Welcome to Connie Mahan Real Estate Group - your source for Sumter County real estate.
In addition to specializing in Sumter County, we also service Lake, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, and Marion counties.
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Keeping you updated on the market!
For the week of
September 15, 2014
An Important Winning Streak Ends
Seven turned out to not be such a lucky number.
After six-consecutive months of 200,000-or-more monthly payroll gains, the streak ended in August. There was no seventh month, because the economy added only 142,000 new jobs , which was roughly 50,000 shy of most economists' estimates.
To be sure, August is only one month, and one month does not a trend make. What's more, August has historically been considered a “noisy” month, which means we'll likely see a considerable revision in the August numbers when employment data for September is released next month. It's also worth remembering that at the current pace of new jobs (though August) the economy will add 2.58 million jobs this year. This means that 2014 should be the best year for job growth since 1999.
That said, when the economy shows signs of weakness – and a weak jobs reports is such a sign – bond yields tend to drop. But since the employment report was released last Friday, yields have actually increased, and meaningfully so. The yield on the influential 10-year U.S. Treasury note is noticeably higher over the past five trading days.
We mention the 10-year Treasury note because it generally leads the mortgage-backed-security market, which leads the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Not surprisingly, both Bankrate.com's and Freddie Mac's weekly national surveys show rates up for the week, but not by much. We're only looking at a couple basis-point increase.
Mortgage rates remain low despite the surge in Treasury yields because demand remains low. The Mortgage Bankers Association mortgage refinance index was down 11% last week. Over the past year, refinance activity has fallen off a cliff and is now down at levels last seen in 2008.
Purchase activity is somewhat better, but it, too, was down for the week, and is at levels last seen this past February. Perhaps purchase activity will pick up with the slowdown in home-price appreciation, which we've seen in data from most of the major housing-data suppliers.
Trulia is the latest to report slowing price appreciation. Trulia's data show asking prices rose 1.0% in August compared to July. Year over year, asking prices are up 7.8% for August. This time last year, prices were up 9.9% year over year. A slowdown in price appreciation should motivate more potential sellers to list, because they'll have less incentive to withhold their property in anticipation of a much higher price.
As for interest rates, they've confounded most market watchers this year, and that includes us. Most everyone expected rates to rise over the year. Though we've been confounded, rising rates could still be in the cards. The Federal Reserve is making overtures that rates could move higher. The Fed announced a policy change where it would cease providing forward guidance. Rates would just be increased with no forewarning.
So, if you like low mortgage rates, it's possible you could be looking at the market bottom.
What Structural Shift?
In these pages, we've frequently pooh-poohed the notion that a structural shift is occurring: People – young people in particular – favor renting over buying a home. We don't buy into the notion because human nature remains unchanged. People simply prefer to own their home if they have the option. You naturally feel more comfortable and secure in a home you own.
Our observation extends to young people, which is supported by a recent Wall Street Journal article. The Journal reports on a new survey conducted by the New York Federal Reserve that shows that younger people still embrace homeownership. The reason more of them don't own isn't due to lack of desire. Lack of capacity is the issue. The New York Fed finds that many younger people want to buy, but lack the financial wherewithal – namely too low of savings, too high of debt (student-loan debt in particular), or a poor credit rating.
The positive takeaway is that when this generation of young people gets a few years of experience and work behind it, it will become a generation of willing and able home buyers. Let's just hope a few years isn't that far into the future.
If you have any questions on the local market in your area or would like to discuss your next real estate step, don't hesitate to contact us.
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Connie Mahan Real Estate Group Inc.
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