Mortgage Market Weekly – Update June 1, 2015

In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: New Home Sales rebounded in April, while the latest Gross Domestic Product reading showed the economy struggled in the first quarter.

Forecast for the Week: Look for key reports on inflation, manufacturing and the labor sector.

View: Make all your video conferences successful by following these easy tips.

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Mortgage Market Weekly – Update Mar 16, 2015

In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: Winter put a damper in February Retail Sales, while Freddie Mac expects 2015 to be a great year for home sales and new construction.

Forecast for the Week: A Fed meeting is ahead, plus key reports on housing and manufacturing.

View: The first quarter of 2015 is nearly over. Perform a quick success check-in with these six tips.

Last Week in Review

“Feel the heat.” Robert Palmer. Feel the chill is a more apt description of what retailers experienced in February, as the harsh winter weather put a damper on sales.

retail-sales_2015-03-16February Retail Sales fell by 0.6 percent, well below expectations, marking the third straight month of declines as Americans have been slow to spend the savings from lower gas prices in recent months. Sales were led lower by a decline in spending at restaurants and home improvement retailers due to the cold weather.

The Retail Sales report is the most timely indicator of broad consumer spending patterns. It is also a critical factor to watch in our economic recovery, and it will be important to see if these numbers improve once the weather warms up. [Read more…]

Mortgage Market Weekly – Update Mar 9, 2015

In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: February’s Jobs Report was better than expected, while home price gains are at sustainable levels.

Forecast for the Week: Look for news on wholesale inflation, consumer sentiment and retail sales.

View: Spring clean your office space with these easy tips. [Read more…]

Mortgage Market Weekly – Update Feb 23, 2015

In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: Recent housing reports were disappointing, while inflation remains low.

Forecast for the Week: February ends on a busy note, with key reports on housing, consumer attitudes, U.S. economic growth and inflation.

View: Protect yourself from identity theft with these important tips.

Last Week in Review

“I knew the record would stand until it was broken.” Yogi Berra. Record low temperatures have hit much of the nation, but that’s not the only chill in the air. [Read more…]

Mortgage Market Weekly – Update Feb 9, 2015

In This Issue

Last Week in Review: The Jobs Report for January was a “big” surprise, while home price appreciation continues to stabilize at normal levels.Forecast for the Week: Economic data doesn’t begin until Thursday, with just a handful of reports to end the week.View: The flu is nothing to sneeze at. Stay healthy this season with four easy tips.

Last Week in Review

“Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory.” John Adams. The gloom of recent years seems to be gone from the labor sector, as it is a bright spot in our economy at the start of this year. The January Jobs Report showed that 257,000 jobs were created, above the 235,000 expected, as the sector continues to produce robust gains. In addition, job creations for November and December were revised sharply higher by 147,000. The last three months have averaged 336,000 new hires, the best three-month period in the last 17 years. January marked the 11th straight month of job gains above 200,000, the longest streak since 1994.Also of note, the Unemployment Rate ticked up slightly to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent, while hourly earnings came in above expectations. It will be important to monitor future hourly earnings readings, as growth in this area could cause an increase in inflation. Since inflation is the kryptonite for fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds, it can also be bad news for home loan rates (which are tied to Mortgage Bonds).

Over in housing, research firm CoreLogic reported that home prices, including distressed sales, rose by 5 percent from December 2013 to December 2014. Home price gains continue to stabilize at more normal levels from the double digit gains seen in the past few years. While the 5 percent gain is the 34th month of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally, prices are still 13.4 percent below their April 2006 peak.

The bottom line is that now is a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

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Mortgage Market Weekly – Update Feb 2, 2015

In This Issue

Last Week in Review: GDP and Durable Goods Orders disappointed, home price gains have returned to more normal levels, and the labor sector still shows signs of improvement.Forecast for the Week: The week is busy from start to finish, with key news on inflation, manufacturing and jobs.

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Last Week in Review 

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Mortgage Market Weekly – Update Jan 5, 2015

In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: The U.S. economy had a strong third quarter, while recent housing reports show signs of slowing in that sector.

Forecast for the Week: On Friday, the Jobs Report for December could be a market mover.

View: If you received new electronics over the holidays, see the tips below for selling, recycling or donating your old gadgets.

Last Week in Review 

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…and I’m feeling good.” Nina Simone. The new year is here, and with home loan rates still near historic lows, 2015 rang in with plenty for consumers to feel good about. Here are some other highlights from the end of 2014.

existing-home-sales-2015-01-05 The final reading for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2014 came in at a blistering 5.0 percent, the fastest pace of economic growth since the third quarter of 2003. The big gains were led by a surge in both consumer and business spending. GDP is considered the broadest measure of economic activity, so this is a strong sign for our economy heading into the new year.

In housing news, the October S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index came in at an annual rate of 4.5 percent, down from the 4.8 percent recorded in September. The October reading was the eleventh straight month of decelerating price gains. It was also the smallest annual gain since October 2012, as price gains return to more normal levels. Also of note, sales of new and existing homes fell in November as well. The housing market continues to remain in a somewhat choppy trend, despite an improving economy and job market.

