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  Provided to you Exclusively by Jeff Johnson
Jeff Johnson
Jeff Johnson
Mortgage Planner
License # MLO-102315
Megastar Financial Corporation
Fax: 425-354-5635
Direct: 425-998-6173
Cell: 425-985-4099
Email: Jeff@JeffJohnsonMortgage.com
Website: www.JeffJohnsonMortgage.com
  Megastar Financial Corporation
For the Month of September 2017 --- Vol. 12, Issue 9

"I'm working on a dream, and I know it will be mine someday." Bruce Springsteen. Even though August job growth was below economists' expectations, there were still many new opportunities for workers to build on their American dream. We'll pursue 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 Slip  

July New Home Sales fell by 9.4 percent from June to a seven-month low. Annually, New Home Sales were down nearly 9 percent. Sales dropped in the Northeast, South and West. New home inventory rose to a 5.8-month supply in July, up from 5.2 months in June. This was good news as inventory inched near the healthy rate of a six-month supply.

July Existing Home Sales also slipped as declines in the Northeast and Midwest outweighed increases in the South and West. July's sales pace was 2.1 percent above a year ago but the lowest of 2017. The median existing home price was up 6.2 percent from July 2016, marking the 65th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, commented that high buyer interest remains across much of the country, but the negative effect of low inventory (and its pressure on overall affordability) "put the brakes on what should've been a higher sales pace." Total existing housing inventory at the end of July declined to a 4.2-month supply, 9 percent lower than a year ago.

The second read on second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose to 3 percent from the initial read of 2.6 percent, fueled by a pop in consumer and business spending. Consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy. This was the best GDP reading since the first quarter of 2015.

The Fed's favorite inflation gauge, the annualized Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), came in at 1.4 percent in July, marking the smallest year-over-year increase since December 2015. Tame inflation is a key metric for Federal Reserve members to discuss at the September Federal Open Market Committee meeting as they weigh adjustments to monetary policy.

At this time, home loan rates remain near historic lows due to tempered economic growth and tame inflation. Now is a great window of opportunity for those in the market to purchase or refinance a home.

If you have any questions about current loan products, or home purchase or refinancing opportunities, please reach out at any time.

  What to Watch: Jobs  

August Non-farm Payrolls didn't meet expectations, but employment growth has been in line with 2016 average monthly gains.

What is the Non-farm Payrolls report? The Non-farm Payrolls report measures the number of people on the payrolls of all non-agricultural businesses each month. The data represents around 80 percent of workers who produce the Gross Domestic Product of the United States.

What's happened recently? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported August job creation rose by 156,000 new jobs, below the 183,000 expected. June and July numbers also were revised lower by a total of 41,000 new jobs. The Unemployment Rate ticked up slightly to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent.

What's the bottom line? Overall, the report was a bit of a disappointment. Wage growth was fairly anemic, rising just 0.1 percent from July to August; however, year-over-year wage growth remained at 2.5 percent for the fifth consecutive month. While August job growth didn't meet expectations, employment growth in 2017 has averaged 176,000 new jobs per month so far, in line with the average monthly gains of 187,000 new jobs in 2016.

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

  Essential Excel Shortcuts  

Whether you're tracking home inventory or a budget, or you just want to improve your spreadsheet skills at the office, knowing how to handle Microsoft Excel is a valuable asset. With a few of these tips under your belt, you'll be an Excel expert in just a matter of time.

Group functions can make dealing with multiple cells or multiple spreadsheets a snap. For example:

  • Select all the cells on a page one of two ways: The Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut or by clicking the grey square in the uppermost left-hand corner of a spreadsheet that adjoins the A and 1 cells.
  • Open multiple files at once in a folder by selecting all the files you want to work on and then press Enter/Return on the keyboard; all files will open simultaneously.
  • Toggle between different open files when you have multiple spreadsheets open. Use the Ctrl + Tab command to shift between worksheets.
Add multiple rows or columns fast by selecting the number of rows or columns you want to create from existing cells. Then, right-click the highlighted rows or columns and select Insert from the menu. A fresh supply of blank cells will appear.

Perform a vague search when you're not sure of the search result you're looking for. Hit Ctrl + F to search as usual, and then try these modifiers:

  • Question mark takes the place of a single character. For example, "Tr?y" could return "Tray," "Troy" and "Trey" but not "Trolley."
  • Asterisk takes the place of any number of characters. For example, "Tr*y" could return "Tray," "Troy," "Truly" and "Trolley."
Protect cells from edits by others or accidental deletion. Click the Format button in the menu and then click Protect Sheet. Choose the type of modification you want to prevent others from making, enter a password, and then click OK to confirm. Don't forget the password!

With these simple tips, you'll be well on your way to spreadsheet superstardom!

Source: Lifehack

  Q&A: Be Proactive About Lead Paint  

QUESTION: If I'm considering a home remodel project, should I be concerned about lead paint?

ANSWER: The government banned lead paint in 1978, so if your house was built before then it's possible at least some of the paint contains lead. But that doesn't mean lead paint isn't also present in some houses built or remodeled after that year.

Breathing or swallowing any substance with lead in it, such as paint or dust from sanding and demolition, is harmful to everyone, especially children. Before you begin any project that requires sanding or demolition of painted surfaces, test for the presence of lead with EPA-approved kits like the Klean Strip D-Lead Paint Test Kit or the 3M LeadCheck Swabs. To completely remove lead paint hazards and protect your family's health, you need to hire a certified lead abatement contractor. You can contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD for help in locating certified lead professionals.

Sources: EPA, Popular Mechanics


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