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.

 

Gratitude

Gratitude.

It’s one of my favorite words.

When I focus on my blessings, and that which I am truly grateful for, I feel a physical change within me. Even amid the madness of our world lately, I always have many things to be grateful for.

In my new book, I discuss the importance of gratitude, in fact, referring to a “gratitude adjustment” as a necessary habit for some.

Today, I want to express how grateful I am for sharing this journey with you. I am grateful for working with and for you. I am grateful for your friendship and support. I’m grateful you are reading my newsletter!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me into your home, one way or another.

May you be blessed with a wonderful Thanksgiving next week, surrounded by those you love!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Onto the market update…

After the initial market jubilation in belief that President Elect Trump might actually be good for the economy and markets, things have settled down.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is basically poised to finish the week in about the same place it started.

Helping matters is that it appears that Mr. Trump has toned down much of his rhetoric and inflammatory comments, which is giving investors reason to believe that he will not make rash decisions on economic policy.  Time will tell as to exactly what will happen.  For now, investors are paying close attention to his staff appointments.

Mortgage rates have shot up .50 percent since the election in response to bond yields rising rapidly.  The mortgage industry is feeling it in that applications for purchases and refinances have been declining.  Refinance applications dropped 11.0% for the week of November 11th.  Purchase apps declined 6.0%.

Already there is much chatter that housing affordability is being directly impacted due to the higher rates increasing the cost of homeownership.  Higher rates mean higher monthly housing payments.  The one thing to keep in mind is that home prices will move towards a point where there is balance to meet demand.  For example, sellers may find that they might have to lower the price of their home slightly to offset the interest rate increase to keep buyers interest.

We have been in a market in which mortgage rates have been artificially low for an extended time.  The talk of rising rates has been around for more than five years.  It is just that now it has finally become reality.  Anyone who has been around long enough in the housing market knows that regardless of interest rates, homes will be purchased and sold.  There will always be back and forth movement related to rates, home prices and housing demand.

On a positive note for housing, starts of new construction surged 25.5 percent in October to an annualized rate of 1.323 million. This is the highest number since August of 2007.  The monthly jump in percentage is the strongest since 1982.  The best part of the report is that single family construction jumped 10.7 percent which follows September’s increase of 8.4 percent.

Inflation, excluding volatile food and energy prices, remains very low on both the wholesale and retail levels.  Rising inflation is starting to become more of a concern related to Donald Trump’s plans for spending and economic stimulus, however, for now it is speculation.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

  • Monday November 21st – Chicago Fed National Activity Index
  • Tuesday November 22nd – Existing Home Sales
  • Wednesday November 23rd – MBA Applications, Jobless Claims, FHFA HPI, New Home Sales, FOMC Minutes, Consumer Sentiment
  • Thursday November 24th – Thanksgiving Giving: Markets Closed
  • Friday November 25th – International Trade in Goods

 

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.

 

Is your work, great work?

I’m headed out the door soon for a business meeting in Ventura, so my note will be short and sweet. In fact, by the time you read this, I’ll probably be cruising on the 126. And yes, I may stop and enjoy the ocean view for a bit.

I thought since it’s Friday, I’d leave you with a great quote about work:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

-Steve Jobs

Have you found it yet? I hope so!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Onto the market update…

It seems that the presidential election is in the driver’s seat in the minds of investors. Many experts were expecting the Fed to raise interest rates at this week’s Fed meeting. Despite the Fed decision to leave rates where they are, the markets reacted with little more than a yawn. The stock indexes remained little changed since the announcement.

What seems to be driving the market is speculation on who our next president will be. The country is very clearly divided on who will be best to serve as President, and who will be the right person for economic growth. (At this point I am so disgusted with the negative campaigning it will be a relief just for it to be over next week)

In previous Fed meetings, the language often used would give insight into the Fed’s plan for rate adjustments. This past meeting, there appears to be very little in the way of wording that gives any indication on when the Fed will take action to raise rates. The Fed continues to express concern about international influences that can negatively impact the U.S. economy, as well as on-going mixed economic data from housing to manufacturing here in the United States.

ADP’s employment report points to less growth in the labor markets for the month of October. On Friday, the labor department will release their numbers, and they too are expected to show weakness. You may recall that last month’s report came in weaker than expected and many analysts feel that there may be a slowing in the growth of the labor force.

First time jobless claims continue to remain very low which leads many to believe that we are not far from what is considered full employment. This being the case, has experts believing that the ability for the labor force to continue to grow at a healthy pace is limited because of the lack of people available in the talent pool.

