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  Provided to you Exclusively by Monica Jones, CMPS
Monica Jones, CMPS
Monica Jones, CMPS
Certified Mortgage Planner
RPM Mortgage, Inc.
376 First Street
Benicia, CA 94510
Mobile: 925-339-1764
Direct: 707-361-5506
Fax: 866-660-3788
Email: Mjones@rpm-mtg.com
Website: www.MortgagesByMonica.com
  RPM Mortgage, Inc.
For the Month of April 2017 --- Vol. 12, Issue 4

"Why do you build me up, buttercup?" The Foundations. Construction data shows U.S. builders are getting back into the swing of housing. We'll hammer out the details behind this story and more, including:

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, family or co-workers who may find it helpful.

  Homebuyers on the Move  

The January S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index rose 5.7 percent over the January 2016 reading. Of the nation's 20 largest cities, three reached all-time highs in January: Seattle, Portland and Denver. And 12 cities reported greater price increases in the 12-month period ending January 2017 versus the year ending in December 2016.

New Home Sales hit a seven-month high in February, the Commerce Department reported, up a whopping 12.8 percent above the reading from February 2016. However, Existing Home Sales showed some restraint after starting 2017 at the fastest pace in almost a decade in January, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. February's numbers slid 3.7 percent from January but are still 5.4 percent above the prior year.

Total housing inventory of existing homes for sale is around 6.4 percent lower than a year ago and has fallen year over year for 21 straight months. On this, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, said "foot traffic" is up from a year ago, but low supply and home prices are "pressuring the budgets of prospective buyers."

Despite limited inventory in much of the country, there may be good news on the horizon for prospective homebuyers. Housing Starts, which measure new home excavations, hit a four-month high, rising 3 percent from January to February. Single-family starts led the charge as they rose to a near 10-year high in February. And Homebuilder Sentiment, as measured by the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, also jumped 6 points in March to its highest level in 12 years, a positive sign for what's ahead in housing.

For the time being, home loan rates remain in attractive territory and provide great opportunities for those in the market for a home.

If you have any questions about housing or refinancing opportunities, please reach out at any time.

  What to Watch: GDP  

The final Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reading for the fourth quarter of 2016 is in with a mix of encouraging and disappointing data.

What is the GDP report? GDP measures the total dollar value of all goods and services produced in a specific time period and helps gauge economic growth or stagnation.

What's happened recently? The final fourth quarter 2016 GDP reading showed a 2.1 percent rise on the heels of a 3.5 percent increase in the third quarter. For all of 2016, GDP rose a lackluster 1.6 percent, the lowest reading since 2011 and well below the 2.6 percent seen in 2015.

What's the bottom line? GDP is just one report helping the Fed track economic growth, and typically our economy is considered strong or healthy when GDP ranges from between 2.5 to 3 percent.

While this recent GDP data reflects slower economic growth, there were bright spots in the report. Consumer spending, which makes up about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose a healthy 3.5 percent. Corporate profits hit their highest levels in four years, due in part to a recovery in the energy sector.

In addition, both the labor and manufacturing sectors have seen improvement, Stock markets are near record highs, and inflation is near the Fed's target range. Despite the weak GDP in 2016, Fed Chair Janet Yellen noted at the March 14-15 Federal Open Market Committee meeting that, "The simple message is the economy is doing well."

I'll continue to monitor economic reports closely, but if you have any immediate questions, please call or email today.

  E-reader Secrets  

Kindle and NOOK devices are awesome for reading on the go. Here a few fun tricks you might not know for getting more from your device:

Amazon Kindle:
Get free and low-cost books
from Amazon, but check the reviews first. Some downloads may not be supported across Kindle versions.

Play two hidden games. Minesweeper and GoMoku are loaded on standard Kindle readers. To access Minesweeper, select Alt+Shift+M from the home screen. For GoMoku, hit the G key when you get to the Minesweeper screen.

Loan or borrow books with friends. Amazon allows book owners to exchange eligible books with friends. A Kindle device isn't required. The Kindle app can display books on most devices.

Send articles from the web through Instapaper. Set up an account then start pushing articles, recipes, lyrics and other items to your device for later.

Barnes & Noble NOOK:
Get free books
for your NOOK from Barnes & Noble.

Loan or borrow eligible books for up to 14 days with friends. To determine which books are lendable, visit your library and look for the "LendMe" button available under specific titles.

Customize your screensaver with your own photos or with free, open source images from the web. Watch this video to learn how.

If you'd like even more free and low cost books for your brand of e-reader, check out 20 more online resources for free e-books.

Sources: Woman's Day, CNET

  Q&A: Track Your Trainers  

QUESTION: How often should I replace my gym shoes?

ANSWER: The midsole of a shoe is the shock absorber and, after a certain amount of use, it can deform, compress unevenly or stop absorbing completely. This erosion can create an alignment change of the foot, potentially leading to injury. Midsoles should be considered worn out:

  1. After 300-500 miles of running or walking and 45-60 hours of sports like basketball, aerobic dance or tennis

  2. When showing signs of unevenness when placed on a flat surface

  3. With visible and noticeable creasing
If you like to automate pesky details like tracking mileage, apps like Shoedometer or Runkeeper can do it for you.

Source: American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine


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