If you can't see the newsletter, or would like to view it online, use this link If you have received this newsletter indirectly and would like to be added to our distribution list, use this link
  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 January 2018 --- Vol. 13, Issue 1

"You spin me right round ... like a record, baby." Dead or Alive. With the backup of a healthy economy, November saw the housing market spin a few new records of its own. We'll drop the needle on this story and more, including:

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

  Housing's Greatest Hits  

Driven by solid demand across the nation, New Home Sales soared in November, reaching an annual rate of 733,000 units, a 10-year high, per the Commerce Department. This was a 17.5 percent jump from October and marked the biggest monthly gain since January 1992. The year-over-year reading was up nearly a whopping 27 percent from November 2016. A strong labor market was one of the main catalysts that propelled sales higher.

However, inventories continued on the low end with just a 4.6-month supply of new homes, where six months is considered closer to normal levels.

Existing Home Sales also surged in November due in part to faster economic growth, record high Stock markets and a strong labor market. The National Association of REALTORS® reported Existing Home Sales reached an 11-year high in November, with three of the four major regions of the country producing gains. Existing Home Sales were up 5.6 percent from October and up 3.8 percent from November 2016. Total inventories slumped nearly 10 percent from last year to just a 3.4-month supply. Again, a six-month supply is considered normal.

The Commerce Department reported more good news. Housing Starts, which measure when ground is broken on new residential housing, rose 3.3 percent from October to November to an annual rate of 1.297 million units. Year over year, Housing Starts were up nearly 13 percent.

Single-family starts, which account for the biggest share of the housing market, surged 5.3 percent from October. This was the highest level since September 2007 and an increase of 13 percent annually. Multi-dwelling units saw a slight gain of 0.8 percent month over month and an 11.1 percent gain annually.

While Building Permits, a sign of future construction, fell 1.4 percent from October, the reading was still slightly better than expectations.

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

  What to Watch: Gross Domestic Product  

Economic growth had a strong showing in the third quarter of 2017.

What is the GDP report? GDP measures the total dollar value of all goods and services produced in a specific time period within a country's borders and helps gauge economic growth or stagnation.

What's happened recently? The final read on third quarter Gross Domestic Product rose 3.2 percent, just above the 3.1 percent from second quarter. Additionally, within the report it showed that consumer spending (which accounts for two-thirds of economic activity) slowed, rising 2.2 percent. This was down from 3.3 percent in the second quarter.

What's the bottom line? Economic growth in the third quarter was spurred on by robust business spending that was well above weak levels experienced at the beginning of 2017. Investors, economists and Federal Reserve members will be watching to see if this growth was sustained in the fourth quarter of 2017 and into 2018.

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

  Before You Co-Sign  

When a friend or family member asks you to co-sign on a loan, it's not a decision to be taken lightly. As a co-signer you are as responsible as the main borrower to repay the debt, which could have serious consequences for you if anything goes wrong. Make sure you understand these essential facts about co-signing before you agree to help.

Find out why a co-signer is needed. When someone needs a co-signer it's because the person can't single-handedly qualify for a loan. Whether the person doesn't have enough income, has been irresponsible with credit, or simply lacks credit history, consider the reasons carefully.

Know how co-signing affects your credit. Like any new debt, co-signed loans can temporarily lower your credit score. Late payments or non-payment on co-signed loans affect your credit as if you were personally delinquent on the account. Additionally, creditors can count the payment on the co-signed loan against your income, increasing your debt-to-income ratio, which can disqualify you from obtaining other credit.

Remember the potential legal consequences. If a co-signed account goes to collection or the main borrower files for bankruptcy and has the debt discharged, collectors can still come after you to repay whatever remains on the loan balance. This can result in judgments against you, liens on property you own or even wage garnishments.

If you're inclined to co-sign, the following steps can help protect you and your credit rating:

  • Make sure your budget supports the minimum payment in case the main borrower falls delinquent.
  • Discuss a plan for what will happen to the collateral (such as a vehicle) should the loan fall delinquent.
  • Request monthly statements from the lender, so you will be immediately alerted to any missed payments.
Understanding these potential pitfalls before you co-sign can help keep your finances, not to mention your relationships, out of hardship.

Sources: The Balance, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  Q&A: Equifax Calling Scam  

QUESTION: After last year's data breach, are representatives from consumer credit bureau Equifax calling people to verify account information?

ANSWER: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning consumers that Equifax representatives will not be calling anyone out of the blue. However, scammers have been attempting to obtain personal information by posing as representatives from Equifax. You can avoid this and other similar cons when you:

Refuse to give personal information, especially to an unknown person over unexpected or unsolicited texts, calls, or emails.

Don't trust caller ID. Scammers can spoof telephone numbers to appear they are calling from anywhere.

Hang up if you get a robocall. Don't press numbers to speak to a live operator or to "remove you" from the calling list. This usually results in more robocalls.

Finally, if you think you've been scammed or a scam is being perpetrated, report it to the FTC immediately.

Source: FTC


Equal Housing Lender