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Weekly Mortgage Update: January 28th, 2018

January 29, 2018dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE UPDATE – JANUARY 28, 2018

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (JANUARY 28TH, 2018) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Market momentum and positive economic news continue to press interest rates higher, with little relief on the horizon.
  • While the first GDP estimate for the final quarter of 2017 did come in at 2.6%, which was lower than expected, markets shrugged it off.
  • We still have two more estimates before the final reading, and other economic data point to upward revisions in the offing.
  • Inflation data in the GDP report also point to firming pressures that may push the Fed to more rate increases this year.
  • This week is jam-packed with economic news and data.
  • Changes in language are expected in the Fed’s policy statement that would push odds of a March rate hike to near 100%.
  • While chances of an increase this month are low, an unexpected hike by the Fed would certainly drive all interest rates even higher.
  • The ISM Manufacturing Index is expected to slip, but as long as the slip is less than 1.0 point, the impact will be muted.
  • Friday’s Employment report could easily send rates even higher if November’s new jobs number is adjusted upward and December’s comes in over 180,000.

ARE OLD BUILDINGS WORTH PROTECTING?

The January 10th demolition in Whitefish, MT of a building designed by architecture legend, Frank Lloyd Wright, highlights the tension between owners and preservationists. The tension often balances between the rights of owners, perceived historical value, potential market value of the land upon which the building sits, and the cost of maintaining or renovating. Unbeknownst to many, even a building on the National Register of Historic Places can be demolished.

Weekly Mortgage Update: 01/23/2018

January 24, 2018dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE UPDATE – JANUARY 23, 2018

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (JANUARY 21ST, 2018) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Mortgage rates continue to move upward as the third-longest economic expansion on record powers along.
  • With global economies also growing, major interest rates are all trending upward.
  • Last week, average 30-year mortgage rates stepped over 4%.
  • The cold winter weather helped propel Industrial Production numbers higher than expected, and weekly jobless claims fell to a 45-year low.
  • Market sentiment remains on the positive side, with equities on a march to set new high after new high.
  • With the long-held axiom that markets hate uncertainty, one might believe that the government shutdown would hurt equities, drive more cash into the relative security of treasuries, and pull rates downward. However, it appears that markets have simply accepted that Washington is dysfunctional.
  • Should the week’s economic news prove to be positive, we are very likely to see rates continuing to step upward. This would be especially true if Congress can get a deal in place to fund and reopen the government, and especially true if the week ends with GDP coming in over 3.0%.

FORECLOSURE RATES ARE DOWN

Across the US, the foreclosure rate has been steadily heading downward. On a national basis, the foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions dropped to a 12-year low. In 2017, only 676,535 properties faced foreclosure, compared to almost 3 million in 2010.

Weekly Mortgage Update: January 14th, 2018′

January 17, 2018dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE UPDATE – JANUARY 14, 2018

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (JANUARY 14TH, 2018) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Mortgage rates moved upward last week.
  • Economic news continues to point toward solid economic growth both here and abroad, with some signs that inflation may finally be taking hold.
  • Retail Sales grew 0.4%, right in alignment with expectations.
  • While both the Consumer and Producer Price Indices’ headline numbers were soft, the core readings revealed some increasing price pressures.
  • International news also pressured rates upward. The European Central Bank has tagged September as the end of their quantitative easing program, and Japan is showing signs of ending its long program of holding rates at zero.
  • Markets got a little spooked when news broke that China, the world’s largest investor in US treasuries, was considering trimming its purchases. Chinese officials denied the news.
  • This week would easily see rates continuing to march slowly upward, especially if we see Industrial Production numbers beat predictions.
  • Additionally, if weekly jobless claims drop back below 250K, easing labor market concerns, mortgage rates will feel even more pressure to climb higher.

SOCIETAL OCD KICKING IN THE KITCHEN

The 2018 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Survey revealed that the number one priority in the kitchen is storage. While we love our kitchen gadgets, tools, and appliances, clutter in the kitchen seems to be driving us crazy. The growth in sales of recycling baskets, cookie sheet organizers, revolving corner trays, drawer organizers, and pull-out or swing-out trays and shelves supports these results. Runners-up for kitchen priorities include easy-to-work in, entertain in, and clean.

Weekly Mortgage Update: January 7th, 2018

January 8, 2018dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE UPDATE – JANUARY 7, 2018

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (JANUARY 7TH, 2018) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Mortgage rates launched into 2018 with a small dip. Despite another week of mostly positive economic data, rising stock markets, and many other interest rates moving upward, mortgage rates moved slightly downward.
  • While much hay was made over the under-expectations employment report, the sub-par 148,000 new jobs number will likely be revised higher in the coming months, as December’s data is often incomplete.
  • The ISM reports split direction with manufacturing surging ahead and services cooling. Both remain well on the “expansion” side of their equations.
  • Some of the trepidation of raising mortgage rates may have come from the minutes of the last Fed meeting.
  • There was ample concern about how the tax bill may impact the economy, which adds to future uncertainty.
  • This week is likely to see rates working to move upward. However, the lack of growing inflationary pressure seems to be significantly helping hold rates in check.
  • If the Producer and Consumer Price Indices reveal another month of non-threatening prices increases, rates could even dip slightly.

