A Really, Really Big “Shew”

A View from the Beach

A View from the Beach

ECONOMIC COMMENTARY
November 1, 2016 –

 

For those of you who are old enough, you might remember Ed Sullivan starting his weekly broadcast with “We have a really big shew tonight.” Well, when he said it, show did sound like “shew.” Ed Sullivan was the venue that featured Elvis Presley, the Beatles and countless other acts for a generation. Well, this week we have a really, really big week — one that has the potential to significantly affect the markets. We start out with important data, personal income and spending. We then move into a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee.

While most are expecting no action by the Fed, the announcement on Wednesday will be studied carefully for any indication regarding a potential rate increase at their December meeting. Of course, the Fed will not have had the benefit of seeing the most important data released. On Friday we will see a jobs report which will let us know about the all-important employment situation. The Fed will actually have the benefit of seeing two jobs reports before their meeting in December.

And just for good measure, after what seems to have been years of campaigning and an endless number of debates and stories in the press, we will finally have a Presidential election. No matter who wins the election, we think it is safe to say that most Americans will be glad that the ordeal is over. And no matter who you favor, don’t forget that exercising your right to vote is an important duty and responsibility as a citizen of our great country. So, please get out and exercise that right by voting, both for your national candidate and your state and local candidates as well.

WEEKLY INTEREST RATE OVERVIEW

The Markets. Rates eased back in the last week, keeping rates within the same range as the past few months. For the week ending October 27, Freddie Mac announced that 30-year fixed rates fell to 3.47% from 3.52% the week before. The average for 15-year loans also decreased slightly to 2.78%, and the average for five-year adjustables fell one tick to 2.84%. A year ago, 30-year fixed rates were at 3.76%, more than one-quarter of one percent higher than today’s levels. Attributed to Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac — “Rates on home loans continue to be relatively stable and at near record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate fell 5 basis points week-over-week to 3.47%, erasing last week’s increase. At the same time, the 10-year Treasury yield ended the week relatively flat — up about 2 basis points.” Note: Rates indicated do not include fees and points and are provided for evidence of trends only. They should not be used for comparison purposes.

Current Indices For Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Updated October 28, 2016
Daily Value Monthly Value
Oct 27 September
6-month Treasury Security  0.49%  0.47%
1-year Treasury Security  0.68%  0.59%
3-year Treasury Security  1.04%  0.90%
5-year Treasury Security  1.33%  1.18%
10-year Treasury Security  1.85%  1.63%
12-month LIBOR  1.559% (Sep)
12-month MTA  0.542% (Sep)
11th District Cost of Funds  0.703% (Aug)
Prime Rate  3.50% (Dec)

REAL ESTATE NEWS
  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a letter setting out requirements for when a buyer of a condominium unit can get FHA-insured financing in a development that has an owner-occupancy ratio as low as 35 percent. The letter stipulates that the development must show it has “higher reserves, a low percentage of association dues in arrears, and evidence of long-term financial stability” for the lower standard to be achieved. The 35 percent ratio was enacted into law this summer in NAR-backed legislation called “The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” H.R. 3700. The law says the 35 percent ratio would become law automatically unless HUD released a different figure by Oct 28. In its release, one day before that deadline, HUD says it will approve the 35 percent ratio, as long as the stricter conditions are met to ensure loans can be made without putting the FHA insurance fund at undue risk. “HUD believes that it would be possible to protect the fund while allowing a lower owner-occupancy percentage if certain adjustments are made to enhance other requirements that affect the financial stability of the project,” the agency said. NAR President Tom Salomone said in a statement that the letter is a step in the right direction, but the lower ratio should be available to all FHA-approved developments. “NAR has been fighting for changes to FHA’s condominium rules for years, and the guideline announced will bring some much-needed relief to the market,” Salomone said. “This is a big win for NAR, and while we believe all condominiums should have the rules applied to them equally, we believe FHA has heard the concerns of Realtors® and is moving in the right direction.” Source: REALTOR® Magazine Online 

 

As renters face escalating housing costs, you should be concerned that it’s getting harder for them to save for a home purchase. Is there anything you can tell them to do to help their chances of being financially prepared to transition to home ownership? Actually, there is — and it’s pretty basic advice: Get a roommate. A new study shows that renters could potentially save anywhere between $25,000 and $100,000 over the long haul by sharing space with a roomie. Savings like that can help them break into ownership much faster. A record-high 11 million renters are spending at least half of their incomes on housing — an amount financial experts say is too much — and an additional 21 million are paying 30 percent or more, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing Report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The high rents are making it difficult for renters to save enough for a down payment on a home, according to a 2015 study by the National Association of Realtors®. But a renter who lives with a roommate in a two-bedroom apartment and splits the rent 50-50 could potentially save an average of $420.70 a month versus a renter who lives in a one-bedroom apartment alone, according to financial website SmartAsset.com. In just five years, that could amount to a savings of $25,242. In high-priced markets, the savings could be more than double. Source: MarketWatch

The National Association of Home Builders is touting growing job opportunities in residential construction for millennials. The building industry continues to face a shortage of skilled workers, which has been blamed on prompting delays in completing projects on time and, in turn, then making projects costlier to complete. The number of available construction jobs has grown since the end of the recession. There are about 214,000 construction sector jobs available, the second highest monthly count of unfilled jobs since May 2007. “Residential construction offers a number of fulfilling career opportunities, from architects and engineers to carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers,” says NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “Yet, our builders are telling us that access to skilled labor remains a top challenge.” Many workers in the home building industry left the field during the Great Recession for other employment sectors. Not enough have returned since then, builders say. “As the housing industry continues to recover, we are focused on training more workers and leaders to fill these important roles,” Brady says. Source: National Association of Home Builders

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