a week)

Mortgage rates are like waves, and we will catch the next wave and ride it into savings!

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Hot Temps in a Hot Market

Hot Temps in a Hot Market

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  I wish I had more time myself, but mortgage rates are low and houses are moving fast.  Therefore my vacations will be limited to long weekends and later afternoon beach trips.

So how do the numbers look and why are things so busy?

According to both the Warren Group and National Associations of Realtors, the median Massachusetts price for a single family home climbed 2.1% in June 2019 for a median price of $429,000.00.  The surprising number is condo prices rose over 9% to a $420,000 median price.  That means that a once affordable condo, now costs on average the same price of a single family home.  The other misleading number is the median price as this takes into account all of Massachusetts.  Not until recently, the housing market west of 495 was slow compared to the eastern mass belts within 495 and 95.  So these numbers include Worcester, Springfield and in between.  Finding a house around $400k today in the Cape Ann and North Shore area is pretty tough these days.

The other side of the story is the volume of sales for single family homes are down 9.3% in June according to the same associations.  That means the higher prices and lack of inventory is hurting the overall volume of sales.  Those homes that do hit the market,  are often in a bidding war with multiple buyers.  Thus that increases prices and hurts sales because sellers can’t afford to move to a new home.  Historically low interest rates also feed into this competitive situation.

So with people staying in their homes, lower interest rates and higher property values, now is the time to refinance and put some of the new found equity into home improvements.   You can often refinance and take cash out and have a similar mortgage payment.  People are always surprised what you can do refinancing your mortgage.

More importantly, if you have an adjustable rate mortgage with a local bank, I can most likely refinance you into a fix rate around the same rate!  No need to wait for later and higher interest rates, now is the time to see how you can take advantage of today’s low mortgage interest rates.

Contact me today for your no pressure mortgage consultation.  I will review your credit, income and equity positions to see how you can take advantage of these low interest rates!!!

Brandon Pratt- NMLS 46922

CrossCountry Mortgage- 180 Main Street- Gloucester MA

617.688.6891- brandon.pratt@myccmortgage.com

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Summer Slide

Summer Slide

I hope everyone is starting off the summer wonderfully.  I have some great news……Interest rates continue to slide and people’s buying power has been greatly enhanced.  Also people can save money too!

If you currently own a home, and are paying 4.25% or more in interest, or have an adjustable rate mortgage, now is the time to get a rate in the high 3’s and fixed!

I am currently scheduling personalized refinance meetings at my CrossCountry Mortgage office at 180 Main Street in Gloucester next week.  Bring your current mortgage statement, and I will run your credit, debt to income and savings analysis for free.  That way we can find out how much you can save each month.  We also have NO CLOSING COSTS loans and we also use local Gloucester attorneys to help us close these transactions.

If you want to find out how much you can afford on a new home, I am scheduling those meetings next week too.  Bring a paystub and W2, and I will run the same numbers for free. If you do get preapproved, I will connect you with one of the great agents that are on that will assist with the home search.

Again, these are all complimentary services that we provide at CrossCountry Mortgage in Gloucester.

Do NOT wait for rates to go back up!  The current financial market is volatile and these low rates can go away as fast as they came.

Please reach out to me today at, direct at 617.688.6891 or online 24 hours a day at and click Apply Now.

It’s time to save some money and enjoy the summer!

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Summer Rates Heating Up

Summer Rates Heating Up

We have finally got some warm weather to compliment the hot real estate market that has been occurring this spring.  The question earlier this year was, what are rates going to do and how was that going to influence the housing market???

You will notice from the above graphic, that in May 2018 rates were close to 4.5% and moving up to almost 5% at year-end 2018.  January 2019 the rates dropped, and then in March, they really dropped and where they stay today…the low 4’s.  The reason this is happening is because, as I wrote in March, the Fed decided to keep rates unchanged for the most part in 2019. The markets reacted favorably to this news, and rates began to settle down.  Because there is no talk of future rate hikes, and with uncertainty in the trade and tariff markets, mortgage rates have benefited.  And you can too!

Were you trying to buy a house last year but the rates were too high?  Did you try to refinance but the cost was too much?  With these lower mortgage rates, buying power, refinancing power and equity growth can now be easier to achieve.

Buying and refinancing with lower interest rates allow you to have lower payments, increased equity potential and better overall financial health.  Also with higher home prices, existing homes now have more equity.  That means lowering or removing PMI,  taking cash out for home renovations, debt consolidation or college tuition.

