Amongst the devastation…

As with all of you, my heart breaks for the devastation we have witnessed with the fires in Southern California. If you personally haven’t been affected, I’m sure you know someone who has.

In the midst of the heartache and loss, we are witnessing communities and strangers coming together to help each other. Countless pictures and videos show how neighbors are stepping in to help, even if it’s just to hug someone staring at their destroyed home.

Surreal, tragic and devastating- let the healing begin and outpouring of love and giving continue.

If you have personally been affected by the fires and in need of supplies, clothes or anything, please reach out to me personally.

Onto the market update…

The stock market continues to rally with the continued forward movement on tax reform. Although, it has been determined by many experts, that the tax savings for most Americans will not be significant, the potential benefit to the economy will be corporate expansion that comes from business tax savings.

With an improved corporate climate, the stock market should continue to rise, putting more and more money into people’s retirement accounts. The big question is…will the corporate growth and economic stimulus be enough to offset the increased debt the country will incur under this tax plan? (Most experts believe it will not, which essentially means that we are trading one economic problem for another)

Mortgage Application Activity:

In a nice surprise, mortgage activity for the week ending December 1st jumped for both purchases and refinancing. Even though mortgage rates were little changed, purchase applications rose 2.0 percent and refinances leaped higher by 9.0 percent. More than likely the impending rate increase by the Fed next week is playing a role in the increased refinance activity. Many consumers appear to be trying to get locked into a rate before the Fed takes action at the FOMC meeting. Even though mortgage rates don’t necessarily move in lock-step with the Fed rate adjustments, consumers seem to be trying to play it safe.

Employment:

First time jobless claims continue to remain extremely low despite the expected increase in claims coming from Puerto Rico. The latest tally of 236,000 first time claims keeps unemployment concerns way down as the latest numbers continue to remain at or near historic lows.

The latest data on national employment is that unemployment remain the same at 4.1 percent. Essentially this number represents full employment in the eyes of the government and business. In fact, may businesses continue to talk about their frustrations in trying to find qualified candidates to fill open positions. More than likely as the labor shortage continues, income growth will likely rise in 2018.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday December 11th – Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report (JOLTS)
  • Tuesday December 12th – FOMC Meeting Begins, Producer Price Index
  • Wednesday December 13th – FOMC Announcement, MBA Applications, CPI
  • Thursday December 14th – First Time Jobless Claims, Retail Sales
  • Friday December 15th – Industrial Production

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

 

My favorite food group…and your market update!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I ate way too much food…and chocolate. For those that know me well, know that chocolate is my favorite food group.

The weekend was busy with decorating and shopping, so when Monday came along, it wasn’t pretty. But, I managed to make it to the gym 4 days this week, so I’m caught up…I think. Now, please pass the Nuts and Chews. 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend!

Onto the market update…

Investors love the ever-increasing likelihood that the House and Senate are going to present a new tax plan for the President’s signature before the end of the year. The two biggest drivers of excitement in the markets are the plan to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% down to 20%, and to allow companies to repatriate their offshore cash holdings at the lower tax rate. Simply put, this will be a tremendous financial windfall for corporations and to investors alike.

Many large national corporations have made promises to the White House that if this plan passes with the lower tax rate, they will invest a significant amount of money into corporate expansion. This in-turn will be great for the labor market and increasing wages, as employment demand will soar.

As expected, the tax plan is divided down party lines. Most Republicans are for it, while there is not a single Democrat who will vote “yes” for the plan. Currently the House, Senate, and White House are all Republican controlled, which means that there is little that can be done to prevent the passage of tax reform if every elected Republican votes for it to be implemented.

Mortgage Loan Limit Changes:

This week Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD, all announced they are raising their loan limits based on the data showing average home prices increasing around the country. Depending on where a property is located determines how much, if any, the loan limits have been increased.

Home Prices:

On Tuesday both the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Case-Shiller released their latest data on home prices. The FHFA Index showed that home prices continued to rise in September at the rate of 0.3 percent. Home prices compared to the same time last year are higher by 6.3 percent.

The Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed similar findings. This index showed home prices up 0.5 percent, and an increase of 6.2 percent from the prior year.

