Need a new furnace or boiler for the upcoming winter? Here are some ways to help pay for it

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As another Minnesota winter approaches, homeowners may be looking to replace an old, worn-out or inefficient heating system with a new high-efficiency model.

Most furnaces have a useful life of 15-20 years, while most boilers will last 20-30 years. If your furnace or boiler is nearing the end of its expected life, you should start planning your replacement strategy, including what to buy and how to pay for it.

If you have made the decision to buy a new heating system, the Minnesota Commerce Department wants you to be aware of some options to help pay for it:

  • Loans. The Lending Center at the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) offers the Home Energy Loan Program for Minnesota homeowners to make energy improvements. It offers secured loans of up to $20,000 (4.99% fixed rate, terms up to 10 years, no income max limit) and an Unsecured Home Energy Program with unsecured loans of up to $15,000 (4.99% fixed rate, terms up to 10 years, no income max limit). The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency offers similar loans via its Fix Up Program.
  • Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit. A federal tax credit of $150 is available for ENERGY STAR®-certified natural gas, propane or oil furnaces or hot water boilers purchased by Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Utility rebates. Many utilities offer rebates for high-efficiency heating systems. For example, Xcel Energy currently provides a $300 rebate for a new furnace with an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating of 96%. Check the Utility Rebate Finder from Energy Smart to see what your utility provides, or contact your utility directly.
  • Manufacturer’s rebate. Some heating system manufacturers may offer rebates on certain models. Check with your HVAC installer.

Most of the incentives (rebates, loans, grants, tax credits) are compiled on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (www.dsireusa.org).

Low-income Minnesotans who qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program may receive energy upgrades such as furnace, boiler and water heater repair or replacement. Call 800-657-3710 for more information.

For more information on home heating systems, including maintenance and repair tips and when to replace units, see the Home Heating section of the Minnesota Commerce Department’s Home Energy Guide (pdf).

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Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the department’s Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.

 

 

Source: Need a new furnace or boiler for the upcoming winter? Here are some ways to help pay for it

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Guide to Residential Styles

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Every house has a style. Sometimes it has two or more; because of renovations and new, eclectic mixes, fitting a home into one specific category can be daunting or even impossible. Thankfully, there’s no need to memorize complicated architectural terminology.

Source: Guide to Residential Styles

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Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

Home-Equity-KCM
CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 256,000 properties regained equity in the third quarter of 2015. This is great news for the country, as 92% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News For Homeowners
Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“Home price growth continued to lift borrower equity positions and increase the number of borrowers with sufficient equity to participate in the mortgage market. In the last three years, borrowers with at least 20 percent equity have increased by 11 million, a substantial uptick that is driving rapid growth in home equity originations.”

Anand Nallathambi, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2016 as well, as he had this to say:

“Homeowner equity is the largest source of wealth for many Americans. The rise in home prices, expected to be at least 5% in 2016, will continue to build wealth and confidence across America. As this process continues, it will provide support for the housing market and the broader economy throughout [the] year.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?
A study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their home as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 8% of homes are in that position (down from 9% in Q2).

The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%), when in actuality, 74% do!

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

This means that 37% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2016! Meet with a local real estate professional today, who can help you evaluate your situation and assist you along the way! Just give me a holler, see below:

 

See original here

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Twin Cities Real Estate Cafe Newsletter for February 2016

Better Than Fences          

For 40 years, two friends lived on adjoining farms, separated by a wide creek. One day the friends began to fight over a petty thing and their long friendship fell apart. The misunderstanding grew into bitter words and finally, silence. Weeks later there was a carpenter vectorknock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a bit of work,” said the carpenter. “I have a job for you,” said John. “Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, Albert. We used to be good friends, but that’s all over now. ”John’s face twisted into a dejected frown. “See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to take that lumber and build me a tall fence, so I won’t see his place anymore.”
The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I’ll do a job that pleases you.” John helped the carpenter get the materials ready, and then he went into town, leaving the carpenter to his job. The carpenter worked hard all that day, and at sunset, the farmer returned. When he saw the work, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. Instead, there was a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other. And coming across, his hand outstretched, was Albert. “You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done,” called Albert. The two friends met in the middle, taking each other’s hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoisting his toolbox on his shoulder. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve got other projects for you,” said John. “I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but, I have other bridges to build.”


