My prayers for Texas…and your market update

Watching the devastation that has occurred in Texas is heart wrenching, to say the least.  There is so little that can be said that has not already been written or voiced.  It is a crisis beyond belief, and it is my hope that as many people as possible will find a way to contribute to help those in need.  There are many legitimate ways to contribute (stay away from scams) to assist in the long road to recovery.

My heartfelt prayers go out to everyone affected by this.

Onto the market update…

The Stock Markets:  It seems that investors around the world do not have much concern about geopolitical events derailing the current market rallies in many of the world’s major economies.  Even in the U.S., where the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, and the impact it is having on oil production, has done little to reverse investor enthusiasm towards future economic growth.

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index:  The latest data on home price appreciation in June shows a virtually flat market.  Between last week’s FHFA price data, and now the latest Case-Shiller report, home prices are up only 0.1 percent.  Overall, prices are higher by 5.7 percent from the same time last year.

Despite the continued lack of inventory that exists nationwide, home prices have stabilized which can be a catalyst for a few positive things to occur in housing.

Time will tell, but it is possible that homeowners now seeing the run-up in prices slowing, may elect to start placing their homes on the market.  This could bode well for a very strong Fall market as the pent-up demand for housing would likely rapidly absorb any new inventory that appears. Additionally, the stabilizing of prices keeps home affordability in check potentially increasing the number of buyers who can qualify to purchase bolstering housing strength.

Consumer Confidence: The latest reading from the Conference Board’s measurement of consumer confidence shows that August has many people believing in the strength of the economy.  The reading of 122.9 is the highest the index has been since March, and the second highest dating all the way back to December of 2000.  Consumer confidence has the potential to also translate positively into growth in the housing market in the coming months.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:  Surprisingly, despite falling mortgage rates, it does not seem to be translating into an increase in purchase or refinance activity according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.  The latest data for the week ending August 25th shows a decline of 3.0 percent and 2.0 percent in purchase and refi applications respectively.  Even with the seasonal adjustments made for the end of the summer, applications are down.  The bright spot in the report is that applications for purchases remain 4.0 percent higher than the same time last year.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday September 4th – US Holiday: Labor Day – All Markets Closed
  • Tuesday September 5th – Factory Orders
  • Wednesday September 6th – MBA Mortgage Applications & ISM Non-Mfg Index
  • Thursday September 7th – First Time Jobless Claims & EIA Petroleum Status
  • Friday September 8th – Wholesale Trade & Consumer Credit

 

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.

 

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.

 

Last week I ran away…

Last week I ran away…

Last week I ran away… well sort of. I went on vacation for the first time in 5 years. Not something I’m proud of, as vacations are necessary for balance. It’s just tough to get away, especially in an industry like mortgage lending!

I took my son and niece to Yosemite! We had a blast ziplining, hiking and just taking in the beauty.

The weather was warm, but beautiful, and the crowds were manageable, as school was in back in session for most.

Here’s a few pictures:

yosemite

zipline

Note to self: take more vacations, even if for a few days. It’s good for the soul.

Onto the market update…

New Home Sales: Trying to chart the trajectory of new home sales can prove challenging. For the month of July, sales rocketed up 12.4 percent to a 654,000 annualized rate. This however follows June’s modest report that was revised downward by 10,000 to 572,000 annually. Up or down, we just don’t seem to see a clear path as to which direction the market is going.

It appears that the jump in sales is being driven by builders offering pricing discounts as the median price fell by 5.1 percent. What appears odd in the report is that prices have declined despite the fact that inventory has declined as well. It would be expected that with inventories dropping to 4.3 months from 4.9 months, this would create upward movement in pricing, versus the opposite which is being seen.

FHFA House Price Index: The FHFA HPI appears to reinforce the data from the new home sales report that home sales are moving higher with increasing seller incentives and discounts. For the second straight month the index is up, although a meager 0.2 percent. Currently, prices are 5.6 percent higher than the same time last year. In March and April, the difference between this year and prior year prices were 6.3 percent and 6.0 percent. It is clear that price momentum is slowing.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: The data from the Mortgage Bankers Association of America continues to point to slowing activity for home purchases. For the week ending 8/19, the data shows a slight decline in purchase applications of 0.3 percent. This follows the prior report of a 4.0 percent drop. Refinances have also been slowing for the second consecutive week by 3.0 percent. This follows the previous week decline of 4.0 percent. Applications compared to the same time last year remain higher by 8.0 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims: It is getting to the point that writing about first time jobless claims is like a broken record. Once again the claims remain at a very healthy rate of 261,000. This is a slight drop from the prior week’s 265,000 and remains well below the artificial threshold of 300K.

