This Guesthouse’s Former Residents Were Horses

Houzz Tour: This Guesthouse’s Former Residents Were Horses http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/60478937 via @Houzz#VermontCarriageBarn

http://www.houzz.com, February 13th, 2016

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Economic Outlook May Not Be All Positive

DSNews.com, February 13th, 2016

Janet Yellen,
Chair of the Board of Governors
Federal Reserve System

While testifying before Congress on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen noted that persistent economic headwinds have kept the federal funds target rate at a historically low level—and that future rate hikes may occur even more gradually than originally anticipated.

One Federal Open Market Committee meeting has already come and gone since December’s historic Fed liftoff without another rate hike. In her testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday when discussing monetary policy, Yellen pointed out factors that have weighed on aggregate demand, such as limited access to credit for some borrowers, weak growth abroad, and the dollar’s significant appreciation. Inflation also remains way below the Fed’s 2 percent objective.

“The FOMC anticipates that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate,” Yellen said. “In addition, the Committee expects that the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below the levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. This expectation is consistent with the view that the neutral nominal federal funds rate—defined as the value of the federal funds rate that would be neither expansionary nor contractionary if the economy was operating near potential—is currently low by historical standards and is likely to rise only gradually over time.”

“In addition, the Committee expects that the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below the levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.”

Janet Yellen, Fed Chair

The nation experienced paltry GDP growth (0.7 percent) in the first estimate for the fourth quarter and job gains of only 151,000 for January, slightly more than half of the monthly average for October through December. One notable aspect of the most recent employment summary is that in January, the unemployment rate dipped below 5 percent for the first time in eight years.

Yellen stated that “financial conditions in the United States have recently become less supportive of growth, with declines in broad measures of equity prices, higher borrowing rates for riskier borrowers, and a further appreciation of the dollar,” and forecasted a moderate pace of economic growth for the coming years against a backdrop of gradual monetary policy adjustment, ongoing employment gains, and faster wage growth that support real income growth and consumer spending.

“Of course, economic growth could also exceed our projections for a number of reasons, including the possibility that low oil prices will boost U.S. economic growth more than we expect,” Yellen said. “At present, the Committee is closely monitoring global economic and financial developments, as well as assessing their implications for the labor market and inflation and the balance of risks to the outlook.”

Some economists were less optimistic in their assessment of Yellen’s remarks. According to Capital Economics, “Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress today revealed that, while the FOMC might not be ready to raise interest rates for a second time in March, she still anticipates a “gradual” series of rate hikes over the next couple of years. That view is clearly at odds with futures markets, which imply that any additional rate hikes are almost now off the table.”

Curt Long, Chief Economist with the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, stated, “In her testimony, Chair Yellen noted the emergent risks posed by weak financial markets and the declining prospects for growth abroad. While she did not indicate how this would play into the FOMC’s outlook for future rate increases, it seems far more likely than not that the committee will revise down its expectation of four rate hikes in 2016 in their March release.”

When Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) took the floor for his opening statement at Wednesday’s hearing, he was a little more blunt in his assessment of the recent economic headwinds.

“The reality is since the president was elected and the Fed embarked upon its unprecedented quantitative easing and zero real interest rate policies, working families’ paychecks have declined, their net wealth has declined and the real unemployment rate continues to hover around 10 percent,” Hensarling said. “Approximately one in six is on food stamps and almost 15 percent live in poverty. There hasn’t been a single year when economic growth has reached 3 percent.”

Hensarling continued, “Now I will not use this hearing to either praise or condemn the Fed’s decision to raise rates by 25 basis points interest rates in December. Nor do I think it appropriate to advise the FOMC on how to vote during its next meeting. But given that Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution gives Congress the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof, I do feel compelled to demand that the Fed adopt a monetary policy course that is predictable, transparent and sustainable and—barring terribly exigent circumstances—to stick with it. That is part of the rationale underlying the House-passed Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act—the FORM Act.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California), ranking member of the Committee, was more positive than Hensarling regarding economic progress, but noted that there is more room for improvement.

