Jan

20

Last Week in Review

“WHAT DO WE LIVE FOR, IF IT IS NOT TO MAKE LIFE LESS DIFFICULT FOR EACH OTHER?” George Eliot. The current crisis in Haiti certainly puts this sentiment into perspective. For information on how you can help, see the View article below.

Last week it was reported that the inflation measuring Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December came in lower than expected. Overall, CPI for all of 2009 was fairly tame. But as you can see in the chart below, the closely watched Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy, rose to 1.8% year-over-year in December after hitting a multi-year low of 1.4% in August.

———————–
Chart: Core Consumer Price Index
weeklychart1410

So what does this mean for Bonds and home loan rates?

Clearly, inflation is tame at the moment…but slowly trending higher. The Fed will be watching this data very carefully in the coming months, as they seek to time perfectly the exit from what is essentially a zero rate environment. The Fed will likely err on the side of keeping the Fed Funds Rate lower for longer than they perhaps should, in order to avoid a “double dip” recession…but that will likely lead to more inflation down the road. Remember, Bonds and home loan rates hate inflation – so home loan rates are likely to trend higher as more inflation creeps into the economy.

Speaking of the Fed, they stepped up their Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) buying in the latest week, purchasing $14B in MBS, whereas the most recent prior purchases were around $9.5B. The Fed now has $113B left of their $1.25T allotted commitment, with the buying program set to wrap up on March 31st. The Fed’s purchases have helped home loan rates stay historically low – and although there has been some buzz about an extension of the program, it seems unlikely that will come to fruition. When the Fed purchases stop, home loan rates will be very susceptible to moving higher – so if we have not talked yet about your own home loan situation, or if you know of a friend, family member, neighbor or coworker who might like some advice, let’s be sure to connect very soon…time is of the essence.

The next Federal Reserve Policy Statement will be coming on January 27th, and they have gone out of their way to mention in the last several statements that the MBS buying program will not continue. Count on me to be listening closely when the Fed releases this next Statement, as this will help further gauge what home loan rates have in store.

In other news, Retail Sales for December came in well below expectations and were down from the 1.8% increase seen in November. While this suggests weakness in the Retail sector, it has to be taken with a grain of salt, as it is likely that frigid temperatures and snowy conditions throughout much of the country were contributing factors to the decline. Overall, 2009 was a very tough year for retail. Retail Sales for 2009 dropped 6.2% compared with 2008, which was the biggest decline on record, dating back to 1992.

There was some good news, however, on the manufacturing front, as the Empire State Manufacturing Index was reported above estimates, indicating manufacturing expansion in New York state and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.

For the week overall Bonds were able to break above important technical levels, and home loan rates ended the week slightly better than where they began.

Forecast for the Week

The markets will be closed on Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, but plenty of news will follow later in the week. Wednesday brings more news from the inflation front, with the Producer Price Index (PPI) Report, which measures inflation at the wholesale level. Wednesday will also bring a read on the housing market, with the Housing Starts and Building Permits Report.

There’s also more manufacturing news ahead on Thursday with the Philadelphia Fed Report. Also in store for Thursday is another look at the weekly Initial Jobless Claims Report…so it’s sure to be an interesting week, with a variety of data for the markets to absorb.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and home loan rates improved last week, largely due to tame inflation numbers and a decline in Stocks. In fact, Bonds were actually able to power through a tough technical “ceiling of resistance” at the 200-day Moving Average…but it remains to be seen if they will hold their gains. I’ll be watching closely to see if Bonds and home loan rates can build on their positive momentum in the coming week.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jan 15, 2010)
weeklychart1182010

The Mortgage Market View…

A Helping Hand for Haiti

The catastrophe in Haiti cries out for all of us to do whatever we can to help. But many of us aren’t sure exactly how to help or which organization to entrust with a donation.

To help you make sure your donation makes as big a difference as possible, consider donating to AmeriCares, which is one of the many fine organizations helping Haiti through disaster relief. AmeriCares is in the business of disaster relief and has an extensive network on the ground in Haiti, so your money will go to get supplies directly to those stricken instead of setting up infrastructure. You can learn more about them and donate at http://www.americares.org.

Obviously, the current economy presents challenges for many of us, but if you are able to help, your donation will go a long way. Whether it is through AmeriCares, or some other organization of your choice, any assistance you provide can help ease the suffering of those in need.

