Here’s a fun idea for this weekend!

If you love books the way I do, come down to the Los Angeles Times Book Festival at USC this weekend! I’ll be there on Saturday from 10-1:00 and most of the day on Sunday. It’s a family friendly event and it’s free! I’ll be in booth 167. I would love to see your friendly face!

On another exciting note, I’m working on a new Podcast series. I’ll be hosting a show, with various guest speakers. We’ll be touching on many topics, including money smarts, mortgage questions, getting your financial house in order, personal development, and so much more. The hope is to inspire, empower and educate!

I’ll be sending out more details soon.

Have a great weekend and come join the fun at the book festival!

Onto the market update…

With not much economic data to trade on, investors have been using speculation to fuel their investment decisions this week. From concerns regarding healthcare to tax reform, investors are making guesses as to what legislation will be passed in the coming months and year to base today’s investment decisions. The Dow has been trading from positive to negative, back to positive territory throughout the week. However, the index has remained within a 200 point range, up and down.

In the housing sector, builders continue to remain optimistic on the future of new construction sales. Buyer traffic has been significant in recent months and shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. The traffic component of the index came in above 50 for the 4th time in the last 5 months. Future and current sales continue to remain very strong. The West Coast continues to stay out front as far as new construction. The Northeast, to no one’s surprise, came in last out of the 4 regions. The South and Midwest remain strong as well, however at a pace slightly behind the West.

In contrast to builder optimism on the housing market, the number of new starts on single family homes was down 6.8 percent. This is the weakest level since November. The greatest strength came from the multi-family side. The good news in the overall report is that both sectors are up nearly 10.0 percent from the same time last year.

To offset the less than stellar housing starts data, permits for new construction are up 3.6 percent. Once again, multi-family home permits are leading the way. What is hard to figure out is the difference between the positive builder sentiments displayed in the housing market index versus the disappointing data on housing starts. In the coming months, we should expect to see them come more in-line with each other and reflect similar trends.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported that applications for home purchases declined 3.0 percent for the week ending April 14th. Despite mortgage rates moving down towards 2017 lows, it seems that buyer activity has slowed. The most likely culprit for this is the national lack of available inventory. What used to be an issue primarily in the Northwest, has spread to many areas of the country. Even the East Coast, which has not seen a shortage of inventory since prior the market meltdown, is experiencing a significant shortage of available homes for sale.

Refinance applications for the same week were up by 0.2 percent. It will require rates to go lower by about 50 basis points in order to rekindle another refinance boom.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

  • Monday April 24th – Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey
  • Tuesday April 25th – FHFA House Price Index, S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI, New Home Sales, Consumer Confidence
  • Wednesday April 26th – MBA Applications
  • Thursday April 27th – First Time Jobless Claims, Durable Goods Orders, Pending Home Sales
  • Friday April 28th – GDP, 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.

 

Spring and hope…

I love this time of year. My roses and other flowers are flourishing, which makes the garden look and smell wonderful. Spring always seems like a time of new beginnings for me. I hope it does the same for you.

Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover, I wish you and your family a blessed weekend!

One side note- mark your calendar! American Family Funding is hosting a book signing event for my latest book, Money Rules 101, on Thursday, May 11th. The first 50 guests receive a complimentary copy, signed by yours truly! 🙂 More details to follow.

Onto the market update…

Trump euphoria certainly appears to have ended in the minds and hearts of investors. The stock market finished the week down once again by a total of 223 points. Markets are closed today, Friday, in observance of Good Friday.

The challenges to the market is that with each passing week, it appears that President Trump will continue to have major headwinds working against him in passing tax reform along with his other economic stimulus ideas touted during his run on the campaign trail. Although, almost every President runs into challenges implementing the ideas and changes from their campaign, investors had very high hopes that the new administration would be able to facilitate changes rapidly that would have an immediate impact on corporate profitability.

Mortgage rates have been steadily declining and have returned to the lowest point for 2017. Although refinances have yet to show signs of resurgence, purchase application increased last week by 3.0 percent according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

In the labor markets, first time jobless claims continue to remain extremely low. The latest report for the week ending April 8th shows claims all the way down to 234,000. This was below most analysts’ expectations and continues to float at all-time historical lows. Continuing claims also remain very low. Overall the labor markets are considered to be at “full employment”.

If you have been listening to the Fed for a number of years, they have been focused on getting inflation to the range of about 2.0 percent per year. Once again, it seems like consumers are making it almost impossible for this to occur. Although in the last few months we have seen inflation tick upward on both the wholesale and retail levels, the latest reports may have thrown a monkey wrench into the likelihood that the trend will continue.

The latest PPI for the month of March showed that prices on the wholesale level declined by 0.1 percent. Experts were expecting the latest results to either be flat or show a slight increase. Pricing on the consumer level declined by a shocking 0.3 percent, while analysts were looking for prices to rise by 0.2 percent. Even when the volatile food and energy prices are removed from the CPI, prices still declined 0.1 percent. It is too early to tell, but the lack of price growth may have an impact on the Fed’s decision to put forth another interest rate increase anytime soon.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday April 17th – Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday April 18th – Housing Starts, Industrial Production
  • Wednesday April 19th – MBA Applications
  • Thursday April 20th – First Time Jobless Claims, Leading Indicators
  • Friday April 21st – 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.

 

I love this!

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to a group of young adults, going through a program with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department. You may remember I did a workshop with the Sheriff department last year, which was also amazing.

Again, this group of young individuals were engaged, motivated to learn and asked a ton of great questions. We discussed mindset, goal setting, understanding their ‘why’, and of course, money smarts!

Many are planning on becoming firefighters or sheriffs! It was an inspiring conversation for all of us!

On another note, if you happen to purchase my book, Money Rules 101, would you do me a HUGE favor and leave an Amazon review? I would greatly appreciate it. Go here to review.

Onto the market update…

With very limited economic data to trade on this week, investors took their focus to Capitol Hill and seemed to be paying attention to President Trump and what is happening with Congress.  The President has been trying to work with Congress on a replacement for Obamacare.  If you have been listening to the news, it is obvious that his negotiations have not been going well.

Investors are now beginning to question whether the President will be able to get passage of tax reform, which would be a boost to business overall.  With this concern, investors have been pulling money out of stocks in recent days driving the DOW down this week by almost 300 points.

Outside of Presidential happenings, the majority of the news this week was related to housing.  Surprisingly, the FHFA house price index came in unchanged for the month of January.  Given the extreme shortage of available homes for sale, the lack of appreciation surprised many analyst’s. Home prices remain higher by 5.7 percent from the same time last year.  With the Spring buying season about to start, it is expected that home prices will jump, unless many more sellers enter the market increasing available inventory.  This latest report is the weakest month-to-month showing in more than 4 years and the weakest year-on-year rate in 2-1/2 years.

The East South Central was the hardest hit area in which home prices declined 2.0 percent.  Prices in this region are still up by 3.5 percent from last year, however expectations were that there would be much more of a positive difference between this year and last year.  The Pacific market was the winner with a 0.6 percent monthly gain.

Even existing home sales came in with softer readings than expected.  Sales are down 3.7 percent in February to a 5.480 million annualized rate.  Single family homes showed weakness with a 3.0 percent decline.  Condo sales represented the biggest decline with a drop of 9.2 percent.  Single family sales remain higher by 5.7 percent from the same time last year.

Overall, existing home sales are up a strong 5.4 percent from last year.  Prices are up 7.7 percent from the same time last year as well.  Home supply has been improving but continues to remain very low.  Many areas of the country are experiencing bidding wars taking place for the homes that are placed for sale.  Even in the Northeast, where typically home prices have been the slowest to rise, sellers are now experiencing multiple bid situations on their homes.

