Home and Garden show this weekend!

If you live anywhere near the Santa Clarita Valley, come to the Home and Garden Show this weekend! It’s tons of fun, with food trucks, everything for your home and garden, and I’ll be there! It’s at Central Park with lots of parking and it’s free! If you need directions, let me know.

I’ll be at booth 203 with our American Family Funding team. I’m working the booth on Saturday from 2:00-4:00 and Sunday from 10:00-12:00. Please come by and say hi, I’d love to see you!!

Don’t forget about my book signing event on May 11th at the American Family Funding offices. A complimentary book will be given to the first 50 guests, so be sure and come early!! 5:00-7:00 PM, with wine and treats being served!

Onto the market update…

Housing data dominated the market data being released.  Tuesday launched the housing news with the Federal Housing Finance Agency report on home prices.  For the month of February, home prices increased 0.8 percent.  This was double the amount the majority of analyst’s predicted.  Adding to the positive news was January’s numbers- revised from being flat, to showing an increase of 0.2 percent.  Overall, home prices are up 6.4 percent from the same time last year.

Following the FHFA report, S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI showed an increase in home prices by 0.7 percent for the 20 major cities measured.  This stronger than expected report reflects a 5.9 increase from last year, and the best spread in 2-1/2 years.

What is impressive about this latest report is some of the weakest cities in the past have shown significant improvement.  The Midwest, notably Ohio and Michigan, which have been struggling to move higher, showed price growth of 0.9 percent in Cleveland, and 0.8 percent in Detroit.

When it comes to year-on-year appreciation, nothing is beating the Pacific Northwest.  For well over a year, Seattle and Portland have been leading the country in price appreciation.  Seattle home prices are currently up by 12.1 percent from the same time last year.  Portland, Oregon is higher by 9.6 percent.

Overall home prices across the country are averaging a year-on-year increase of 5.9 percent.  Although this number is respectable, it is hard for people to be super excited about it.  The interesting dynamic about this increase is it is occurring in a low interest rate environment.  Typically, when rates are low, home appreciation can be stagnant.

Pending home sales were the only negative in this week’s housing data.  This sector showed a decline of 0.8 percent.  The only reason for the decline is the lack of available inventory.  Demand remains strong.

Rounding out this week’s housing reports was the data on new home sales.  From February’s sales of 592,000, March showed a nice increase up to 621,000.  Permits for new construction are also higher.  What is very encouraging in the latest report is the increase in new home sales did not come at the expense of reduced prices.

Prices for new homes rose a very strong 7.5 percent.  Sales are up a whopping 15.6 percent from a year ago.  More homes came on the market, however with the increase in demand, overall supply declined down to 5.2 months from 5.4 months.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday May 1st – Construction Spending, PMI Manufacturing Index
  • Tuesday May 2nd – FOMC Meeting Begins
  • Wednesday May 3rd – FOMC Announcement, MBA Applications, ADP Employment Report
  • Thursday May 4th – First time Jobless Claims, Factory Orders
  • Friday May 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.

 

Here’s a fun idea for this weekend!

If you love books the way I do, come down to the Los Angeles Times Book Festival at USC this weekend! I’ll be there on Saturday from 10-1:00 and most of the day on Sunday. It’s a family friendly event and it’s free! I’ll be in booth 167. I would love to see your friendly face!

On another exciting note, I’m working on a new Podcast series. I’ll be hosting a show, with various guest speakers. We’ll be touching on many topics, including money smarts, mortgage questions, getting your financial house in order, personal development, and so much more. The hope is to inspire, empower and educate!

I’ll be sending out more details soon.

Have a great weekend and come join the fun at the book festival!

Onto the market update…

With not much economic data to trade on, investors have been using speculation to fuel their investment decisions this week. From concerns regarding healthcare to tax reform, investors are making guesses as to what legislation will be passed in the coming months and year to base today’s investment decisions. The Dow has been trading from positive to negative, back to positive territory throughout the week. However, the index has remained within a 200 point range, up and down.

In the housing sector, builders continue to remain optimistic on the future of new construction sales. Buyer traffic has been significant in recent months and shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. The traffic component of the index came in above 50 for the 4th time in the last 5 months. Future and current sales continue to remain very strong. The West Coast continues to stay out front as far as new construction. The Northeast, to no one’s surprise, came in last out of the 4 regions. The South and Midwest remain strong as well, however at a pace slightly behind the West.

In contrast to builder optimism on the housing market, the number of new starts on single family homes was down 6.8 percent. This is the weakest level since November. The greatest strength came from the multi-family side. The good news in the overall report is that both sectors are up nearly 10.0 percent from the same time last year.

