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Mortgage Market Guide: December Home Sales Slump

In This Issue  

Last Week in Review: Home sales slumped in December, while fourth quarter 2017 economic growth slipped.

Forecast for the Week: Inflation news, the January Jobs Report and an FOMC meeting could be a recipe for more market volatility.

View: Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” is back with a new book featuring tools, tactics and habits from some of the world’s top performers.


Last Week in Review  

“Every rose has its thorn.” Poison. Low inventories of existing homes for sale on the market continued to be a thorn in the side for would-be buyers in December.

December Existing Home Sales fell 3.6 percent from November to an annual rate of 5.570 million units, below the 5.70 million expected, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. Declines were seen across the board in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West. From December 2016 to December 2017, sales were up 1.1 percent. Inventories of homes for sale on the market fell to a 3.2-month supply, well below the 6-month supply that is seen as normal. Housing inventories are down 10.3 percent from a year ago.

Sales of new homes didn’t fare much better in December, due in part to unseasonably cold and harsh weather and fading sales in the South after people replaced houses soon after the September hurricanes. New Home Sales fell 9.3 percent in December from November to an annual rate of 625,000 units, the Commerce Department reported. This was below the 679,000 expected, and the largest monthly decline in nearly a year and a half. November sales were also revised lower, while December recorded losses in all four major sectors of the U.S.: the Northeast, South, Midwest and West. However, from December 2016 to December 2017, sales were up 14.1 percent.

Economic growth eased in the fourth quarter of 2017, led lower by drags on trade and inventories. The first read on fourth-quarter Gross Domestic Product rose 2.6 percent, just below the 2.9 percent expected and down from 3.2 percent in the third quarter. Within the report, it showed that consumer spending surged 3.8 percent, which was the fastest pace in two years. The increase was fueled by purchases of new cars and trucks, clothing, and healthcare.

Despite the slip in fourth quarter, GDP rose 2.3 percent for all of 2017, which was a nice improvement after the anemic 1.5 percent in 2016. Gross Domestic Product is the monetary value of all finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. It is a key measure used to gauge the strength of our economy.

Mortgage Bonds were able to stabilize in recent days after their sharp decline. Home loan rates remain attractive and near historic lows.

If you or someone you know has questions about home loans or home loan rates, please contact me. I’m always happy to help.


Forecast for the Week  
The busy economic calendar features key news on inflation and the labor sector. Plus, the Fed meets.
  • Reports kick off on Monday with Personal Income, Personal Spending and the inflation-reading Personal Consumption Expenditures.
  • Consumer Confidence will be released on Tuesday, followed by Consumer Sentiment on Friday.
  • Wednesday brings the ADP National Employment Report, Pending Home Sales and the Employment Cost Index.
  • On Thursday, look for Initial Jobless Claims, Productivity and the ISM Index.
  • Last but not least, on Friday the Jobs Report for January will be released. This includes Non-farm Payrolls, the Unemployment Rate and Average Hourly Earnings.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red “candle” means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green “candle” means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds held steady in recent days. Home loan rates remain near historic lows.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jan 26, 2018)
Japanese Candlestick Chart

The Mortgage Market Guide View…  
Business Book Look
Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World

Tim Ferriss is a self-proclaimed “human guinea pig” who tries to find the shortest route to real-world problems in order to improve his own life. He’s also the New York Times best-selling author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” and his podcast “The Tim Ferriss Show” has now hit 200 million downloads. His latest book gives readers a front-row seat to practical, tactical advice from world-class businesspeople, athletes, artists and more.

In typical fashion, Ferriss sent unsolicited emails to a “dream list” of interviewees, many of whom he did not know personally. Ferriss asked this “tribe of mentors” to answer three to five of their favorites out of 11 questions. These questions included topics like: What book do you gift most often to others? What new belief or habit has improved your life the most over the last five years? How has an apparent failure led directly to later success?

Based on their responses, “Tribe of Mentors” shares the inside scoop on how to overcome failure, achieve true work-life balance, deal with difficult situations, and get clarity on your purpose. The book also reveals more than 50 morning routines of top performers that can revolutionize your day.

Check out “Tribe of Mentors” now on Amazon, and stay tuned for next month’s Business Book Look.

Source: Amazon

Economic Calendar for the Week of January 29 – February 02
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Mortgage Market Guide: December Home Sales Slump

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