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.

 

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.