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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Long weekends…and your market update!

As much as I enjoy what I do for a living, I love my long weekends!!

Funny how just one more day off can make such a difference. 🙂

I’m planning on spending one of these days at my happy place- the beach. Somehow, everything just seems okay in the world when I’m there.

I hope you have a wonderful July 4th weekend! Stay safe on the roads!!

Onto the market update…

At first the sky was falling because of Brexit. The stock markets around the world tanked with fear of how this historic event can possibly cause a worldwide recession. For the last three trading days, the world markets have been rallying restoring much of the paper financial loss occurred since the Brexit announcement. The reversal in the markets is ONLY because now investors feel that Brexit may not cause that much harm to the economy.

My point with all this is that NOTHING has changed. Since the announcement, all there has been is Brexit discussion. Prior to the vote and announcement, all that took place was Brexit discussion. There has not been one single logistical event or change put in place related to Brexit, and yet the markets, (meaning investors) have gone from one extreme to another. Nothing could be clearer in displaying how emotion can be a much greater driver of the markets than logic.

In the housing market, the latest news on home prices comes from the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Home price appreciation continues to rise, however it is showing signs of moderating. In the 20-city adjusted index, home prices rose 0.5 percent for the month of April. This is an annualized growth rate of 5.4 percent. Earlier in the year home prices were running about 6.0 percent above the same time last year.

Seventeen of the 20 cities measured by the index showed gains. Surprising, was that both San Francisco and San Diego declined, which has been a very rare occurrence. Overall, the West continues to lead the country with home price appreciation. In the Pacific Northwest home prices compared to the same time last year are way up.

In Portland, Oregon home prices are up 12.2 percent followed by Seattle which has risen 10.6 percent. In third place for appreciation is Denver, Colorado. The two weakest markets for price appreciation are Washington DC and New York, which rose a meager 1.8 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Early summer data is pointing to the market slowing for pending home sales. The index unexpectedly declined 3.7 percent for the month of May. This decline essentially wipes out April’s revised gain of 3.9 percent. Even compared to the same time last year, the index is down 0.2 percent. A boost to future home sales may come from the plummeting interest rates. Since the announcement of Brexit and the market panic, mortgage rates have been improving. Refinances are exploding through the roof again and there is a chance that purchasers may jump into the market to take advantage of the amazingly low rates.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday July 4th Holiday – All Markets Closed
  • Tuesday July 5th – Factory Orders
  • Wednesday July 6th – MBA Mortgage Applications and FOMC Minutes
  • Thursday July 7th – ADP Employment Report and First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday July 8th – 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 new physical and mental push!

If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you’ve read about my experience with taking Zumba classes. I love the workout, the music, the dance and the instructor-all was wonderful.

But, I recently heard about a new class called “Pound”- it combines drum sticks (learning to play the drums is on my bucket list) and a full body workout. After watching a sample video of the class, I was hooked. And, even more exciting, I found a Pound class here in Santa Clarita Valley!

I gotta say, it’s a blast. I could barely walk out of the first class, but what a rush! Working out needs to be fun for me to stay consistent, and this class is the epitome of fun! Not to mention the faces my sister and I make at each other in the midst of the physical and mental push.

If you live in SCV and want details, let me know!

Onto the market update…

Through Thursday the stock market seemed to have been enjoying a great rally. With fears of the U.K. leaving the European Union easing, markets around the world stabilized and have even been rallying. However, as of this morning, everything changed. The experts were wrong – the U.K. is going to leave the European Union.

As of early this morning stock markets around the world are tanking. Money is flying out of stocks and into bonds. The Yield on the 10 year bond is down to 1.46% as of early morning trading. Bottom line…buckle up and stay tuned as the markets are in for a crazy ride while investors and governments around the world sort through the what the impact of the vote to exit will ultimately be.

The housing market continues to show strength, although the numbers are not earth shattering. Existing home sales rose 1.8 percent in May, which is the strongest pace of growth since February 2007. The increase is only modest from prior months, but it continues to point to an improving housing market. Compared to the same time last year, existing homes sales are up by a narrow 4.5 percent.

Home prices are up, but only modestly at 4.7 percent for the year. Lack of inventory continues to be the culprit for slow growth in the housing sector. Supply of homes is very low at only 4.7 months. The South is up 6.5 percent from the same time last year at a rate of 2.280 million. The Northeast, which is the smallest region, is up 11.6 percent for a 770,000 annualized rate. The West, usually a strong region, appears to be lagging behind the country being down 1.7 percent from a year ago.

New homes sales data is always volatile due to the small sampling used to acquire report data. Despite the volatility, it appears that new home sales are continuing to trend higher. Although new home sales fell a larger than expected 6.0 percent in May, the number is misleading. The annualized sales rate of 551,000. is the second best of the housing recovery cycle.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s report on home prices was weaker than anticipated, but still shows home price appreciation. Prices according to the FHFA reflect an increase much smaller than expected- 0.2 percent for the month of April. Prices compared to the same time last year are up by 5.9 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

Monday June 27th – International Trade in Goods

  • Tuesday June 28th – GDP & Case-Shiller Home Price Index
  • Wednesday June 29th – MBA Mortgage Applications and Pending Home Sales
  • Thursday June 30th – First Time Jobless Claims and New Home Sales
  • Friday July 1st – ISM Manufacturing Index & Construction Spending

 

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

 

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.