Archive for February, 2014

it’s a little late…yet still on time! MORTGAGE TIME

February 25, 2014
MORTGAGE TIME
Mortgage Market News for the week of Feb. 21, 2014
Compliments of:

 

Patrick Gardner
Mortgage Loan Officer
NMLS ID: 378888
415-423-1424
Email me
Visit my website

 


RATES HIGHER AFTER FED MINUTES
The positive momentum in mortgage rates shifted direction after the release of the Fed Minutes on Wednesday. Investors viewed the Minutes as somewhat positive for stocks and negative for bonds. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

The Minutes from the January 29 Fed Meeting revealed that Fed officials remained very divided as to the appropriate path for future policy. Overall, though, the perception of investors was that the position of the hawks remained solid, while the views of the doves may have weakened a little. As a reminder, “hawks” tend to favor less stimulus to help keep inflation low, while “doves” prefer more stimulus to boost economic growth. The Minutes stated that “a few participants” considered the possibility that it “might be appropriate” to raise the fed funds rate sooner than many expect. The Minutes also reinforced Fed Chair Yellen’s recent comments that there is a high hurdle for the Fed to pause in reducing its bond purchase program. The Fed’s bond purchases have helped keep mortgage rates low, and the Minutes reduced the likelihood that the program could be stretched out for a longer period of time.

The economic data released this week continued to be affected by the unusually severe weather this winter. In particular, the housing reports all fell short of expectations. January Existing Home Sales declined 5% from December to the lowest level since July 2012. They were 15% below the peak levels seen last summer. On the plus side, total housing inventory available for sale increased. The results for January Housing Starts fell even farther below expectations with a decline of 16% from December. Building Permits declined as well. Finally, the February NAHB/ Wells Fargo Housing Market index showed that builder confidence dropped sharply. Both the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) attributed the weakness in recent data to a combination of bad weather, limited supply, and tight credit conditions.

ALSO NOTABLE
Core CPI inflation was just 1.6% higher than one year ago
The Philly Fed index dropped to the lowest level since February 2013
The Treasury will auction $96 billion in securities next week
Chinese PMI manufacturing data was weaker than expected

 

WEEK AHEAD
Next week, New Home Sales will be released on Wednesday. Durable Orders, an important indicator of economic activity, will come out on Thursday. Pending Home Sales, Chicago PMI Manufacturing, and revisions to fourth quarter GDP will be released on Friday. Consumer Confidence and Consumer Sentiment will round out the schedule. In addition, there will be Treasury auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

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it’s that time again….MORTGAGE TIME! (Happy V-day!)

February 14, 2014
MORTGAGE TIME
Mortgage Market News for the week of Feb. 14, 2014
Compliments of:

 

Patrick Gardner
Mortgage Loan Officer
NMLS ID: 378888
415-423-1424
Email me
Visit my website

 


YELLEN TESTIFIES
The primary influence on mortgage rates this week was new Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s semi-annual testimony before Congress. Although there were no significant surprises, maintaining the status quo for Fed policy was taken as good news for stocks and bad news for bonds. Mortgage rates rose during her testimony and ended the week a little higher.

Janet Yellen took over as Fed Chair at the beginning of the month, and Tuesday’s testimony before Congress was viewed as the first big opportunity to see her in action. Yellen made it clear that she would continue the policies seen under her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, with little change. She said that recent weak data and turmoil in emerging markets did not alter the Fed’s long-term economic outlook. Her upbeat assessment of the economy lifted stocks, but was negative for mortgage rates. Also hurting rates, she stated that the Fed will continue scaling back its bond purchase program at a steady pace, unless the performance of the economy worsens significantly. The Fed’s bond purchases have increased the demand for mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which has helped keep mortgage rates low.

The economic data released this week continued the recent trend of falling short of expectations. The reaction was limited, however, because investors are uncertain to what degree the results reflect unusually bad winter weather rather than an underlying weakening of the economy. Both Retail Sales and Industrial Production revealed small declines in January. This follows shortfalls in the Employment and ISM Manufacturing reports last week. Estimates for first quarter GDP have been revised lower by most economists, and the consensus is now for 2.0% growth. The economy is expected to return to a 3.0% growth rate in the second quarter.

