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OOPS, THEY DID IT AGAIN...No, not another "wardrobe malfunction" during Super Bowl halftime, but the Department of Labor widely revising the previous reports on US job growth. Last Friday brought the monthly Jobs Report, capping off a wild week of twists and turns brought by a fat economic news calendar. And despite the ups and downs during the week, Bonds gained back enough yardage overall to find home loan rates unchanged to improved by .125%. The highly anticipated Jobs Report showed 111,000 new jobs were formed in January - and while this was below expectations of 150,000, revisions to the prior two months added another 80,000 jobs to previously reported numbers! So if you take the average revised gain of 40,000 jobs per month and add it to January...it would place the number right in line with expectations, and matching the healthy average monthly job growth of around 150,000 seen over the past year.
Last Wednesday, it was no surprise when the Fed decided to keep the Fed Funds Rate unchanged at 5.25% - but indicated that they are continuing to keep a vigilant eye on inflation, and will raise rates further if inflation picks up any steam. And how timely...just following the Fed Meeting came their favorite gauge of inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditure Index, which indicated that inflation looks to be moderating. So hindsight appears to be 20/20, and the Fed likely made the right move in remaining patient with the US economy.
But here's some harsh reality - the personal savings rate remains negative for the US, showing that Americans actually spend more than we make across the board. In fact, for all of 2006, the savings rate was a negative 1.0%. This is the lowest savings rate since 1933 - during the Great Depression! If you feel your own savings plan may need some beefing up - please feel free to contact me. We can take a look at some mortgage planning strategies that might help supplement your savings, or connect you with a financial planner who can help get your savings goals on track.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME TAX PREP?? OK, ALTHOUGH IT'S NOT MOST PEOPLE'S FAVORITE TASK, SOME NEW CHANGES RECENTLY SIGNED INTO LAW JUST MIGHT MAKE GETTING READY FOR TAX TIME A LITTLE BIT MORE BEARABLE. READ THIS WEEK'S MORTGAGE MARKET VIEW TO LEARN ABOUT SOME OF THE NEW TAX PROVISIONS, AND HOW THEY MIGHT BENEFIT YOU!
Forecast for the Week
After last week's line up of high impact news and reports, the economic calendar heads to the showers this week, with only a few minor releases in store. This means that technical signals may play a bigger role in the direction of home loan rates ahead. A look at the chart below shows Bond prices have bounced higher after trading near a "floor" of technical support, meaning home loan rates have improved.
Bottom line: the momentum and upward trend in Bond prices could continue in the absence of market moving reports. Assuming no surprises, this could help home loan rates improve in the week ahead.
Chart: Fannie Mae 5.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Feb 02, 2007)
The Mortgage Market View...
Tax time is here - and although most people look forward to their annual visit to their tax professional about as much as a dental exam, this year just might bring a few pleasant surprises. On December 20, President Bush signed the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006. And some of the new changes just might help you.
You now have an option to deduct either state and local INCOME taxes - or state and local SALES taxes, whichever is larger. If you saved all your receipts throughout the year, you can add up the total amount of sales taxes you paid and claim that amount. But let's be realistic...very few of us actually save all our receipts - so instead, you can take the easy road, and simply click on this link: Sales Tax Deduction Calculator.
If you, your spouse, or your children attend any level of college in 2006 or 2007, a hefty deduction of up to $4,000 may apply! This deduction can only be used if it provides more benefit than the Hope or Lifetime Learning Credits, which take into account your college expenses and your Adjusted Gross Income. But it applies even if you are using student loans to pay for your tuition. Definitely worth a closer look - and for more information on what you might qualify for, hit this link: Hope or Lifetime Learning Credit Info
Many teachers pay for classroom supplies from their own personal funds - but can now deduct $250 of the expense. And better yet, if the expenses exceed the $250 amount, there can be other benefits available by itemizing the supply deductions. Link here to learn more: Educator Expense Adjustment. If you aren't a teacher yourself - being aware of how much is paid out of pocket by teachers - it may be a nice idea to ask your local school or your child's teacher if they need any supplies donated to their classrooms.
If you feel any of the above items might apply to you, be sure to gather the additional documentation, and take the time to ask your accountant if you can benefit from these specific changes. And if you need the referral of a qualified tax professional, I'd be happy to provide a contact. Asking just a few simple questions could give you a well-deserved break!
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 February 05 - February 09
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.