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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

On this Memorial Day weekend…

As we enter this Memorial Day weekend, and always, I want to give thanks to those who serve our country. Not just those that leave their homes and families, but to those families left behind.

The sacrifice in which all family members make is monumental and truly appreciated. Thank you!

On a lighter note, if you haven’t heard about my new App, please check it out here! It allows you to shop homes, do calculations, follow your loan status, upload documents by taking a picture, and more- all from your phone! It’s very cool. Please download and share!

Onto the market update…

The housing market is rocking!!! The three major housing reports released this week don’t just show the housing market improving, they are indicating the market is hotter than most experts ever expected, or even realized.

Starting the week on Tuesday, the New Home Sales Report came in at an annualized number of 619,000. This is the highest rate of sales since January 2008 and it blows past all of the numbers since the start of the housing recovery. This represents a 16.6 percent surge from the prior month. This is the largest gain in this report dating back all the way to January 1992. To add to strength of new home sales, February’s numbers came in at a strong 545,000, which represents the second highest reading since the recession. From the same time last year, sales are up 23.8 percent.

To add more strength to the report, prices for new homes jumped 7.8 percent to a median price of $321,000. Compared to the same time last year, prices are 9.7 percent higher. The only negative to the report is related to supply. As expected, with the increase in demand, supply for new homes dropped sharply to 4.7 months down from 5.5 months.

Following the lead of new home sales, pending homes sales also jumped at a much higher than expected 5.1 percent for the month of April. This is the third straight gain for this index and points to continued acceleration for final sales of existing homes. The West was the big surprise of the report with sales jumping 11.4 percent. Recently, this area of the country has been lagging. The second strongest market was the South with an increase of 5.1 percent.

After being flat for quite some time, home-price appreciation seems to be on the upswing. Following the report on new homes sales, the Federal Housing Finance Agency price report indicated prices are rising once again.

In March the FHFA index rose a more than expected 0.7 percent. This is the best reading since September of 2015. Compared to the same time last year, home prices are up 6.1 percent which represents the strongest reading since October of last year.

As is not uncommon, the Pacific and Mountain regions are leading the way for home price increases compared to last year. These regions are up in the high single digits whereas New England and the Mid-Atlantic are up only in the low single digits.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday May 30th – Memorial Day – All Markets Closed
  • Tuesday May 31st – Case-Shiller Home Price Index
  • Wednesday June 1st – MBA Mortgage Applications, Construction Spending & ISM Man. Index
  • Thursday June 2nd – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday June 3rd – 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.

 

Your brain is NOT designed to make you happy!

I’ve always admired Tony Robbins, so when I see one of his videos come across my Facebook feed, I will normally take a few minutes and watch it.

There have been several I’ve enjoyed, but I saw one this week that I found especially interesting…he states, “your brain is NOT designed to make you happy, it’s there to help you survive-happiness is your job.” He went on to say that “if you follow the trail of your stresses, it will take you to your deepest fears- we play in that space of what we desire most and what we fear most. The brain is always looking for what’s wrong, to survive.”

“We miss the beauty of this life by our suffering and we need to start focusing on this moment- we are more than our mind.”

It’s hard to put this into everyday action, but I feel the awareness of this is a great place to start.

Here’s to everyday happiness and gratitude!

Onto the market update…

It seems that most of the economic news that might have impacted the markets this week took a back seat to the comments made by three Federal Reserve Board members. It seems that there is an increased likelihood of a rate increase in June based on their latest comments. The word of a possible increase in June seemed to catch the market by surprise and within minutes of the comments the stock market went from positive to negative.

Investors have been banking on the belief that there may be only one rate increase remaining for the entire year, and that it wouldn’t occur until the fall. The latest minutes released by the Fed from their last meeting indicate that board members feel the economy is continuing to grow at a stable and healthy pace.

Although an improving economy would normally create a lift to the markets as the belief that business growth will continue, it seems that many investors do not like the thought of the virtually interest free money the government has been lending into the economy will come to an end. Main Street and Wall Street for the most part do not seem to be in sync with the Fed’s view on economic growth. Many believe that the economy is slowing far more than the Fed is willing to recognize and that rate increases could easily stagnate economic growth.

The housing market index, which measures builder optimism, remains solid and steady at a reading of 58 for May. This is the fourth straight reading for the index at 58. Anything over 50 is considered positive. Home sales are cruising along at a very strong score of 65 for the last 6 months and present sale scored a 63.

The West leads the country in builder optimism with a score of 67 which is important for the continuance of new construction. The South is second with a score of 60 even though it is the largest region of the country. The Midwest follows at 59 with the Northeast well below every other region with a score of 36. The limited available land for building is the reason the Northeast always tends to lag behind.

Housing starts and permits picked up in April which continues to point to a steadily growing real estate market. The pace for growth is not overwhelming, but with so many other areas of the economy becoming stagnant, housing continues to be a point of strength. Housing starts rose 6.6 percent to a 1.172 million annualized rate. Permits rose 3.6 percent in April to a 1.116 million rate. Although the year-on-year rate for both permits and starts are slightly lower than the same time last year, the weakness is coming mostly from the multi-family sector. Single family starts are up 3.3 from April of last year and permits are up 8.4 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday May 24th – New Home Sales
  • Wednesday May 25th – EIA Petroleum Report and MBA Mortgage Applications
  • Thursday May 26th – First Time Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales & Durable Goods Orders
  • Friday May 27th – 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.

 

Insomnia is not my friend…

Insomnia is not my friend. I can’t imagine it’s your friend either.