FINDING YOUR PERFECT WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Looking for that work-life balance? SmartAsset released an analysis attempting to find the perfect cities for perfect balance. The factors studied included the concentration of entertainment establishments, bars and restaurants, housing costs, home values, average weeks worked, average hours worked, average commute times, unemployment rate, and labor force participation rate. The top cites are Madison, WI, Lincoln, NE, Omaha NE, Lubbock, TX, and Columbus, OH.

Weekly Mortgage Update: 01/02/2018′

January 2, 2018dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE UPDATE – DECEMBER 31, 2017

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (DECEMBER 31ST, 2017) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • 2017 ended with mortgage rates remaining at astonishingly competitive levels. Despite year-after-year predictions that rates would be climbing, we’ve finished another year with low rates.
  • Much of last week’s increase was due to traders locking in profits, as the one economic report, Consumer Confidence, posted a significant decline, which was likely due to the drama about the tax legislation.
  • This week starts with the ISM Manufacturing Index and ends with the monthly employment data.
  • According to some models, GDP for the fourth quarter may be running at 2.8%. If this week’s data reveals that December was a better month than expected, then we could see those models adjusted upward to 3.0% or better.
  • This would be significant as we haven’t seen three quarters with 3.0% GDP or better growth since 2004-2005.
  • As we watch pundits and experts make their predictions for rate trends in 2018, it is well worth noting that we are in completely uncharted economic territory. The most important thing, when dealing with mortgages, is to work with someone that you trust.

LOAN LIMITS MOVING UPWARD AGAIN

Every year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac adjust their loan limits. This year the limits will be raised by about seven percent. The standard loan limit is increasing from $424,100 to $453,100. In high-cost areas, the limit can go as high as $679,650. The Federal Housing Administration is required to match the Freddie and Fannie limits, so FHA loan limits will also rise. Want to know what this means for you? Please give me a call and we can discuss how this impacts you.

Weekly Mortgage Update: November 27th, 2017′

November 28, 2017dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE UPDATE – NOVEMBER 27, 2017

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (NOVEMBER 26TH, 2017) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Mortgage rates remained mostly flat during the holiday week. However, we did see some signs of more volatility to come.
  • The minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Reserve revealed some concern about the length of time that inflation has remained muted. Some members seem to believe that they need to start pushing rates upward, while others are concerned about raising rates.
  • The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Indicators jumped upward, which may point to more economic momentum than previously thought. This was the largest increase in the LEI since 2014.
  • We end November and start December next week with many important data points. GDP is expected to notch higher for last quarter, and core PCE Prices are predicted to increase. If both of these come to pass, then rates might move upward for the week.
  • However, both the ISM Manufacturing Index and Consumer Confidence are expected to slip downward.
  • If all of this week’s expectations come in on target, then we are likely to see another week with mortgage rates moving in a tight range.

TIME TO HIT THE SLOPES WITH YOUR OWN PAD?

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a vacation home in a ski resort town, do you really need big bucks? The answer is yes if you’re considering Aspen with its median home price of $2.1 million. On the other end of the spectrum, you could buy a pad in Harrison, MI, near Snow Snake, for $64,000. Or, you could plunk down $94K for a median-priced home in Paoli, IN, near Paoli Peaks. Keeping under $100K, you could buy in Biwabik, MN, Malone, NY, or Scranton, PA.

Weekly Mortgage Update: November 20th, 2017

November 20, 2017dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE UPDATE – NOVEMBER 20, 2017

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (NOVEMBER 19TH, 2017) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Mortgage rates stepped slightly higher last week on mostly positive economic data mixed with some additional political uncertainty.
  • Retail Sales posted a 0.2% increase, while Industrial Production powered ahead by 0.8%.
  • Inflationary data revealed a continuation of upstream price pressure in the Producer Price Index, but not much is flowing through to the consumer level.
  • A few analysts are talking a bit more about the potential for inflation to flare in the coming months, but most experts don’t expect any dramatic increases.
  • All interest rates are very likely to increase, especially if the Fed continues even small rate increases, along with the slow unwinding of its massive portfolio.
  • The wide variances in the Senate and House tax plans, including the impact of housing also created some additional uncertainty, which may have generated a little extra upward pressure on rates.
  • The most important economic news of this week could be the Fed’s latest meeting minutes. If we see hints of a few more governors taking more hawkish stances, then rates would likely move upward.