To place a bow on this less than stellar housing report, applications for purchase and refinance mortgages both declined last week according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.  Purchase apps dropped 2.0 percent and refinances declined by 3.0 percent.  Applications are still up slightly from the same time last year and no specific circumstances can be attributed to last week’s decline in activity.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday March 28th – S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
  • Wednesday March 29th – MBA Applications, Pending Home Sales
  • Thursday March 30th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday March 31st – 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.

 

Happy St. Patti’s Day!

Happy St. Patti’s Day!- I may have changed the spelling of this day…just a bit. 🙂

Whether you plan on celebrating with friends or family, I hope you enjoy this festive day. We had green beer at our event last night, which seemed to be a hit! And green yogurt!

May this day bring you much luck, hope and happiness!

Happy weekend.

Onto the market update…

As expected, the Fed at the March FOMC meeting this week, elected to raise interest rates by .25 percent. This did not surprise investors and both the stock and bond markets greeted the increase with little more than a yawn. The Fed has kept their forecast the same for the remainder of the year with the expectation of a total of 3 rates hikes. As strong as the economy appears to be, there continues to be areas of concern in which the Fed may alter their plans for rate increases.

The Housing Market Index jumped a very large 6 points in March to 71. This is the strongest reading for current economic cycle. Home builders appear very optimistic with the current index reading at 78, which is up 7 points from February. Future sales are also seen as strong with a gain of 5 points in the index. The strongest part of the report is that buyer traffic is way-up with a strong reading of 54. This represents an increase of 8 points and is the 3rd reading above 50 in the last 4 months. Analysts believe that part of the increase is representative of first time homebuyer activity increasing. The report on housing starts was more mixed, with an annualized rate of 1.288 million and a 1.213 million rate for total permits. Permits for single-family homes increased 3.1 percent in February to a rate of 832,000. The good news in this data is that even though the new home market has been struggling with very short supply, the current rate is up 13.5 percent from the same time last year. Housing starts for single-family homes were up a strong 6.5 percent to an 872,000 rate and a 3.2 percent year-on-year gain.

Despite the fact that mortgage rates have been rising, it does not appear to be holding back loan applications according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. For the week ending March 10th, purchase application rose 2.0 percent while refinances increased by 4.0 percent. The purchase index is up 6.0 percent from the same time last year.

Inflation appears to be heating up as producer prices are showing upward pressure. The latest increase of 0.3 percent was higher than expected. Even when the volatile food and energy component was removed from the equation, wholesale prices still showed an increase of 0.3 percent. Prices are up 2.2 percent from the same time last year and are at nearly the highest point in 5 years. Energy continues to be the main source of pressure on pricing increases.

Following in the path of wholesale prices, the latest readings on consumer prices show an upward trend as well. The most recent data indicates an annual increase of 2.7 percent. This is above the Fed’s goal of 2.0 percent, which likely was a contributing factor to the decision to raise rates.

Finally, first time jobless claims remain at the lowest point in 44 years. Essentially the economy is now considered at full employment with claims at 241,000 for the week ending March 11th.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Wednesday March 22nd – MBA Applications, FHFA Home Price Index, Existing Home Sales
  • Thursday March 23rd – First Time Jobless Claims, New 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.

 

Radio interview…and your Mortgage Market update!

A little over a week ago, I was invited to an interview on our local radio station, KHTS 1220. It was a short segment, but we had fun chatting about the launch of my newest book, Money Rules 101. I shared a few tips for parents in the little time we had, with so much more to cover! You can check out the video by scrolling to the post below!

Stay dry and safe on these slick roads!

Onto the market update…

The stock market just keeps going up. Investors once again are optimistic that President Trump’s policies will bolster the business climate. Deregulation is the likely key to economic growth and investors are counting on major changes to much of the legislation that was enacted under the previous administration. There is concern that the market is becoming severely over valued in that stock prices have rocketed to new records without a single change to any rules or regulations as-of-yet. The market increase is all on speculation and it is creating concern that the ride might abruptly end.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported that seasonally adjust applications for home purchases declined 2.0 percent. However, the unadjusted number reflects an increase of 1.0 percent. Housing purchases overall remain strong and there seems to be no sign of buyer demand waning despite interest rates being higher by almost ¾% from last summer. Refinances are currently at the lowest level since June of 2009.

Housing starts for January declined by 2.6 percent. The silver-lining in the reports is that the 1.246 million rate was well above most analyst’s expectations. Single-family starts increased by a rate of 823,000 which reflects a 1.9 percent increase in this sector. Year-on-year housing starts are up a significant 6.2 percent for single-family units and a whopping 19.8 percent for multi-family homes.

Permits for new housing construction jumped 4.6 percent in January to an annualized rate of 1.285 million. This report also significantly beat most analyst’s predictions. Single-family permits surprisingly declined by 2.7 percent, however they are still higher than the same time last year by 11.1 percent.

Since the last Fed announcement regarding interest rate policy, there is much talk about just how many rate increases there will be in 2017. Listening to various experts on TV, radio and even in print, you will hear predictions of rate hikes of anywhere from one to as high as four. No matter the number, one thing is very likely, mortgage rates and overall cost of borrowing for consumers will very likely end the year higher than where they are now.

Bolstering the argument for rates hikes is the latest producer price index data. January’s PPI report showed an increase of 0.6 percent, far exceeding market expectations. One of the areas of focus for the Fed in their decision to raise interest rates is how much inflation is taking place. For years, the Fed has wanted to see price growth as a catalyst for rate increases. It may appear that this is beginning to occur. This is only one report, but the increase of prices on the wholesale level was significant.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday February 20th – Presidents Day: Markets Closed
  • Tuesday February 21st – PMI Manufacturing Index
  • Wednesday February 22nd – MBA Applications, FOMC Minutes, and Existing Home Sales
  • Thursday February 23rd – First Time Jobless Claims, FHFA House Price Index
  • Friday February 24th – New home Sales and 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.

 

Radio fun!

Tori is live with Patti Handy discussing her new book "Money R…

Tori is live with Patti Handy discussing her new book "Money Rules 101" – KHTS AM 1220

Posted by KHTS AM 1220 on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Perspective!

I had a situation last week that was a test of my patience. I try to look at ‘tests’ as opportunities to grow and learn from, yet sometimes I fail.

This situation, a few years ago, would have made me go a little nuts. I think with age, comes wisdom and perspective. I viewed this situation differently and put it in its place. I knew it would be resolved, and my going crazy over it wouldn’t help.

In the end, it was resolved and all was good. Perspective can make or break our experiences, with anything in life. I’m going to try and step back and view situations from all angles, before ‘reacting.’

Hopefully, this will add years to my life and quality to my days. 🙂

 Onto the market update…

 Despite the makings for a very volatile week in the stock market, the indices remained in a relatively narrow range of trading. Between all of the economic reports released this week, and the constant release of Executive Orders from President Trump, investors continue to be taking a wait and see attitude on everything.

Finally, after being strong but stagnant in growth, pending home sales might finally be rising. For the month of December, the index rose a strong 1.6 percent. This was above Econoday’s highest estimate for an increase. This rise points to strong sales numbers for January and February. Pending sales were strongest in the West with a 5.0 percent increase. The Midwest trailed with an increase of 3.4 percent.

Case-Shiller’s home price index, which had shown little movement in recent months, jumped in November by 0.9 percent. This was the strongest gain since dating back to March 2015. Home prices continue to remain higher from the same time last year. Currently the spread is 5.3 percent. The East appeared to lead the country in price appreciation for the most recent monthly report. New York, which has been flat, jumped a surprising 1.2 percent in November. Despite the increase, New York continues to be the weakest of the 20 cities in the index for overall year on year growth. Boston also enjoyed nice upward movement with price appreciation of 1.2 and 1.0 percent for the last two monthly reports. Prices are also 5.5 percent higher than the same time last year. Not surprising, the West, especially the Pacific Northwest, continues to be the leader in overall yearly price appreciation. Seattle is up 10.4 percent from the same time last year and Portland, Oregon is higher by 10.1 percent.