Both reports show considerable strength in housing. Mortgage application activity for home purchases has remained stable. Refinance applications have declined 8.0 percent with the rise in mortgage rates.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday November 27th – New Home Sales
  • Tuesday November 28th – FHFA House Price Index, Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI
  • Wednesday November 29th – MBA Mortgage Applications, Pending Home Sales
  • Thursday November 30th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday December 1st – ISM Manufacturing Survey, Construction Spending

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

 

Giving Thanks!

Happy almost Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your friendship and continued support this year. I am truly blessed and grateful for being surrounded by such amazing people in my life!

As we begin the New Year, I hope the visions and dreams you hold dear to your heart become your reality.

Embrace every simple, yet special moment in your day!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Onto the market update…

In what has seemed like forever that elected officials have talked about revamping the outdated and often considered absurd tax code, change may finally be coming. On Thursday, House Republicans passed their version of the tax code revisions. By no means does this represent that the tax code will change, however it is a big first step, and a milestone in the road to change. There are many more steps to the tax code being changed, which had eluded Congress for decades. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared almost 200 points on this news. The other major indices were up significantly as well.

Housing Market Index:

Home builders are reporting that they are seeing an increase in activity. In fact, builders are saying that this is the best market since March. Current and future sales are coming in at a very strong level of 77. Traffic to home building sites is also up by 2 points for the best reading since May. It is uncommon for this time of year to see significant increases in activity, so this is welcome news for the housing market.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

Purchase applications rose 0.4 percent for the week ending November 10th. Refinance applications, despite mortgage rates remaining relatively flat, rose 6.0 percent for the week. What is exciting in the latest report is that purchase applications are 17.0 percent higher than the same time last year. The strong year-on-year gain of purchase applications points to future strength in underlying home sales.

Inflation:

On the wholesale level, pressure for price increases showed signs of life for the month of October. The Producer Price Index rose by a larger than expected 0.4 percent.  Even when you remove volatile food and energy prices, wholesale inflation remained at 0.4 percent.

On the retail end, unfortunately the story was not the same. Consumer prices for October were up slightly by 0.1 percent.  The year-on-year rate was actually down by 2 tenths of a percent.  The core rate of inflation was up only 0.2 percent when food and energy prices were removed from the calculation.

 Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday November 20th – Leading Indicators
  • Tuesday November 21st – Existing Home Sales
  • Wednesday November 22nd – MBA Mortgage Applications, Jobless Claims
  • Thursday November 23rd – Markets Closed
  • Friday November 24th – NYSE Closes at 1:00PM

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

 

The World Series…and your market update

I’m not typically one to watch all baseball games, but I did get caught up in the World Series! Sorry to see our Dodgers lose, but they did put up a great fight! Although, in game 7, it seems they lost their mojo.

With all the devastation in Houston the last few months, I’m happy their team could bring them some joy, so if we had to lose to someone, I’m glad it was to the Astros.

Here’s to next year and all of its possibilities…to the Dodgers and to you!

 Onto the market update…

The likelihood of a December Fed rate increase is very probably based upon the latest Fed announcement. On Wednesday, the Fed stated they have upgraded the status of the economy from “rising moderately” to “rising at a solid rate”. The Fed indicated that the labor market continues to strengthen, and that even though inflation remains stubbornly low, there are many positive economic factors that make a December rate increase likely to occur.

Case-Shiller Home Price Index:

Home prices continue to rise steadily. The most recent data shows home prices rising 0.5 percent for the month of August in the 20-city adjusted index. Home prices compared to the same time last year are higher by 5.9 percent. This is the largest year-on-year growth spread we have seen in the last 3 years.

Construction Spending:

Spending on the construction of residential homes, although basically unchanged for September, is now 9.6 percent higher than the same time last year. Spending on new single-family and multi-family homes increased in the month by 0.2 and 6.0 percent respectively. Interestingly is that spending on home improvements declined 0.6 percent. This is likely to change in that many mortgage and banking professionals have indicated that they have seen more homeowners making inquiries on obtaining Home Equity Lines of Credit.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

Purchase applications fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent for the week ending October 27th. This is the second week of application declines, in what could be a possible reaction to the uptick in mortgage rates. Refinancing applications declined by 5.0 percent. Refi’s are always far more sensitive to slight movements in mortgage rates. Purchase applications represent 51.3 percent of all loan activity.

