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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 August 2018 --- Vol. 13, Issue 8
 
  IN THIS ISSUE...  
     
 

"I'm on the edge of glory. And I'm hanging on a moment with you." Lady Gaga. Home sales and new construction edged lower in June, while many potential homebuyers are hanging on to hopes that inventory will improve. We'll dig up these details and more, including:

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

 
 
  Housing Starts and Sales Slip  
     
 

High costs of lumber and shortages of land and labor hindered home construction in June, while low inventory remains a challenge for many homebuyers around the country.

Housing Starts, which measure when excavation begins on a home, reached their lowest level since September 2017 in June. Starts fell 12.3 percent from May to an annual rate of 1.173 million units. The decline was seen in all four major regions of the country. On an annual basis, Housing Starts were down 4.2 percent from June of last year.

Building Permits, a sign of future construction, fell 2.2 percent in June from May to an annual rate of 1.273 million. Building Permits also saw an annual decline, down 3 percent from a year ago.

Existing Home Sales fell 0.6 percent from May to an annual rate of 5.38 million units, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. Inventory of homes for sale on the market was at a 4.3-month supply, well below the 6-month supply seen as normal. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, "The root cause is without a doubt the severe housing shortage that is not releasing its grip on the nation's housing market. What is for sale in most areas is going under contract very fast and in many cases, has multiple offers."

Sales of new homes also declined in June, falling 5.3 percent from May to an annual rate of 631,000, the Commerce Department reported. This was their lowest level since October 2017. Inventory of new homes for sale was higher than inventory of existing homes in June, with a 5.7-month supply of new homes available.

Inflation remained tame as the annual Core Personal Consumption Expenditures edged lower to 1.9 percent in June. This was down from the 2 percent recorded in May and below the Fed's 2 percent target range. Low inflation is typically good news for Mortgage Bonds and the home loan rates tied to them since inflation reduces the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds.

For now, home loan rates remain attractive and near historic lows.

If you have any questions regarding home loans, give me a call. I'm always happy to help.

 
 
  What to Watch: GDP  
     
 

Economic growth surged in the second quarter of 2018 due in part to a big rise in consumer spending.

What is the GDP report? Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the monetary value of all finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. It is considered the broadest measure of economic activity.

What's happened recently? The first reading of second quarter GDP showed a 4.1 percent increase, up from the 2.2 percent recorded in the first quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported. The report also showed that consumer spending jumped 4 percent in the second quarter from the dismal 0.5 percent in the first quarter.

What's the bottom line? Investors and Federal Reserve members will be watching closely to see if the growth seen in the second quarter will continue throughout 2018. Strong GDP could benefit Stocks at the expense of Mortgage Bonds and the home loan rates tied to them. However, many factors impact the markets and it will be important to keep an eye on the overall picture.

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

 
 
  Buy a Better Washing Machine  
     
 

If you or someone you know is in the market for a new washing machine, today's model and style options can seem endless. The following tips can help you get a sense of the best machine for your needs and enjoy a shopping experience that won't hang you out to dry.

Modern washer types are divided into three categories:

  • Front-loaders have no center agitator, which means a larger capacity (4.2 to 5 cubic feet or more) for larger laundry loads. Fast spinning tubs extract water efficiently, so while wash cycles are longer, drying times are shorter. Front-loaders tend to be more expensive and require extra attention to prevent mold and odors in the machine.
  • Top-load agitators overall tend to offer the least expensive options. While wash times are usually shorter, they can be tough on fabrics due to the center barrel, which may also reduce capacity (usually less than 4.5 cubic feet). Using twice as much water and extracting less of it, they will extend dry times.
  • High-efficiency (HE) top-loaders are designed without the center agitator and offer larger capacities (usually 4.5 cubic feet or more). These machines offer better energy efficiency and cleaning power than their agitator counterparts, though they also come with a higher price tag. Wash cycle times will be longer and can still be rough on fabrics.

Other considerations before you buy:

Check your space. Measure the entrances into the home and laundry area to ensure new appliances will fit. Inside the space, ensure you have enough room to allow for about an inch between appliances and 6 inches of clearance in back for hookups and vents. Some front-load models are stackable and may be worth considering for smaller areas.

Eliminate bad vibrations. Due to the high rate of tub spins, front-loading machines vibrate more than top-loaders, so that may be something to keep in mind if your laundry room is near your home office, nursery or other rooms where noise pollution could be a concern.

While these tips may not have you looking forward to laundry day, they can help you make a clean deal.

Sources: Consumer Reports, CNET

 
 
  Q&A: Vacation Rental Scam Alert  
     
 

QUESTION: With so many great last-minute vacation deals available online, how can I make sure one is legitimate before I book it?

ANSWER: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently issued warnings regarding scammers who steal legitimate rental listings and place them on other websites with their own contact information, or who hijack email accounts of reputable property owners. Both attempt to get consumers to pay up without delivering. Look out for the following:

  • Requests to wire money or pay with a prepaid or gift card
  • Sales-pressured emails from private parties
  • Premium vacation properties with well below market rents

Do some research to confirm the deal is legitimate by checking the address of the property. If located in a resort, call the front desk to confirm other details. Also, ask for a copy of the contract before sending any deposit money. If you think you might be a victim of vacation rental fraud, contact the FTC immediately at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

Source: FTC.gov

 
 

Equal Housing Lender