To no surprise, the Fed did not increase rates at their FOMC meeting this week. The Fed kept monetary policy the same, however there seems to be slightly different language in their summary that upgrades the likelihood of inflation later this year. The Fed confirmed that they do have plans for rate hikes later this year, however exactly when they will occur has not been determined. Economic data will drive the Fed’s decision as to when and how much to raise rates.

The housing market continues to hum along with stable demand. Inventory remains low in many parts of the country. The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported that purchase applications for the week of January 27th fell a seasonally adjusted 6.0 percent. Refinances dropped 1.0 percent. However, unadjusted, the purchase index jumped 12 percent from the previous week, which is higher than the same time last year by 2 percentage points. (Seasonal adjustment is a statistical method for removing the seasonal component of a time series that exhibits a seasonal pattern)

Finally, U.S. employers added 22,700 jobs in January. This is the highest growth in employment in four months. Friday’s report was far above all analyst’s estimates which topped out at 175,000.

Next week’s many potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday February 7th – JOLTS Report
  • Wednesday February 8th – MBA Applications
  • Thursday February 9th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday February 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.

 

Money Rules 101 Book Launch!

Friday, the 13th.

Friday, the 13th.

Oddly enough, it’s always been a favorite date for me. In the past, my mom has notoriously had something good happen on this date. I’m excited to call her later and hear something fun or exciting.

In reality, the blessing is that I get to call her at all. My mom has always been my pillar and my greatest cheerleader. I love her dearly and I love our talks. I don’t take our conversations, or time together, for granted!

Having said this, if I happen to see a black cat today, I will probably pause and go in another direction.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Onto the market update…

An interesting statistic has shown up for 2016 that has caught many real estate and mortgage experts by surprise. According to the real estate website Trulia, the number of transactions failing to close after going into contract has risen sharply in many areas of the country.

Trulia’s analysis has determined that property listings that moved from for-sale to pending sale, returned back to for-sale again in 2016. This is almost twice as many that occurred versus 2015. This is not focused in any particular region of the country. 96 of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas showed this trending increase. This issue is occurring in high and low priced markets, large and small markets, and affluent and poorer neighborhoods.

For instance, in Ventura California, 11.6 percent of prospective sales failed to close. This was the highest in the country. This represents an increase of 3.1 percent from 2015. Tucson, Arizona was second with 10.8 percent that failed, which is 3.5 percent higher than 2015. For perspective, the median home price in Ventura is $548,000, whereas Tucson median price is $176,000

2017 appears to be starting out stronger for mortgage applications and home purchases. Now that Trump euphoria has seemed to ease, the stock market has been stable and mortgage rates have eased off their recent highs. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, applications for purchases and refinances increased 6.0 percent and 4.0 percent respectively for the first week of the year.

The employment sector continues to remain strong. Although last Friday’s employment report for new hiring came in at 156,000, which was below analyst’s expectations, buried within the report was the strength in wage growth. The Fed is continuing to watch what is happening with job hiring, however the increase of hourly earnings by 0.4 percent has now caught the attention of the Fed. Rapid wage growth can lead to inflation. Although the Fed wants inflation to increase, they are continuing to remain cautious in that any increase needs to be controlled.

Following last week’s labor department report was the first time jobless claims data released on Thursday. Claims continue to remain very low at 247,000. Continuing claims continued to improve with a decline of 29,000.

Finally, the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) continues to show a significant gap between available job openings versus hiring. It appears that employers continue to struggle to fill open positions as the number of new hires is far below the number of available positions.

Next week’s many potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday January 16th – Martin Luther King Holiday – All Markets Closed
  • Wednesday January 18th – MBA Applications, Consumer Price Index, House Price Index, Consumer Price Index, and Industrial Production
  • Thursday January 19th – First Time Jobless Claims and Housing Starts

 

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.

 

New Year-New Book!

I hope your holidays and New Year celebrations were wonderful! I was able to enjoy a little down time, including a trip to Disneyland. I love that place during Christmas! The lights and decorations bring out the kid in me.

I was also able to work on the final pieces of my new book, “Money Rules 101- Master Your Money Before it Masters You,” which should be out February! I’m super excited about this book, as I know it will help everyone who reads it. I’ll be starting an interest list soon, so watch for that coming!

Enjoy your weekend!

 Onto the market update…

Now that the holidays are over, let’s see if the Dow Jones Industrial Average can break the 20,000 mark. Last week the index came very close, but investor concerns about U.S. and China trade relations had many sitting on the sidelines. In addition, many people are just getting back from vacation and getting things going for the New Year and the stock market was not their primary focus.

Even though this week had enough economic news to impact the markets, it did not seem like many were paying attention. The ADP Employment Report, which typically can draw a significant market reaction, didn’t seem to do much in the investment community. ADP reported a softer labor report than most experts had anticipated. ADP announced that 153,000 new jobs were added in December. Analysts were expecting closer to 172,000.

In the housing market, construction spending picked up heading into the latter part of the year. The latest report for November 2016 showed a jump in spending by 0.9 percent. That was significantly higher than analyst’s expectations. Additionally, the spread between construction spending at this point versus the prior year increased to 4.1 percent. This was a healthy increase from the prior month in which the spread year over year was only 3.4 percent. This is the best reading on construction spending since June 2016. Residential construction accounted for a 1.0 percent increase in the report and the largest portion of the gain was in single family sector.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported huge declines in refinance applications for the final week of the year. According to the MBA’s latest report, refinance applications declined 22.0 percent. Purchase applications only dipped 2.0 percent despite it being a major vacation week. Mortgage rates have stopped moving upward and have even declined slightly in the last couple of weeks. Now that the holidays are over, many eyes will be watching the direction of the housing market. Many experts are anticipating the purchase and sale market to be the best since the 2008 recession.

On Wednesday, the FOMC released their minutes from the Open Market Committee Meeting. The theme that seemed to come from reading the minutes is that the Fed is taking a wait and see attitude toward future rate increases. There are many uncertainties regarding future government spending and tax cuts under the Trump presidency. Any of the talked about initiatives can have a major impact on inflation and economic productivity. For the time being, the Fed is planning for two interest rate increases in 2017. However, they clearly indicated that they will adjust their forecasts as needed with so much unchartered governmental decisions lying ahead.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday January 9th – Labor Market Index
  • Tuesday January 10th – JOLTS Report
  • Wednesday January 11th – MBA Applications
  • Thursday January 12th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday January 13th – Producer Price Index and Retail 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.

 

Here’s what is moving…

I can’t seem to get my head around the fact that we are 9 days away from Christmas. Honestly, how does that happen?

It seems the older I get, the faster time flies. It should be the other way around, don’t you think? As we age, time should move slowly, just like we do as we get older. 🙂

Speaking of moving, if you’re thinking of buying a new home, we should talk. Rates are moving, so we should strategize a game plan together. Whether rates move slowly or not is yet to be seen. I personally, don’t expect them to move rapidly. Unlike the holidays approaching…

Happy weekend and happy shopping!

Onto the market update…

As expected, the Fed raised interest rates by .25% at their FOMC meeting this week. What was not expected was the projection of three rates increases in 2017. Investors were expecting to hear that only two increases would be forthcoming. On this news, the bond market took a beating and yields rose rapidly. The threat of inflation works against bond values, which simply put, means mortgage rates rose higher on the Fed announcement.

To keep things in perspective, it is important to understand that the Fed is only projecting the increases. As we have experienced for many years, the Fed will change their forecasts based upon economic data, so the increases are not guaranteed.

The stock market has been hovering very close to the 20,000 mark for the entire week. The “Trump” factor, as it is now being called, is keeping consumer optimism at the highest level since the recession. The belief that Trump’s plans for reduction in regulation, which is blamed for stifling economic growth, will bolster the economy and labor markets significantly in the next couple of years. There is no guarantee on the results of his economic policies, but the perception for strong economic growth remains high.

