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Economic update for the week ending October 10, 2015

Stocks close the week with big gains – Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September meeting released this week made investors feel that the Fed’s first rate rise since 2006 will not happen this year. The notes revealed that The Fed is worried about unusually low inflation, spill over from slowing in China, and unusually low wage growth. They also said that the economy was still growing. The September jobs report showed job growth around 140,000 jobs a month for the last 2 months, after averaging 212,000 new jobs monthly for the first 7 months of the year. That slowdown also caused investors to expect that The Fed will not raise rates in the next couple of months as previously expected. Higher interest rates mean higher borrowing costs which cut into corporate profits, so continued low rates were seen as positive by investors. Oil prices also rose this week on fears of Russia’s involvement in Syria. Low oil prices have hurt the energy sector, so energy stocks rose on higher oil prices. The dollar which has been strong this year and has caused U.S. goods to be more expensive overseas and overseas goods to be less expensive here in the U.S. also weakened this week. This was helpful as exports have suffered as a result of the strong dollar and slowing economies overseas. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 17,084.49, up from last week’s close of 16,472.37. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,014.89, up from last Friday’s close of 1,951.36. The NASDAQ closed the week at 4,830.47, up from last week’s close of 4,707.78.

Treasury bonds rise from last week’s lows – The 10 year Treasury bond yield closed week at 2.12%, up from 1.99% last Friday. The 30 year treasury bond yield closed Friday at 2.94%, up from last week’s close of 2.82%. Bond yields follow stocks as money moves. Often when investors sell stocks on fears in the stock market they buy bonds which are safe but offer a low return. This week they bought stocks and sold bonds which drove bond yields higher.
Mortgage rates rise from last week’s lows of the year – The 30 year fixed rates are around 3..875% for loans up to $417,000, and around 4.00% for loans over $417,000. The 15 year fixed rate loans are about 3.20% for loans up to $417,000, higher loan amounts have rates that are around 3.375%. 5-Year-ARM and 3–Year ARM rates are both around 3.00%.
September sales data will be released later in the month. It will be interesting to see how prices and sales numbers are holding up. Stay tuned!
Have a great weekend!


Economic Update for the week ending September 26, 2015


Stocks rally on Friday to end the week just slightly down – The stock markets have been volatile for the last six weeks mostly due to worries about the effects from slowing growth in China, European weakness, and and uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates. Early in the week markets dropped as more data came in showing China’s economy has continued to slow. One report Wednesday showed that their manufacturing had slowed to the lowest level in 6 years, during the peak of the financial crisis. However; stocks made up much of their loses on Friday after the Commerce Department reported that 2nd quarter GDP had been revised upward, consumer spending was revised upward, and Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen gave a more optimistic view of the economy. Her assessment included that The Fed does still intent to raise rates this year.  Uncertainty over rates, and The Fed’s decision last week to leave rates at near zero levels, made experts fear that The Fed felt the economy was weaker than experts believe. Janet Yellen’s speech at the University of Massachusetts yesterday seemed to put investors’ minds at ease when she reiterated that growth was strong and that a rate increase was coming. US airlines also reported that profits were up 53% in the second quarter mostly due to lower fuel prices and steady travel demand. It is the best year for the airlines since 2007. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 16,314.67, almost unchanged from last week’s close of 16,384.79.  The S&P 500 closed the week at  1,931.34, down slightly from last Friday’s close of 1,958.03. The NASDAQ closed the week at 4,686.50, down from last week’s close of 4,827.23. 

Mortgage rates just under 4%  –  The 30 year fixed rates ended the week around 3.875% for loans up to $417,000, and around 4.00for loans over $417,000.  The 15 year fixed rate loans are about 3.25% for loans up to $417,000, and around 3.375% for loans over $417,000. The 5 Year-ARM rate is around 3.00%  and 1 Year-ARM mortgages are about 2.50%.  

Primary Mortgage Market Survey®

Freddie Mac surveys lenders each week on the rates, fees and points for the most popular mortgage products.

September 24, 2015 30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rate 3.86 % 3.08 % 2.91 %
Fees/Points 0.7 0.6 0.5

Next Rate Update on October 1, 2015

Weekly Survey Archive

Freddie Mac Multi-Indicator Market Index®

MiMi measures the stability of local housing activity by combining current local market data with Freddie Mac data for all states, the top 100 metros, and the nation.

Treasury Bond yields slightly lower this week – The 10 year Treasury bond yield closed week at 2.17%, up slightly from 2.13% last Friday.  The 30 year treasury bond yield closed Friday at 2.96%, almost unchanged from last week’s close of 2.93%. Mortgage rates follow bond yields so these are closely watched.

