Mortgage Market Guide - Views You Can Use - January 2017 Issue

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Mortgage Market Guide – Views You Can Use – January 2017 Issue

  “Well, we’re movin’ on up …” The Jeffersons. The Fed raised its benchmark Fed Funds Rate in December. Hop on for a view of this story and more, including:

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


  News From the Home Front

  The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported Existing Home Sales for November rose to a nine-year high, edging up from October. Existing Home Sales were also up 15.4 percent from November 2015. New Home Sales rose 5.2 percent from October to November, per the Commerce Department. However, Pending Home Sales fell to their lowest level in nearly a year, NAR reported, dropping 2.5 percent from October and 0.4 percent from November 2015.

In new construction, November Housing Starts, which measure when excavation begins on a home, fell 18.7 percent from October, and Building Permits declined 4.7 percent from October.

Meanwhile, home price gains stayed robust in November, according to CoreLogic, a leading provider of consumer, financial and property information. Prices, including distressed sales, rose 7.1 percent from November 2015 to November 2016.

Consumers Pull Back
Consumers quelled their spending at the start of the 2016 holiday shopping season in a month that featured both a presidential election and Black Friday. The Commerce Department reported Retail Sales rose just 0.1 percent in November, down from the 0.6 percent recorded in October, which was also revised downward from 0.8 percent. Sales were up 3.8 percent from November 2015. The report showed that sales slowed the first two weeks of the month but picked up after the election.

A strengthening job market is crucial for retailers as well as the housing industry. We’ll discuss that story in What to Watch below.

Inflation and Volatility in View
Market volatility has remained in play since the presidential election. At the end of 2016, Stock prices continued to climb while Mortgage Bonds — and the home loan rates tied to them — worsened. Though Bonds and rates were able to stabilize and even improve a bit at the beginning of the year.

The Federal Reserve raised the benchmark Fed Funds Rate by the expected 0.25 percent in December, bringing it up to a range between 0.5 and 0.75 percent. This is the short-term rate at which banks lend to each other overnight, and it is not directly tied to long-term rates like home loan rates. The December increase marked only the second hike in 10 years, though the Fed noted there could be three potential hikes to its benchmark rate in 2017.

If you have any questions about housing or refinancing opportunities, please reach out at any time.


  What to Watch: Non-Farm Payrolls

  Unemployment ticked higher in December, but more Americans were looking for work. Here’s what it means:

What is the Non-farm Payrolls report? The Non-farm Payrolls report measures the number of people on the payrolls of all non-agricultural businesses each month. The data represents around 80 percent of workers who produce the Gross Domestic Product of the United States.

What’s happened recently? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported employers added 156,000 new jobs in December, which was below the 175,000 expected. However, October and November numbers were revised higher by 19,000. Average hourly earnings rose from -0.1 percent in November to 0.4 percent in December. In addition, average hourly earnings rose 2.9 percent year-over-year, the fastest pace since June 2009.

What’s the bottom line? Wage growth is a positive sign for American workers, especially for those looking to buy a home. And the unemployment rate is still near nine-year lows, which is good news because it means working families are experiencing what is considered full employment. This could cause problems for the new Trump administration, however, since a lower unemployment rate means a slower pace of sustainable job growth without driving wages and prices up too quickly. Rapid wage and price escalation could pressure the Fed to switch concerns about deflation to out-of-hand price increases.

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



  Now You See Me

  While buying glasses online may seem odd, a growing share of bespectacled buyers are heading to the web to do so. If you’re looking for convenience, selection and low prices, here are some tips to make sure you see straight through the process.

Get Your Prescription
Even if you have a lighter prescription, you’ll still need to get an updated one from a local optometrist or provider like Lens Crafters to order glasses online.

When paying for the eye exam, let the provider know you’re purchasing lenses elsewhere. This may prompt the provider to offer a discount to you that is comparable to online shopping and could save you time. Do your homework to find out.

Not All Prescriptions Are Eligible
Most doctors and online providers still recommend consumers needing significant optical correction see an eyewear provider in person just to be on the safe side. This includes those with extreme nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.

In addition, bifocals or progressive lenses are much more difficult to fulfill by online providers. This is because the lens frame must have enough room, top to bottom, for the distance and reading portions of the lens. To prevent neck strain from constant head tilting, opticians usually need to determine where to place the lens transition in person.

Find the Perfect Fit
There are two crucial aspects to proper eyewear: pupillary distance and fit. Both measurements are usually taken in person. However, online providers claim (and doctors admit) both can also be performed accurately in your own home. Online eyewear merchants provide detailed instructions, so make sure to follow them closely; otherwise, your glasses won’t perform their job and could lead to eyestrain, headaches or double vision.

Kids’ Eyewear Can Be Tricky
Children’s eyes are still developing, and improper fit can lead to long-term damage, so cutting corners isn’t recommended. For example, when a lens isn’t centered on the pupil in one eye, the brain can shut off the eye that isn’t seeing clearly, which can eventually lead to the brain forgetting how to use that eye to compensate.

Watch Out for Designer Knockoffs
Designer frames usually have a superior hinge assembly, which is where most wear happens on glasses. Since you’re already saving money by purchasing glasses online, paying a bit more for a designer frame may still pay off. False claims come with the online territory, but most designer brands police eyewear providers.

And remember, if you have any trouble seeing with glasses or you experience eyestrain, headaches or double vision while wearing them, check with a local eye care provider no matter where you obtained your glasses.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest



  Q&A: Best Day to Book Flights

  QUESTION: Are flights cheaper when booked on certain days of the week?

ANSWER: Expedia, in partnership with other industry resources, has released a comprehensive analysis of worldwide air travel trends using billions of data points from January through October of 2016. The analysis showed that, in general, the best deals on flights are available when tickets are purchased on a weekend (but especially Sundays) and more than 21 days in advance of your flight.

You can read the full report for even more insight into your travel planning for 2017.

Sources: Expedia



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Questions, Comments or For more information you can contact Christian Penner at: Call/Text: (561) 373-0987 or visit us online at

The Christian Penner Mortgage Team, A Branch of 
American Financial Network, Inc

CORP NMLS# 237341 ; Equal Opportunity Employer ; Equal Opportunity Lender American Financial Network, Inc. 10 Pointe Drive, Suite 330, Brea, CA 92821.

Call/Text: (561) 373-0987

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