As we look ahead into 2015, the uncertainty in Europe will continue to rear its head over time. The European Union (EU) is fighting deflation, recessionary pressures, a Greece exit from the EU, and limited political capital required for the necessary fixes. This could lead to safe haven trading in our bond market, helping Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates (which are tied to Mortgage Bonds) in the process.

The bottom line is that home loan rates remain near historic lows, and now is a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

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Mortgage Market Weekly – Update Dec 10, 2014

In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: Job growth in November came in far above expectations. How did the markets and home loan rates react?

Forecast for the Week: The second half of the week heats up with news on wholesale inflation, jobless claims, consumer spending and consumer sentiment.

View: Find out why HARD Goals can be the secret to getting from where you are to where you want to be.

Last Week in Review

“Start me up.” The Rolling Stones. The labor sector has kicked into high gear, with job growth in November far exceeding expectations. [Read more…]

Mortgage Market Weekly – Update June 20, 2014

In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: Housing is cooling, inflation is warming and the Fed announced more tapering.

Forecast for the Week: Important housing, inflation and consumer confidence reports are ahead. Plus, we’ll get news on the state of our economy with the final reading for first quarter Gross Domestic Product.

View: Good communication skills are critical to succeeding in business. Mastering the art of telling a good story is a key component. [Read more…]

Mortgage Market Weekly Update – February 7, 2014

job-creations_2014-02-07When it comes to recent Jobs Reports, what has been tough is being good every month, as both January’s and December’s numbers were disappointments. January’s Jobs Report can best be described as lackluster, as employers added just 113,000 new workers. This was well below expectations of 175,000 new jobs. In addition, the number of job creations for December was raised just a paltry 1,000, bringing December’s total to 75,000. November was revised higher to 274,000.

The Unemployment Rate did fall to 6.6 percent, from 6.7 percent. However, this is not necessarily a good metric of labor market health, as the more important Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) remains at 63 percent, a 35-year low. The LFPR measures the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, and it should be moving higher in a recovery.

Also of note, productivity in the fourth quarter of 2013 rose by 3.2 percent, with both the third and fourth quarters the highest since the second half of 2009. Employers are squeezing more out of current workers and may not be on the hunt for new employees given the economic landscape, which is another negative for the labor market. In housing news, research firm CoreLogic reported that home prices, including distressed sales, rose by 11 percent in December 2013 compared to December 2012. December marked the 22nd consecutive year-over-year gain in home prices nationally. However, from November to December, prices fell by 0.1 percent.

What does this mean for home loan rates? Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates have seen some improvement of late, due to some weak economic reports, while Stocks have suffered as a result. But a big question remains as we move ahead in 2014: If economic reports continue to be weak, will the Fed continue to taper its Bond purchases? Remember that the Fed is now purchasing $35 billion in Treasuries and $30 billion in Mortgage Bonds (the type of Bonds on which home loan rates are based) to help stimulate the economy and housing market. This figure is down from the $85 billion in Bonds and Treasuries the Fed had been purchasing last year. The timing of further tapering is sure to impact Stocks, Bonds and home loan rates throughout the year, and it is a key story to monitor.

The bottom line is that now remains a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance, as home loan rates remain attractive compared to historical levels. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

Forecast for the Week

The economic report calendar is light this week, with reports not beginning until Thursday.

  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released as usual on Thursday. Claims have been stuck in a tight range the past four weeks.
  • Also on Thursday, look for January’s Retail Sales data.
  • The last report this week will be the preliminary reading on February Consumer Sentiment.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while 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  and when they 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 were 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 and home loan rates improved after the weak Jobs Report for January was released. I’ll be watching the news closely this week to see if these improvements continue.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Feb 07, 2014)

jan2014--bonds-chart

The Mortgage Market Guide View…

Mileage Rates for 2014 If you drive a car, truck or van for work, you’ll want to make sure you know standard mileage rates the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has set for 2014.

These mileage rates are used to calculate deductible costs for driving an automobile for business, charitable, medical and moving purposes. So when it comes to filing your taxes this year, you’ll need these numbers!

New for 2014

As of January 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates are as follows:

  • Businesses = 56 cents per mile driven
  • Medical or moving = 23.5 cents per mile driven
  • Charitable organizations = 14 cents per mile driven

You’ll notice that the rates for business, medical and moving expenses decreased one-half cent from the 2013 rates.

Make Sure You Qualify

Before you calculate your deduction, make sure you qualify. The IRS reminds taxpayers that they cannot use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

Additional Option

Although the IRS provides the standard mileage rate for ease and convenience, you’re not required to use it. If you prefer, you can calculate the actual costs of using your vehicle instead of using the standard mileage rates.

Remember, if you have questions or concerns, talk to a tax consultant or accountant to discuss your options and unique situation. Please feel free to pass these tips along to your team, clients, and colleagues.

Economic Calendar for the Week of February 10 – February 14

econ-calendar-20140210

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is without errors.

As your mortgage professional, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.

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Don Parsons
Commerce Mortgage
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450 Newport Center Drive Suite 350
Newport Beach, CA 92660
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Huntington Beach, CA 92648

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