 

Valentine’s Day Funnies

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My college English professor was a hard grader. One February day I received a B-minus on a research paper. In hopes of bettering my grade, I sent her a Valentine’s Day card with the inscription: “BE MINE.” The following day, I received a valentine from the teacher. It read: “Thank you, but it’s still BE MINE-US.”

A couple were having marital problems and went to a marriage counselor. Several visits later, the counselor had discovered the problem. He stood up, went to the woman and gave her a huge hug. She dissolved into grateful tears. “This is what your wife needs once every day,” said the counselor. The husband shrugged and said, “Ok, what time should I bring her back tomorrow?”
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey


Next Time You Log Into Your Dashboard…

You might be interested to know that the term dashboard originally had nothing to do with a control center for a car or web page. It had no dials, buttons, or gauges. In fact, it was little more than a piece of wood or flap of leather.        carriage A

The meaning of dash being referred to, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is the “violent throwing and breaking of water or other liquids upon or against anything.” Think of the painter dashing gobs of paint against a canvas.

A dashboard was a wooden board, or a leather apron, placed at the front of a carriage to catch mud or water being dashed up by the horses’ hooves, keeping it from soaking the driver and passengers. We would now call that a mudguard. As carts evolved into cars, a windscreen (windshield) was put in place above the dashboard, and the latter became a handy place to put instruments. But it kept its name.


 

February Quiz Question

Q: What fruit is also known as the “love apple?”

Everyone who texts, emails or calls in the correct answer by the last day of this month will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift card from Caribou Coffee.


Better Vocabulary Helps Kids in School

One way to help your children start school ready to learn is by helping them expand their vocabulary at a very early age. A study reported in the journal Child Development found that children with larger oral vocabularies by age 2 start kindergarten better prepared, both academically and behaviorally, than others.

Researchers analyzed nationally representative data for 8,650 children. Parents answered a survey about their 2-year-olds’ vocabulary. At the same time, kindergarten teachers rated the same children on such factors as behavior, self-regulation, and academic performance.

The data showed that children who had a larger oral vocabulary at age 2 had greater reading and math achievement in kindergarten, as well as fewer behavioral problems, such as acting out or anxiety.

What can parents do? Start talking to their kids very early in conversational tones. Expose them to words. Read to them every day.


Mind Reading Over The Internet?

You may not need psychic powers to read minds in the future. A good Internet connection might be enough. An experiment by researchers at the University of Washington (reported on the NBC News website) succeeded in helping volunteers send simple yes-or-no messages directly from their brains to each other.  psycic pic

The experiment used an EEG and a large electromagnet to read and transmit signals from the brain of one volunteer to another. The subjects played a version of 20 Questions in which one participant looked at pictures of different animals and attempted to answer questions mentally to another subject in a separate lab 10 miles away. The second subject could ask only three predetermined questions before attempting to identify the animal (like, “Can it fly?” or “Is it a mammal?”). The volunteer answering the questions looked at a “Yes” or “No” light flashing on his or her computer screen. The responses were recorded as EEG activity and then sent through the Internet to the second participant via a transcranial magnetic stimulation device attached to the back of the volunteer’s head. In the experiment, the subjects were able to correctly interpret the signals and identify the animal 72 percent of the time. The researchers hope to conduct more experiments allowing subjects to transmit more complex information.


WELCOME NEW CLIENTS!

Here are some of the new clients who became members of our “Real Estate Family” this past month. I’d like to welcome you!

