Friday, September 29, 2017

Applications for Puchase Loans Increases While Refinance Applications Decline

The Stock Market and the Fed:

The stock market has been trading in a relatively narrow range for the week with the Dow remaining within 70 points from the beginning of the week through Thursday. Since last week’s Fed announcement regarding a likely rate increase in December, along with their plan to begin unwinding the Fed balance sheet, investors have been looking for other significant news to trade on. Overall, there has been little geopolitical news or domestic economic surprises that have given investors cause to make significant changes to their investment positions.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

Good news in the housing market in that the Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported that applications for purchase loans increased 3.0 percent for the week ending September 22nd. This bump upward follows the prior week’s unusually steep loss of 11.0 percent. Refinance applications declined once again for the same period by 4.0 percent.

Overall the housing market is showing signs of some softness. The talk over the Summer that the year could end up finishing strong to make up for the slow Spring market seems to have been quelled. Limited housing inventory continues to remain the culprit of holding down home purchase activity. There are plenty of buyers in the market, however their ability to locate suitable properties continues to frustrate both purchasers and real estate professionals. Seller’s remain the big winners as property prices continue to rise.

Case-Shiller Home Price Index & Pending Home Sales Index

Although we are in September, this benchmark housing report shows that home prices increased 0.3 percent for the month of July. Unfortunately, home price data typically runs approximately 2 months behind the current calendar date due to the time it takes to gather all of the data. Compared to the same time last year, prices are up 5.8 percent. The spread between the last report and the current one, related to year-on-year growth, increased by 2/10th of one percent.

Existing home sales have been on the decline recently, and the latest data on pending home sales confirms this trend is likely to continue. The August report of homes currently in contract to sell is down a significant 2.6 percent. However, a major factor in the reduction of homes in contract is likely related to the two recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida, which represent large real estate markets.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday October 1st – ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending
· Wednesday October 3rd - MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report
· Thursday October 4th - First Time Jobless Claims, Factory Orders
· Friday October 5th – 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 (707) 455-7070.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Prices, Purchases Stagnant, but Housing Starts on the Rise

The Stock Market and the Fed:

Other than a brief, and I mean for less than 30 minutes, did the stock market become concerned about the latest Fed meeting statement. You can look at stock market charts minute by minute and you will see within seconds of the Fed announcement that the Fed will likely increase rates before years end, the Dow plunged 50 points. However, within 30 minutes of the announcement the market was rising once again. In total 45 minutes from the announcement, the Dow was back to pre-announcement levels. The Dow finished the trading day up 39 points.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: Despite the fact that mortgage rates virtually flat last week, applications for purchases and refinances both declined. Apps dropped 11.0 percent and 9.0 percent respectively, and caught may analysts by surprise. Overall applications versus the same time last year are only up 2.0 percent. This is the closest gap we have seen between present and last year’s statistics.

Limited housing inventory continues to contribute to the limited growth in housing. As of late, the inventory, which had been increasing slightly, has once again returned to contraction. There continues to be speculation that with the rise in home prices all year, the fall could drive sellers to enter the market.

Housing Starts

This sector of the market is doing well. The latest stats for August show an increase of 7.9 percent from the prior month. To be transparent, some of the increase is due to rebuilding taking place in Texas related to the storm damage of Hurricane Harvey. It is likely that we will see additional increases in the coming months from the continuation of building in Texas, plus the addition of construction in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. However, it is important to note that overall housing starts are higher even when you subtract out the Hurricane factor.

FHFA House Price Index

Home price increases have been cooling as of late, and the latest report for July continues to show this trend. Home prices only rose 0.2 percent from June to July. Overall prices remain 6.3 percent above last year. The Mountain and Pacific States remain on top with annual prices increases of 8.2 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday September 25th – Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey
· Tuesday September 26th – New home Sales, Consumer Confidence
· Wednesday September 27th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Pending Home Sales
· Thursday September 28th - First Time Jobless Claims, GDP
· Friday September 29th – 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 (707) 455-7070.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Create perfect lighting and save energy by switching out your old light switch with a dimmer switch.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Why/How Potential Home Buyers Must Address Credit: 6 Basic Steps/Points

You've made the decision, it's time to buy and own a house! You realize you will need a down - payment, and additional funds for closing expenses, etc. You figure your credit is fine, because you've checked your credit score, and have often been accepted for credit cards, auto loans, etc. However, quite often, potential home buyers, fail to recognize and/ or realize, it is necessary to examine whether they qualify for a mortgage, because there are other factors, which go into consideration, in this application process. Items such as percentage of debt to income, amount of unused credit lines, etc, may have some impact. Therefore, it might make sense, for you to sit down, in advance, with a qualified, professional mortgage broker or banker, and ask to be pre - approved, and not merely pre - qualified. The difference is that everyone who might be qualified, may not, upon further review, be approved! Here are 6 preliminary steps/ points to look at.