ALSO NOTABLE
JOLTS job openings held steady around four million
The NFIB small business optimism index rose
Oil prices increased to the highest level since October
Demand was close to average for this week’s Treasury auctions

 

WEEK AHEAD
The most significant economic data next week will be the monthly inflation reports. The Producer Price Index (PPI) focuses on the increase in prices of “intermediate” goods used by companies to produce finished products and will come out on Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most closely watched monthly inflation report, will come out on Thursday. CPI looks at the price change for finished goods which are sold to consumers. In addition, the Minutes from the January 29 Fed Meeting will be released on Wednesday. These detailed Minutes provide additional insight into the debate between Fed officials. Housing Starts will also come out on Wednesday. Existing Home Sales will be released on Friday. Philly Fed and Empire State will round out the schedule. Mortgage markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Presidents Day.

Strada strikes as development buzz builds around Oakland City Center

February 12, 2014

Strada strikes as development buzz builds around Oakland City Center

via Blanca Torres
San Francisco Business Times

What time is it? It’s Mortgage Time.

February 11, 2014
MORTGAGE TIME
Mortgage Market News for the week of Feb. 7, 2014
Compliments of:

 

Patrick Gardner
Mortgage Loan Officer
NMLS ID: 378888
415-423-1424
Email me
Visit my website

 


JOBS AND MANUFACTURING FALL SHORT
This week’s key economic data showed that the performance of the economy in January was weaker than expected. The shortfalls caused stocks to decline and mortgage rates to improve, but the impact was surprisingly small.

Both the Employment report and the ISM Manufacturing data saw big misses. Against a consensus forecast of 185K, the economy added just 113K jobs in January. Also disappointing, many investors had hoped to see a large upward revision to the weak December reading, but it was little changed. The ISM national manufacturing index declined sharply to 51.3, far below the consensus of 56.0. For perspective, the increase in jobs reflects improvement in the labor market, and readings above 50.0 indicate an expansion in the manufacturing sector. The issue is that the pace of economic growth has slowed.

The relatively minor impact of this week’s data must be considered in light of the performance of the stock and mortgage markets so far this year. Entering the week, stocks had experienced significant losses, as the Dow was down roughly 5% in January. Similarly, mortgage rates have seen significant improvement since the start of the year. To some degree, investors were already positioned for weak data this week. In addition, questions about the effect of unusually severe weather caused some investors to question how accurately recent data reflects the underlying strength of the economy.

ALSO NOTABLE
The Unemployment Rate fell to the lowest level since October 2008
The 2013 Trade Deficit was the smallest since 2009
The Treasury will auction $70 billion in securities next week
The European Central Bank (ECB) made no change in rates

 

WEEK AHEAD
Next week, Janet Yellen, the new Fed chair, will testify before Congress on Tuesday and Thursday, and her comments could influence mortgage rates. The most significant economic report will be the Retail Sales data on Thursday. Retail Sales account for about 70% of economic activity. Before that, the JOLTS report, measuring job openings and labor turnover, will come out on Tuesday. Industrial Production, Import Prices, and Consumer Sentiment will be released on Friday. In addition, there will be Treasury auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Feng Shui Your Home for 2014

February 3, 2014

Very cool

Tri-Valley Real Estate Buzz

Feng Shui Your Home for 2014

shutterstock feng shui BLOG Feng Shui Your Home for 2014

Feng shui, simplified, is the ancient Chinese art that aims to improve your life by rearranging your home. The practice has been applied in China for centuries and has a growing following in the U.S. and around the world. The belief is that “how a building is oriented, what you have in it and where you place those things can change the balance and flow of energy throughout your house.”

Everything from the direction your home faces to where you put your couch to how much you use a certain burner on your stove can set your feng shui right—or wrong.

That front door that faces a bathroom? Feng shui fail. “Water represents money and the toilet is the one place where water/money escapes,” said MSN. You never want the first view of your home to be of the place where money can escape…

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