Weekly Housing and Market Update

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” –Sinclair Lewis, American writer

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE…  It certainly has been a job getting through this winter in real estate. The latest evidence of this came with February New Home Sales, down 3.3% for the month, to a 440,000 annual rate. Observers once again felt that weekend snows in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states, and the Midwest motivated the downturn. Other analysts pointed out that February is always slow for home sales no matter what the weather is doing. Plus, contracts for these sales were signed at the start of the year, when buying a home isn’t a big post-holiday priority.There were an estimated 189,000 new homes for sale at the end of February, a 5.2-month supply. 

Pending Home Sales were also down in February, 0.8%. This National Association of Realtors (NAR) measure of contracts signed on existing homes, indicates those sales should be off slightly a few months out. But the NAR’s chief economist was upbeat:”Contract signings for the past three months have been little changed, implying the market appears to be stabilizing. Moreover, buyer traffic information…shows a modest turnaround, and some weather delayed transactions should close in the spring.” Finally, the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index dipped 0.1% in January, yet remained 13.2% ahead for the year. Adjusting for seasonal factors, priceswere actually up 0.7% for the month.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… Learn from what others have done, but then carve out your own path, dealing with whatever comes along. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Above all, never give up.

>> Review of Last Week

TIMOROUS TRADING… Caution was the watchword on Wall Street, as traders took profits on some of their higher flying stocks, leaving the Dow barely ahead for the week, the S&P 500 off a bit, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq suffered its biggest weekly drop since October 2012. Investors were clearly keeping an eye on the geopolitical uncertainty coming out of the Ukraine crisis. They were also concerned that the stock market’s recent record breaking  performances may have been running ahead of the economic realities. As usual, it was a mixed set of data that described those realities. 

A private survey put consumer confidence in March at its lowest level in four months. The dips in New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales raised concerns for some about housing. On the positive side, Weekly Initial Unemployment claims dropped to 311,000, the lowest level in four months. The four-week average for Continuing Unemployment Claims is at its lowest level in three months. Q4 GDP was revised upward to a 2.6% annual economic growth rate. And consumer Personal Spending, accounting for about two-thirds of the U.S. economy, went up the most in 3 months. 

The week ended with the Dow up 0.1%, to 16323; the S&P 500 down 0.5%, to 1858; and the Nasdaq down 2.8%, to 4156.

The safe haven of the bond market was a welcome destination for investors. The FNMA 3.5% bond we watch finished the week up .04, to $100.19. National average fixed mortgage rates went up a tad during the week ending March 27 in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. This followed an uptick on the 10-year Treasury note. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up to the minute information. 

DID YOU KNOW?… Since Freddie Mac began tracking mortgage rates in 1971, the all-time high was hit in October 1981, at 18.63%.  That’s more than 4 times recent average 30-year fixed mortgage rates.

>> This Week’s Forecast

MANUFACTURING GROWS, SERVICES GAIN, JOBS GO FORWARD… This week gives us some fundamental reads on the economy in March. The manufacturing sector should continue to show growth, both nationally, measured by the ISM Index, and in the Midwest, recorded by the Chicago PMI. The ISM Services index is expected to reveal that sector expanding at a slightly higher rate. Friday’s Employment Report is forecast to feature just under 200,000 new Nonfarm Payrolls, an encouraging sign for sure.

>> The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates. 

Source; Rebecca Hansen; Guild Mortgage
Contact Jeff Hansen

About Jeff Hansen, Realtor in Colorado

Search for homes here; www.jeffhansen.remax.com for FREE. Licensed Real Estate broker with RE/MAX Professionals at 10135 W. San Juan Way, Littleton, Colorado 80127. I have been a Realtor Since 1992 and provide Free Real Estate Advice Realtor in Littleton, Colorado and the Metro Denver Area, A Real Estate investment company focusing on the buyers and sellers of homes, also including fix and flips and rental properties, Listings and all sales of realty. (303)794-4530 Disclaimer I will not receive any compensation or take on any liability because of any conversation on this or any related web page w/o any written brokerage agreement. And there will be no relationship actual or implied because of any conversation on this or similar pages. No written agreement, therefore. AND Differ from state to state, so check your state's rules.
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