1. Request and review a full copy of your credit report: Look closely for what it says on your credit report, and not merely at your credit score. Are there any mistakes, or questionable items, which may cause you difficulty? You are entitled to a free copy, once per year.

2. Check for accuracy and correct: Review this report clearly, fully and completely. Are there any inaccuracies, etc? Immediately, in writing, question and/ or ask for an explanation of anything you consider possibly negative, especially if it appears inaccurate.

3. Address negative and/ or questionable items: You might have had to contest something in the past, or never received an invoice, and it was turned over to collections, and even though, you thought you corrected it, and/ or cleared it up at the time, it might still be lingering on your credit report. Immediately, in writing, address anything which might, even appear, negative!

4. Reduce/ pay down debt: The less debt of any sort, the better you will qualify for your mortgage! Reduce or pay it down, and avoid taking out any additional debt or lines of credit, no matter how good a deal it seems. Don't buy a new car and finance it, immediately before you seek a mortgage loan! Even interest - free offers for items, such as appliances, computers or furniture, might have a negative impact!

5. Save for down - payment, closing costs, fees: Know how much you will need for a down - payment, and closing costs, as well as any related fees. Create a reserve equal to at least six months mortgage payments. be prepared!

6. Do it yourself; or hire someone: You can undergo this, by yourself, or you can hire a mortgage banker or broker, to advise you, and help you prepare properly, to optimize your chances for getting the loan, you seek. But, do it!

Know your credit, the process, and how it might affect, you getting your mortgage! Don't wait for the last moment!

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

From Makeshift Closet to Well-Stocked Kitchen - Adulting 101: Century 21

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Friday, September 8, 2017

All Returns to Normal After Tuesday's Stock Market Plunge; Mortgage Purchase Applications and Refinances Increase

The Stock Markets:

After Tuesday’s stock market plunge, based upon the momentary fears that re-appeared relating to the uncertainty with North Korea, all returned to normal. Despite the recent disruption to oil production from Hurricane Harvey, and the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma, investors continue to believe in the strength of the American economy. There is potential for the positive sentiment to rapidly change with the instability of what is happening with North Korea along with the aftermath of Irma, but for now investors appear to be holding steady.

Additionally, with the lack of significant economic news or data for this week, investors have had little to go on to make adjustment to their holdings. Next week the economic calendar continues to remain light, so it is likely that investors will be making any significant changes in their strategy in the markets.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: The decline in mortgage rates appears to have awoken buyers who have been sitting idle on the sidelines. The week ending September 1st applications for purchase loans rose 1.0 percent according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. This increase comes after three consecutive weeks of application declines. Refinances, which are always sensitive to rate movements, jumped 5.0 percent. With mortgage rates going lower, the market share of refinances has been increasing. The latest data shows that refinancing represents just over 50.0 percent of all mortgage activity. Mortgage rates are currently at the lowest level since November 2016.

With all the focus on the Hurricanes, the knowledge to the general public regarding declining rates, is only just starting to trickle out. As more people begin to realize exactly what is happening, it is likely that we will see even more activity in both purchases and refinances. The increase in demand for housing might even be more of a catalyst for homeowner who have been thinking about selling, to actually take the leap and place their homes for sale. The bottom line is that the recent movement in rates might be just what the market needs to stimulate an increase in housing inventory, which is what has been the only thing holding back what would be a very strong housing market.

First Time Jobless Claims

If it were not for the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, claims would have continued to remain near historic lows. Claims jumped more than 50,000, fed by the initial claims coming from Texas. Claims are likely to continue higher from both Texas and the aftermath of Hurricane Irma hitting Florida.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Tuesday September 12th – JOLTS Report
· Wednesday September 13th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Producer Price Index
· Thursday September 14th - First Time Jobless Claims, Consumer Price Index
· Friday September 15th – Retail Sales, Industrial Production, 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 (707) 455-7070.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

As Nation Reels from Harvey's Destruction,Stocks Remain Strong While Housing Market Flattens

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..

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 (707) 455-7070.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ready, Set, Rec! - September

In this episode of Ready, Set, Rec! Community Services Director Kerry Walker talks about some of the great events and activities taking place in Vacaville during the month of September.