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  Provided to you Exclusively by Lillian Wong
Lillian Wong
Lillian Wong
Sr. Loan Officer NMLS ID 630337
Lillian Wong & Associates
Fairway Independent Mortgage
Office: 480-650-5412
Email: lillian@lillianwong.com
Website: www.lillianwong.net
  Lillian Wong & Associates <br>Fairway Independent Mortgage
For the Month of May 2018 --- Vol. 13, Issue 5

"Stormy weather ... keeps rainin' all the time." Billie Holiday. March may have been stormy across much of the country, but the housing sector still managed to spring into gear. We'll dig up this story and more, including:

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

  Home Sales and Housing Starts Rise  

March brought some positive news to potential homebuyers struggling with limited inventory, as new construction data was on the rise.

Housing Starts, which measures the number of residential units on which construction has begun, rose 1.9 percent from February to an annual rate of 1.319 million units, the Commerce Department reported. Housing Starts were boosted by a 16.1 percent monthly increase from the multi-dwelling sector. However, starts on single-family homes fell 3.7 percent from February. From March 2017 to March 2018, Housing Starts were up 10.9 percent.

Building Permits, a sign of future construction, rose 2.5 percent from February to March to an annual rate of 1.354 million. Those in areas around the country that are facing limited inventory should stay tuned to see if these numbers continue to rise.

March saw an increase in New Home Sales, as they were up 4 percent from February to an annual rate of 694,000, a four-month high. Sales were also up 8.8 percent from March 2017. There were considerable differences in sales around the country, however. Sales plunged 54.8 percent in the Northeast, while sales in the West soared 28.3 percent. Overall, March saw a 5.2-month supply of new homes for sale on the market, near the 6-month mark that is seen as normal.

Inventory of existing homes for sale on the market was a different story, however. For more details, see What to Watch below.

Economic growth in the first quarter of 2018 slipped from the final three months of 2017, though the number did beat estimates. The first reading on first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showed a gain of 2.3 percent, down from the 2.9 percent recorded in the previous quarter, but above the 2.1 percent expected, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported. GDP is the monetary value of finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. It is considered the broadest measure of economic activity.

Though home loan rates have trended higher this year, they remain attractive and near historic lows. However, the lack of inventory plus continued low home loan rates will likely make for a competitive spring buying season across much of the country.

If you have any questions regarding home loan rates or products, reach out at any time.

  What to Watch: Existing Home Sales  

Existing Home Sales increased from February to March but declined year over year. Find out why below.

What is the report? The Existing Home Sales report measures sales of pre-owned single-family homes, condos and co-ops, as reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). It covers geographical numbers, prices, inventory and the number of months it would take to deplete the existing supply of pre-owned houses.

What's happened recently? In March, Existing Home Sales rose 1.1 percent from February. While this number came in above expectations, sales were down 1.2 percent from March 2017. Month over month, sales rose in the Northeast and Midwest, while declines were seen in the South and West.

What's the bottom line? The decline in annual sales was due in part to continued low inventories and affordability issues. Additionally, total housing inventory came in at a 3.6-month supply, well below the 6-month level that is considered healthy. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, "The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year-ago levels because supply is woefully low and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford." It remains to be seen if builders can meet the demand for housing that has persisted in most markets across the country.

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

  Happy Campers  

Camping is one of the most affordable ways to get away from the hectic pace of everyday life, slow down, enjoy nature, and reconnect with friends and family. And with summer vacation coming up fast, these tips will help you plan and enjoy a cost-effective camping vacation even more.

Grab an annual pass. The National Park Service's America the Beautiful Pass offers unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The general pass costs $80 but discounted passes are also available for seniors, disabled citizens, active military, families of fourth-grade students and volunteers. Over 1,800 campgrounds across the U.S., Canada and Mexico participate in the Passport America program, which offers a 50 percent discount on campsites for members.

Reserve your spot. Camping is a popular activity and campgrounds fill up fast, so making reservations is a must. Online portals like Recreation.gov and ReserveAmerica can make the reservation process faster, easier and more secure.

No RV? No problem! Throwing a tent in the back of your car and hitting the road isn't everyone's cup of tea. So if you want to experience a few more of the comforts of home (and a little less dirt) you can rent almost any class of camping vehicle from outlets like Cruise America, Outdoorsy or with a quick online search for RV rental locations nearby.

Save money on supplies. Aside from hotel fees and eating out, you'll also save by bringing and cooking your own supplies of food and snacks. Avoid overpaying at a campsite store by writing down what you plan to eat for each meal, each day, as well as the condiments and utensils needed to prepare and serve those meals. Check the list twice. And don't forget the can opener!

Find the fun with a few awesome apps. AllTrails has collected over 50,000 detailed, hand-curated trail maps and intel to get you out and about without getting lost. Roadtrippers reveals nearby attractions while Sky Guide (iPhone*) and Sky Map (Android*) are indispensable for getting the most from nighttime star gazing.

These tips will help you make the most of your next camping adventure.

*Availability at time of writing.

  Q&A: Stovetop Selfie  

QUESTION: How can I relax on vacation without worrying I left something running?

ANSWER: We've all done it: Planned a dream vacation, packed our bags with care and headed out ready to relax. Then, halfway to our destination panic strikes and, in a cold sweat, we cry: "I think I left the oven on!"

Things can get hectic when preparing for a trip, with routines out of the norm, so it's easy to wonder if you've forgotten to turn an appliance off or a thermostat down. To give yourself peace of mind, simply take a few moments before heading out and snap pictures on your smartphone of appliances, electronics, irons, latches, locks and light switches. This will ensure you've actually turned everything off as well as preserve a visual record so you can stay relaxed.

Happy travels!

Source: Lifehacker


Equal Housing Lender