The increase in mortgage rates is taking its toll on loan applications according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. The latest report for the week ending December 9th is that purchase applications declined 3.0 percent and refinances dropped 4.0 percent. Although some of the decline can be attributed to rising rates, we also must take note that we are heading into the final stretch of the holiday season. It is common for housing activity to slow at this time of year.

On a positive note, many experts are predicting that the housing market will increase significantly in 2017. With the projected improvement in economic conditions, the labor market should continue to expand, and personal incomes are expected to rise more than they have in years. Inflation, which is likely to increase in the coming year, leads to increased wage growth. This will most likely lead to more consumers jumping into the housing market. Even though interest rates may continue to increase, when there is positive consumer sentiment, more money tends to go into housing.

Further bolstering the sentiment that people are feeling better about the direction of the economy, producer prices rose by 0.4 percent for November. Despite that energy prices declined slightly, other areas of the economy are showing improvement which is a clear sign of positive sentiment by consumers. The Fed has wanted inflation to increase and it seems that it is beginning to occur, actually faster than anticipated. Unemployment continues to remain at very low levels.

Leading into the holiday weekend, the Bond Market will close at 2:00PM next Friday.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Thursday December 22nd – First Time Jobless Claims & FHFA House Price Index
  • Friday December 23rd – New 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.

 

What happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas!

What happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas!

Last week I escaped to Vegas with my sisters and their husband’s for a few days. I’m not the gambling type, but we had a blast! The sisters went off shopping, while the boys went off beer tasting.

It so happened the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) was in town, so the cute cowboys were everywhere. 🙂

On Saturday night, we celebrated my sister’s birthday at Giada’s restaurant. To say the food and experience was absolutely amazing would be an understatement. Our booth overlooked the strip, perfectly positioned to watch the water show at Bellagio every 30 minutes.

There wasn’t one single item that wasn’t absolutely delicious! We were told that Giada tends to pop in unexpectedly, but unfortunately she didn’t that evening. Boo.

We ate and laughed for over 3 hours. What a memorable and magical night!!

Here’s a picture of us as Giada’s and us girls in the Paris hotel.

 giadas

vegas

 

Always make amazing memories!

Onto the market update…

The pace of rates rising has slowed, but they are continuing higher. Investors are pulling money from bonds and putting them into stocks as they believe that President Elect Trump’s policies will be great for business. Good news for business means great news for stocks, 401K’s, IRA’s, etc… Along with all of this belief about growth, comes the need for investors to remove money from bonds which lose value with in an increase in inflation, which will likely occur with economic expansion.

The Fed begins their December meeting this coming Tuesday. Based upon every survey of investors, analysts, and anyone else who watches the markets, it appears to be a forgone conclusion that rates will be raised. Recent economic data and labor market reports show strength in the economy and therefore the Fed will likely feel comfortable lifting interest rates. The anticipated increase is only .25%. Anything more than that would likely have a negative impact in the economy.

In great news for the housing market, existing home sales have reached the highest point since the meltdown of 2008. The latest data shows:

Applications for home purchases increased slightly, while refinance applications head down. As expected with the recent increase in home loan rates, the benefits for homeowners to refinance is virtually eliminated, unless they are looking to pull equity from their home. However, the jump in rates has lit a fire under buyers. The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported that applications for home purchase loans jumped 0.4 percent while refinances declined 1.0 percent for the week of December 2nd.

Last week the Labor Department reported that employment conditions continue to improve. The latest numbers for November were an increase in non-farm payrolls by 178,000. This was 8,000 more than the average anticipated increase. Shockingly, the unemployment rate dropped .3 percent down to 4.6 percent. At this point, the economy is considered essentially fully employed. There will always be a segment of the population that is not working, however those reasons are typically not economy related.

Following up from last week’s monthly employment report, first time jobless claims for the week ending December 2nd reinforce that’s the labor market is likely to remain strong for quite some time. The latest claims were reported at 258,000 which is well below the 300k benchmark.

Finally, there have been many headlines related to the agreement with OPEC to cut oil production in an attempt to raise prices. Oil producing nations have been struggling financially because of low oil prices and they are now trying to increase them by agreeing to slow production and eliminate the world’s surplus. Prices are now over $50 a barrel, however it is likely they will not increase much more.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday December 13th – FOMC Meeting Begins
  • Wednesday December 14th – MBA Applications, FOMC Announcement and Forecasts
  • Thursday December 15th – First Time Jobless Claims and Consumer Price Index
  • Friday December 16th – Housing Starts

 

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.

 

Gratitude

Gratitude.

It’s one of my favorite words.

When I focus on my blessings, and that which I am truly grateful for, I feel a physical change within me. Even amid the madness of our world lately, I always have many things to be grateful for.

In my new book, I discuss the importance of gratitude, in fact, referring to a “gratitude adjustment” as a necessary habit for some.

Today, I want to express how grateful I am for sharing this journey with you. I am grateful for working with and for you. I am grateful for your friendship and support. I’m grateful you are reading my newsletter!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me into your home, one way or another.

May you be blessed with a wonderful Thanksgiving next week, surrounded by those you love!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Onto the market update…

After the initial market jubilation in belief that President Elect Trump might actually be good for the economy and markets, things have settled down.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is basically poised to finish the week in about the same place it started.

Helping matters is that it appears that Mr. Trump has toned down much of his rhetoric and inflammatory comments, which is giving investors reason to believe that he will not make rash decisions on economic policy.  Time will tell as to exactly what will happen.  For now, investors are paying close attention to his staff appointments.

Mortgage rates have shot up .50 percent since the election in response to bond yields rising rapidly.  The mortgage industry is feeling it in that applications for purchases and refinances have been declining.  Refinance applications dropped 11.0% for the week of November 11th.  Purchase apps declined 6.0%.

Already there is much chatter that housing affordability is being directly impacted due to the higher rates increasing the cost of homeownership.  Higher rates mean higher monthly housing payments.  The one thing to keep in mind is that home prices will move towards a point where there is balance to meet demand.  For example, sellers may find that they might have to lower the price of their home slightly to offset the interest rate increase to keep buyers interest.

We have been in a market in which mortgage rates have been artificially low for an extended time.  The talk of rising rates has been around for more than five years.  It is just that now it has finally become reality.  Anyone who has been around long enough in the housing market knows that regardless of interest rates, homes will be purchased and sold.  There will always be back and forth movement related to rates, home prices and housing demand.

On a positive note for housing, starts of new construction surged 25.5 percent in October to an annualized rate of 1.323 million. This is the highest number since August of 2007.  The monthly jump in percentage is the strongest since 1982.  The best part of the report is that single family construction jumped 10.7 percent which follows September’s increase of 8.4 percent.

Inflation, excluding volatile food and energy prices, remains very low on both the wholesale and retail levels.  Rising inflation is starting to become more of a concern related to Donald Trump’s plans for spending and economic stimulus, however, for now it is speculation.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

  • Monday November 21st – Chicago Fed National Activity Index
  • Tuesday November 22nd – Existing Home Sales
  • Wednesday November 23rd – MBA Applications, Jobless Claims, FHFA HPI, New Home Sales, FOMC Minutes, Consumer Sentiment
  • Thursday November 24th – Thanksgiving Giving: Markets Closed
  • Friday November 25th – International Trade in Goods

 

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.

 

Is your work, great work?

I’m headed out the door soon for a business meeting in Ventura, so my note will be short and sweet. In fact, by the time you read this, I’ll probably be cruising on the 126. And yes, I may stop and enjoy the ocean view for a bit.

I thought since it’s Friday, I’d leave you with a great quote about work:

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

Have you found it yet? I hope so!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Onto the market update…

It seems that the presidential election is in the driver’s seat in the minds of investors. Many experts were expecting the Fed to raise interest rates at this week’s Fed meeting. Despite the Fed decision to leave rates where they are, the markets reacted with little more than a yawn. The stock indexes remained little changed since the announcement.

