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  Provided to you Exclusively by Bruce Gordon
Bruce Gordon
Bruce Gordon
Integrity Lending
Mobile: 410-207-6365
Direct: 410-581-0055
Email: bruce.ilc@verizon.net
Website: www.integritylendingcorp.com
  Integrity Lending
For the Month of March 2018 --- Vol. 13, Issue 3

"If you build it, they will come." Field of Dreams. Home sales fell in January due in part to low inventory. We'll deconstruct this story and more, including:

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

  January Home Sales Skid  

Sales of existing and new homes declined in January but news regarding construction could be a welcome sign!

January Existing Home Sales declined 3.2 percent from December to an annual rate of 5.38 million units, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. Sales were down 4.8 percent from a year ago, the largest decline since August 2014 and the slowest pace since last September. Inventories continue to be a problem with just a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace. A 6-month supply is considered healthy.

For more on the decline of New Home Sales in January, check out the What to Watch section below.

There could be a silver lining when it comes to construction, however, as January Housing Starts jumped 9.7 percent from December to an annual rate of 1.326 million units, the Commerce Department reported. This was the highest level since October 2016. Housing Starts rose in the Northeast, South and West but declined in the Midwest. Building Permits, a sign of future construction, rose 7.4 percent from December to an annual rate of 1.396 million units.

The minutes from the Fed's January Federal Open Market Committee meeting were released and they revealed that members are committed to raising the short-term Fed Funds Rate three or more times in 2018. This is the rate at which banks lend money to each other overnight and it does not directly impact home loan rates. The minutes also showed that most Fed members believe inflation will pick up this year.

While consumer inflation via the Consumer Price Index edged higher in January, the more-closely watched annual Core Personal Consumption Expenditures showed inflation remains tame. Year-over-year Core PCE was unchanged in January, coming in at 1.5 percent, still well below the Fed's target of 2 percent.

Inflation reduces the value of fixed investments, meaning it can hurt Mortgage Bonds and the home loan rates tied to them. Stocks, meanwhile, can react negatively since inflation can bring higher rates and higher rates hurt corporate borrowing.

The Fed and investors will be closely watching upcoming inflation reports, as they will certainly impact the direction of Stocks, Bonds and home loan rates, as well as the Fed's monetary policy.

Though home loan rates have trended higher this year, they remain attractive and near historic lows. If you have any questions regarding home loans, reach out at any time.

  What to Watch: New Home Sales  

New Home Sales decline for the second month in a row.

What is the New Home Sales report? The New Home Sales report shows the number of newly constructed homes with a committed sale each month. The level of sales indicates housing market trends and housing demand, while the supply serves as a clue to the level of housing pressure.

What's happened recently? The Commerce Department reported that New Home Sales fell 7.8 percent in January from December. A 33 percent drop in sales in the Northeast and a near 15 percent decline in the South led the shortfall, balanced by gains in the Midwest and West. From January 2017 to January 2018, overall sales were down 1 percent.

What's the bottom line? Rising home loan rates coupled with a lean supply of homes for sale on the lower-end of the market pushed sales of single-family homes lower in January. The decline was also due in part to harsh winter weather, coupled with fading sales in the South after hurricane victims focused on replacing housing needs following the September hurricane season.

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

  Parent Alert: Anonymous and Hidden Apps  

If you didn't grow up using technology, chances are some of the social apps your kids are into go right over your head. That's why parents must stay vigilant and self-educated about new or popular apps that could put kids at risk. Here are some of the more popular apps you should know:

ASKfm allows people to interact with friends, peers and anonymous users in question-and-answer forums or private messages. The minimum age for users is 13. In response to cyberbullying on its platform, ASKfm added an icon to report abuse and offers a safety guide for underage users.

Whisper allows users to create posts for the purpose of sharing "real thoughts and feelings, without identities." While anonymity curtails cyberbullying, the opportunity to "over share" without any repercussions could potentially expose kids to information they aren't mature enough to handle. Additionally, the private messaging feature allows anonymous users to communicate, and potentially meet.

Hidden apps can be made to look like another inconspicuous application, like a calculator. However, the app's real purpose is to store pictures, videos or other content users don't want others to come across. Redundant apps, like two calculators, can be one sign of a hidden app.

While the mere presence of these apps doesn't necessarily indicate trouble, it's smart to know as much as possible about potential digital pitfalls when it comes to teen technology trends.

Sources: The Spruce, FamilyEducation

  Q&A: Printer Ink Pickle  

QUESTION: My printer says I've run out of ink, but I don't have a replacement cartridge. What can I do?

ANSWER: Printer ink always seems to run out at the most inconvenient times. If you're in a pinch, remove the ink cartridge from your printer then try one (or all) of the tips below to help you finish the job:

Dampen a paper towel and wipe the underside of the cartridge to loosen and clear any clogs from the nozzle.

Grab a hairdryer and blow it over the surface of the cartridge on high heat to loosen ink stuck to the inside.

A small piece of tape (clear or electrical) placed over the sensors on the cartridge may fool the printer into thinking you've installed a new one, giving you some extra pages of print.

If that doesn't work, search the forums on Fix Your Own Printer for help solving over 300,000 printer issues.

Sources: The Balance, Quick and Dirty Tips, Wise Bread


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