Consumer confidence reading the edges up in September- The University of Michigan final reading on consumer sentiment for September moved higher.It ended the month at a reading of 87.2 from an initial reading of 85.7 at the beginning of the month. The average reading since its inception has been 85.3. The average reading during the 5 recessions since its inception has been 69.3. During non-recessionary years the average reading has been 87.5, which is right about where we are. Consumer sentiment is important because consumer confidence is so closely tied to consumer spending which accounts for nearly a third of the economy.

Second quarter GDP revised upward – The Commerce Department said Fridaythat the second quarter gross domestic product showed a growth rate of 3.9%. This was higher than their initial estimate of 3.7%. The Commerce Department also said Friday that consumer spending rose 3.6% during the quarter up from an initial estimate of 3.1%.

Pending home sales decline in August, but numbers are still above last year’s levels – The California Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales fall 8.7% in August from July. While monthly pending home sales were down, year over year pending home sales in August were still up 12.8% from August 2014.  It was the 10th straight month of year over year increases in the number of pending sales, and the 7th straight month of double-digit year-to-year gains.


Economic update

Economic update for the week ending September 5, 2015

Economy adds 173,000 net new jobs in August- The Labor Department Reported that the economy added 173,000 new non-farm jobs in August. This was below the 220,000 jobs expected. The unemployment fell to 5.1%, its lowest level in 7 years. That is down from 5.3% last month and has dropped nearly in half since peaking during the recession. The most positive part of the report was that wages, that have been stagnant, rose 8 cents an hour in August following a 6 cent an hour rise in average wages in July. This was welcome news after June’s number showed that the April, May, June quarter had the lowest wage growth in over 30 years. August’s figure shows wage growth of 2.2% over the last 12 months, which is well over the inflation rate.

Stocks down again this week – Fears of China’s slowdown and a possible interest rate hike by the Fed spooked the markets. More bad economic data from China showed their economy slipping further. At the same time U.S. G.D.P. rose 3.7%, which was better than expected. The August jobs number showed fewer new jobs than expected, yet the unemployment rate fell to near pre-recession levels, and wages, which have been stagnant, rose more than expected. Auto sales were strong, another sign that U.S. consumers are spending money. The Federal Reserve Beige Book, the Fed’s assessment of the strength of the economy, showed that they felt that the economy was growing at a “modest to moderate pace” and that the Chinese slowdown is havering a “only a moderate affect on the U.S. economy.” This again got investors fearing an interest rate hike by the Fed. Some fear that the first rate hike since 2006 could happen as soon as it’s September 16th – 17th meeting. This was also a drag on stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 16,102.38, down from last week’s close of 16,643.01. The S&P 500 closed the week at 1,921.22, down from last Friday’s close of 1,988.87. The NASDAQ closed the week at 4,683.92, down from last week’s close of 4,828.33.
Mortgage rates remain near lows for the year – The 30 year fixed rates ended the week around 3.875% for loans up to $417,000, and around 4.00% for loans over $417,000. The 15 year fixed rate loans are about 3.25% for loans up to $417,000, higher loan amounts have rates that are around 3.375%. The 5 Year-ARM rate is around 2.75% and 1 Year-ARM mortgages are about 2.50%.

Treasury Bond yields rose from lows early in the week and closed higher than last week – Investors bought stocks and pulled money from the safety of U.S Treasury Bonds pushing yields up from Monday’s lowest point in over a year. The 10 year Treasury bond yield closed week at 2.13%, almost unchanged from 2.19% last Friday. The 5 year was under 2% at one point on Monday. The 30 year treasury bond yield closed Friday at 2.89%, down slightly from last week’s close of 2.92%.

U.S. Bank’s earnings rise – The FDIC reported that profits from U.S. Banks rose 7.3% in the second quarter of 2015. The number of “problem banks” continued to fall. Only 5.6% of all banks were not profitable. This was by far the most healthy banks have been since the financial crisis which began in 2007.

Factory orders higher – Orders from U.S. Factories posted a modest gain in July according to The Commerce Department. Factory orders were up 0.4% in July. This was not as good as June’s 2.2% increase, but it did build on that increase.

Have a great holiday weekend!


