Mortgage Business

Mid-Year Employment Reading

20140309-080351.jpgWe hope that everyone enjoyed the 4th of July Holiday. There were plenty of fireworks during the weekend but the day before the holiday started the government provided their own fireworks with the release of a strong jobs report for the month of June. Most analysts were expecting a decent gain in jobs at just over 200,000 and for the unemployment to remain steady at 6.3%. The numbers were stronger than expected, especially when considering the fact that the previous months of jobs gains were revised upwards.

In June the economy added 288,000 jobs which is robust by anyone’s standards. The unemployment rate dipped to 6.1% and the decrease cannot be attributed to people leaving the workforce as the labor participation rate stayed steady. Though these numbers are subject to revision in later months, the fact that ADP released a similar number for private payroll growth the day before just confirmed the fact that the job market is indeed heating up. What does that mean?

This is just what the doctor ordered for the economy. More jobs should translate into higher levels of consumer spending and especially spending on big ticket items such as cars, furniture and houses. A stronger housing market and automobile industry should create more jobs and the virtuous cycle will be created. If job creation continues at this pace, we should expect a pickup in interest rates and the growth in home prices should continue. We know we have said this before — the combination of low rates and low housing prices will not last forever. While the stock market has been strong, rates have remained low. However, this news might just be the beginning of the end of the nation’s sale on money.

Weekly Interest Rates OverviewThe Markets. Rates were stable in the past week, though the survey was released before the full effects of the employment report were realized. Freddie Mac announced that for the week ending July 3, 30-year fixed rates decreased slightly to 4.12% from 4.14% the week before. The average for 15-year loans remained at 3.22%. Adjustables were also stable in the past week with the average for one-year adjustables falling slightly to 2.38% and five-year adjustables remaining at 2.98%. A year ago 30-year fixed rates were at 4.29%. Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac –“Rates on home loans were little changed from the previous week and remain below levels seen the same time last year, which should provide some help with homebuyer affordability in many markets. Recent housing data was better with pending home sales up 6.1 percent in May and overall construction spending showing a slight improvement with private residential spending now up 7.5 percent on yearly basis.” Rates indicated do not include fees and points and are provided for evidence of trends only. They should not be used for comparison purposes.

Current Indices For Adjustable Rate Mortgages Updated July 3, 2014

  Daily Value Monthly Value
  July 2 May
6-month Treasury Security 0.06%  0.05%
1-year Treasury Security 0.12%  0.10%
3-year Treasury Security 0.95%  0.83%
5-year Treasury Security 1.71%  1.59%
10-year Treasury Security 2.64%  2.56%
12-month LIBOR    0.538% (May)
12-month MTA    0.122% (May)
11th District Cost of Funds    0.667% (May)
Prime Rate    3.25%

20140309-080538.jpgMillennials plan to make more of a move in the housing market, particularly within the next five years. Thirty-two percent of 18-34 year olds say they plan to buy a home in the next 12 months. What’s more, three quarters of Millennials plan to buy a home in the next five years, according to a survey of 2,500 adults released by BMO Harris Bank that compared the timelines for likely home purchases among age groups. For comparison, 62 percent of the 35 to 44 age group says they plan to move within the next five years; 35 percent of 45 to 54 age group; 31 percent of ages 55 to 64; and 19 percent of those older than 65. “We’re seeing a fair amount of confidence in the housing market, which is encouraging news,” says Kevin Christopher at BMO Harris Bank. “For many in the under 35 age range, this may be their first home.” But home ownership is still out of reach for some. About one-third of renters surveyed say they would like to buy a home but they’re unable to afford it. High student loan debt continues to be a big obstacle for Millennials in qualifying for a home loan to purchase a home. “While the housing market is on the upswing, the record level of student debt carried by young Americans does pose a challenge to many in their 20s and 30s hoping to purchase their first home,” says Michael Gregory, head of U.S. Economics at BMO Capital Markets. “Student debt levels have more than doubled in the last seven years to $1.1 trillion. The financial burden means renters are delaying entering the purchasing market, which has a trickle-down effect on the overall housing recovery.” Source: BMO Harris Bank

Staging may not be important and may not raise residential sales prices, according to researchers at the College of William & Mary. The study polled 820 home buyers who were shown a series of six virtual tours of a single property, each focusing either on wall color or furnishings. The tours showed the property without furniture, with “ugly” furniture, with “good” furniture, and with wall colors such as neutral beige and an “unattractive” shade of purple. The researchers determined that buyers would pay the same price for the home, no matter how it was staged. “These results stand in stark contrast to the conscious opinion of both buyers and real estate agents that staging conditions significantly impact willingness to pay for a home,” the researchers concluded. Study co-author Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at the College of William & Mary, speculates that today’s buyers are savvy and recognize that staging involves cosmetic changes that are not expensive. However, because these buyers thought others would spend more on the property, Seiler says, “I am definitely not ready to say spending money on staging would be a waste.” Source: Bankrate.com Low rates and soaring rents have convinced a growing number of homeowners to hang onto their former homes and become landlords instead. “Clients tell us all the time, ‘We’re never going to sell our home, even after we buy a new one,'” said Glenn Kelman, CEO of the brokerage, Redfin. The math works in most landlords’ favor these days. Rents have risen by about 20% nationwide since mid-2006, the housing bubble peak, while home prices are still about 21% below what they were at that time. For people who are still underwater on their loans and unable to profit from a sale, renting helps soften the blow. The surge in landlords is working out well for most owners, but it is taking a toll on the housing market, according to Kelman. Every home converted into a rental property is one less that goes on the market. And in hot real estate markets these days, very few homes are up for sale. “It’s a major reason we have low inventory and limited sales growth,” said Kelman. Source: CNN/Money

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