What seems to be driving the market is speculation on who our next president will be. The country is very clearly divided on who will be best to serve as President, and who will be the right person for economic growth. (At this point I am so disgusted with the negative campaigning it will be a relief just for it to be over next week)

In previous Fed meetings, the language often used would give insight into the Fed’s plan for rate adjustments. This past meeting, there appears to be very little in the way of wording that gives any indication on when the Fed will take action to raise rates. The Fed continues to express concern about international influences that can negatively impact the U.S. economy, as well as on-going mixed economic data from housing to manufacturing here in the United States.

ADP’s employment report points to less growth in the labor markets for the month of October. On Friday, the labor department will release their numbers, and they too are expected to show weakness. You may recall that last month’s report came in weaker than expected and many analysts feel that there may be a slowing in the growth of the labor force.

First time jobless claims continue to remain very low which leads many to believe that we are not far from what is considered full employment. This being the case, has experts believing that the ability for the labor force to continue to grow at a healthy pace is limited because of the lack of people available in the talent pool.

As mortgage rates continue to creep higher, loan volume inches lower. The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported that for the week ending October 28th, applications for purchases and refinances both declined by 0.4 percent and 2.0 percent respectively. Purchase applications, however continue to be higher by 9.0 percent from the same time last year.

Furthering the Fed’s concern about a slowing economy, construction spending declined 0.4 percent for the month of September. The bright side of the report is that residential construction rose by 0.5 percent and remains just under 1.0 percent higher than from the same time last year.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

Monday November 7th – Labor Market Conditions Index

  • Tuesday November 8th – Job Opening and Labor Turnover Report
  • Wednesday November 9th – MBA Applications
  • Thursday November 10th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday November 11th – 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.

 

 

Book news…and your market update!

I’m excited to share that I finished my book! It’s the expanded/updated/sequel to “How to Ditch Your Allowance and be Richer Than Your Parents.” I had the opportunity to speak with a few publishers and agents and I received a great response.

I’m still working on the title, but the book is ready to submit! This book will be geared for parents and their teens and is filled with a ton of great, invaluable information. I’m super excited about sharing this with the world and inspiring and empowering our next generation.

My plan is to reach out to radio shows and local TV news stations to be a guest speaker. Have any contacts you can introduce me to?  🙂

I’ll keep you posted! I may even have some pre-sale opportunities.

Happy weekend! Stay dry and safe.

Onto the market update…

Throughout the week, the stock market has remained within a narrow trading range of 100 points, up or down. The flood of housing reports this week did little to impact the indices. Many investors believe the Fed will move rates higher. There are however others, a smaller segment, that believe that the increase will not happen until either December or January.

The Federal Housing and Finance Agency reported that home prices appear to be surging for single family residences. For the month of August, prices jumped 0.7 percent which was the high end of analyst’s expectations. This increase follows July’s jump of 0.5 percent. From the same time last year, the FHFA index is higher by 6.4 percent. The spread between prices this year and last year is also increasing, as the difference was 5.9 percent in July.

In contrast to the FHFA report, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index reported that prices increased only 0.2 percent in August. This index measures single family home prices on re-sales in 20 major metropolitan cities. Prices compared to the same time last year remain higher by 5.1 percent. This is slightly less than where the year started at a 5.6 percent spread.

The West continues to lead the way in home price appreciation with an increase of 1.0 percent for San Francisco and a 0.8 percent rise in Seattle. If you compare home prices to a year ago, Portland Oregon is out in front with an increase of 11.8 percent, and once again Seattle at 11.4 percent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, New York and Cleveland showed only 1.8 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

New homes sales jumped 3.1 percent for September. This proved to be a very solid gain after the prior two months were revised downward from 609,000 to 575,000 in August and 659,000 to 629,000 in July.

New home prices are up for the month by 6.7 percent. Limited inventory continues to keep upward pressure on prices. Currently available inventory is rated at 4.8 months, which is a decline of 0.1 percent from the prior month. Sales compared to the same time last year are up 1.9 months.

Finally, pending home sales have increased. The index for the month of September was up 1.5 percent. This is a healthy reversal from the prior month’s 2.5 percent decline.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

• Monday October 31st – Personal Income and Outlays
• Tuesday November 1st – ISM Manufacturing Index
• Wednesday November 2nd – MBA Applications, ADP Employment Report, FOMC Announcement
• Thursday November 3rd – First Time Jobless Claims & Factory Orders
• Friday November 4th – National Employment Report

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.

Your Mortgage Market update!

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those facing Hurricane Matthew. Being a California born and raised girl, I’ve never experienced a hurricane, and hopefully never will!

If you read my newsletter two weeks ago, I shared the story of my niece getting married. They honeymooned in Jamaica and got out just before the storm hit! They arrived safely home Wednesday night, which I am grateful for.

If you are on social media, there was a lot of talk about the heightened earthquake possibility this last week. I have to admit, it freaked me out a bit. Be safe and prepared!

Happy weekend!

Onto the market update…

The first four trading days of the week, although containing some volatility, seemed to end Thursday about the same place the week started on Monday morning.

At 8:30AM on Friday the Labor Department announced that September’s employment numbers showed that 156,000 jobs were added. The latest numbers are within analyst’s expectations, although on the low end. Pre-market trading indicates that the market may go into negative territory as investors might feel that this latest report is strong enough for the Fed to raise rates at the next FOMC meeting.

We have been down this road for well over a year and the reality is that as much as investors speculate on the reaction of the Fed to a report like this, no one really knows, not even the Fed decision makers at this point.

In a side note, on Wednesday the ADP Employment Report predicted a growth of 154,000. This is the closest ADP has come to the Labor Department report in many years, if ever.

With rates returning to lowest point since July, refinance activity once again jumped up 5.0 percent for the week of September 30th. Purchase activity might be slowing as applications for purchases remained virtually flat from the prior week, however they are down 14 percent from the same time last year. This is data that the Fed will likely be paying attention to as well at the next FOMC meeting.

Factory Orders increased 0.2 percent for the month of August, however when you remove the core capital goods orders (nondefense ex-aircraft), orders jumped 0.9 percent. This follows substantial increases in the two prior months of 0.8 percent and 0.5 percent.

In another sign of potential housing weakness, the only area of construction spending showing strength is the multi-family sector. Overall spending declined 0.7 percent in August. Spending on construction for single family homes declined 0.9 percent whereas multi-family increased by 2.4 percent.

After August’s decline in manufacturing, September bounced back with an increase of 2 points which brings the reading up to 51.5. A reading above of 50 is positive for the report. New orders jumped by 6 points up to 55.1, which is a very strong monthly increase.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday October 10th – Labor Market Conditions Index
  • Wednesday October 12th – MBA Mortgage Applications & JOLTS Report
  • Thursday October 13th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday October 14th – Producer Price Index, Retail Sales, and 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.

A cool speaking opportunity…and your market update!

Yesterday I had the coolest experience.

I was invited to speak to a group of young adults (18-24 year olds) that are part of a mentorship program with the Los Angeles Sheriff Department. These individuals come from all walks of life.

LASD brings in guest speakers to touch on various topics, including financial literacy and life skills- that’s where I came in.

What a great group of kids- all hungry for knowledge, with a desire to make a difference! They asked a ton of great questions, were engaging and just a joy to be with! I think I left there happier than they did! A great time was had by all!

If only this type of knowledge could be taught in our school system… I will continue to push. 🙂

Happy weekend!

Onto the market update…

What a difference a week makes. With not much news to trade on last week, this week’s news provided many traders the opportunity to ride the investment and stock rollercoaster. The stock market, through the first 3 days of trading for the week, was up just over 200 points. Thursday the gains were virtually all given back with the Dow’s 195pt loss.