Kue Moua

Dana Steffen

We love recognizing our wonderful new friends and existing clients who are kind enough to introduce their friends, family and
neighbors to us.


5 Bits Of Financial Advice Most People Don’t Take

1. Run your finances like a business. You should treat your budget like a business, because in the business of life, the bottom line matters. Many of the same principles business owners use can be applied to your personal life: prioritize your spending, assess your profits and losses, and don’t lose sight of the big picture, like saving for retirement or getting out of debt.

2. Make saving part of your lifestyle. Saving money doesn’t always come naturally. Successful savers usually fail a few times (or more) before they figure out what works best for them. People who live with less and save more get ahead in life. Be like the tortoise in the Tortoise and the Hare. Even shrinking your grocery bill by just $15 a week will save $780 a year—imagine all the other little cutbacks that are possible.   piggybank pic

3. Automate the process. This is a piece of money-saving advice that is echoed by nearly every financial expert. Paying yourself first is the first step, which means setting up an automatic transfer from your paycheck into a savings or investment vehicle. You can set up one large transfer to go through monthly, weekly or whenever works best for your finances—as long as it’s automatic, you’ll be saving without even realizing it.

4. Pay off your debt. Being in debt can literally ruin you. By saving for major purchases instead of putting them on credit cards, you may have to delay gratification, but you will win in the end. You’ll save thousands of dollars in fees over your lifetime. Also, by developing a habit of saving vs. borrowing, you’ll be less likely to make extravagant purchases, and be more satisfied with fewer big purchases.

5. Trick yourself. Many behavioral economists say mental accounting (i.e., treating different piles of money with different intentions) helps trick your brain into better budgeting and saving. This strategy might sound a little complicated, but it’s really a take on the classic envelope system, where you allocate your paycheck to a weekly or monthly budget and put the cash into different envelopes – one for each budget category. Once the envelopes are empty, your budget is maxed out.


 

Are You An Adult Yet?

Do you remember the first time you felt you’d really become an adult? A UK survey of 2,000 people, 18 and older, found that the average age people start to consider themselves to be adults is 29 years old. A large number of people also used lifestyle cues to determine when they felt like they’d become adults. Here are some of those results:

Buying a home                     64%
Having children                   63%
Getting married                    52%                                        children
Having a pension                29%
Getting life insurance          21%
Staying late at night            21%
Hosting first dinner party    18%
Doing a DIY project             18%


“Don’t you find it odd,” she continued, “that when you’re a kid, everyone, all the world, encourages you to follow your dreams. But when you’re older, somehow they act offended if you even try.” ~ Ethan Hawke, The Hottest State


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Pot Calls The Kettle Black

There was a farmer who regularly sold a pound of butter to a baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if the farmer was honestly giving him a full pound of butter.

He found that he was not. This angered the baker and he took the farmer to court.

The judge asked the farmer how he was measuring the butter. The farmer replied, Your Honor, I am primitive. I don’t have a proper scale.”

The judge asked, “Then how do you weigh the butter?”    scale

The farmer replied “Your Honor, I have no scale, but I do have a balance. I regularly buy a pound of bread from the baker. So whenever he brings the bread, I put it on the balance and give him the same weight in butter.”


 

Don’t Stop Fidgeting

Do you have a hard time sitting still at work? Do you find yourself unconsciously tapping your foot or playing with your pen? Don’t fight the urge! A British study has found evidence suggesting that fidgeting at your desk may actually be good for your health.

The UK Women’s Cohort Study divided thousands of participants into three groups based on how much they fidgeted—low, middle, and high. Those in the “low” group, who sat while working for seven hours, were found to have a mortality risk 30 percent higher than those who spent the same amount of time seated, but who fidgeted at middle or high levels. This suggests that fidgeting may help to compensate for the health risks of sitting still in one’s chair for long periods of time.

The data seems to support the advice that moving around even a little throughout your day can have positive health benefits, and may even help you live longer.