First Time Jobless Claims:

 Claims remain very near historic lows – down to 229,000. The devastation in Puerto Rico was expected to increase the overall number, however other areas of the country are countering the increase with an improved labor market and lower claims.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday November 7th – Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)
  • Wednesday November 8th – MBA Mortgage Applications
  • Thursday November 9th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday November 10th – Consumer Sentiment

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

What is your great work?

Today I felt the need to send an inspirational quote about work. This resonated with me, as I love what I do in helping people experience their dreams coming true – purchasing a place to call home.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

– Steve Jobs

I hope you found your great work!

Onto the market update…

In a nice turnaround, home builders are once again very bullish on the housing market. In the latest data, which is released by The National Association of Home Builders from their member survey, the index jumped four points all the way back up to 68. The strength in the index is optimism of future sales along with continuing growth of current sales. Traffic continues to be lower than builders would like, however the only component that seems to be missing is first time buyers. Existing home owners and previous owners make up the bulk of the traffic and purchases of new construction.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

Mortgage rates remained essentially flat for the week ending October 13th, however applications for purchases and refinances increased. Purchase application rose a seasonally adjusted 4.0 percent. Refinances went up by 3.0 percent. Purchase applications continue to make up more than 50% of all loan activity, and remain higher from the same time last year by 9.0 percent.

Housing Starts:

The latest news for new housing is mixed. Permits for single-family construction rose 2.4 percent to an annualized rate of 819,000. Permit activity for this market segment is up 9.3 percent from the same time last year. Single family activity is the major component in which the strength of housing is judged. This is translating into more available inventory which will likely continue to support housing growth in the coming months.

The weakness in the latest report is permits for multi-family units. Here we see that permits have declined by 16.1 percent to a rate of 396,000. This is a whopping 24.0 percent below activity at the same time last year.

Industrial Production:

Industrial production was essentially flat for the month of September. With only a .3 percent growth, this continues to create uncertainty for the Fed in deciding what action to take on interest rates in the coming months.

One of the things that creates questions about this latest report is that the private reports by Empire State and ISM show significant manufacturing growth.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Wednesday October 25th – MBA Mortgage Applications, FHFA HPI, New Home Sales
  • Thursday October 26th – First Time Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales
  • Friday October 27th – GDP

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

 

How I get past the sadness…and your market update

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks, trying to take in all the tragedies that have hit our country in the last few months. Between the hurricanes, earthquakes, the horror in Las Vegas and now the devastating fires in Anaheim and Northern California, it’s too much to take in.

My heart goes out to all those affected by this and I pray for their healing, courage and strength.

When I find myself feeling overwhelmed by the sadness and loss, I shift my focus to the heroism and hope that I also see during these times. It warms my heart to know that we are people of love, compassion and strength and during these difficult times, we help each other. Strangers help strangers, we lift each other up (quite literally as witnessed in Vegas) and we give.

We give money, prayers, hugs, love, time, energy and whatever we can to help those hurting. This is what I focus on- the love and compassion that is the true spirit of our country. I hope this is your focus as well.

Onto the market update…

The Stock Market and the Fed:

Employment is very strong, and investors continue to ride the wave of growing stock values. The stock market did lose some momentum this week as many investors have taken their recent profits out of the market. Additionally, President Trump’s proposed changes to the tax code has many investors evaluating how they believe these proposed changes will impact corporate profits. As important in the evaluation, are investors beliefs on which proposed changes are likely to get passed.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

After two recent weeks of application growth, purchase applications for the week ending October 6th came in flat. There is strength in the application data in that compared to the same time last year, purchase applications are higher by 7.0 percent. Refinancing is down to 49 percent of loan applications.

FOMC Minutes

 Based upon the latest reading of the FOMC minutes, it appears that the Fed is still struggling with what action to take relating to interest rates. As some of the members believe strongly in bumping rates up in December, there are other members who feel adamant that inflation is not yet high enough to support a rate increase. In evaluating the Fed minutes, one thing that is clear is many board members appear to be stymied by the fact that inflation continues to remain so low. The feeling from the members is that with the labor market essentially being at full employment, inflation pressures should have increased.

