The Economic Expansion Continues

A View from the Beach

ECONOMIC COMMENTARY
August 8, 2017 –

 

The long road back from the Great Recession began in mid-2009 and July marks the 96th month of recovery. This makes it the third longest expansion on record, and if we continue at the present pace, this recovery will become the second longest expansion in history in the middle of next year. There are two reasons for the length of this recovery. First, the Great Recession was a very deep recession, thus we had a very long road back.

Second, the recovery has been slow and steady. Even though our growth has not been strong, we have stayed out of a recession partly because the economy has not overheated. If the economic expansion did heat up, then interest rates would be much higher and this could endanger the recovery. We have enjoyed very low interest rates for the past decade and this year is no exception.

Nowhere is the length of the recovery more evident than the jobs market. The economy lost close to nine million jobs in a very short period of time. In the decade that has followed, we have added approximately 17 million jobs. While these are really strong numbers, we have only added eight million jobs net of the recession, and this averages out to less than one million per year over the past decade. This helps us put July’s job numbers in perspective. We added just over 200,000 jobs for the month with an unemployment rate of 4.3%, both solid numbers. We still have some work to do in creating better paying jobs and taking care of those who have left the workforce but did not retire. However, we have come a long, long way.

 WEEKLY INTEREST RATE OVERVIEW

The Markets. Rates were stable in the past week. For the week ending August 3, Freddie Mac announced that 30-year fixed rates rose slightly to 3.93% from 3.92% the week before. The average for 15-year loans decreased to 3.18%, and the average for five-year adjustables moved down to 3.15%. A year ago, 30-year fixed rates averaged 3.43%. Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac — “The 10-year Treasury yield was relatively flat this week, as was the rate on 30-year fixed loans, which rose 1 basis point to 3.93 percent. Despite a strong advance estimate for second quarter GDP, markets are erring on the side of caution.” 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
August 4, 2017

Daily Value Monthly Value
August 3 June
6-month Treasury Security  1.13%  1.11%
1-year Treasury Security  1.22%  1.20%
3-year Treasury Security  1.49%  1.49%
5-year Treasury Security  1.79%  1.77%
10-year Treasury Security  2.24%  2.19%
12-month LIBOR  1.738% (June)
12-month MTA  0.830% (June)
11th District Cost of Funds  0.648% (May)
Prime Rate  4.25% (June)
REAL ESTATE NEWS
  Getting married and buying a home are two milestones that couples often try to achieve at the same time. But the finances involved in both of those feats can be daunting. The average wedding costs reached a record high in 2016: $35,329. That is about the equivalent of a 20 percent down payment on a $175,000 home. “There are some people that can do both at the same time, but for most, you have to choose one [goal] and delay the other by a year or two,” says Pamela Capalad, a certified financial planner and founder of Brunch & Budget in Brooklyn, N.Y. Some couples in wedding prep mode are setting up a gift registry asking for down payment assistance to help in their home purchase instead of filling their registry with traditional house gifts. Cash registries for a home or other major ticket purchases, such as a home renovation or car, are growing more popular as the average ages for brides and grooms increase, says Kristen Maxwell Cooper, executive editor of The Knot. For example, some couples are using online sites like Deposit a Gift to set up a down payment cash registry. “They already have a lot of the stuff you would add to a traditional registry,” Cooper says. “Ultimately, they want to make sure that if their friends and family want to give them a gift—and of course, they do—that it’s something useful.” After all, saving enough for a wedding alone can really add up. Nearly half of couples recently surveyed say they ended up spending more than they intended on their wedding, according to The Knot. Further, a wedding that overlaps with a home purchase can actually jeopardize closing, in some cases too. Wedding-related debt could damage a person’s credit score. Source: CNBC 

Waive an inspection before buying a home and chances are, it will only take the heater to not work and out comes thousands of dollars from your pocket. Buyers can feel pressure from competition in purchasing a home, but it’s important to stay smart. Bidding for a potential home is no joke, and waiving inspections is a bad idea. Some alternatives to straight-up inspections while remaining competitive include doing a pre-sale inspection before signing a contract. It can also be the seller’s own inspection, which could be a win-win for both buyer and seller, putting both at ease as the seller can put a proper price tag and the buyer is aware of the home’s current condition. “Sellers in hot markets can quickly generate several competing offers, but what they really need to be on their way to their next home purchase is a committed buyer who will make it to the closing table without delays or hassles,” Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson said, “To provide this assurance, savvy buyers aren’t just offering the highest price; they are using creative strategies like pre-inspections and non-refundable deposits to demonstrate to sellers their commitment to close the deal.” Another win-win situation is when the buyer writes a one- or two-day inspection contingency. The seller is at least confident that they won’t lose momentum in selling even if the buyer walks away. Source: Zillow

Housing sentiment has increased for the third consecutive month after taking a dip in March. The latest Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) reported a rise of 2.1 percentage points in June to 88.3 – up 5.1 percentage points year over year – due to an increase in four of the six HPSI components. “The June HPSI reading matches the previous record set in February and reflects the trend toward a sellers’ market that respondents indicated last month,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Consumers are also growing more optimistic about their ability to get a home loan, and lenders expect credit standards to ease further going forward, as shown in our Lender Sentiment Survey. “While consumer optimism on this metric is as high as we’ve seen in the survey’s seven-year history, it’s worth noting that this record is relative to the fairly tight standards in place post-crisis when we started collecting National Housing Survey data,” Duncan said. Source: Fannie Mae

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