 

How Walking Can Change Your Life

Walking can do more for your life than just improve your health. Here are a few additional advantages of putting one foot in front of the other for 20 minutes every day:

·      Ideas. They will slowly swirl up from your subconscious, boosting your creativity for problem solving and organizing. Walking puts you into a meditative state that encourages deep thoughts in a way that other forms of exercise don’t.

·      Feelings. You might be experiencing great happiness or sadness, or even anxiety. Walking helps you work through feelings and reduce cortisol levels, helping you feel greater calm and control.

·      Sights. When you walk, you see things that can spark new ideas, solutions, or perspectives. It’s helpful to walk in a beautiful place and notice the beauty, because seeing beauty lifts the spirit and lowers stress hormones.          woman walking

·      People. You might encounter other humans as you walk. Those people might think differently than your usual crowd, giving you new perspectives and even friendships.

·      Hormone Health. You know that walking helps you lose weight, improve your heart rate, and lower stress hormones. But did you know that it will also increase healthy hormones, such as testosterone and progesterone?


 

                                        Free Reports and Free Information

 

 

 

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Buying a House or Condo? Why the Home Inspection Process is One You Won’t Want to Skimp On

Home Inspection

Once you have found that perfect home with the right price and every little feature you were hoping for, it’s important to keep in mind that the home has been presented in a way that accentuates its highlights and shadows any flaws. For this reason, it is crucial that you get a home inspection before completing a purchase.

Many sellers also have inspectors investigate the home in order to determine its sale value. As such, they should be aware that a prospective buyer will want to request an independent inspection to verify the findings.

Reasons For Home Inspections

If you are the one purchasing the home, getting an inspection is likely to be the most important investigation you need to perform to ensure you are getting the best value. It can also help to know what reasons each party has for requiring a home inspection.

Buyers, for example, feel peace of mind knowing the home in question is safe. They also gain the ability to negotiate in the event a problem arises from inspection, or they can request repairs first. They can also opt out if the problems that arise are too overwhelming to deal with prior to or after the purchase. Finally, buyers can learn about the kind of maintenance and upkeep be required for the home in the long run.

Sellers, on the other hand, want to make the transaction as smooth of a process as possible to prevent issues that could slow down the sale. They can also learn about any problems they need to repair before putting the house on the market, and they can determine the sale price for the transaction. Lastly, this allows the seller to prove their transparency by having an inspection report available, even though he or she should expect that the buyer should be requesting an independent home inspection regardless.

It should be evident, having an inspection conducted is vital for buyers and sellers alike; though the price might seem costly at first, it is merely a small fee that is well worth the effort to solidify a home purchase.

Finding A Home Inspector

The first thing to keep in mind is that most states lack a licensing process for those who inspect homes. If your state does not have such criteria, finding an inspector in good standing with a nationally recognized organization can help as well.

It is very important not to take a seller’s inspection report at face value, no matter what kind of reputation they may have as a person. You might not even want to accept an inspector that someone else hires since they may have a vested interest that can influence the report.

Keep in mind that a general inspector is not typically licensed to check for specific issues like gas or pests. As such, you will need to either seek someone who is licensed for a full inspection or specificaly request inspection for pests, especially for those in high risk areas.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 27, 2015

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Last week’s housing related reports included the FHFA Home Price Index, the National Association of Realtors® Existing Home Sales report and The Commerce Department’s report on new home sales. Results were mixed, but suggest that housing markets are strengthening.

FHFA Home Prices Up in February, Existing Home Sales Highest in 18 Months

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices associated with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose from a 5.10 percent increase in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.40 percent in February.

The National Association of Realtors® reported that sales of previously owned homes rose to 5.19 million in March as compared to expectations of 5.08 million sales and February’s reading of 4.89 million sales of pre-owned homes.

March sales represented a 6.10 percent gain over February sales; this was the highest volume of existing home sales in 18 months. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, said that if strong sales of pre-owned homes continue, 2015 could be the best year for existing home sales in nearly a decade.