The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.
Economic Calendar for the Week of January 18 – January 22
Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Wed. January 20 08:30 Building Permits Dec 585K 584K Moderate
Wed. January 20 08:30 Core Producer Price Index (PPI) Dec 0.2% 0.5% Moderate
Wed. January 20 08:30 Producer Price Index (PPI) Dec 0.0% 1.8% Moderate
Wed. January 20 08:30 Housing Starts Dec 580K 574K Moderate
Wed. January 20 10:30 Crude Inventories 1/15 NA NA Moderate
Thu. January 21 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 1/16 NA NA Moderate
Thu. January 21 10:00 Index of Leading Econ Ind (LEI) Dec NA 0.9% Low
Thu. January 21 10:00 Philadelphia Fed Index Jan NA 20.4 HIGH

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is not without errors.
As your trusted advisor, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.
In the unlikely event that you no longer wish to receive these valuable market updates, please USE THIS LINK or email: curtis@kcmortgageplanner.com
If you prefer to send your removal request by mail the address is:

Mortgage Success Source, LLC is the copyright owner or licensee of the content and/or information in this email, unless otherwise indicated. Mortgage Success Source, LLC does not grant to you a license to any content, features or materials in this email. You may not distribute, download, or save a copy of any of the content or screens except as otherwise provided in our Terms and Conditions of Membership, for any purpose.

Curtis Schartz, Certified Mortgage Planner with Pulaski Bank Home Lending. Serving Overland Park, Lees Summit, Leawood, Olathe, Shawnee, Liberty, Parkville, and the Kansas City Metro.

Jan

4

Last Week in Review

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” Edith Lovejoy Pierce. And as we begin a New Year, fresh with opportunity – here’s what you need to know about the last week of 2009.

The holiday shortened week had some fireworks, and not just those ringing in the New Year. The Treasury Department auctioned a whopping $118 Billion in T-Notes last week, and the added supply helped bring on some volatility in Bonds. And although the financial markets in general have been quite volatile of late anyways, the potential for increased volatility is typically greater during a holiday week. This is because trading volume levels decrease, and with fewer traders and investors pushing transactions, it opens the door for exacerbated market moves, as one large trade can cause prices to rise or fall more sharply.

In fact, volatility was present through a good part of 2009 – not to mention the last decade. As you can see in the chart below, Stocks experienced a roller coaster ride during 2009, hitting Bear market lows in March…only to soar 60% higher since March 9th.

———————–
Chart: Dow Jones Industrial Average
weekly121409

Meanwhile, 2009 also brought some of the best home loan rates ever seen in the history of the US, but things have worsened over the last month. This is in part because the Federal Reserve is winding down their Mortgage Backed Security purchasing program…right at a time when there is an increased volume of Mortgage Backed Securities coming to market.

So why are there more coming to market right now? It takes about four months for home loan originations to become securities – and summer originations were light, allowing the decreased Fed purchases during the fall to still help handle the flow of Mortgage Backed Securities coming to market at that time. But loan origination volume increased in late summer and early fall, due to lower home loan rates as well as the perceived expiration of the Home Buyer Tax Credit, which has since been extended. This increased volume of home loans are now securitized and hitting the markets, at a time when the Fed is buying less.

As with any item, when there is lots of supply – in this case, the increased volume of Mortgage Backed Securities – and diminishing demand – i.e. the Fed buying less and less – Economics 101 tells us that the price of that item will subsequently go down. And as Mortgage Backed Security or Mortgage Bond prices go down, home loan rates go up, which is what we saw happen throughout December. While rates were able to end last week at about the same place as they began the week, they did worsen about .50% from the beginning of December to the end.

THE NEW YEAR IS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A FINANCIAL CHECK-UP, SO MAKE SURE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH ME TO SEE IF STILL LOW HOME LOAN RATES COULD BENEFIT YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW. AND SPEAKING OF SMART FINANCIAL DECISIONS, CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S MORTGAGE MARKET VIEW FOR GREAT TIPS ON SAVING MONEY DURING THE COMING YEAR.

Forecast for the Week

The first major economic report of the New Year will come on Friday, with the Labor Department’s official Jobs Report for December. Last month’s Jobs Report showed that only 11,000 jobs were lost in November, despite expectations of 125,000 jobs lost. This marked the least number of jobs lost in nearly two years, since December 2007. In addition, the Unemployment Rate improved to 10.0%, when expectations were for it to remain at the 10.2% level.