As mortgage rates continue to creep higher, loan volume inches lower. The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported that for the week ending October 28th, applications for purchases and refinances both declined by 0.4 percent and 2.0 percent respectively. Purchase applications, however continue to be higher by 9.0 percent from the same time last year.

Furthering the Fed’s concern about a slowing economy, construction spending declined 0.4 percent for the month of September. The bright side of the report is that residential construction rose by 0.5 percent and remains just under 1.0 percent higher than from the same time last year.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

Monday November 7th – Labor Market Conditions Index

  • Tuesday November 8th – Job Opening and Labor Turnover Report
  • Wednesday November 9th – MBA Applications
  • Thursday November 10th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday November 11th – 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.

 

 

Book news…and your market update!

I’m excited to share that I finished my book! It’s the expanded/updated/sequel to “How to Ditch Your Allowance and be Richer Than Your Parents.” I had the opportunity to speak with a few publishers and agents and I received a great response.

I’m still working on the title, but the book is ready to submit! This book will be geared for parents and their teens and is filled with a ton of great, invaluable information. I’m super excited about sharing this with the world and inspiring and empowering our next generation.

My plan is to reach out to radio shows and local TV news stations to be a guest speaker. Have any contacts you can introduce me to?  🙂

I’ll keep you posted! I may even have some pre-sale opportunities.

Happy weekend! Stay dry and safe.

Onto the market update…

Throughout the week, the stock market has remained within a narrow trading range of 100 points, up or down. The flood of housing reports this week did little to impact the indices. Many investors believe the Fed will move rates higher. There are however others, a smaller segment, that believe that the increase will not happen until either December or January.

The Federal Housing and Finance Agency reported that home prices appear to be surging for single family residences. For the month of August, prices jumped 0.7 percent which was the high end of analyst’s expectations. This increase follows July’s jump of 0.5 percent. From the same time last year, the FHFA index is higher by 6.4 percent. The spread between prices this year and last year is also increasing, as the difference was 5.9 percent in July.

In contrast to the FHFA report, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index reported that prices increased only 0.2 percent in August. This index measures single family home prices on re-sales in 20 major metropolitan cities. Prices compared to the same time last year remain higher by 5.1 percent. This is slightly less than where the year started at a 5.6 percent spread.

The West continues to lead the way in home price appreciation with an increase of 1.0 percent for San Francisco and a 0.8 percent rise in Seattle. If you compare home prices to a year ago, Portland Oregon is out in front with an increase of 11.8 percent, and once again Seattle at 11.4 percent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, New York and Cleveland showed only 1.8 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

New homes sales jumped 3.1 percent for September. This proved to be a very solid gain after the prior two months were revised downward from 609,000 to 575,000 in August and 659,000 to 629,000 in July.

New home prices are up for the month by 6.7 percent. Limited inventory continues to keep upward pressure on prices. Currently available inventory is rated at 4.8 months, which is a decline of 0.1 percent from the prior month. Sales compared to the same time last year are up 1.9 months.

Finally, pending home sales have increased. The index for the month of September was up 1.5 percent. This is a healthy reversal from the prior month’s 2.5 percent decline.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

• Monday October 31st – Personal Income and Outlays
• Tuesday November 1st – ISM Manufacturing Index
• Wednesday November 2nd – MBA Applications, ADP Employment Report, FOMC Announcement
• Thursday November 3rd – First Time Jobless Claims & Factory Orders
• Friday November 4th – National Employment Report

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 Mortgage Market update!

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those facing Hurricane Matthew. Being a California born and raised girl, I’ve never experienced a hurricane, and hopefully never will!

If you read my newsletter two weeks ago, I shared the story of my niece getting married. They honeymooned in Jamaica and got out just before the storm hit! They arrived safely home Wednesday night, which I am grateful for.

If you are on social media, there was a lot of talk about the heightened earthquake possibility this last week. I have to admit, it freaked me out a bit. Be safe and prepared!

Happy weekend!

Onto the market update…

The first four trading days of the week, although containing some volatility, seemed to end Thursday about the same place the week started on Monday morning.

At 8:30AM on Friday the Labor Department announced that September’s employment numbers showed that 156,000 jobs were added. The latest numbers are within analyst’s expectations, although on the low end. Pre-market trading indicates that the market may go into negative territory as investors might feel that this latest report is strong enough for the Fed to raise rates at the next FOMC meeting.

We have been down this road for well over a year and the reality is that as much as investors speculate on the reaction of the Fed to a report like this, no one really knows, not even the Fed decision makers at this point.

In a side note, on Wednesday the ADP Employment Report predicted a growth of 154,000. This is the closest ADP has come to the Labor Department report in many years, if ever.