Banking stocks led the way for the market decline. The problems exist on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Here at home, Wells Fargo continues to get ripped apart for their practice of opening fraudulent accounts. With each passing day, more investigations into their actions are being launched and the lawsuits are starting to pile up. On the other side of the pond, the solvency of Deutsche Bank is becoming more and more troubling by the day. Combined, these two large entities represent the potential for a major impact to global finances.

New home sales for August came in higher than expected at an annualized rate of 609,000. Although this number is higher than forecast, it represents a decline of 7.6 percent from July. The positive part of the report is that July was revised upward to show a gain of 13.8 percent from June.

According to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the price of homes remained virtually unchanged for the month of July. This shows stabilization in the market as the prior 3 month’s reports showed declines. Home prices compared to the same time last year remain 5.0 percent higher. The Pacific Northwest continues to be the strongest real estate market in the country, as demand for housing remains very high while inventory is extremely limited.

Heading into the fall and winter months, concerns for housing are growing. Existing home sales have not been able to gain ground and Thursday’s pending home sales report indicates that future sales are likely to be weak. The latest report on pending sales showed a decline of 2.4 percent for the month of August. 3 of the 4 regions showed declines. Surprisingly, the Northeast was the only positive region with an increase of 1.3 percent. In fact, this region is the only one posting a gain from the same time last year. Limited inventory seems to be the culprit as mortgage rates remain very low and the labor department continues to show strength.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported that applications for home purchases rose a meager 1.0 percent for the week of September 23rd. Refinance applications declined by 2.0 percent. When comparing current purchase application volume to the same time last year, the volume is up 10.0 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday October 3rd – ISM Manufacturing Index and Construction Spending
  • Wednesday October 5th – MBA Mortgage Applications, Factory Orders, and ADP Report
  • Thursday October 6th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday October 7th – National Employment Situation

 

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.

 

Wedding bells…and your market update!

Wedding bells…and your market update!

It’s a proud auntie moment…my niece is getting married next Saturday and I couldn’t be happier!! It’s hard to believe, as I feel she was just a little one not so long ago. Her fiancé is wonderful and they make the perfect pair. Here’s a picture of the adorable couple! I love them to pieces!!

img_0462

Happy weekend!

Onto the market update…

If you ever needed a week that is set up for potential market volatility, next week is it. With the FOMC announcement on interest rates on Wednesday, combined with four important housing market indicators being released on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, the makings for a crazy week is all set.

Experts continue to remain mixed on what the Fed is going to do with interest rates. The irony of the speculation from a mortgage lending perspective is that the last time the Fed raised rates, mortgage rates declined. Although that was likely an anomaly, there is always the possibility it can occur again if investors believe that a Fed increase will hurt the economy. That would send bond prices tumbling, and in effect, mortgage rates would decline. Odds are it won’t happen like that, but the possibility always exists. Of course, you understand that my commentary here is just speculation, the same as everyone else’s.

With mortgage rates continuing to remain near historic lows, combined with the return to normal life in regard to end of summer vacations and kids getting back to school, mortgage application activity jumped. The overall mortgage application index rose 4.2 percent. Applications for purchases jumped 9.0 percent and refinances increased by 2.0 percent. The mortgage activity from last week lifted the year-on-year gain of applications back up to 8 percent. It was virtually flat from the same time last year prior to the last report.

What used to be a major influence on the markets, the EIA Petroleum report seems to have lost its influence on investors. Oil prices have remained low and the volatility that we had seen in recent months appears to have subsided. Going to the pump continues to be a nice treat with gas prices remaining low.

Wall Street and the stock markets have had some significant movement up and down related to speculation on what the Fed is going to do next week. Many analysts and investors remain split on what they think the Fed will do. No matter what, even if the Fed moves rates up, it will only be by a very small amount. Corporations have been riding the wave of borrowing money at virtually no cost, which does wonders for corporate profits. Investors, of course, want the gravy train to keep going and raising interest rates can have a negative impact on profits and therefore impact stock prices.

Another factor which can have an impact on the Fed decision on raising rates, is the latest producer price information. Prices on the wholesale level continue to indicate that inflation is virtually non-existent. One of the goals of the Fed is for inflation to normalize at a rate of around 2.0 percent. Since the Great Recession, inflation on both the wholesale and retail levels have been far below the Fed goal.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday September 19th – Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday September 20th – Housing Starts and FOMC Meeting Begins
  • Wednesday September 21st – MBA Mortgage Applications, FOMC Announcement and Forecast
  • Thursday September 22nd – Jobless Claims, FHFA Home Price Index, Existing Home Sales
  • Friday September 23td – PMI Manufacturing Index and Inflation Expectations

 

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.

 

Exciting book news…and your market update

I’m excited to share some news with you…well, it’s exciting if you have teens or college bound kids. 🙂

I am working on a 2nd edition of my book, “How to Ditch Your Allowance and be Richer Than Your Parents!” Financial Literacy for Teens is lacking in our schools and I’m hoping to change this.

My first book has done well on Amazon and my website, but I want to reach more youth organizations, banks, credit unions, financial services firms, schools and anyone else who has an interest in educating our youth. If you have an interest in this, please contact me!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Happy Weekend!

Onto the market update…

With little news to trade on this week, the stock market has been remaining in a narrow range. Next week the markets are likely to continue not to have large swings, as significant economic data doesn’t really get reported until the third week of September.

There continues to be much speculation on what the Fed intends to do regarding interest rates. Many of the Fed board members have indicated that they would like to see interest rates start to rise, however there continues to be mixed information as to how the economy is really doing. If the Fed does make a decision to increase interest rates, the rate hike will be very small.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported minimal increases in both purchase and refinance applications. Despite mortgage rates remaining at historic lows, applications for both only increased by 1 percent. Some experts speculate that the reason for the minimal increase is due to the return of the school year, as well as the general public getting back into the swing of work after end of summer vacations.

One of the new measurements that the Fed pays attention to is called the Labor Market Conditions Index. This index is an experimental indicator by the Federal Reserve to track labor market activity. This is just one of many pieces of data that the Fed uses in making interest rate decisions. Most recently, the index has slept into negative territory which means the labor market may be beginning to contract.

Last week, the Labor Department reported only 151,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls. Analysts were expecting 175,000. The prior month payrolls increased 275,000, so this significant decline is just another factor the Fed has to weigh in making their decision on interest rates at the next FOMC meeting.

First Time jobless claims remained low at 259,000. For well over a month, claims have been remaining in a narrow range. Claim numbers below 300,000 are considered strong for the labor market. Since first time jobless claims remain low, but new hiring remains low as well, the question is are more people leaving the workforce.

The final labor market report for the week, known as the JOLTS report, tracks job openings and offer rates on hiring and people quitting. The latest report shows job openings remain very high at 5.871 million. The challenge for employers is that it appears that workers continue to remain reluctant to change jobs.

Gas prices continue to remain low as petroleum inventories are still 11.7 percent higher than the same time last year. The price for a barrel of oil remains in the mid 40’s.

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.

 

Here’s where I’m off to!

Here’s where I’m off to!

It’s off to my happy place this weekend! Actually, I’m only going for one day, but I’ll take it. It’s the beach, of course! We Southern California folk are so blessed to be, for the most part, about an hour from the ocean.

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t love the sound of crashing waves, the smell of salt in the air and the sensation of calm when sitting on the sand.

Here’s a pic from my parents balcony-I’ll be perched here most of the day. If not here, I’ll be on the sand. 🙂

IMG_1083

Have a wonderful and safe, long weekend. Be careful on the roads! As I tell my son, it’s all about being a defensive driver!

Onto the market update…

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index:  It seems that positive home data is beginning to slip.  According to Case-Shiller home prices in the 20 major cities measured for the month of June, slipped by 0.1 percent.  This is the 3rd straight month of declining prices.  Compared to the same time last year, prices remain higher by 5.1 percent.  Although still in positive territory, the distance between prices today versus a year ago is also slipping.  The highest breath between this year and last year was 5.7 percent back in January.