To offset the less than stellar housing starts data, permits for new construction are up 3.6 percent. Once again, multi-family home permits are leading the way. What is hard to figure out is the difference between the positive builder sentiments displayed in the housing market index versus the disappointing data on housing starts. In the coming months, we should expect to see them come more in-line with each other and reflect similar trends.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported that applications for home purchases declined 3.0 percent for the week ending April 14th. Despite mortgage rates moving down towards 2017 lows, it seems that buyer activity has slowed. The most likely culprit for this is the national lack of available inventory. What used to be an issue primarily in the Northwest, has spread to many areas of the country. Even the East Coast, which has not seen a shortage of inventory since prior the market meltdown, is experiencing a significant shortage of available homes for sale.

Refinance applications for the same week were up by 0.2 percent. It will require rates to go lower by about 50 basis points in order to rekindle another refinance boom.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

  • Monday April 24th – Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey
  • Tuesday April 25th – FHFA House Price Index, S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI, New Home Sales, Consumer Confidence
  • Wednesday April 26th – MBA Applications
  • Thursday April 27th – First Time Jobless Claims, Durable Goods Orders, Pending Home Sales
  • Friday April 28th – GDP, Consumer Sentiment

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

 

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.

 

Radio interview…and your Mortgage Market update!

A little over a week ago, I was invited to an interview on our local radio station, KHTS 1220. It was a short segment, but we had fun chatting about the launch of my newest book, Money Rules 101. I shared a few tips for parents in the little time we had, with so much more to cover! You can check out the video by scrolling to the post below!

Stay dry and safe on these slick roads!

Onto the market update…

The stock market just keeps going up. Investors once again are optimistic that President Trump’s policies will bolster the business climate. Deregulation is the likely key to economic growth and investors are counting on major changes to much of the legislation that was enacted under the previous administration. There is concern that the market is becoming severely over valued in that stock prices have rocketed to new records without a single change to any rules or regulations as-of-yet. The market increase is all on speculation and it is creating concern that the ride might abruptly end.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported that seasonally adjust applications for home purchases declined 2.0 percent. However, the unadjusted number reflects an increase of 1.0 percent. Housing purchases overall remain strong and there seems to be no sign of buyer demand waning despite interest rates being higher by almost ¾% from last summer. Refinances are currently at the lowest level since June of 2009.

Housing starts for January declined by 2.6 percent. The silver-lining in the reports is that the 1.246 million rate was well above most analyst’s expectations. Single-family starts increased by a rate of 823,000 which reflects a 1.9 percent increase in this sector. Year-on-year housing starts are up a significant 6.2 percent for single-family units and a whopping 19.8 percent for multi-family homes.

Permits for new housing construction jumped 4.6 percent in January to an annualized rate of 1.285 million. This report also significantly beat most analyst’s predictions. Single-family permits surprisingly declined by 2.7 percent, however they are still higher than the same time last year by 11.1 percent.

Since the last Fed announcement regarding interest rate policy, there is much talk about just how many rate increases there will be in 2017. Listening to various experts on TV, radio and even in print, you will hear predictions of rate hikes of anywhere from one to as high as four. No matter the number, one thing is very likely, mortgage rates and overall cost of borrowing for consumers will very likely end the year higher than where they are now.

Bolstering the argument for rates hikes is the latest producer price index data. January’s PPI report showed an increase of 0.6 percent, far exceeding market expectations. One of the areas of focus for the Fed in their decision to raise interest rates is how much inflation is taking place. For years, the Fed has wanted to see price growth as a catalyst for rate increases. It may appear that this is beginning to occur. This is only one report, but the increase of prices on the wholesale level was significant.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday February 20th – Presidents Day: Markets Closed
  • Tuesday February 21st – PMI Manufacturing Index
  • Wednesday February 22nd – MBA Applications, FOMC Minutes, and Existing Home Sales
  • Thursday February 23rd – First Time Jobless Claims, FHFA House Price Index
  • Friday February 24th – New home Sales 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.

 

Radio fun!

Tori is live with Patti Handy discussing her new book "Money R…

Tori is live with Patti Handy discussing her new book "Money Rules 101" – KHTS AM 1220

Posted by KHTS AM 1220 on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

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.

 

Friday, the 13th.

Friday, the 13th.

Oddly enough, it’s always been a favorite date for me. In the past, my mom has notoriously had something good happen on this date. I’m excited to call her later and hear something fun or exciting.

In reality, the blessing is that I get to call her at all. My mom has always been my pillar and my greatest cheerleader. I love her dearly and I love our talks. I don’t take our conversations, or time together, for granted!

Having said this, if I happen to see a black cat today, I will probably pause and go in another direction.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Onto the market update…

An interesting statistic has shown up for 2016 that has caught many real estate and mortgage experts by surprise. According to the real estate website Trulia, the number of transactions failing to close after going into contract has risen sharply in many areas of the country.