Important news from this Beverly Hills Realtor

Mortgage rates rose this week as positive data indicates that the economy is improving at a surprisingly strong pace. All indicators were positive beyond expectations again this week. Today marked the first day the DOW didn’t finish up after 10 straight days. The stock market rallied at the close and we almost hit 11 positive days in a row, unbelievable! Retail sales, jobs, housing, financials, posted better than expected results. Inflation results showed inflation higher than expected.  Usually inflation causes rates to rise, which they did but  more slightly than expected. The dollar also strengthened against most currencies which was also surprising.    Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.63 percent for the week ending March 14, up from 3.52 percent last week but down from 3.92 percent a year ago. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans hit a low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 of 3.31 percent during the week ending Nov. 21, 2012. For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.79 percent, up from 2.76 percent last week but down from 3.16 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans hit a low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1991 of 2.63 percent during the week ending Nov. 21, 2012.  For five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid-rate mortgage (ARM) loans, rates averaged 2.61 percent, down from 2.63 percent last week and 2.83 percent a year ago. Rates on one-year Treasury-indexed ARM loans averaged 2.64 percent, virtually unchanged from 2.63 percent last week, but down from 2.79 percent a year ago.
Inventory rates (homes for sale) are the lowest ever recorded. So for now its more of the same: multiple offers, rising prices, few homes to show and quick decisions on the part of buyers is a must! It should be noted that even though stocks are higher that the highs in 2007 adjusted for inflation, in “real” numbers they are quite a bit lower. Housing as well. Some areas have hit the highs from 2007, but adjusted for inflation they are still lower in “real” dollars. I would think that prices will continue to move up sharply before they level off!


Home Buying Advice from the Wise Realtor

It’s a question that looms for everyone considering a home purchase: How can I prepare for this monumental event? What must I do to transform a lifelong dream into a comfortable experience? True, there is no secret wisdom that can be decoded for the answer. Nor does there exist a wide open road that will whisk you to ultimate enlightenment. Nevertheless, home shoppers can take a number of practical steps to achieve their goals with maximum smoothness. Here are some of the most highly regarded stepping stones to home buying success.

Hunky Down Payment. Many industry gurus recommend plunking down a minimum of 20% for your down.  Remember, the hunkier the initial outlay, the lower and more manageable your monthly housing expenses will be. So start saving those pennies.

Longer Stays Pay. Generally speaking, don’t consider your home a stopover. Many real estate honchos agree that 5-7 years is the minimum amount of time owners should remain planted. Because homes typically appreciate over time, a buyer who stays glued to home sweet home stands an excellent chance of roping in some juicy profits. Also, home hopping isn’t exactly cheap. Things like closing costs, inspections, and moving expenses are sure to enter the picture, scooping bundles of cash out of your pockets.

Monthly Nut. In a perfect world, monthly housing expenses would be limited to your mortgage outlays. But they aren’t. Owners will be shelling out bucketsful for things like taxes, insurance, and quite possibly HOA fees. Factor all of these money-munchers into the mix before you sign on the dotted line.

Would you like to learn more about reaching your home buying goals with maximum satisfaction? Simply drop your questions and thoughts into the comment box. Or just reach out to our team directly.

And, of course, if you’re ready to discover the latest opportunities in the Beverly Hills real estate market, I’m ready to make it happen.  Call or email today.

Back soon.

Terre Steinbeck

(310) 666-4094  DIRECT

(310) 724-7100   OFFICE


Sometimes Smaller is Better

They’ve dubbed it ‘Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers’.  But this fascinating museum exhibit goes well beyond spotlighting contemporary living spaces. Running through September 2013, the showcase treats visitors to a number of revealing urban insights, ranging from the Big Apple’s soaring single adult population to the ways in which changing social, economic, and demographic factors are reshaping the city’s environment.

As you might expect, the exhibit’s starring attraction is New York’s sparkling new housing concept. Known as micro-units, the residential breakthrough was born out of Mayor Bloomberg’s program to develop new housing for a severely undersupplied city. Slated to be constructed on a city-owned site in Manhattan later in 2013, the micro-units are New York’s answer to soaring population growth. How intense will the increase be? Planners are forecasting a population jump of one million by 2030. Couple this dramatic rise with the current undersupply of housing, and micro-units are nothing short of salvation for the city.

As the museum exhibit demonstrates, the micro-units not only set vigorous new standards for innovative design, they pack fresh, bold approaches into the construction as well. Visitors even get to sample the goods in advance thanks to the exhibit’s fully furnished micro unit, which has been designed for leisurely, people-friendly walk-throughs. Those who can’t get enough of micro-unit mania also can view the complete collection of concept proposals that made it to the mayor’s desk.

Of course, innovative housing concepts are not limited to New York. Are you curious about some of the unique residential options right here in Los Angeles? Simply drop your questions and thoughts into the comment box. Or just reach out to our team directly.

