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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 July 2018 --- Vol. 13, Issue 7

"Why must we always ride a divided highway?" Doobie Brothers. Sales of new and existing homes brought differing results in May. We'll analyze the reasons and more, including:

  • Inventory Woes - Low inventory of homes for sale remains an issue in many areas of the country.
  • What to Watch: Retail Sales - Consumer spending is key to economic growth; here's your reading on retailers.
  • Under Pressure - How to pressure wash decks and concrete so they look great for summer entertaining.
  • Q&A: Pet Hair Everywhere? - Rid car carpet and upholstery of pet hair with this money-saving, eco-friendly tip.
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, family or co-workers who may find it helpful.

  Inventory Woes  

Low inventory hindered sales of existing homes in May, but construction figures may signal hope on the horizon.

Existing Home Sales declined for the second straight month in May, falling 0.4 percent from April to an annual rate of 5.43 million units, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. One of the key culprits for the decline was the fact that there was just a 4.1-month supply of homes available for sale in May, well below the 6-month level seen as normal.

The NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said, "Inventory coming onto the market during this spring's buying season ... was not even close enough to satisfy demand."

Inventory of new homes for sale was higher in May, with a 5.2-month supply available. This helped sales of new homes tick up from April, rising 6.7 percent in May to an annual rate of 689,000, per the Commerce Department. However, April's sales figure was revised lower to 646,000 from the original reading of 662,000. From May 2017 to May 2018, sales rose 14.1 percent.

Construction data also had some positive signs for would-be buyers, as May Housing Starts rose 5 percent from April to an annual rate of 1.350 million units, the Commerce Department reported. This was a whopping 20.3 percent increase from May 2017! Single-family starts, which account for the largest share of the housing market, rose 3.9 percent from April to May and were up 18.3 percent annually.

However, data on future new construction was disappointing, as May Building Permits fell 4.6 percent monthly after declining in April as well.

June also brought action from the Fed, as it raised its benchmark Fed Funds Rate by 0.25 percent. This increase was expected and it brought the new target range to 1.75 to 2 percent. The Fed Funds Rate is the short-term rate at which banks lend money to each other overnight. It is not directly tied to long-term rates on consumer products like purchase or refinance home loans, meaning home loan rates do not increase as a direct result of the Fed's decision.

While home loan rates have ticked up this year, they remain near historically low levels and still provide a great opportunity for people looking to purchase or refinance.

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

  What to Watch: Retail Sales  

Consumer spending makes up two-thirds of our nation's overall economic activity. Here's what happened in May:

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 period.

What's happened recently? May Retail Sales surged 0.8 percent from April, double the 0.4 percent expected. From May 2017 to May 2018, Retail Sales were up 5.9 percent. When stripping out automobile sales, Retail Sales jumped 0.9 percent versus the 0.5 percent expected.

What's the bottom line? Recent tax cuts and a strong labor market sent consumers on a spending spree in May as Americans doled out their hard-earned cash at gas stations, clothing stores and home improvement centers. If consumers continue to spend, the U.S. economy will continue to grow at a solid pace in the months ahead.

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

  Under Pressure  

Pressure washing wooden decks and concrete driveways, walkways and patios can refresh their look and add to your enjoyment of those outdoor spaces over the summer. The tips below will help you prepare and prevent damage to these surfaces.

Renting a power washer for the day is relatively quick and easy. Your local home hardware or rental store will have a variety of models with adjustable settings or attachments that can handle various jobs. Expect to pay between $30-$100 per day, depending on the equipment.

Different surfaces require different treatments. Cedar, pine and soft woods can handle around 500-600 psi (pounds per square inch), harder woods around 1,200-1,500 psi. About 3,000 psi is ideal for cleaning brick and concrete. As a general rule, start with the lowest pressure level and tip and work your way up as needed.

Start the water pressure by depressing the trigger away from people, pets and windows. Hold it at least 24 inches from the surface, then feather it into range. Never get closer than 12 inches from any surface while cleaning it to avoid etching the surface with the jetting stream of water.

Use a fanning motion and try to keep a steady distance from the surface to avoid inconsistent cleaning patterns and "cleaning edges."

Start from the house and work your way outward. For wood surfaces, work with the grain by feathering your spray lengthwise with the deck boards, slightly overlapping each area. For very large concrete surfaces, consider renting a rotating sweeping attachment that is able to clean large areas quickly without causing arm fatigue.

If you're unsure whether your deck or patio can "handle the pressure," check with a licensed and bonded professional, or check for tutorial classes at your local home improvement or hardware store.

Sources: The Spruce, DIY Network

  Q&A: Pet Hair Everywhere?  

QUESTION: Is there an easier way to remove pet hair from car carpet and upholstery?

ANSWER: Whether you've got long- or short-hair furry friends, you've probably got pet hair in your car. But vacuuming after every car ride is inconvenient and, like disposable lint rollers, never seems to grab it all. If you want to make sure you and your other two-legged passengers aren't coated with pet hair after a hitch in your ride, try this tip.

Take a common bathroom pumice stone and rub it gently along the carpet and upholstery. It will catch both dog and cat fur and gather it into a ball, which you can easily pick up with your fingers to toss or compost. This eco-friendly alternative will help you avoid creating additional trash and save on electricity. And you won't need to clean the pumice stone because the hair will release as you swipe.

Source: CNET


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