With rates returning to lowest point since July, refinance activity once again jumped up 5.0 percent for the week of September 30th. Purchase activity might be slowing as applications for purchases remained virtually flat from the prior week, however they are down 14 percent from the same time last year. This is data that the Fed will likely be paying attention to as well at the next FOMC meeting.

Factory Orders increased 0.2 percent for the month of August, however when you remove the core capital goods orders (nondefense ex-aircraft), orders jumped 0.9 percent. This follows substantial increases in the two prior months of 0.8 percent and 0.5 percent.

In another sign of potential housing weakness, the only area of construction spending showing strength is the multi-family sector. Overall spending declined 0.7 percent in August. Spending on construction for single family homes declined 0.9 percent whereas multi-family increased by 2.4 percent.

After August’s decline in manufacturing, September bounced back with an increase of 2 points which brings the reading up to 51.5. A reading above of 50 is positive for the report. New orders jumped by 6 points up to 55.1, which is a very strong monthly increase.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday October 10th – Labor Market Conditions Index
  • Wednesday October 12th – MBA Mortgage Applications & JOLTS Report
  • Thursday October 13th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday October 14th – Producer Price Index, Retail 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.

A cool speaking opportunity…and your market update!

Yesterday I had the coolest experience.

I was invited to speak to a group of young adults (18-24 year olds) that are part of a mentorship program with the Los Angeles Sheriff Department. These individuals come from all walks of life.

LASD brings in guest speakers to touch on various topics, including financial literacy and life skills- that’s where I came in.

What a great group of kids- all hungry for knowledge, with a desire to make a difference! They asked a ton of great questions, were engaging and just a joy to be with! I think I left there happier than they did! A great time was had by all!

If only this type of knowledge could be taught in our school system… I will continue to push. 🙂

Happy weekend!

Onto the market update…

What a difference a week makes. With not much news to trade on last week, this week’s news provided many traders the opportunity to ride the investment and stock rollercoaster. The stock market, through the first 3 days of trading for the week, was up just over 200 points. Thursday the gains were virtually all given back with the Dow’s 195pt loss.

Banking stocks led the way for the market decline. The problems exist on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Here at home, Wells Fargo continues to get ripped apart for their practice of opening fraudulent accounts. With each passing day, more investigations into their actions are being launched and the lawsuits are starting to pile up. On the other side of the pond, the solvency of Deutsche Bank is becoming more and more troubling by the day. Combined, these two large entities represent the potential for a major impact to global finances.

New home sales for August came in higher than expected at an annualized rate of 609,000. Although this number is higher than forecast, it represents a decline of 7.6 percent from July. The positive part of the report is that July was revised upward to show a gain of 13.8 percent from June.

According to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the price of homes remained virtually unchanged for the month of July. This shows stabilization in the market as the prior 3 month’s reports showed declines. Home prices compared to the same time last year remain 5.0 percent higher. The Pacific Northwest continues to be the strongest real estate market in the country, as demand for housing remains very high while inventory is extremely limited.

Heading into the fall and winter months, concerns for housing are growing. Existing home sales have not been able to gain ground and Thursday’s pending home sales report indicates that future sales are likely to be weak. The latest report on pending sales showed a decline of 2.4 percent for the month of August. 3 of the 4 regions showed declines. Surprisingly, the Northeast was the only positive region with an increase of 1.3 percent. In fact, this region is the only one posting a gain from the same time last year. Limited inventory seems to be the culprit as mortgage rates remain very low and the labor department continues to show strength.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of American reported that applications for home purchases rose a meager 1.0 percent for the week of September 23rd. Refinance applications declined by 2.0 percent. When comparing current purchase application volume to the same time last year, the volume is up 10.0 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday October 3rd – ISM Manufacturing Index and Construction Spending
  • Wednesday October 5th – MBA Mortgage Applications, Factory Orders, and ADP Report
  • Thursday October 6th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday October 7th – 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.

 

Wedding bells…and your market update!

Wedding bells…and your market update!

It’s a proud auntie moment…my niece is getting married next Saturday and I couldn’t be happier!! It’s hard to believe, as I feel she was just a little one not so long ago. Her fiancé is wonderful and they make the perfect pair. Here’s a picture of the adorable couple! I love them to pieces!!

img_0462

Happy weekend!

Onto the market update…

If you ever needed a week that is set up for potential market volatility, next week is it. With the FOMC announcement on interest rates on Wednesday, combined with four important housing market indicators being released on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, the makings for a crazy week is all set.