And, of course, if you’re ready to discover the latest opportunities in the Beverly Hills real estate market, I’m ready to make it happen.  Call or email today.

Back soon.

Terre Steinbeck

(310) 666-4094  DIRECT

(310) 724-7100   OFFICE


Star in Your Own Home Buyer Drama

You say there isn’t enough drama in the home buying process? You crave more anxiety as you scour the city for a home? Well, this is your lucky day, my friends. Because I’m going to unveil a selection of surefire ways to make home buying a whole heck of a lot more stressful. I mean, why feel comfortable making a life choice even more important than shoe color selection? Believe me, comfort is way, way overrated. So let’s get to it. Here’s how to star in a home buyer drama packed with unrelenting tension.

Ignore Your Credit Score. Don’t bother checking your FICO before going on a house hunt. Such advance info could leave you prepared for an encounter with the bank. And readiness is a guaranteed anxiety reducer. It’s far more stressful to be surprised when the bank reveals a score that’s lower than expected. If fortune really is smiling on you, your report also will be blemished by those little errors that creditors have been known to make. All these negatives add up to only one thing – an interest rate higher than the moon. A guaranteed stress-booster if ever there was one.

Count on Luck. Experts recommend setting aside anywhere from 3-5 months worth of mortgage payments — beyond what you’re shelling out for a down. But such far-sighted preparation offers you excessive comfort. It’s much more stressful to throw caution to the wind and count on a steady income in a still-unsteady economy.

Don’t Bother Purchasing a Home You Like. Who gives a hoot if quick sales are all but ancient history? You don’t have to be realistic because you’ve got a hankering for major stress. Fortunately, you’re convinced that, for some unknown reason, the home you buy will fly off the shelf the second you plant the ‘For Sale’ sign. Therefore, whatever you do, don’t waste time shopping for a home that you and your family will love in the long term. There’s too great a risk of happiness and contentment. A far more reliable route is snapping up any ol’ home, which you’ll likely be stuck in far longer than expected.

Would you like more insights pertaining to the home buying process? Simply drop your questions and thoughts into the comment box. Or just reach out to our team directly.

And, of course, if you’re ready to discover the latest opportunities in the Beverly Hills real estate market, I’m ready to make it happen.  Call or email today.

Back soon.

Terre Steinbeck

(310) 666-4094  DIRECT

(310) 724-7100   OFFICE


How to evict a tenant!

How to evict a tenant!

This is very useful, and more important, accurate information on how to legally evict a tenant anywhere in Los Angeles.  Its a must read for any landlord….


A mortgage update from Syd Leibovitch – Owner, Rodeo Realtor Fine Estates

Mortgage rates fall to near record lows this week…….

Today, mortgage rates fall once again to  near record lows again. A 30-year mortgage rate this week has dropped to 3.38% compared to 3.4% last week.  This week’s rate is slightly above the record low that was reached in November at 3.31%, which marked the lowest rate on record dating back to 1971. A 15-year mortgage remained unchanged this week at 2.65%. The record low for a 15-year mortgage is 2.63%. With rates so low at this time, any bit of inflation can push them higher.


Last month, the Fed said they would keep interest rates near zero until the jobless rate falls to 6.5 percent and as long as the central bank believes inflation will stay below 2.5 percent. At this point, inflation remains flat. Labor Department reported on Wednesday, CPI was unchanged last month thus with this new data, inflation will continue to remain flat and not hit the Feds threshold to raise interest rates.


Construction rates have also increased as builders began to build 780,000 homes just last year — up 28.1% from 2011, when new home construction hit a record low, the lowest since 2008. Although, increases in construction became a part of the housing recovery last year, it hasn’t made a significant contribution to the hiring. With these reports, increased construction rates have made investors more optimistic about the US economy.


With the unemployment rate projected to fall lower this year and home sales expected to rise at a rate similar to last year’s, interest rates are projected to remain relatively low throughout 2013. Assuming the uncertainty of the fiscal policy, debates during the first quarter fails to disrupt the economic expansion and the U.S. should see about two million new jobs created this year.

We are most definitely amidst a period of financial uncertainty as the government deals with fiscal cliffs, debt ceilings and increased tax rates, these uncertainties have caused rates to fluctuate over the past several weeks. Banks are increasing mortgage lending in Southern California, so this is an excellent time for buyers.  These lower mortgage rates will help strengthen the housing market and road to recovery and we will start to see inventory levels rise………..  Have a nice weekend everyone!!!