New Home Sales Lag in March

The Department of Commerce reported that new home sales fell from February’s reading of 543,000 new homes sold to 481,000 new homes sold in March. Analysts expected a March reading of 503,000 new homes sold. This was the slowest pace for new home sales since November, but year-over-year, sales of new homes were 19.40 percent higher year-over-year. The national median home price fell by 1.70 percent to $277,400 year-over-year.

Sales of new homes decreased by 33 percent in the Northeast and fell by 16 percent in the South. New home sales fell by three percent in the West and rose by six percent in the Midwest. At the current sales pace, there is a 5.3 month supply of new homes for sale as compared to a 4.6 month supply in February. Analysts said that stagnant wage growth contributed to fewer home sales.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Weekly Jobless Claims

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage lenders, average mortgage rates fell across the board last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 3.67 percent. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage also dropped two basis points to an average of 2.92 percent; the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 2.84 percent. Discount points for a 30 year mortgage fell to 0.60 percent; points for a 15-year mortgage were higher at 0.60 percent and average discount points for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell from 0.50 to 0.40 percent.

Weekly jobless claims came in at 295,000 new claims filed; analysts expected a reading of 288,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading was 294,000 new claims filed. Spring break holidays were blamed for higher jobless claims and March job growth hit its lowest in more than a year. Analysts caution against reading too much into weekly fluctuations and prefer to use the four-week rolling average to identify trends in unemployment claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s housing related economic reports include Case-Shiller 10 and 20 City Housing Market Index reports, the customary post-meeting statement from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and pending home sales data.

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We Need You(r House)!!

Uncle-Sam

Though the real estate market has improved, we still have one item holding it back from a full recovery – a robust supply of homes for sale. Demand has increased dramatically. At the same time, housing inventory is decreasing especially at the lower price points.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed that there is a pent-up seller demand caused by the uncertainty created by the housing crisis of the last decade.

What does that mean to you?
Houses listed today sell quickly. With prices still below peak values of 2007 in many parts of the country and mortgage interest rates at historic lows, this may be the perfect time for your family to make the move to the dream house you always wanted – whether that’s a larger home or that vacation/retirement home you have been looking at.

What does that mean to the economy?
Housing has always been an essential part of the U.S. economy. As we have reported before, real estate not only provides housing for families. It is often the greatest source of wealth and savings for many. The recent increase in real estate sales has led to an increase in real estate prices. This has increased the value of everyone’s’ home, whether they are selling or not. This leads to an increase in consumer confidence which in turn leads to an increase in consumer spending. Plus, each home sale automatically puts money into the economy.

NAR compiled data from research conducted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis & Macroeconomic Advisors on the economic impact of a home purchase.

After reviewing the data, they concluded that the total economic impact of a typical home sale in the United States is an astonishing $52,205.

The more homes that sell, the better the economy.

Bottom Line
In order for the U.S. economy to get better, we need to sell more homes. Perhaps, it makes sense for one of those homes to be yours.

If you have considered selling but are still a little nervous, now might be the time to sit down together and see what your options truly are – no strings attached. Give me a call or text 612-345-9070 or send me an email (see below).

http://goo.gl/esCrBj

 

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Housing Market is Healthiest in Years!

Healthiest-in-Years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Nationwide’s recently unveiled, Health of Housing Market (HoHM) Report, the US housing market is at it’s healthiest levels since the index’s creation in 2001.

The index analyzes the health of the housing market across the country and in 373 metro areas every quarter. Using the data that they have collected over the past 15 years, Nationwide will look to give a “data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators.”

The fourth quarter of 2014 ended with the highest indicator score in over 15 years of data analyzed by the study at 109.8. The report explains:

“An index value over 100 suggests that the national housing market is healthy, with lower chances of a housing downturn over the next year as the index moves increasingly above the 100 breakeven value.”

