Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mortgage Market Guide Vol. 10 Issue 11

Last Week in Review: The Jobs Report for February was released - find out if the news was positive or negative for Bonds and home loan rates. 

Survey says? The Jobs Report for February was released...and overall the tone was positive. Here are the details, and what they mean for home loan rates.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that 227,000 jobs were created in February, with 233,000 private job gains offsetting slower government job losses. Adding to the positive overall tone were upward revisions to both December's and January's job growth readings, which added another 61,000 jobs to what was previously reported.

In addition, the Unemployment Rate held steady at 8.3%. One thing that is important to note is that wage growth continues to lag even the tepid amount of inflation we are seeing right now. And negative earnings growth - compounded with consumers still deleveraging accumulated debt - makes it very hard for the economy to grow at a pace robust enough to significantly lower the unemployment rate. Also, a low Hourly Earnings reading also tells us there is no upward pressure to raise wages, which is sometimes a precursor to more hiring. This mix of news made the report an okay one overall...and since Stocks (not Bonds) usually benefit when there is great news, the "okay" tone actually was good for Bonds and home loan rates.

In news overseas, private investors in Greek debt were coaxed into forgiving more that 100 Billion Euros ($132 Billion) of debt in order to provide another bailout to the country. It's important to understand that this deal does not solve the problems in Greece, but only provides a hefty kick of the can down the road. New problems will emerge once the country has to meet austerity measures along with the "tighter fiscal union" guidelines and metrics set forth by Germany. And as uncertainty overseas continues, our Bonds (including Mortgage Bonds, which home loan rates are tied to) could continue to benefit from safe haven trading.

The bottom line is that now continues to be a great time to purchase or refinance a home, as home loan rates remain near historic lows. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

Forecast for the Week: A busy week is ahead, with key reports on inflation, consumer spending, and manufacturing. Plus, the Fed meets. 

Several important economic reports will be released this week, including news on consumer spending, inflation and manufacturing.
  • A very important report that gauges consumer spending is Tuesday's Retail Sales data. Consumer spending makes up almost 70% of Gross Domestic Product, so spending decisions will surely influence the direction of the U.S. economy.
  • In the manufacturing sector, the Empire State Index from New York and Philadelphia Fed Index will both be released on Thursday. In addition, Industrial Production will be delivered on Friday.
  • Inflation data in the form of the Consumer Price Index will be released on Friday and carries a bit more weight than Thursday's Producer Price Index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level.
  • Initial Weekly Jobless Claims will be released on Thursday. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits is at four-year lows.
  • The last bit of data for the week comes Friday with Consumer Sentiment.
In addition to those reports, the Fed's statement will be released Tuesday afternoon after the FOMC meeting. Depending on what the Fed says in that statement, Bonds and home loan rates could be impacted.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As discussed above, when it comes to February's Jobs Report, the headline number and some of the sub-components of the Jobs Report were positive. However, overall the report is being viewed as an okay read and one of more modest improvement. I'll be keeping a close eye on this week's economic reports, and what they might mean for home loan rates. 

View: Think Pinterest is just for fun? Think again.

Pinterest…for Business?

Social media has been all the buzz the last few years in the business world. Facebook and Twitter have become important tools for connecting with potential clients…and LinkedIn has turned networking into a virtual reality.

But with all the new social media sites and tools popping up, it's hard to know what new sites to adopt. One site that may seem to fly under the radar as being less focused on business is the social media site Pinterest.

Pinterest is an image-based social network that lets you create a virtual bulletin board. In other words, it's an online "pin board" that lets you organize and share interesting things that you find on the Internet. While that may not sound very business like, the number of hits that the site has been getting may pique your interest.

For example, Pinterest is now one of the top 10 social networking and forum websites. In addition, Pinterest raised $37 million in funding last year and has an unconfirmed valuation of up to $200 million. And Pinterest has been reaching 7 million to 10 million visitors a month in the US alone.

Those stats are drawing more and more people to explore Pinterest as a business tool. And for people who work in the housing and financial industries, Pinterest can actually make a lot of sense. This is especially true when you consider the connection between images and the topics of homes, home improvements, decorating, and so on! After all, people are always looking for ideas and inspiration for their homes. Just imagine how many past clients and potential clients would follow your images related to housing.

That's why so many business people are now starting to use Pinterest as a way to engage with customers…to boost their social media presence by connecting their sites…and to get more out of their online marketing efforts.

It's the perfect way to connect with potential clients in a way that keeps you top-of-mind in a professional yet friendly way. If you're interested in Pinterest for business, take a look at the following links that can help you get started with ideas and tips:
Remember, if a picture is worth a thousand words, think about how many "words" you'll be able to share with potential clients on a site like Pinterest. 

1 comment:

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