 The Latest on Inflation

A week after the Fed meeting and their focus being on the lack of inflation, reports for the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index were released. Coming off the analysis from the Fed that inflation is too low, prices on the wholesale level jumped by 0.4 percent for the month of September. This increase was more than experts predicted. Caution that has to be applied to this increase in that some of it is related to the recent storm damage in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Inflation on the retail level increased by 0.5 percent in September. This, just like the wholesale data, was higher than anticipated. Storm damage is part of the reason, however underlying fundamentals may be pointing to an overall upward trend in inflation. This latest report increases the likelihood of the Fed increasing rates in December.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday October 17th – Industrial Production, Housing Market Index
  • Wednesday October 18th – MBA Mortgage Applications, Housing Starts
  • Thursday October 19th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday October 20th – Existing Home Sales

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

 

Idina Menzel…and your market update!

A few weekends ago, I went to Paso Robles for some wine tasting and to see Idina Menzel in concert. Many don’t know her by name, but know her work…she sang “Let it go” from Frozen, and was the lead in “Wicked” and “Rent.” You may also remember her as the person whose name was botched by John Travolta in one of the award shows! 🙂

The venue was small, and amazing. The concert was at the Vina Robles winery Amphitheatre, where every seat is awesome.

Not only was her voice amazing, but she is such a down to earth and genuine person. She spoke about her personal struggles, being broken at times, and her life as a single mom. I loved her sincerity and openness. It made me like her more as an artist!

At the end of the concert, she brought kids to the stage to sing “Let it go.” It was adorable to see, and hear, these kids belt out the song with every ounce of energy they had.

We all have our stories, struggles, and brokenness, regardless of fame and fortune. Let’s remember this when someone is less than nice to us or cuts us off on the roads.

 Onto the market update…

The stock market just keeps heading higher. Another day – another record high for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Every day this week through Thursday, the Dow set a new market record. Even with the increase in the chance that the Fed will raise interest rates, based upon the latest consumer inflation data, investors continue to remain optimistic about the strength of the economy.

If you have been reading my newsletter for more than a few months, you have seen me write about how “if we hear something enough times, we become numb to it”. This fact has shown up once again with our relationship, or lack of one, with North Korea. With the likelihood of yet another missile test coming soon, along with the latest threat from Pyongyang to destroy the United States, investors do not seem to be phased. Despite these threats, unlike before where the market would panic, investors seem to be treating it now as business as usual.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: The same as the week before, last week’s further decline in mortgage rates has sparked both purchase and refinance applications. With the most significant movement in this data we have seen in months, applications for purchases soared a seasonally adjusted 11.0 percent for the week ending September 8th. Refinances jumped 9.0 percent for the week as well.

Refinance activity continues to represent and increasing portion of mortgage financing. Where only a few weeks ago refi’s accounted for 42 percent of loan applications, as of last week, the number is now up to 51 percent, which is the highest level since January. Overall purchase mortgage activity is 7.0 percent higher than the same time last year and mortgage rates are at their lowest level since the Presidential election in November 2016. It is an incredible time to purchase a home and it seems as if more and more people are beginning to recognize this as purchase activity continues to increase.

First Time Jobless Claims

In a surprise reading, the latest first time jobless data came in opposite of what almost every analyst predicted. With the expectation that claims would once again increase due to more people filing because of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, claims actually declined by 14,000 for the week ending September 9th. Claims are expected to temporarily rise next week due to the damage from Hurricane Irma, as those numbers are not factored into this week’s data. However, the increase is expected to be short lived as damage from the storm was far less than anticipated.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday September 18th – Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday September 19th – Housing Starts
  • Wednesday September 20th – MBA Mortgage Applications, FOMC Meeting Announcement
  • Thursday September 21st – First Time Jobless Claims, FHFA House Price Index

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

 

My prayers for Texas…and your market update

Watching the devastation that has occurred in Texas is heart wrenching, to say the least.  There is so little that can be said that has not already been written or voiced.  It is a crisis beyond belief, and it is my hope that as many people as possible will find a way to contribute to help those in need.  There are many legitimate ways to contribute (stay away from scams) to assist in the long road to recovery.

My heartfelt prayers go out to everyone affected by this.

Onto the market update…

The Stock Markets:  It seems that investors around the world do not have much concern about geopolitical events derailing the current market rallies in many of the world’s major economies.  Even in the U.S., where the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, and the impact it is having on oil production, has done little to reverse investor enthusiasm towards future economic growth.

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index:  The latest data on home price appreciation in June shows a virtually flat market.  Between last week’s FHFA price data, and now the latest Case-Shiller report, home prices are up only 0.1 percent.  Overall, prices are higher by 5.7 percent from the same time last year.

