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.

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.

 

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.