With lower mortgage rates, there is so much you can do.  To learn more about what you can do to take advantage of these lower rates, contact me today for a no commitment, hassle-free financial review.  You have nothing to lose but money!

Brandon Pratt- NMLS 46922

CrossCountry Mortgage- 180 Main Street, Gloucester, MA * 617.688.6891

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Do you suffer from Offer Fatigue?

Google Offer Fatigue and I bet it doesn’t come up.  The reason is, it’s a new term and I have recently adopted it.  I cannot take credit for it’s origin.  I think it was a real estate agent that said it to me a few years ago.  You still don’t hear much of the term Offer Fatigue, but let me tell you, it’s real.  And I want to help people overcome it.

So, what is Offer Fatigue and what are the symptoms you ask?  Well it’s submitting one offer after another on a house or condo, only to have them all rejected.  This occurs over weeks, months and even years.  It comes with low-ball offers, over-list offers, closing cost credits and offers to the seller they can live in their home for months for free as they look for a house. Finally, it comes with the prognosis that no offer is going to stick, and I might as well get out of the home buying search.  Today I am here to offer you a new perspective, it’s not you….it’s your team!

Home buying is a team event.  You can’t rely on one person in today’s market.  You have to have a team of professionals there to help you every step of the way.   A team is not only a real estate agent, but a real estate attorney (notice how I didn’t say any attorney, but a real estate attorney…must be an attorney who is real estate centric) and of course, a mortgage banker like myself.  The reason is, the team can help the seller answer all their questions and concerns about a buyer.  The team provides all the resources it can to help the buyer, and seller get the deal done.  The team is there when you need them.  The team knows the answers and will convey them correctly.

Here’s a couple examples how a team can work.  On the North Shore and Boston, there are a few tricky things to look out for that could hurt someone’s preapproval and buying power.  In Boston, it’s common for a condo to be listed for sale on MLS with a resident exemption tax rate instead of the full tax rate.  If you live in a property you own in Boston, you get up to a $2700 a year exemption in your tax bill.  That is over $200 a month.  If a home buyer’s preapproval is tight, $200/month could result in a denial on the loan.  If it’s not caught until after the offer accepted, a home inspection and appraisal is ordered, the buyer is out $100’s if not $1000’s of dollars.  That’s in addition to the time and anxiety of the process.  Money, time and energy wasted by all parties.

West Gloucester has sewer projects deferred billing added every other quarter to the tax bill.  So, we must look at the full year taxes and not the quarterly taxes.  Lots of Cape Ann’s roads are private and require a private road agreement.  However, in Gloucester, these private road agreements rarely exist.   I know how to get around it, and a good local team would know too.

If you think you are suffering from Offer Fatigue, you need to get in touch with me asap.  I will review your preapproval for free, and then connect you to one of the great real estate agents here at  From there we will create your dream home buying team.

Don’t go into the last parts of the spring buying market suffering Offer Fatigue, get energized by The Pratt Mortgage Team at CrossCountry Mortgage and its teammates!

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Where’s the affordable housing?

Six.  That’s the amount of single family homes for sale in Gloucester under $500k as I write this post.  There are 61 single family homes for sale in Gloucester in total.  So that means 55 of the remaining homes for sale in Gloucester are listed at over a half a million dollars.  MLS shows the average list price of homes for sale in Gloucester currently at $1.389mil…that’s not very affordable.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend close to $1.5mil to buy a home in Gloucester.  It just means there is a shortage of homes for sale that are considered affordable.  The majority of the current homes for sale are on the water, marshes and beaches of Gloucester….some absolutely beautiful homes.   This is common with the spring market, as buyers would want to be in Gloucester for the summer.  This is prime second home buying season.  We are six or so weeks before Memorial Day, which is the typical length of a home-buying transaction.

There are more affordable homes for sale outside of Gloucester and Cape Ann, and that’s where things seem to be busiest as well.  People are moving further north to the border towns of Mass, and crossing the boarder into New Hampshire.  There are just more homes to buy that people can afford.

If you want to know what you can afford, and the towns that have the best affordable housing options, please contact me directly.  I am licensed as a mortgage banker in both Mass and NH, with offices in both downtown Gloucester and Danvers.  I can help you identify the best ways to get your offers accepted, connect you with great real estate agents (like the agents who are on and find you a home you can afford!  Don’t wait for mortgage rates and home prices to increase more.

Brandon Pratt

NMLS 46922

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