Despite the continued lack of inventory that exists nationwide, home prices have stabilized which can be a catalyst for a few positive things to occur in housing.

Time will tell, but it is possible that homeowners now seeing the run-up in prices slowing, may elect to start placing their homes on the market.  This could bode well for a very strong Fall market as the pent-up demand for housing would likely rapidly absorb any new inventory that appears. Additionally, the stabilizing of prices keeps home affordability in check potentially increasing the number of buyers who can qualify to purchase bolstering housing strength.

Consumer Confidence: The latest reading from the Conference Board’s measurement of consumer confidence shows that August has many people believing in the strength of the economy.  The reading of 122.9 is the highest the index has been since March, and the second highest dating all the way back to December of 2000.  Consumer confidence has the potential to also translate positively into growth in the housing market in the coming months.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:  Surprisingly, despite falling mortgage rates, it does not seem to be translating into an increase in purchase or refinance activity according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.  The latest data for the week ending August 25th shows a decline of 3.0 percent and 2.0 percent in purchase and refi applications respectively.  Even with the seasonal adjustments made for the end of the summer, applications are down.  The bright spot in the report is that applications for purchases remain 4.0 percent higher than the same time last year.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday September 4th – US Holiday: Labor Day – All Markets Closed
  • Tuesday September 5th – Factory Orders
  • Wednesday September 6th – MBA Mortgage Applications & ISM Non-Mfg Index
  • Thursday September 7th – First Time Jobless Claims & EIA Petroleum Status
  • Friday September 8th – Wholesale Trade & Consumer Credit

 

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends.  I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.

 

What do you do for fun?

What do you do for fun? I’m not talking about vacations or weekends away, just simple everyday fun. What do your weekends typically look like?

Are they filled with errands and ‘catch up’ stuff or do you make sure you schedule in time to relax?

I’ve been guilty of getting my ‘to do’ list done or work on the weekends. I’m trying to find that balance of simple pleasures and relaxing more. Although I go to the gym to help with balance, I don’t find that ‘fun.’

I need your help with ideas! Please share!!

P. S. Be sure to check out my recent Podcasts here!

Onto the market update…

After three consecutive monthly declines, the pending home sales index turned around and jumped by a much stronger than anticipated 1.5 percent in the month of June. The housing market struggled through the Spring season, but the latest data shows promise for the existing home sales data coming in later this month. With mortgage rates continuing to remain low, this holds promise that the second-half of the year can end up being a much stronger housing market than normal. Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

With mortgage rates remaining steady for the week, applications for purchases and refinances declined slightly. The seasonally adjusted move in activity was purchase applications that went down by 2.0 percent whereas refi’s dropped by 4.0 percent. Overall the purchase index is up by 9.0 percent from the same time last year. Purchase applications represent 55.5 percent of loan activity according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Construction Spending

Surprisingly, the June construction spending report declined 1.3 percent. This is a reversal from the prior month’s revised increase of 0.3 percent. It appears that spending in this sector moved in a similar fashion to the latest data in personal income and outlays released on Tuesday morning.

Single-family residential construction spending increased 0.3 percent. Multi-family headed in the opposite direction with a decline of 0.2 percent. When looking at the latest data, it is always important to note that the bulk of the weight is placed on the single-family sector as that is a much closer measure to how the housing market is performing. Year on year growth for single-family construction spending is up 9.0 percent. Multi-family spending is higher by only 0.6 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims, Factory Orders, Manufacturing

Even with the seasonal retooling in the automotive industry, first time jobless claims remain extremely low at only 240,000 for the week ending July 29th. Typically for this time of year, a jump in claims is seen with auto-manufacturers laying off workers while they retool their assembly plants for the change in car model year.

Factory orders jumped 3.0 percent for June. Higher than expected aircraft orders played a major role in the increase. Manufacturing continues to show great strength with a reading of 56.3.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday August 7th – Labor Market Conditions Index
  • Tuesday August 2nd – Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report (JOLTS)
  • Wednesday August 3rd – MBA Mortgage Applications
  • Thursday August 4th – First Time Jobless Claims, Producer Price Index
  • Friday August 5th – Consumer Price Index

As your mortgage and real estate professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate trends. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at 661-618-1789.