Last night, it came on with a vengeance. Maybe it was the chocolate truffles I put down at a wonderful event at the Piru Mansion last night. (That place is beautiful!!)

I hit the pillow and fell asleep fast, but then I awoke, as I normally do, a few hours later. But this time, I stayed awake…for hours. I heard my grandfather clock strike 1:00, then 2:00, then 3:00. Last I remember it was 3:45 and I thought to myself, “I know friends who are getting up at this hour to workout”- I was not a happy camper.

So, miss cranky pants is sleepy today. Be nice to me.

Onto the market update…

When it comes to describing the housing market, more and more reports are coming in using words and phrases like “soft”, “softening”, and “less than spectacular”. However, when interviewing real estate and mortgage professionals around the country, they are using words and phrases like “fantastic”, “booming”, “not enough hours in the day”. I have been trying to figure out where the gap between the analyst comments and the professionals in the trenches is coming from. The only conclusion is the analysts are out of touch as to what is really good for the future of real estate and what is really happening.

On Monday of this week the data on new homes sales for the month of March was released. This was the first housing report for the week in which the phrase “less than spectacular” was used. What is interesting is that even though many recent economic reports point to a slowing economy, the new home sales sector has been posting moderate and respectable numbers. This is an example of someone taking what could have been a relatively positive headline, and for no reason, toning it down to appear more negative. The reality is that new home sales have remained stable for a few months and despite the slowing in the overall economy, the demand for new homes remains healthy.

The same dynamic occurred with Wednesday’s pending homes sales report. Pending sales rose 1.4 percent in March. February sales increased by 3.4 percent. Both month’s show increases in sales, yet most of the commentary was negative. The bottom line is when you have housing data improving while most other sectors of the economy are contracting, there is no need for negativity in describing the housing market. In fact, the 1.4 percent increase was higher than expected.

The third housing report for the week was the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. The phrase “far from spectacular” was used. The data showed home prices in the 20 major cities was up 0.7 percent from January to February. That is an annualize rate of 8.4 percent. A rate of close to 10 percent in annualized appreciation actually points to a healthy stable market. When home prices are leaping by double digits on an annualized basis, this points to potential trouble in the future.

When home prices rise rapidly, home affordability disappears quickly. This in turn can shift the market into negative territory very quickly, especially if wages are not rising, which happens to be the case now. The fact that home prices are not skyrocketing is healthy for the housing market because it provides more buyers the means to afford a home.

As a professional in the real estate market, I find it frustrating when people will unjustly use negative headlines to sell newspapers. The housing market is doing well and continues to have stability and growth. Those are the words consumers should be hearing about the housing market.

Next week week’s potential market moving reports are:

Monday May 2nd – ISM Manufacturing Index & Construction Spending

  • Wednesday May 4th – MBA Applications & ADP Employment Report
  • Thursday May 5th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday May 6th – 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.

 

My rant on social media…and your market update

As much as I enjoy social media, I’m beginning to wonder about Facebook. Not Facebook itself necessarily, I’m referring to the constant negative information and comments. If it isn’t politics, it’s about the latest murder, accidents or wrongdoing.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have my head in the sand with regards to world events, I just need a break from it. I stopped watching the evening news a long time ago for this reason. It just became so depressing!

I prefer to read uplifting stories, such as people doing great things in the world or about the newest medical miracle. There are a lot of wonderful things happening all around us and I feel if we focus on what is right in this world, rather than what is wrong, we may just have a happier planet.

Just my two cents…

Onto the market update…

There was a significant amount of housing data to digest this week. The beginning of the week brought us the release of the housing market index. This index, which measures overall confidence of home builders, remained unchanged for a third straight month at 58, for the month of April. This reading continues to signal solid confidence amongst home builders. Adding to the positive sentiment of the report was the expectations for sales- the next six months remains strong. The West is leading the way for builder confidence, which reinforces just how important this region of the country is for the new home sector. The South, which is the largest housing region, remained strong as well. The Northeast, which is the smallest sector, trails the rest of the country by a significant margin. Although builder confidence is high, housing starts fell a sharp 8.8 percent in March. The surprise for this report is we are now in the spring housing season and typically starts would be increasing. Permits for new construction also came in below expectations. Economists do not seem to have a consensus as to the reason for the drop. We will have to wait and see next month’s report, to determine if there is a negative trend developing.

The weakness in housing starts is split pretty much evenly between single-family and multi-family sectors. The bright side to the report is the year-on-year rates for starts are up 14.2 percent and permits are 4.6 percent ahead. Existing home sales jumped 5.1 percent to a 5.330 million annualized rate for the month of March. February’s revised numbers showed a decline of 7.3 percent. Overall sales are just a meager 1.5 percent higher than the same time last year. The good news is that when you look at the first quarter as a whole, existing home sales are up 4.8 percent. March’s gain in sales was spearheaded by single family homes, which is the most important measured component. Single family sales rose 5.5 percent. Year-on-year, single-family homes are up 2.6 percent. Existing condominium sales are up only 1.8 percent for the month; however they are down compared to the same time last year by 6.6 percent.

Home prices seem to be somewhat flat in many parts of the country. The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices rose just 0.4 percent in February. This is the softest gain in home prices since August of last year. Year-on-year home prices are up 5.6 percent. Next week week’s potential market moving reports are:

Monday April 25th – New Home Sales

  • Tuesday April 26th – Durable Goods Orders and S&P Case-Shiller House Price Index
  • Wednesday April 27th – MBA Applications, Pending Home Sales, FOMC Announcement
  • Thursday April 28th – First Time Jobless Claims and GDP

 

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