Experts continue to remain mixed on what the Fed is going to do with interest rates. The irony of the speculation from a mortgage lending perspective is that the last time the Fed raised rates, mortgage rates declined. Although that was likely an anomaly, there is always the possibility it can occur again if investors believe that a Fed increase will hurt the economy. That would send bond prices tumbling, and in effect, mortgage rates would decline. Odds are it won’t happen like that, but the possibility always exists. Of course, you understand that my commentary here is just speculation, the same as everyone else’s.

With mortgage rates continuing to remain near historic lows, combined with the return to normal life in regard to end of summer vacations and kids getting back to school, mortgage application activity jumped. The overall mortgage application index rose 4.2 percent. Applications for purchases jumped 9.0 percent and refinances increased by 2.0 percent. The mortgage activity from last week lifted the year-on-year gain of applications back up to 8 percent. It was virtually flat from the same time last year prior to the last report.

What used to be a major influence on the markets, the EIA Petroleum report seems to have lost its influence on investors. Oil prices have remained low and the volatility that we had seen in recent months appears to have subsided. Going to the pump continues to be a nice treat with gas prices remaining low.

Wall Street and the stock markets have had some significant movement up and down related to speculation on what the Fed is going to do next week. Many analysts and investors remain split on what they think the Fed will do. No matter what, even if the Fed moves rates up, it will only be by a very small amount. Corporations have been riding the wave of borrowing money at virtually no cost, which does wonders for corporate profits. Investors, of course, want the gravy train to keep going and raising interest rates can have a negative impact on profits and therefore impact stock prices.

Another factor which can have an impact on the Fed decision on raising rates, is the latest producer price information. Prices on the wholesale level continue to indicate that inflation is virtually non-existent. One of the goals of the Fed is for inflation to normalize at a rate of around 2.0 percent. Since the Great Recession, inflation on both the wholesale and retail levels have been far below the Fed goal.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday September 19th – Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday September 20th – Housing Starts and FOMC Meeting Begins
  • Wednesday September 21st – MBA Mortgage Applications, FOMC Announcement and Forecast
  • Thursday September 22nd – Jobless Claims, FHFA Home Price Index, Existing Home Sales
  • Friday September 23td – PMI Manufacturing Index and Inflation Expectations

 

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.

 

Exciting book news…and your market update

I’m excited to share some news with you…well, it’s exciting if you have teens or college bound kids. 🙂

I am working on a 2nd edition of my book, “How to Ditch Your Allowance and be Richer Than Your Parents!” Financial Literacy for Teens is lacking in our schools and I’m hoping to change this.

My first book has done well on Amazon and my website, but I want to reach more youth organizations, banks, credit unions, financial services firms, schools and anyone else who has an interest in educating our youth. If you have an interest in this, please contact me!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Happy Weekend!

Onto the market update…

With little news to trade on this week, the stock market has been remaining in a narrow range. Next week the markets are likely to continue not to have large swings, as significant economic data doesn’t really get reported until the third week of September.

There continues to be much speculation on what the Fed intends to do regarding interest rates. Many of the Fed board members have indicated that they would like to see interest rates start to rise, however there continues to be mixed information as to how the economy is really doing. If the Fed does make a decision to increase interest rates, the rate hike will be very small.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported minimal increases in both purchase and refinance applications. Despite mortgage rates remaining at historic lows, applications for both only increased by 1 percent. Some experts speculate that the reason for the minimal increase is due to the return of the school year, as well as the general public getting back into the swing of work after end of summer vacations.

One of the new measurements that the Fed pays attention to is called the Labor Market Conditions Index. This index is an experimental indicator by the Federal Reserve to track labor market activity. This is just one of many pieces of data that the Fed uses in making interest rate decisions. Most recently, the index has slept into negative territory which means the labor market may be beginning to contract.

Last week, the Labor Department reported only 151,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls. Analysts were expecting 175,000. The prior month payrolls increased 275,000, so this significant decline is just another factor the Fed has to weigh in making their decision on interest rates at the next FOMC meeting.

First Time jobless claims remained low at 259,000. For well over a month, claims have been remaining in a narrow range. Claim numbers below 300,000 are considered strong for the labor market. Since first time jobless claims remain low, but new hiring remains low as well, the question is are more people leaving the workforce.

The final labor market report for the week, known as the JOLTS report, tracks job openings and offer rates on hiring and people quitting. The latest report shows job openings remain very high at 5.871 million. The challenge for employers is that it appears that workers continue to remain reluctant to change jobs.

Gas prices continue to remain low as petroleum inventories are still 11.7 percent higher than the same time last year. The price for a barrel of oil remains in the mid 40’s.

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.