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.