Happy Holidays

Dated: 12/22/2014

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>> Market UpdateQUOTE OF THE WEEK... "Slow but steady wins the race."--Aesop, Ancient Greek story tellerINFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... The tortoise-like pace of the housing recovery has certainly required steady determination from everyone working in the market. A steady resolve was the correct response to last week's housing data. November Housing Starts came in at a 1.028 million annual rate, down 1.6% from the month before. But this was the third month in a row that starts exceeded the 1 million unit yearly pace. And if we look at the 12-month moving average, housing starts overall, besides last month, are at their highest level since September 2008. So the underlying trend remains upward and economists expect that to continue. In addition, the total number of homes under construction (started but not yet finished) was UP 1.2% in November and is UP 18.3% compared to a year ago. As a result, residential construction jobs have jumped by 123,000 in the last year. It should be noted, however, that multi-family starts have trended up while single-family construction has stayed in a narrow range for the last two years. New Building Permits were also down a bit in November, dropping 5.2%, to a 1.035 million rate. Nonetheless, the NAHB index of home builder confidence, at 57, stayed over 50, meaning a majority feel conditions are good.BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK... Push yourself to try things that seem foreign to you. If you're always feeling comfortable on the job, you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough. >> Review of Last WeekSANTA COMES EARLY... A Santa Claus rally would normally occur next week, but this year Santa was impatient and gave the U. S. stock market its biggest weekly gain since October. Unlike Santa, the Fed said it would be "patient" on the timing of its initial rate hike coming out of Wednesday's FOMC meeting. This reassured investors that any rate increases would be methodical and that inspired a run-up in stock prices for three straight sessions. More inspiration came from declining oil prices, now understood as beneficial for the economy, plus the collapse of the Russian ruble brought on when their central bank pushed the rate to 17%!The week's economic data couldn't take much credit for the booming stock markets. All the following reports missed their forecasts: New York Empire Manufacturing, Housing Starts, Building Permits, CPI and the Philly Fed Index of manufacturing. But we did see Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization and Leading Economic Indicators beat estimates. And Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims fell for the third week in a row, down 6,000, to 289,000, plus Continuing Claims are down 147,000, reversing the prior week's 148,000 boost, resting at 2.373 million.The week ended with the Dow UP 3.0%, to 17805; the S&P 500 UP 3.4%, to 2071; and the Nasdaq UP 2.4%, to 4765.With the Fed no longer saying it would keep rates super low for "a considerable time," investors sent bond prices down and yields up. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond we watch finished the week down .05, at $106.18. National average mortgage rates hit another record low for 2014 in Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended December 18. Their chief economist linked this to the prior week's "10-year Treasury yields, which closed at their lowest level since May 2013." Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up to the minute information. DID YOU KNOW?... The November jobs report marked the 10th month in a row with more than 200,000 new nonfarm payrolls. That hasn't happened for 20 years. >> This Week’s Forecast EXISTING HOME SALES SLOW, NEW HOME SALES HOLD, CONSUMERS MAKE MORE AND SPEND MORE... This week is expected to reveal a quieter housing market in November, with Existing Home Sales slowing a bit and New Home Sales near the prior month's pace. But the Personal Income reading should be up for the month, with those extra earnings going to boost Personal Spending, a very good thing for our consumer driven economy. The key inflation read, Core PCE Prices, is forecast well within the Fed's target range.The stock and bond markets close early on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, and are closed on Christmas Day.>> The Week’s Economic Indicator CalendarWeaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates. Economic Calendar for the Week of Dec 22 – Dec 26 DateTime (ET)ReleaseForConsensusPriorImpactMNov 2210:00Existing Home SalesNov5.20M5.26MModerateTuNov 2308:30Durable Goods OrdersNov2.8%0.4%ModerateTuNov 2308:30GDP–3rd EstimateQ34.2%3.9%ModerateTuNov 2308:30GDP Deflator–3rd Est.Q31.4%1.4%ModerateTuNov 2308:30U. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment–FinalDec93.893.8ModerateTuNov 2310:00Personal IncomeNov0.5%0.2%ModerateTuNov 2310:00Personal SpendingNov0.5%0.2%HIGHTuNov 2310:00Core PCE PricesNov0.1%0.2%HIGHTuNov 2310:00New Home SalesNov460K458KModerateWDec 2408:30Initial Unemployment Claims12/20290K289KModerateWDec 2408:30Continuing Unemployment Claims12/132.358M2.373MModerateWDec 2410:30Crude Inventories12/20NA–0.847MModerate >> Federal Reserve Watch Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months... Last Wednesday, Fed chair Janet Yellen said they wouldn't start raising the Fed Funds Rate "for at least the next couple of meetings." June is a popular estimate among economists. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same.Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%–0.25%After FOMC meeting on:Consensus Jan 280%–0.25%Mar 180%–0.25%Apr 290%–0.25%Probability of change from current policy:After FOMC meeting on:Consensus Jan 28 Mar 18 Apr 29

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Ralph and Karen Chiodo

THE CHIODO TEAM - Ralph Chiodo Broker / Owner 610-579-9514 Karen Chiodo Realtor / Owner 610-579-9514 Together Ralph and Karen (and their dedicated Team) have success....

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