Employment, demographics, the mortgage market, and housing prices are all used to evaluate the health of each market. The top 10 healthiest housing markets according to the index are:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Rockford, Ill.
  5. Burlington, NC
  6. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
  7. Fayetteville-Springdale, AK-MO
  8. Idaho Falls, ID
  9. Tulsa, OK
  10. Kennewick-Richland, WA

The two ‘least healthy’ markets were Bismark, ND and Atlantic City, NJ who received “just slightly negative performance rankings”.

David Berson, Nationwide’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, says “the quarterly report should serve as a resource to gauge how healthy housing markets are today but, perhaps more important, what to expect in the future and why.”

Bottom Line

The housing market continues to recover and surpass recent history. Meet with an agent in your local market to determine if you are able to take advantage of the opportunities available in real estate today.

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It is that time of the month again – Fun Day Monday!

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Once again you have the chance to win a $25 gift card from Amazon, just by answering the question. Use the form below to send me an email with the answer. You will be entered into the drawing and I will post a video announcing the winner. Easy peasy 🙂

Here is now the question:

Who is the famous voice behind the world’s most infamous prank, “The War of the Worlds” radio broadcast (1938) ?

A. Michael Enright

B. Morgan Freeman

C. Rod Serling

D. Orson Welles

Just drop your answer in the email form (below) and forward this to a friend. I am looking forward to announcing the winner by the end of the week! Good luck and have Fun !

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 6, 2015

2014-03-03-_WhatsAheadThisWeek

Mortgage rates ticked upward for fixed rate loans and were unchanged for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages according to Freddie Mac. Weekly jobless claims were lower in spite of slower job growth reports.

Last week’s economic events included several reports on jobs and unemployment including the ADP report on private-sector payrolls, the Department of Labor’s reports on non-farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. The details:

Mortgage Rates, Pending Home Sales Weekly Jobless Claims

Fixed mortgage rates rose by one basis point for both 30 and -15-year mortgages. The average rate for a 30 year mortgage rate was 3.80 percent and the average rate for a 15-year mortgage was 2.98 percent.

The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.92 percent. Average discount points for fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at 0.60 percent and rose from an average of 0.40 percent to 0.50 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

The National Association of Realtors® reported that pending home sales for February increased by 3.10 percent against an expected reading of -0.20 percent and January’s reading of 1.20 percent. This was a welcome surprise in light of severe winter weather conditions throughout much of the U.S.

Weekly jobless claims were lower at 268,000 new jobless claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 288,000 new claims and expectations of 285,000 new jobless claims. Analysts note that week-to-week reports of jobless claims are volatile, and the four-week-rolling average is a better source for identifying jobless trends.

Non-Farm Payrolls, ADP Payrolls Lower

Labor markets received unwelcome readings as the Labor Department’s Non-Farm Payrolls report fell far shy of expectations and the ADP report, which measures private sector jobs, fell below February’s reading. Non-Farm Payrolls for March reflected only 126,000 jobs added against estimates of 243,000 jobs added and February’s reading of 264,000 jobs added.

This was the lowest reading for Non-Farm Payrolls in 15 months. The March reading raised questions concerning the potential for another economic slowdown and whether or not lower readings for labor reports signaled a temporary slowdown or indicated broader challenges to the economy.

ADP reported 189,000 private-sector jobs added in March as compared to February’s reading of 214,000 jobs added. This was the lowest reading since January, 2014. The ADP report is seen by analysts as a precursor of the Non-Farm Payrolls report.

The National Unemployment Rate was unchanged at 5.50 percent in February; this report lags a month behind Non-Farm Payrolls and ADP reports, so does not reflect the drop in job growth for March.

Labor markets are a priority for prospective and active home buyers as mortgage approval and the ability to afford a home hinges on steady employment. Housing markets could be in for more challenges unless dropping job growth proves to be a temporary situation.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include reports on job openings and minutes of the last FOMC meeting along with Thursday’s reports on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims.

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