The Pacific Northwest continues to be the main area of the country where declining housing trends are non-existent.  Prices in Portland, Oregon are 12.6 percent higher than last year and Seattle remains in double digits with a 11.0 percent spread.  California continues to remain higher with the difference between last year and this year sitting in the mid-single digits.

Pending Home Sales:  The good news is that pending home sales jumped higher in July by 1.3 percent.  The not so good news is that the jump occurred from the prior month’s revision from a positive 0.2 percent down to a negative 0.8 percent.  This is one of the largest revisions we have seen and has many cautious about July’s increase, in that it may be revised next month into negative territory, the same as what occurred for June.

Pending sales are up 1.4 percent from the same time last year.  Although this does not show this sector of the market growing, it does bode well for a positive existing home sales report to be released later in the month.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:  Mortgage rates continue to remain within striking distance of record lows.  In a nice trend reversal, applications for purchases and refinances are both up for the week of August 26th.  Purchase applications rose 1.0 percent and refinance apps jumped 4.0 percent.  The prior week’s report showed declines of 0.3 percent and 3.0 percent respectively.  Overall mortgage applications are up 5.0 percent from the same time last year according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

Construction Spending:  After the Census Bureau back in November revised 10 years of data lower due to a calculation error, many analysts are calling into question the overall accuracy of this index moving forward.  The data continues to be looked at, however many experts are not willing to accept this data as a real trend indicator for the housing market.  The latest data shows that from June to July spending remained unchanged.  Compared to the same time last year construction spending is up 1.5 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday September 5th – US Holiday: Labor Day – All Markets Closed
  • Tuesday September 6th – Labor Market Conditions & ISM Non-Mfg Index
  • Wednesday September 7th – MBA Mortgage Applications & JOLTS Report
  • Thursday September 8th – First Time Jobless Claims & EIA Petroleum Status

 

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.

 

Last week I ran away…

Last week I ran away…

Last week I ran away… well sort of. I went on vacation for the first time in 5 years. Not something I’m proud of, as vacations are necessary for balance. It’s just tough to get away, especially in an industry like mortgage lending!

I took my son and niece to Yosemite! We had a blast ziplining, hiking and just taking in the beauty.

The weather was warm, but beautiful, and the crowds were manageable, as school was in back in session for most.

Here’s a few pictures:

yosemite

zipline

Note to self: take more vacations, even if for a few days. It’s good for the soul.

Onto the market update…

New Home Sales: Trying to chart the trajectory of new home sales can prove challenging. For the month of July, sales rocketed up 12.4 percent to a 654,000 annualized rate. This however follows June’s modest report that was revised downward by 10,000 to 572,000 annually. Up or down, we just don’t seem to see a clear path as to which direction the market is going.

It appears that the jump in sales is being driven by builders offering pricing discounts as the median price fell by 5.1 percent. What appears odd in the report is that prices have declined despite the fact that inventory has declined as well. It would be expected that with inventories dropping to 4.3 months from 4.9 months, this would create upward movement in pricing, versus the opposite which is being seen.

FHFA House Price Index: The FHFA HPI appears to reinforce the data from the new home sales report that home sales are moving higher with increasing seller incentives and discounts. For the second straight month the index is up, although a meager 0.2 percent. Currently, prices are 5.6 percent higher than the same time last year. In March and April, the difference between this year and prior year prices were 6.3 percent and 6.0 percent. It is clear that price momentum is slowing.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: The data from the Mortgage Bankers Association of America continues to point to slowing activity for home purchases. For the week ending 8/19, the data shows a slight decline in purchase applications of 0.3 percent. This follows the prior report of a 4.0 percent drop. Refinances have also been slowing for the second consecutive week by 3.0 percent. This follows the previous week decline of 4.0 percent. Applications compared to the same time last year remain higher by 8.0 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims: It is getting to the point that writing about first time jobless claims is like a broken record. Once again the claims remain at a very healthy rate of 261,000. This is a slight drop from the prior week’s 265,000 and remains well below the artificial threshold of 300K.

The Fed and Interest Rates: Traders appear to be thinking that the odds of the Fed raising interest rates in September are rising. The latest surveys show that about 1/3 of investors believe that a September rate hike will occur. Although this is all speculation, many investors will be focused on Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s comments in her speech at the monetary policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to try and get a better gauge of the Fed mindset for their next meeting.  

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday August 29th – Personal Income and Outlays
  • Tuesday August 30th – S&P Case-Shiller HPI & Consumer Confidence
  • Wednesday August 31st – MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report, Pending Home Sales, and EIA Petroleum Status Report
  • Thursday September 1st – First Time Jobless Claims, ISM Mfg Index & Construction Spending
  • Friday September 2nd – National Employment & Factory Orders

 

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 gift for your teens…and your market update.

As you probably know, I have a deep desire to educate and empower our youth with money smarts. In fact, if you haven’t visited my website, please do so here.

With the upcoming school semester starting, I would love to offer you an opportunity to get this material into your teens or college bound kids now! This information is invaluable and will lay the foundation for a financially peaceful future, something we all want for our children.

My Online Money School is an easy way for your kids to watch money lessons from their computer. The videos are short and easy to watch. Learn more about what we cover here.

I would like to offer you a 20% discount, good through 8/20/16 on the Complete Online Money School program. Just enter coupon code ‘summer2016’ and your discount will automatically be calculated!

Enjoy!

Onto the market update…

Mortgage Rates and Applications: Despite the fact that interest rates dropped slightly for the week ending July 29th, applications for both refinances and purchases declined 2.0 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. This is the third consecutive week of declines in purchases. Additionally, it is the lowest pace of home purchases since February. Applications are currently running only 6.0 percent higher than the same time last year.

The question that some industry insiders are asking is “is the well running dry for refinancing?” Despite mortgage rates having declined slightly, this week’s decline in applications follows last week’s double digit drop of 15.0 percent.

Employment: As was expected, the ADP Employment Report, which provides data on private payrolls, showed that for the month of July, companies increased payrolls by 179,000. This figure was on the upper end of analyst’s expectations. The ADP Employment report this year has been far more accurate than last year.
Construction Spending: Although expectations were that spending in this sector would rise somewhere in the area of 0.6 percent, it actually declined by 0.6 percent for the month of June. May was revised with an improvement from 0.8 percent down to only a minimal drop of 0.1 percent.

Single-family construction fell 0.4 percent, which extends the negative path dating back to March. Overall, construction spending is up 4.8 percent from last year in June. One of the bright sides of this month’s report is that it appears that home improvement spending in the residential sector is up by 1.2 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims: Claims for the week ending July 30th moved up slightly to 269,000. This is an increase of 3,000 from the prior week. Overall claims remain well below the psychological benchmark of 300,000. The upward trend needs to be watched as in recent weeks there have been more increases in claims than declines.

EIA Petroleum Status: The only way you would not know that gas prices have been dropping is if you don’t use a car. With oil prices having dipped below $40 a barrel earlier in the week, we are seeing the cost of filling our vehicles steadily moving lower. This is also a reversal of the typical trend of higher gas prices during the peak driving months.

Petroleum inventories jumped by 1.4 million barrels in the week of July 29th. The overall gain in storage has increased by 14.8 percent from the same time last year. Even though refineries have cut back production slightly, it seems that less oil is being used by consumers. Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday August 8th – Labor Market Conditions
  • Tuesday August 9th – Small Business Optimism Index
  • Wednesday August 10th – MBA Mortgage Applications and EIA Petroleum Report
  • Thursday August 11th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday August 12th – Retail Sales, Producer Price Index, and 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.

 

 

Your market update!

