The Employment Report is Released

February 10, 2015

For the first part of the year, the focus has been international news, rather than domestic economic reports. Not that we have not had our share of news, including the first meeting of the year for the Federal Reserve Board’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The statement from the committee indicated some of the same emphasis on international news.

This news has included increased economic stimulus in Europe where the economies continue to struggle. The stronger dollar and low price of oil are also affecting overseas economies — as well as our own economy. It is unlikely that our interest rates would not be so low without the world-wide economies continuing to languish. The question is, will our economy continue to thrive through all of this world-wide economic and political turmoil?

Thus, January’s reading of the jobs situation released on Friday was all-important in this regard. What did the data show? It showed that our economy is continuing to strengthen as the world slows down. More jobs were created than expected, the previous months were revised even higher than originally reported and hourly earnings showed a healthy jump. Even the higher unemployment rate was seen as a positive as this was due to more job seekers entering the market. Any increase in the labor participation rate is viewed as a sign of an increasingly confident consumer.

The Markets.  Fixed rates on home loans fell in the past week, but the numbers were released before the strong jobs data came out on Friday. Freddie Mac announced that for the week ending February 5, 30-year fixed rates decreased to 3.59% from 3.66% the week before. The average for 15-year loans fell to 2.92%. Adjustables were mixed, with the average for one-year adjustables up slightly to 2.39% and five-year falling to 2.82%. A year ago, 30-year fixed rates were at 4.32%, which continues to be more that 0.50% higher than today’s levels. Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac — “Rates on home loans fell this week following the release of weaker than expected pending home sales, which fell 3.7 percent in December. Moreover, real GDP growth for the fourth quarter was 2.6 percent and the Institute for Supply Management reported slower growth in manufacturing last month, both missing market consensus forecasts.”  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 February 6, 2015
Daily Value Monthly Value
February 5 January
6-month Treasury Security  0.06%  0.08%
1-year Treasury Security  0.20%  0.20%
3-year Treasury Security  0.87%  0.90%
5-year Treasury Security  1.30%  1.37%
10-year Treasury Security  1.83%  1.88%
12-month LIBOR  0.622% (Jan)
12-month MTA  0.128% (Jan)
11th District Cost of Funds  0.692% (Dec)
Prime Rate  3.25%

Millennials deep down may be suburbanites after all. In recent years, economists and demographers have argued that members of Generation Y will have a longer love for city living in smaller living quarters than their predecessors. But a newly released survey by the National Association of Home Builders discounts that, suggesting that what millennials really want is a single-family home outside of the urban center – just like other generations. The survey of more than 1,500 people (born since 1977) found that 66 percent of millennials want to live in the suburbs; 24 percent want to live in rural areas; and only 10 percent prefer to live in a city center. “While you are more likely to attract this generation than other generations to buy a condo or a house downtown, that is a relative term,” says Rose Quint, NAHB’s assistant vice president of survey research. “The majority of them will still want to buy the house out there in the suburbs.” One of their main draws to suburbia? They “want to live in more space than they have now,” Quint says. Eighty-one percent said they want three or more bedrooms in their home. “The preference for the suburbs suggests that future demand will be in the form of single-family homes rather than condominiums more prevalent in cities,” David Berson, chief economist with Nationwide Insurance Co., told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s also good news for future suburban single-family sellers, many of whom are baby boomers.” Source: The Wall Street Journal

Luxury home owners and buyers place a high value on real estate, according to a new survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens of 500 luxury home buyers. In fact, the survey finds that 75 percent of luxury home buyers believe home ownership is a sounder investment than the stock market. What’s more, 57 percent of luxury home owners say home ownership is a bigger indicator of success than their job or title. “The luxury consumer is considered a trendsetter in most industries, and to see the strong connection this consumer has with ‘home’ is very significant as we look at the real estate market as a whole,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. “The luxury home buyer has high standards and invests the money, the time, and the commitment to making their home fit their needs and reflect who they are. It’s remarkable that they do this so well that nearly all — 93 percent — believe their house is the best one on their block.” The survey revealed other insights into the luxury home buyer and owner — including their desire for multiple homes, high-levels of technology, willingness to sacrifice square footage for upgraded amenities and more. Source: RIS Media

Open houses can generate a lot of buyer traffic for a listing, but they are held for only a small fraction of listings. According to a study, open houses were held to reach potential buyers for only 6.3 percent of listings nationwide. Here are some additional insights from the study:

  • Sunday is the most common day to host an open house.
  • A home is on the market for an average of seven days before holding an open house.
  • Seventy-seven percent of all open houses are held for listings that are single-family homes.
  • The median list price of a home hosting an open house is $339,990. Source:

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