Remember, though, that we need to create an additional 125,000 jobs each month just to keep up with population growth…so there is still quite a ways to go before we’re out of the woods on the employment front. And while last week’s Initial Jobless Claims number showed that new Unemployment Claims were reported at the lowest weekly reading since July of 2008, the holidays and large snowfall in many parts of the country may have prevented people from getting out to the unemployment office to file their claims…so this may well have skewed the reading. The bottom line is that the labor market is a key component to our economy’s recovery, so both Thursday’s Initial Jobless Claims number and Friday’s Jobs Report will be important to watch.

Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. As you can see in the chart below, Bond prices have been on a worsening trend of late, meaning home loan rates have moved higher. As the New Year begins, remember you can count on me to be watching closely as always – and I look forward to hearing from you or any of your friends, family members, neighbors or coworkers with any questions you might have.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jan 01, 2010)
weeklychart1410

The Mortgage Market View…

“Resolve” to Stop Wasting Money

The New Year is the perfect time to take a look at your spending habits and “resolve” to avoid wasting money where you don’t have to. Here are some main areas that many of us waste money unnecessarily…and some simple steps to ensure a bright financial 2010.

Meals at the Workplace
Working Americans spend an average of $6 when they buy their lunch at work. The average cost drops to $2 when we bring our lunch from home. That’s a difference of $4 a day, or $20 a week, or over $1,000 a year. Consider adding this savings to your savings account, and after just a few months you’ll really see the difference add up.

Utilize the Public Library
By obtaining a library card, you can save on books, magazines, and especially DVD rentals. If you average 3 DVD rentals a month, you’re spending approximately $144 a year. That’s $144 that could be deposited into your bank account. For every book you check out, find out what it would have cost if you’d bought it. Deposit that amount into your account, too.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Discounts
If you’re paying bills or buying items such as airline tickets based solely on the price you’re quoted, you could be wasting money. Many companies provide discounts on goods and services but only for those customers who request them. It never hurts to ask so start asking.

Save Gas
Consult the owner’s manual of your car and learn about the manufacturer’s recommendations for optimal gas mileage. Put the suggestions into action and see what happens. After a month, you should be able to see if you’re spending less on fuel. Take the savings and stash it away.

Sell Your Junk
Come Springtime, go through your closets, garage, and CD collection. Figure out which items you no longer use. You can either hold a garage sale or locate stores which buy and sell used merchandise, and sell the items to them.

Do Away with Disposable
From razors and batteries to paper towels and plastic bags, your home is filled with products which are meant to be thrown away. Most of these disposable items have either a permanent or semi-disposable counterpart. Switching over to these more durable items can yield a savings of $4 a week or $200 a year.

Get the Most Out of Your Utilities
Many of us are overspending on our utility bills for no other reason than our own apathy. If you haven’t already switched over to low-flow shower heads and toilets it’s probably time to do so. Also, get into the habit of turning off lights when not in use. Did you know that most utility companies offer a free online energy audit? This way you can see exactly where you’re wasting money.

Here’s to a bright financial future in 2010!

The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.
Economic Calendar for the Week of January 04 – January 08
Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Mon. January 04 10:00 ISM Index Dec 54.0 53.6 HIGH
Tue. January 05 10:00 Pending Home Sales Dec -3.0% 3.7% Moderate
Wed. January 06 10:00 ISM Services Index Dec 50.5 48.7 Moderate
Wed. January 06 10:30 Crude Inventories 12/31 NA -1.54M Moderate
Thu. January 07 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 1/02 445K 432K Moderate
Fri. January 08 08:30 Average Work Week Dec 33.2 33.1 HIGH
Fri. January 08 08:30 Hourly Earnings Dec 0.2% 0.1% HIGH
Fri. January 08 08:30 Non-farm Payrolls Dec Zero -11K HIGH
Fri. January 08 08:30 Unemployment Rate Dec 10.1% 10.0% HIGH

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is not without errors.
As your trusted advisor, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.
In the unlikely event that you no longer wish to receive these valuable market updates, please USE THIS LINK or email: curtis@kcmortgageplanner.com
If you prefer to send your removal request by mail the address is:

Mortgage Success Source, LLC is the copyright owner or licensee of the content and/or information in this email, unless otherwise indicated. Mortgage Success Source, LLC does not grant to you a license to any content, features or materials in this email. You may not distribute, download, or save a copy of any of the content or screens except as otherwise provided in our Terms and Conditions of Membership, for any purpose.

Curtis Schartz, Certified Mortgage Planner for Pulaski Bank – Lees Summit, Kansas City, and Overland Park