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|IN THIS ISSUE…|
|“Well, we’re movin’ on up …” The Jeffersons. The Fed raised its benchmark Fed Funds Rate in December. Hop on for a view of this story and more, including:
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|News From the Home Front|
|The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported Existing Home Sales for November rose to a nine-year high, edging up from October. Existing Home Sales were also up 15.4 percent from November 2015. New Home Sales rose 5.2 percent from October to November, per the Commerce Department. However, Pending Home Sales fell to their lowest level in nearly a year, NAR reported, dropping 2.5 percent from October and 0.4 percent from November 2015.
In new construction, November Housing Starts, which measure when excavation begins on a home, fell 18.7 percent from October, and Building Permits declined 4.7 percent from October.
Meanwhile, home price gains stayed robust in November, according to CoreLogic, a leading provider of consumer, financial and property information. Prices, including distressed sales, rose 7.1 percent from November 2015 to November 2016.
Consumers Pull Back
A strengthening job market is crucial for retailers as well as the housing industry. We’ll discuss that story in What to Watch below.
Inflation and Volatility in View
The Federal Reserve raised the benchmark Fed Funds Rate by the expected 0.25 percent in December, bringing it up to a range between 0.5 and 0.75 percent. This is the short-term rate at which banks lend to each other overnight, and it is not directly tied to long-term rates like home loan rates. The December increase marked only the second hike in 10 years, though the Fed noted there could be three potential hikes to its benchmark rate in 2017.
If you have any questions about housing or refinancing opportunities, please reach out at any time.
|What to Watch: Non-Farm Payrolls|
|Unemployment ticked higher in December, but more Americans were looking for work. Here’s what it means:
What is the Non-farm Payrolls report? The Non-farm Payrolls report measures the number of people on the payrolls of all non-agricultural businesses each month. The data represents around 80 percent of workers who produce the Gross Domestic Product of the United States.
What’s happened recently? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported employers added 156,000 new jobs in December, which was below the 175,000 expected. However, October and November numbers were revised higher by 19,000. Average hourly earnings rose from -0.1 percent in November to 0.4 percent in December. In addition, average hourly earnings rose 2.9 percent year-over-year, the fastest pace since June 2009.
What’s the bottom line? Wage growth is a positive sign for American workers, especially for those looking to buy a home. And the unemployment rate is still near nine-year lows, which is good news because it means working families are experiencing what is considered full employment. This could cause problems for the new Trump administration, however, since a lower unemployment rate means a slower pace of sustainable job growth without driving wages and prices up too quickly. Rapid wage and price escalation could pressure the Fed to switch concerns about deflation to out-of-hand price increases.
I’ll continue to monitor economic reports closely, but if you have any immediate questions, please call or email today.
|Now You See Me|
|While buying glasses online may seem odd, a growing share of bespectacled buyers are heading to the web to do so. If you’re looking for convenience, selection and low prices, here are some tips to make sure you see straight through the process.
Get Your Prescription
When paying for the eye exam, let the provider know you’re purchasing lenses elsewhere. This may prompt the provider to offer a discount to you that is comparable to online shopping and could save you time. Do your homework to find out.
Not All Prescriptions Are Eligible
In addition, bifocals or progressive lenses are much more difficult to fulfill by online providers. This is because the lens frame must have enough room, top to bottom, for the distance and reading portions of the lens. To prevent neck strain from constant head tilting, opticians usually need to determine where to place the lens transition in person.
Find the Perfect Fit
Kids’ Eyewear Can Be Tricky
Watch Out for Designer Knockoffs
And remember, if you have any trouble seeing with glasses or you experience eyestrain, headaches or double vision while wearing them, check with a local eye care provider no matter where you obtained your glasses.
Sources: Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest
|Q&A: Best Day to Book Flights|
|QUESTION: Are flights cheaper when booked on certain days of the week?
ANSWER: Expedia, in partnership with other industry resources, has released a comprehensive analysis of worldwide air travel trends using billions of data points from January through October of 2016. The analysis showed that, in general, the best deals on flights are available when tickets are purchased on a weekend (but especially Sundays) and more than 21 days in advance of your flight.
You can read the full report for even more insight into your travel planning for 2017.
The Christian Penner Mortgage Team, A Branch of
American Financial Network, Inc
CORP NMLS# 237341 ; Equal Opportunity Employer ; Equal Opportunity Lender American Financial Network, Inc. 10 Pointe Drive, Suite 330, Brea, CA 92821.
Or You can click "Call Me" below to call Christian Penner directly using Google Voice
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