The wild ride of Parenthood

This week my son turned 20. I no longer have a teenager in the house…

Bittersweet, for sure.

I love watching him blossom into the fine young man he has become, and I miss those days of silly playing. Heck, I miss those days of him wanting to spend time with me! But, I’m told as enters his mid-twenties, he will ‘be back’.

I look forward to that time; meanwhile, I am exploring fun things to do! I’m considering taking drum lessons again…look out neighbors, I’ll be making some noise soon. My apologies in advance.

Oh, the joys of parenthood. Learning to let go, exploring new interests, self-discovery and so much more. What a ride.

Onto the market update…

Housing data continues to improve, with the latest Case-Shiller’s 20-city index reporting a jump of 0.9 percent for the month of March. This is the strongest report since last November. Nineteen of the 20 cities measured by the index showed increases. Despite the monthly gain, the growth from the same time last year remains unchanged at 5.4 percent. This index appears to be running behind the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s measurement of a 6.0 percent increase from a year ago.

Construction spending seems to be telling a little bit of a different story. Spending declined 1.8 percent in April for the worst reading since January 2011. There does not appear to be any recognizable factors that caused the downturn other than the fact that the previous month had a major upward revision of 1.5 percent. Given the huge increase last month, a reversal was not completely unexpected. February figures were also revised higher so this month’s decline follows two very strong months of gains.

The highlight of the construction spending report comes from the residential side. Even though the latest report shows a decline of 1.5 percent, this follows two upward revisions of 3.2 percent and 2.6 percent in the prior two months. Even better, is the year-on-year rate for residential spending which is now up a very strong 8.0 percent. Multi-family units are up from the same time last year by 21.4 percent. It seems like mortgage activity may be slowing slightly. Purchase applications for home mortgages fell 5 percent, while refinancing declined 4 percent. There is some thought that buyers may be waiting for even lower rates as mortgage rates continue a slow decline toward the area of historical lows. Although we are not there yet, some analysts believe that if other areas of the economy continue to slow, mortgage rates will continue lower.

Compared to the same time last year, the purchase index is higher by 28 percent. Mortgage rates sitting below 4.0 percent is certainly a contributing factor. The housing market is doing very well. Many reports show continuing strength. Last week new home sales showed an increase of 16.6 percent and existing home sales were higher by 5.1 percent.

Finally, even the manufacturing sector is showing signs of growth. The ISM Manufacturing Index showed an increase of 0.5 percent. This appears to be due to a slowing in delivery times which is typically caused by an increase in orders.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Tuesday June 7th – Productivity and Costs
  • Wednesday June 8th – MBA Mortgage Applications & EIA Petroleum Status
  • Thursday June 9th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday June 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.

 

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.

Great news, all around!

If you’re in the Santa Clarita Valley this weekend, be sure and come visit me at the Home and Garden show! I will be there Saturday till 1:30 or so and would love to see you! It’s a great and fun event, with a ton of vendors for everything Home and Garden, including an Emergency Expo. The event will be at Central Park and it’s free!

Hope to see you there! I also hope this wind stops!! I do not like the wind…never have, never will. I think it’s a childhood trauma thing.

Also, be sure and view my Home Buying Videos- share with anyone you know who is considering buying a home, especially a first time home buyer. I will add videos weekly, so continue to visit!

Onto the market update…

Just in case you were not sure, this year the government has been so kind to provide tax filers 3 extra days to get their tax returns done.  Monday, April 18th is the deadline for filing and paying your taxes.  Remember, even if you go on extension, you must pay the tax that you believe is owed by the 18th, otherwise interest and penalties will be assessed to you and they will be calculated from the date the tax was due, which is Monday.

With the exception of the beginning of the week, the stock market has been continuing to rise.  With little economic data released this week, both domestically and internationally, there has not been much for investors to be concerned about and the rising stock market is a clear indication of this.  Through the first 4 trading days of the week, the market is up just under 250 points, and within 75 points of reaching 18,000.

Clarity in the strength and direction of the housing market will be shown to us next week with the release of three major reports, the Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, and Housing Starts.  Thus far, few surprises are expected from these reports.

For this week, the little economic news we did receive, show that inflation is once again slowing.  The Consumer Price Index rose only 0.1 percent after the prior month’s increase of 0.3 percent.  Expectations were for an increase of 0.2 percent.  With the rate of inflation slowing, this once again creates a potential challenge for the Fed to raise interest rates.  Inflation on the wholesale level as indicated by the Producer Price Index showed virtually no price increase as well.

As I am sure you can guess, since interest rates on mortgages declined last week, purchase and refinance applications jumped.  According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, applications for purchase loans jumped 8.0 percent and refinance applications rose 11.0 percent.

Although it never seems to happen as fast at the pumps as it does in the trading markets, oil prices have been dropping.  After rising rapidly for a number of weeks, the price for a barrel of oil is back down to just over $40 a barrel.  Of course, we as consumers will see the prices at the pump decline much slower than they do in the world of trading.  Excess inventory is the main driver for the declines.  The world is using much less oil than is being pumped out of the ground so reserves are overflowing.

The labor market continues to show strength with initial jobless claims remaining well below 300k.  The latest report for the week ending April 9th showed only 253K claims were made.  This matches the lowest level since 1973, when the labor market was much smaller.

Next week week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday April 18th – Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday April 19th – Housing Starts
  • Wednesday April 20th – MBA Applications, EIA Petroleum Status, Existing Home Sales
  • Thursday April 7th – First Time Jobless Claims

 

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.