The Fed and Interest Rates: Traders appear to be thinking that the odds of the Fed raising interest rates in September are rising. The latest surveys show that about 1/3 of investors believe that a September rate hike will occur. Although this is all speculation, many investors will be focused on Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s comments in her speech at the monetary policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to try and get a better gauge of the Fed mindset for their next meeting.  

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday August 29th – Personal Income and Outlays
  • Tuesday August 30th – S&P Case-Shiller HPI & Consumer Confidence
  • Wednesday August 31st – MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report, Pending Home Sales, and EIA Petroleum Status Report
  • Thursday September 1st – First Time Jobless Claims, ISM Mfg Index & Construction Spending
  • Friday September 2nd – National Employment & Factory Orders

 

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

 

My gift for your teens…and your market update.

As you probably know, I have a deep desire to educate and empower our youth with money smarts. In fact, if you haven’t visited my website, please do so here.

With the upcoming school semester starting, I would love to offer you an opportunity to get this material into your teens or college bound kids now! This information is invaluable and will lay the foundation for a financially peaceful future, something we all want for our children.

My Online Money School is an easy way for your kids to watch money lessons from their computer. The videos are short and easy to watch. Learn more about what we cover here.

I would like to offer you a 20% discount, good through 8/20/16 on the Complete Online Money School program. Just enter coupon code ‘summer2016’ and your discount will automatically be calculated!

Enjoy!

Onto the market update…

Mortgage Rates and Applications: Despite the fact that interest rates dropped slightly for the week ending July 29th, applications for both refinances and purchases declined 2.0 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. This is the third consecutive week of declines in purchases. Additionally, it is the lowest pace of home purchases since February. Applications are currently running only 6.0 percent higher than the same time last year.

The question that some industry insiders are asking is “is the well running dry for refinancing?” Despite mortgage rates having declined slightly, this week’s decline in applications follows last week’s double digit drop of 15.0 percent.

Employment: As was expected, the ADP Employment Report, which provides data on private payrolls, showed that for the month of July, companies increased payrolls by 179,000. This figure was on the upper end of analyst’s expectations. The ADP Employment report this year has been far more accurate than last year.
Construction Spending: Although expectations were that spending in this sector would rise somewhere in the area of 0.6 percent, it actually declined by 0.6 percent for the month of June. May was revised with an improvement from 0.8 percent down to only a minimal drop of 0.1 percent.

Single-family construction fell 0.4 percent, which extends the negative path dating back to March. Overall, construction spending is up 4.8 percent from last year in June. One of the bright sides of this month’s report is that it appears that home improvement spending in the residential sector is up by 1.2 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims: Claims for the week ending July 30th moved up slightly to 269,000. This is an increase of 3,000 from the prior week. Overall claims remain well below the psychological benchmark of 300,000. The upward trend needs to be watched as in recent weeks there have been more increases in claims than declines.

EIA Petroleum Status: The only way you would not know that gas prices have been dropping is if you don’t use a car. With oil prices having dipped below $40 a barrel earlier in the week, we are seeing the cost of filling our vehicles steadily moving lower. This is also a reversal of the typical trend of higher gas prices during the peak driving months.

Petroleum inventories jumped by 1.4 million barrels in the week of July 29th. The overall gain in storage has increased by 14.8 percent from the same time last year. Even though refineries have cut back production slightly, it seems that less oil is being used by consumers. Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

 

  • Monday August 8th – Labor Market Conditions
  • Tuesday August 9th – Small Business Optimism Index
  • Wednesday August 10th – MBA Mortgage Applications and EIA Petroleum Report
  • Thursday August 11th – First Time Jobless Claims
  • Friday August 12th – Retail Sales, Producer Price Index, 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.

 

 

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.