Trulia’s analysis has determined that property listings that moved from for-sale to pending sale, returned back to for-sale again in 2016. This is almost twice as many that occurred versus 2015. This is not focused in any particular region of the country. 96 of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas showed this trending increase. This issue is occurring in high and low priced markets, large and small markets, and affluent and poorer neighborhoods.

For instance, in Ventura California, 11.6 percent of prospective sales failed to close. This was the highest in the country. This represents an increase of 3.1 percent from 2015. Tucson, Arizona was second with 10.8 percent that failed, which is 3.5 percent higher than 2015. For perspective, the median home price in Ventura is $548,000, whereas Tucson median price is $176,000

2017 appears to be starting out stronger for mortgage applications and home purchases. Now that Trump euphoria has seemed to ease, the stock market has been stable and mortgage rates have eased off their recent highs. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, applications for purchases and refinances increased 6.0 percent and 4.0 percent respectively for the first week of the year.

The employment sector continues to remain strong. Although last Friday’s employment report for new hiring came in at 156,000, which was below analyst’s expectations, buried within the report was the strength in wage growth. The Fed is continuing to watch what is happening with job hiring, however the increase of hourly earnings by 0.4 percent has now caught the attention of the Fed. Rapid wage growth can lead to inflation. Although the Fed wants inflation to increase, they are continuing to remain cautious in that any increase needs to be controlled.

Following last week’s labor department report was the first time jobless claims data released on Thursday. Claims continue to remain very low at 247,000. Continuing claims continued to improve with a decline of 29,000.

Finally, the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) continues to show a significant gap between available job openings versus hiring. It appears that employers continue to struggle to fill open positions as the number of new hires is far below the number of available positions.

Next week’s many potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday January 16th – Martin Luther King Holiday – All Markets Closed
  • Wednesday January 18th – MBA Applications, Consumer Price Index, House Price Index, Consumer Price Index, and Industrial Production
  • Thursday January 19th – First Time Jobless Claims and 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.

 

New Year-New Book!

I hope your holidays and New Year celebrations were wonderful! I was able to enjoy a little down time, including a trip to Disneyland. I love that place during Christmas! The lights and decorations bring out the kid in me.

I was also able to work on the final pieces of my new book, “Money Rules 101- Master Your Money Before it Masters You,” which should be out February! I’m super excited about this book, as I know it will help everyone who reads it. I’ll be starting an interest list soon, so watch for that coming!

Enjoy your weekend!

 Onto the market update…

Now that the holidays are over, let’s see if the Dow Jones Industrial Average can break the 20,000 mark. Last week the index came very close, but investor concerns about U.S. and China trade relations had many sitting on the sidelines. In addition, many people are just getting back from vacation and getting things going for the New Year and the stock market was not their primary focus.

Even though this week had enough economic news to impact the markets, it did not seem like many were paying attention. The ADP Employment Report, which typically can draw a significant market reaction, didn’t seem to do much in the investment community. ADP reported a softer labor report than most experts had anticipated. ADP announced that 153,000 new jobs were added in December. Analysts were expecting closer to 172,000.

In the housing market, construction spending picked up heading into the latter part of the year. The latest report for November 2016 showed a jump in spending by 0.9 percent. That was significantly higher than analyst’s expectations. Additionally, the spread between construction spending at this point versus the prior year increased to 4.1 percent. This was a healthy increase from the prior month in which the spread year over year was only 3.4 percent. This is the best reading on construction spending since June 2016. Residential construction accounted for a 1.0 percent increase in the report and the largest portion of the gain was in single family sector.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported huge declines in refinance applications for the final week of the year. According to the MBA’s latest report, refinance applications declined 22.0 percent. Purchase applications only dipped 2.0 percent despite it being a major vacation week. Mortgage rates have stopped moving upward and have even declined slightly in the last couple of weeks. Now that the holidays are over, many eyes will be watching the direction of the housing market. Many experts are anticipating the purchase and sale market to be the best since the 2008 recession.

On Wednesday, the FOMC released their minutes from the Open Market Committee Meeting. The theme that seemed to come from reading the minutes is that the Fed is taking a wait and see attitude toward future rate increases. There are many uncertainties regarding future government spending and tax cuts under the Trump presidency. Any of the talked about initiatives can have a major impact on inflation and economic productivity. For the time being, the Fed is planning for two interest rate increases in 2017. However, they clearly indicated that they will adjust their forecasts as needed with so much unchartered governmental decisions lying ahead.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday January 9th – Labor Market Index
  • Tuesday January 10th – JOLTS Report
  • Wednesday January 11th – MBA Applications
  • Thursday January 12th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday January 13th – Producer Price Index and Retail 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.

 

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.