Interest Rates: As expected, the Fed did not move interest rates higher at their meeting this week. Despite the fact that the June employment report was quite strong, there were still lingering effects from May’s dismal employment numbers. It is seen in the Fed minutes the words “strengthened” to describe the labor market and “growing strongly” in respect to household spending. The report is somewhat optimistic about the economy given that job growth and consumer spending remain strong. This may be enough for the Fed to raise interest rates in September. On the flip side, some policy makers are speaking in a tone we have heard for a long time, in which they are saying rates will remain low for some time.

Mortgage Rates: The combination of interest rates rising slightly has once again shown how sensitive borrowers are to rate movements. Refinance volume, which is the most responsive to rate changes, declined 15.0 percent for the week ending July 22nd. Purchase applications moved lower by 3.0 percent, which may also be tied into the normal housing slowdown which often begins to occur moving into late summer.

S&P Case-Shiller Home Value Index: Home prices are softening which appears to be having a positive impact on sales. According to the Case-Shiller Index home prices declined 0.1 percent for the month of May. Analysts were expecting an increase ranging from 0.3 percent all the way up to 1.3 percent.

Additionally, there was a significant revision to April’s numbers. After originally being reported as a gain of 0.5 percent, the report was revised downward showing a decline of prices by 0.2 percent. Prices compared to the same time last year are up 5.2 percent. New Home Sales: This housing sector continues to show strength as sales continued to increase in June. The latest report shows new homes are selling at an annualized pace of 592,000. This is higher than the previous month’s upward revision from 551K up to 572K.

The increase in sales did not occur at the expense of prices. Median home prices increased to $306,700, which reflects a 6.2 percent rise. Overall, new home prices are higher by 6.1 percent from the same time last year.

Pending Home Sales: This sector of the housing market unfortunately has been the weakest area as of late. Pending sales increased only 0.2 percent for the month of June. Sales compared to the same time last year are up only 1.0 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims: Claims for the week ending July 23rd moved up slightly from 252K to 266K. Overall the pace of claims remains healthy and there appears to be stability in the job markets. Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

Monday August 1st – ISM Manufacturing Index and Construction Spending

  • Tuesday August 2nd – Personal Income and Outlays
  • Wednesday August 3rd – MBA Mortgage Applications and ADP Employment Report
  • Thursday August 4th – First Time Jobless Claims and Factory Orders
  • Friday August 5th – Employment Situation

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.

It’s been a rough week…and your market update.

It’s been a rough week…and your market update.

This week started off rough for me. I had to put down one of my sweet little dogs. He was almost 13 years old, and he had a good life, but nevertheless, it was a horrible experience.

He was struggling with health issues for a while, but still very happy and playful. He followed me everywhere, always. I still find myself looking for him at my feet. I miss him terribly, but happy to know he is not in pain anymore.

Here’s a pic of the little guy (on the right). His girlfriend is still with us. 🙂

dogs2

 

Have a great weekend!

Onto the market update…

 New Home Sales:  The new home market is solid, however it does not seem to be growing based upon the latest Housing Market Index report.  Home builders are enjoying a great buyer’s market with a rating of a very strong 64.  Optimism for future sales declined slightly from 69, down to 66.   The only concern in the latest report is the weakness in buyer traffic.  It appears that first time homebuyers remain noticeably absent from the new home purchase market.

The West continues to lead the country in new construction followed by the southern region.  The Midwest remains healthy in the building of new homes and the Northeast, as usual, continues to lag way behind.

Mortgage Rates:  It’s amazing just how sensitive buyers and existing home owners are to mortgage rates.  With the slight uptick in rates last week, mortgage applications declined. Although the drops are small, it is still a change in direction and an illustration of just how close borrowers are watching mortgage rates.  The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported that applications for purchases and refinances both declined by 2.0 percent and 1.0 percent respectively.

Housing Starts:  The housing sector continues to improve with housing starts rising by 4.8 percent in June.  Permits also increased 1.5 percent which shows that builders remain confident about the future of housing related to new home construction.  Single-family home starts rose 4.4 percent with permits up 1.0 percent.

When compared from the previous quarter, housing starts are up 0.8 percent while permits have remained virtually flat.  The housing market is not on fire, however it is directly contributing to economic stability.

Existing Home Sales:  This housing sector continues to show gains as existing home sales climbed 1.1 percent for the month of June. At an annualized rate of 5.570 million, this is the best pace since February 2007.  Single-family sales increased a very strong 0.8 percent in June, and is currently 3.1 percent higher than the same time last year.

FHFA House Price Index:  The rise in recent home sale prices appears to be driven in part by seller concessions.  The FHFA house price index rose 0.2 percent for the month of May.  This is the weakest increase since last August   Home prices are up 5.6 percent from the same time last year which is one of the lowest differentials since the start of the housing recovery.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday July 26th – S&P Case-Shiller HPI, New Home Sales, and Consumer Confidence
  • Wednesday July 27th – MBA Mortgage Applications and New Home Sales
  • Thursday July 28th – First Time Jobless Claims and EIA Petroleum Report
  • Friday July 29th – GDP and 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.

 

My thoughts on the world events…

I’ve sat here staring at this page for some time now, trying to put into words my thoughts and feelings about what is happening in our world lately.

So much evil, so much destruction, so much sadness.

We can’t live in fear, yet the events that continue to ripple through our world takes me to my knees. It has to stop, but how? I’m not going to start a political rant, nor am I going to discuss gun control. This serves no purpose.

But, here’s what I will discuss…what I have control over. I have control over my behavior, my thoughts, my feelings, my actions. Each and every day I try my best to be my best. I try to improve the lives of others in my personal and work life. I try to keep my emotions in check, especially when I hear of these horrific events. (Otherwise, I would be a puddle of mush.)

I will continue to pray for the answer, the healing, and the well-being of this world.

Here’s what I won’t do- let the actions of a few, cowardly, sick individuals take over my heart and mind. I truly believe the world is filled with good, caring and compassionate people. They (we) are the majority and we need to stay focused on this.

Please understand, I am not suggesting we ignore these tragic events. Quite the contrary, I am suggesting we try even harder to inspire, support and help heal those around us. This is what I can control and this helps me heal.

I wish you peace, strength and healing in your walk of life.

Onto the market update…

The Market:

Investors appear to have moved on from Brexit and are feeling more confident. The stock market is up almost 300 points for the week and there seems to be little chatter on the newswires about Brexit. Ever since the European countries committed to doing whatever is necessary to stabilize the markets during Great Britain’s exit, markets around the world have remained calmer.

Mortgage Rates:

With last week’s continuing decline in mortgage rates, refinance applications jumped 11.0 percent according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Purchase applications remained unchanged, possibly indicating that home sales are flattening. Reasons for the lack of movement may be due to the typical summer slowdown as well as the lack of available inventory in many parts of the country.

Labor Market:

June’s impressive employment report showing an increase in payrolls of 287,000. This seems to be striking a nice balance for investors between returning optimistic to the job market, and not being strong enough for the Fed to take action on interest rates. The markets tend to love status quo.

First Time Jobless Claims:

Claims for the week ending July 9th showed no change. 254,000 has been the number for the last two reports and this remains well below the 300K level which typically sets the “concern” alarm for investors.

EIA Petroleum Report:

It appears that production of oil is once again rising. Price of a barrel of oil has dropped down to about $45 and oil reserves have increased. Although consumption has remained high, it is clear because OPEC has not achieved agreement on production and most countries are delivering as much oil to the market as possible.

Inflation:

Prices on the wholesale level have been increasing at a rate of 0.5%. This pace is moving closer to what is considered a healthy indicator of economic stability and growth. Although not quite where we need to be, the recent increase in prices on the wholesale and retail level are positive.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday July 18th – Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday July 19th – Housing Starts
  • Wednesday July 20th – MBA Mortgage Applications
  • Thursday July 21st – First Time Jobless Claims, Existing Home Sales, and FHFA HPI
  • Friday July 22nd – PMI Manufacturing 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.