30 Second Update:  Federal Reserve Leaves Rates Unchanged


The Federal Reserve, in its November meeting, has left their benchmark interest rates unchanged.  The Federal Open Market Committee, unanimously approved keeping the federal funds rate in a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent. However, the Fed is expected to increase that range by a quarter percentage point at their next meeting taking place on December 18th and 19th. Many economists are also forecasting a quarter percentage rate hike in each quarter of 2019.  If that were to happen, the benchmark interest rate will reach 3 percent, which is the level the Fed regards as neutral.  Supporting their forecasts and rationale for raising rates, the U.S. Central Bank went on to say, “the labor market has continued to strengthen, and economic activity has been rising at a strong rate. 

Did you know?...

The Fed decides how much money should be printed annually. In 2010, $974 million was printed. In contrast, $30 billion of Monopoly board-game money is printed each year.



Home Prices On The Rise

According to CoreLogic’s reporting, home prices across the country increased by 5.6% since November of last year.  Just over the last month, home prices have also increased by 0.4%.  Forecasts are showing a dip in appreciation over the next month, but a rise by about 4.7% over the next year. 

By digging deeper into the CoreLogic report, we can see interesting statistics about millennials.  Millennials are those who were born within the years 1981 and 1996 and are part of the largest portion of consumers entering the housing market.  As per this report, we see that 80% of millennials will move in the next 4-5 years.  Also, 40% of millennials are seen as currently very interested in home ownership.  More than two thirds of millennials regularly monitor home values in their local markets.  Almost 75% of millennials are aware of affordability and see it as a barrier to entry into the housing market. The current average age of a first-time home buyer is 30 years old.

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic recently said, “Our consumer research indicates younger millennials want to purchase homes, but the majority of them consider affordability a key obstacle.  Less than half of younger millennials who are currently renting feel confident they will qualify for a mortgage, especially in such a competitive environment.”

Another interesting fact is that millennials had a significantly higher average loan-to-value ratio than the rest of America’s homebuyers. According to Ellie Mae’s report, millennials were able to obtain a loan with an average loan to value (LTV) of 87% whereas all other borrowers’ average LTV was 79%.




Consumer Confidence and Wage Growth Are Up!

US consumer confidence, which measures consumers’ feelings about current and future economic conditions, rose to an 18-year high in October.  The consumer confidence index increased to a reading of 137.9, the highest reading since September 2000.  Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board stated, “Consumers do not foresee the economy losing steam anytime soon, rather, they expect the strong pace to carry over into early 2019.”  A solid job market and an increase in consumer spending are two main factors driving the strong confidence in the US economy.

In other economic news, according to data released by the Department of Labor, wages and salaries rose 3.1% in the third quarter, representing the biggest increase in a decade.   Previously, wage increases represented the one missing piece in the economic recovery.  With the unemployment rate at a near 49-year low of 3.7%, and the labor market beginning to tighten, wage growth is beginning to push higher.  Michael Pearce, Senior US Economist at Capital Economics reiterated that notion, and “expects wage growth to accelerate further from here.”





Home Winterization Tips

Nov 2
Category | General News

Tips To Winterize Your Home

Outside Your Home:

  • Clear gutters from fallen leaves and debris
  • Buy salt and a snow shovel now so you have it before the storms hit
  • Seal up any cracks or holes within stonework or siding
  • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and turn off the water

Inside Your Home:

  • Change air filters, check windows and doors to make sure they are properly sealed
  • Check your doors and windows for any gaps where cold air can flow into the house
  • Give your heating system a test run to ensure everything is working properly
  • Clean out your chimneys or woodstoves if you have them
  • Add or replace any electrical outlet plate to make sure no cold air is coming in from the outside

Protecting your pets from the cold:

  • Your family pet may already have a natural coat but it is a great idea to buy another one for those super cold days
  • If you have an outdoor cat, try to transition them into an indoor cat for winter
  • Keep your pet’s paws clean and trim of any excess fur


Please visit the site below for more winterization tips and “How To’s”



30 Second Update - October 29th, 2018

What’s Happening with Home Values?

The Federal Housing Finance Agency Home Price Index was just released showing that home prices increased the strongest in the Pacific region for the month of August, with an increase of 7.3%.  For the annualized number, or for the largest increase of year over year gains, we see that the Mountain region is the strongest with an increase of 8.4%.  Even though the mid-Atlantic region is showing the weakest increase in home prices amongst the other regions and a slight dip in August, the region is still up 4% year over year.  This report focuses on single family homes and uses data and information provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Another housing report, called the New Home Sales report, was also recently released.  This report measures the amount of newly constructed homes that have a contract for sale.  The September report noted that new home sales decreased by 5.5% to 553k homes.  When digging deeper into the report, we do see that builders have been busy because the new home supply has increased by 2.8% for September to 327k which is a year over year gain of 16.8%.  With this amount of supply, we may see home prices slow in their appreciation because demand needs to catch up.  This could be a great window of opportunity for home shoppers to make a move.


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