IT’S A SELLER’S MARKET, BUT WHERE ARE THE SELLERS?

According to ValueInsured’s latest, Modern Homebuyer Survey, 79% of homeowners believe that now is a good time to sell. However, many are reluctant to put their home on the market. 72% of those who are interested in selling are concerned with “timing the real estate market.” Almost two in three believe that now is a good time to sell, but also believe that it is a bad time to buy. 61% are holding on and “waiting until prices to buy are better to make a move.”

Weekly Mortgage Update: November 12th, 2017

November 13, 2017dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE UPDATE – NOVEMBER 12, 2017

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (NOVEMBER 12TH, 2017) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Last week saw average mortgage rates drift slightly downward. With limited economic data or news, markets appeared to focus more on the tax reform news flowing out of Washington.
  • The wide gaps between the Senate and House versions may have created some disappointment that the probability of a bill moving quickly through Congress has decreased.
  • We could see politics surrounding this tax bill playing a role in mortgage rates. If the process of reconciling the two versions becomes extremely acrimonious, and odds of having a bill to the President before the end of the year drop, we could see mortgage rates struggling to move upward, or at least muting any upward movement.
  • This week brings us the Producer and Consumer Price Indices, along with Retail Sales and Industrial Production.
  • If we get another unexpected flare upward in any of the inflation readings, rates could be pressured upward.
  • However, Retail Sales is expected to only post a very small increase, and if it comes in as a decline instead, then we could see mortgage rates drifting slowly downward.

WAS AFFORDABILITY BETTER IN THE LATE 1990’S?

According to new research from Black Knight, Inc., home affordability is better today than it was in the late 1990’s. While many people are concerned about increasing home prices, data reveals that buyers today need a smaller percentage of their median income for a down payment on a home. Currently, a homebuyer would need 21.4% versus 24.2% in the 1990’s. The payment-to-income ratio required for a mortgage payment has also dropped by 2.8%!

Weekly Mortgage Update: November 6th, 2017′

November 7, 2017dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH – NOVEMBER 6, 2017

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (NOVEMBER 5TH, 2017) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Last week saw a torrent of data and news flowing into financial markets, and while most of it was positive, mortgage rates mostly shrugged.
  • Assuming Senate confirmation, Jerome Powell will be the next Federal Reserve Chair. All indications point to no significant change in the Fed’s trajectory. The Fed also met last week with little change to policy.
  • The monthly employment numbers did see a revision into positive territory for September and 261,000 new jobs for September. While certainly substantial, some market participants were hoping for even more new jobs.
  • The ISM Indices split direction with services edging upward and manufacturing slipping downward, but remaining at a solid 58.7.
  • We’re seeing a bit more international data, including a rate increase from the Central Bank of England, which appears to be supporting the notion that foreign economies are gaining steam.
  • This week is fairly light in terms of economic data. We may see markets pushed around as the stream of news regarding tax reform heats up, but rates are not like to move all that much in response.

PROFILE OF HOME BUYERS AND SELLERS

In the recent release of its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, NAR researchers found some interesting tidbits. Homebuyers continue to remain in their home an average of 10 years after hitting a low of 6 years in 2009. The average time a home remained on the market dropped to a historic low of 3 weeks. The age of repeat buyers continues to climb and now stands at an all-time high of 54. Buyers and sellers using agents remained at historic highs of 87% and 89%.

Weekly Mortgage Update: October 30th 2017′

October 31, 2017dillonBlog0

WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH – OCTOBER 30, 2017

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FIRST TEAM’S WEEKLY MORTGAGE WATCH (OCTOBER 29TH, 2017) THIS WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE FOLLOWING UPDATES:

  • Mortgage rates moved upward last week, as economic news continued to point toward improving economic conditions.
  • For the first time since 2014, GDP posted back-to-back increases of 3.0% or better.
  • New Home Sales blew by expectations, growing 18.9%. Additionally, announcements from the European Central bank bolstered the view that their economy is also on a solid recovery track.
  • This week is a big week for economic data and events. Consumer Confidence, ISM Index, and the monthly employment report are all due against a backdrop of a Fed meeting and the potential for an announcement of the next Fed Chair.
  • There is almost zero expectation of any change in interest rates from the Fed, buts odds for a December increase have moved to nearly 100%.
  • After last month’s surprise drop in new jobs for September, many analysts are expecting a significant revision upward into positive territory or an outsized increase in new jobs for last month.
  • If that fails to materialize, then we may see any upward rate trajectory slowed, and market optimism muted somewhat.

PLAN NOW TO AVOID THE DOUBLE WHAMMY

This hurricane season provided a painful reminder that things don’t always go as planned. Sadly, many people only discover what their homeowners’ policy doesn’t cover after they need to make a claim. From natural disasters to sewer backups to rotten odors, it’s best to know where the gaps are in your coverage and fill them, before you need it.

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