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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 November 2017 --- Vol. 12, Issue 11

"Oh, what a feeling when we're dancing on the ceiling." Lionel Richie. New Home Sales burst through a ceiling in September, hitting their highest level in a decade. We'll tap around this story and more, including:

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

  Fall Brought Mixed News in Housing  

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma put a dent in new home construction in Florida and southern Texas, causing total September Housing Starts to fall 4.7 percent from August, their lowest level since September 2016.

On a positive note, year-over-year readings show Housing Starts up 6.1 percent. Single-family starts were up 5.9 percent from September 2016, although they fell 4.6 percent from August to September. Building Permits, a sign of future construction, fell 4.5 percent from August, just below expectations.

While construction data suffered from storm damage, New Home Sales broke free and soared in September. The Commerce Department reported that New Home Sales surged 18.9 percent in September from August to 667,000 units, their highest level since October 2007. This was the largest monthly gain since January 1992! New Home Sales were up 17 percent year over year.

However, sales of existing homes were less robust in September. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported low inventories coupled with rising prices have capped sales of existing homes, which rose just 0.7 percent from August to September to an annual rate of 5.39 million units. This comes after three straight months of declines. From September 2016, Existing Home Sales were down 1.5 percent.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, "The primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings, especially at the lower end of the market, and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers."

In other economic news, hurricanes also affected payrolls, which declined in September by 33,000 versus the 75,000 increase in jobs expected. The decline was the first negative number in seven years, but job growth was much brighter in October after the storms passed. The Labor Department reported that 261,000 new jobs were created, while data for August and September was revised higher by a total of 90,000 new jobs. The Unemployment Rate edged down to 4.1 percent, its lowest level since 2006.

When it comes to the economy, full employment and price stability are key objectives of the Federal Reserve. For more on the latest consumer inflation data, check the What to Watch section just below!

For now, home loan rates remain attractive, providing an opportunity for anyone 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: Consumer Price Index  

Inflation can have a big impact on both Stock and Bond markets, and also on home loan rates, which are tied to Mortgage Bonds. Here's what you need to know.

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report? CPI measures consumer inflation and reports price changes in a specific time period on a predetermined basket of goods, including transportation, rent, food, energy and medical care. The report is used to assess price changes associated with the cost of living.

What's happened recently? CPI jumped 0.5 percent in September from August. The more closely watched Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, was up just 0.1 percent in September, leaving year-over-year Core CPI at 1.7 percent for the fifth month in a row. This is below the Fed's target of 2 percent.

What's the bottom line? Inflation can reduce the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds, and when Mortgage Bonds worsen, home loan rates increase. Inflation has been running below the Fed's target range for some time, which has helped home loan rates remain attractively low. The Fed will be closely watching inflation readings and other key economic reports leading up to their next meeting in December when monetary policy decisions will be made. For now, home loan rates remain attractive and near historic lows.

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

  Check Your Disaster Supplies Kit  

This year's dramatic hurricane season once again highlighted that when people need life-saving supplies during a natural disaster, they may be either unavailable or too expensive to obtain. The Department of Homeland Security recommends families prepare ahead to survive independently for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency, and offers tips on creating, updating and storing supplies.

Basic disaster supplies should be stored in airtight plastic bags and placed into one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. Kits should contain:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for both drinking and sanitation
  • Non-perishable food to feed each person for three days
  • Battery-powered devices such as flashlights and a radio equipped with NOAA weather and tone alert capability; or consider a hand-crank radio
  • First aid kit
  • Dust masks
  • Personal sanitation supplies including moistened wipes, toilet paper, garbage bags and plastic ties in case public utilities are unavailable
  • Tools and equipment, like manual can openers, a wrench, pliers, a whistle, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place if needed, local maps, back-up batteries, and solar or crank chargers for cell phones
Consider unique needs your family may have beyond these basics, such as special foods and medicines or supplies for young children, seniors and pets.

If you have some warning before an emergency, a trip to the market to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables that can last unrefrigerated for about a week will provide a welcome alternative to uncooked packaged foods.

These essential items can make a difference in comfort and survival during a disaster. Visit Ready.gov for more detailed information and free resources.

Sources: Department of Homeland Security, Real Simple

  Q&A: Put a Stop to Robocalls  

QUESTION: I keep receiving recorded calls on my home and cell phone. How do I get them to stop?

ANSWER: Some automated prerecorded phone calls are helpful (like reminders from schools, your dentist or the pharmacy). Others can be annoying or a tool that fraudsters use for identity theft or money scams. If you're bothered by unwanted robocalls, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests these steps:

  • Register your home and cell phones for free with the National Do Not Call Registry to automatically scrub your numbers from telemarketing call lists.
  • Consider a call blocker app such as PrivacyStar or Nomorobo.
  • Also check with your cellular service provider. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint offer solutions for blocking unwanted calls.
If you continue to receive unwanted calls after your number is on the National Do Not Call Registry for 31 days, you may report it to the FTC.

Source: FTC


Equal Housing Lender