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Mortgage Market Guide – Views You Can Use 2017 Issue
|IN THIS ISSUE…|
|“It was a home run when the game was tied.” Trace Adkins. Housing scored as 2016 came to close, while the markets saw some shake-ups. We’ll slide into these stories and more, including:
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|For Existing Home Sales, 2016 was the best year in a decade, even though December’s numbers declined 2.8 percent from November. The National Association of REALTORS® reported total sales in 2016 of 5.45 million units on an annualized basis, the highest since 2006.
December New Home Sales reached the lowest level since February 2015, falling 10.4 percent from November. Although the news was disappointing, data showed a near six-month supply of new homes for sale, which finally signals a healthy balance between supply and demand.
Meanwhile, Housing Starts, a measure of new construction, surged 11.3 percent from November to December, signaling November’s pull-back from October may have been an anomaly. The report also revealed multifamily dwellings rebounded in December, while single-family starts were modestly lower. For all of 2016, Housing Starts of 1.17 million units were at their best since 2007. This is a good sign for areas struggling with limited inventory.
Jobs, Spending on the Upswing
All was not rosy within the report, however. Average hourly earnings rose by a scant 0.1 percent versus the 0.3 percent expected, while the December number was revised lower. In addition, job growth in November and December was revised lower by a total of 39,000 jobs.
Spending was also on the upswing as 2016 came to a close. The Commerce Department reported Retail Sales rose 0.6 percent from November to December due in part to strong auto sales. Overall, sales were up 3.3 percent for 2016 after a 2.3 percent gain in 2015. Investors will be looking to see if this momentum continues in 2017.
The Bottom Line
If you have any questions about housing or refinancing opportunities, please reach out at any time.
|What to Watch: Consumer Price Index|
|Signs of inflation can move the Stock and Bond markets and impact home loan rates, which are tied to Mortgage Bonds. Here are important details to know.
What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report? CPI measures consumer inflation and reports price changes on a predetermined basket of goods including transportation, rent, food, energy and medical care. The report is used to assess price changes associated with the cost of living.
What’s happened recently? Inflation reared its ugly head as CPI rose by 2.1 percent from December 2015 to December 2016. This is the fastest pace since the 12-month period ending June 2014 and up from 0.7 percent in 2015. Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 2.2 percent from December 2015 to December 2016.
What’s the bottom line? Inflation can lead to increasing home loan rates by reducing the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds. For now home loan rates remain attractive and near historic lows.
I’ll continue to monitor economic reports closely, but if you have any immediate questions, please call or email today.
|Clear Your Desk, Clear Your Mind|
|No matter what kind of deskwork you do, getting organized can help you feel focused and efficient. So reorganize that workspace, and ensure it stays that way, with these six tips:
Go digital. Most documents can be scanned, filed electronically and recycled, eliminating stacks of clutter and the need for filing space. External hard drives or backup services like Carbonite will prevent data loss in case of a computer crash. And cloud storage can allow you to access files from anywhere.
Go vertical. Utilize wall space above your desk with shelving or pocket storage that mounts within easy reach, eliminating the need to have paper trays or knick-knacks on the desk.
Go minimal. Switch to smaller equipment like a laptop or tablet with peripheral keyboard and mouse for easy storage and ultimate portability. Store occasionally-used equipment, bringing it out when needed, or upgrade to a wireless device and locate it in an out-of-the-way area.
Go low. Rolling cabinets and plastic storage bins stored underneath your desk can help keep items within easy reach, but also out of sight.
Go adjustable. Flat-screen monitor bases are usually removable, and standardized attachment holes allow for wall mounting. No wall nearby? Some swivel-arm mounts can clamp to the edge of a desk, freeing work space.
Go green. Stackable plastic food containers of all sizes can be repurposed for office supplies you don’t need regularly like cords, external drives, paper clips, rubbers bands, extra sticky notes or other hardware. Group related materials into “kits.”
These handy tips will help you create a more efficient desktop area to feel more productive and organized.
Sources: American Express OPEN Forum, Wise Bread
|Q&A: Creamy Dairy-Free Soup|
|QUESTION: Is it possible to make a creamy vegetable soup without using dairy?
ANSWER: Yes! You can easily make the creamiest dairy-free soup that really lets the flavor of the veggies shine.
Start with 5 cups of stock for every 2 pounds of vegetables. Then add half a medium potato, peeled and diced. Out of potatoes? Add 1/4 cup rice or 1/4 cup oats per 2 pounds of vegetables instead. Starches like rice, oats and potatoes swell during the cooking process and make a perfect thickener.
Once the soup is cooked, blend it up. If the soup is too thick just add stock to achieve desired consistency.
Sources: Real Simple
Christian Penner Branch Manager | Cell/Text: (561) 373-0987
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The Christian Penner Mortgage Team | Cell/Text: (561) 373-0987