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  Provided to you Exclusively by Rob McCarthy
Rob McCarthy
Rob McCarthy
Owner/Senior Mortgage Planner
101 Loan, LLC
Office: 408-377-4123
After Hours: 650-465-8957
Email: rob@101loan.com
Website: www.101loan.com
CA BRE License # 01165697 NMLS ID # 121019
  101 Loan, LLC
For the Month of May 2017 --- Vol. 12, Issue 5
 
  IN THIS ISSUE...  
     
 

"It might as well be spring." Frank Sinatra. While some sectors of the economy blossomed, showers dampened others. We've got you covered with 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 in Bloom  
     
 

New Home Sales blossomed in March reaching their highest level in nearly a year, the Commerce Department reported. Sales were up 5.8 percent from February and nearly 16 percent from a year ago. New home inventories edged lower to a 5.2-month supply in March. A six-month supply is considered "normal" inventory.

Existing Home Sales hit their highest pace in over 10 years in March, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, with sales climbing 4.4 percent from February and 5.9 percent above a year ago. However, existing home demand continues to outweigh supply with inventories down 6.6 percent from the same time last year.

New home construction didn't fare as well. Inclement weather during March in the Midwest and Northeast chilled residential home construction after unseasonably warm weather in February. March Housing Start numbers fell nearly 7 percent from February, per the Commerce Department. The year-over-year picture was still rosy, however, with Housing Starts up 9 percent from March 2016 to March 2017.

Economy, Markets Thunder Along
The first reading on first quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was anything but rosy, as GDP came in at 0.7 percent. This was below the 1.1 percent expected and below the 2.1 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016.

GDP is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. It is considered the broadest measure of economic activity. Typically, readings of 2.5 to 3 percent signal strong economic growth.

April also brought uncertainty over the tensions surrounding global events, causing investors to move their money into the safer haven of the Bond markets. This helped home loan rates, which are tied to Mortgage Bonds, hit their best levels of 2017. Stocks around the world also benefited after the French presidential elections in April ignited a global rally.

Despite the volatility, home loan rates remain in attractive territory and still provide many opportunities for homebuyers and homeowners considering a refinance.

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

 
 
  What to Watch: Retail Sales  
     
 

Overall Retail Sales slowed in March, while February's numbers were also revised lower.

What is the Retail Sales report? Produced by the Commerce Department, the report measures a sample of store receipts from businesses of all sizes. It is the timeliest indicator of broad consumer spending patterns, and usually the first picture of consumer spending for a given month.

What's happened recently? Total Retail Sales declined for the second month in a row in March, posting the worst two-month stretch in two years. Lower sales for automobiles and gasoline led the 0.3 percent drop from February to March. However, March sales were 5.2 percent higher than a year ago, and total sales for the first quarter of 2017 were up 5.4 percent from the same period in 2016.

What's the bottom line? Consumer spending makes up two-thirds of our nation's overall economic activity and is a key factor the Fed considers when discussing economic policy.

When economic reports like Retail Sales show positive momentum, investors could be tempted to move their money out of safer investments like Bonds and into riskier assets like Stocks to take advantage of gains. When money is shifted from Bonds to Stocks, the result can be a negative impact on home loan rates since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds. The reverse is also true.

However, many factors can also influence markets and home loan rates, from economic reports here to political uncertainty abroad, so keeping an eye on the big picture is essential.

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

 
 
  Squash Money Squabbles  
     
 

According to a Money Magazine poll of married couples over age 25 with household incomes of $50,000 or more, 70 percent of couples argue about money more than other topics. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid common trip wires and help defuse money arguments before they blow up.

Money talks. Personalities, childhood experiences, spending and lifestyle habits all create differences in attitudes and behavior with money. Talk about these differences openly to deepen understanding.

No secrets. The most common money secrets among couples include hiding cash, minor purchases and bills, as well as setting up secret bank accounts or credit cards. Keeping secrets creates stress. Maintain transparency to keep your relationship healthy.

Budget building. Budgeting -- and sticking to the budget -- is one of the best ways to prevent arguments and avoid too much debt. Since an agreed-upon budget is an objective measurement, budgeting can help establish a financial foundation, foster teamwork, promote living within your means and create goals. Ease the process with budgeting tools and apps.

Make allowances. Like budgeting, joint bank accounts foster openness and teamwork. But sharing every penny, especially when you have different spending habits, can cause problems. Budgeting a little every month for each person to spend on "whatever" promotes a sense of personal freedom.

Manage together. Even though one partner may be inclined to handle the finances, sharing the responsibility helps avoid misunderstandings and mistrust. More importantly, if an illness or death occurs in a couple, the remaining partner is fully aware of how the finances are managed.

Get advice. The perspective of a professional financial advisor or coach can help you set realistic goals, educate on options, promote collaboration, diffuse potentially tense conversations and often save you money in the long run.

Everyone has a unique way of looking at money, so remember to see discussions as an ongoing opportunity to deepen your perspective about each other and your relationship, not as an opportunity to prove a point.

Sources: Reader's Digest, Psychology Today

 
 
  Q&A: Spot a Spoof Site  
     
 

QUESTION: How can I tell if a website is real or spoofed?

ANSWER: Just because a website looks official, doesn't mean the information on it is accurate. Some telltale signs of spoof or fake news and product websites include:

No clear source of information. The absence of an author byline, or scant information in the About Us and Contact Us pages could be indications of a fake site.

No supporting resources. Links or footnotes are not provided to studies, and reports mentioned as proof or links provided don't actually support the article.

Odd grammatical errors, overuse of exclamations points and lack of proofreading in promotional emails and website pages suggest a lack of professional care, accuracy and attention to detail.

If you're not sure about the validity of a news website, check out claims on FactCheck.org, Snopes, the Washington Post and PolitiFact.

If you are unsure about the validity of a product site, check out Consumer Reports or the Better Business Bureau to vet products and companies.

Source: FactCheck.org

 
 

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