“As a result of your herculean efforts, the efforts of Democrats in Congress, and the Obama Administration, we have truly made tremendous progress since the darkest days of the financial crisis,” Waters said. “Over the past 71 consecutive months our economy has added more than 14 million private sector jobs, and the unemployment rate has fallen by more than half. But despite this commendable progress, significant work remains.  Wages have yet to see real gains, 7.8 million workers remain jobless, 6 million workers are involuntarily working part-time jobs, and another 2 million Americans indicate they would join the workforce if only the economy were strong enough to support them. With inflation consistently running below target, I question whether the expected path for further raising rates over the course of 2016 may over emphasize concerns about inflation, and underestimate the weakness in our labor market.”
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Marshfield Kiwanis Helps Facts Fund Grant Writer

http://marshfield.wickedlocal.com/news/20160213/marshfield-kiwanis-helps-facts-fund-grant-writer#MarshfieldKiwanis #MarshfieldHighSchool #Grantwriter

marshfieldl.wickedlocal.com, February 13th, 2016

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Home Appraisal Values Still Below Homeowner Price Expectations

Appraised values nearly 2% less than what sellers expect

houses

Quicken Loans announced the average appraised values in December were 1.8% lower than what homeowners’ valued their home. But, according to Quicken, this is good news.

According to its monthly Home Price Perception Index, December is the 11th straight month when appraised values were lower than homeowners expected, although December marks the fourth month the gap between the two values have narrowed.

The nation’s second-largest mortgage nonbank lender, the Quicken Loans’ HPPI chart below shows many of the metro area’s value perceptions moving closer to equal. Appraisals remained higher in Western cities, while homeowner expectations topped appraised values in many of the Northeastern and Midwestern cities examined.

Click to enlarge

Ticker

“The narrowing of the perceived vs. appraisal value gap is an excellent way to end the year,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters.

“The more homeowners are in line with appraisers, and understand the equity in their home, the easier it will be to refinance their mortgage. In the same vein, if homebuyers understand how the local market is performing, they will be better equipped to come in with a strong offer on the home of their dreams,” added Walters.

Per the home value index, home values rose 0.18% from November to December, and increased 5.81% compared to the previous December. While the West remains the leader with 8.61% in annual home value growth since December 2014, the Northeast dwindles with only a 1.87% increase.

Click to enlarge

Ticker

“2015 bookends with the same story we have heard throughout the year – a housing supply that trails the demand, continuing to push values higher,” said Walters. “The market could benefit from homeowners taking advantage of the equity they are building, and make their home available to the many eager buyers. This could give buyers a chance to find the home they have been waiting for.”

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Do You Know How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? You May Be Surprised!!!!

Posted: 10 Feb 2016 KCM CrewDo You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised! | Keeping Current MattersCoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 256,000 properties regained equity in the third quarter of 2015. This is great news for the country, as 92% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News For Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“Home price growth continued to lift borrower equity positions and increase the number of borrowers with sufficient equity to participate in the mortgage market. In the last three years, borrowers with at least 20 percent equity have increased by 11 million, a substantial uptick that is driving rapid growth in home equity originations.” 

Anand Nallathambi, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2016 as well, as he had this to say:

“Homeowner equity is the largest source of wealth for many Americans.The rise in home prices, expected to be at least 5% in 2016, will continue to build wealth and confidence across America. As this process continues, it will provide support for the housing market and the broader economy throughout [the] year.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their home as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 8% of homes are in that position (down from 9% in Q2). The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%), when in actuality, 74% do!Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised! | Keeping Current MattersThis means that 37% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing). Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2016! Meet with a local real estate professional today, who can help you evaluate your situation and assist you along the way!

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How is Low Inventory Affecting the Housing Market?

DSNews.com, February 4th, 2016

house-sittingon-money1-300x198Low inventory has been cited by many analysts as a concern for the housing market in 2016 as the market continues to heal from the foreclosure crisis which began nearly eight years ago.

What effect will that lack of inventory have on housing? While the inventory has been declining, demand for housing has not; the combination of thin inventory and strong demand has pushed prices upward. In many markets, the percentage of homes selling at list price or higher is has risen back to pre-crisis levels, according to Shu Chen, Economist with CoreLogic.

“The number of homes selling at or above list price has recovered to early 2006 levels,” Chen wrote on CoreLogic’s blog. “That number was 3.5 times the trough in January 2008 and represented more than one-quarter of total sales in October 2015. Compared with homes selling for their list price or more, the number of homes selling for less than list price has been relatively stable over the past 15 years. Regardless of market conditions, there are always highly motivated sellers willing to drop their price.”

Stewart Guaranty Chief Economist Ted Jones told DS News in January that limited housing inventory was creating an urgency to buy.

2-3 CoreLogic graph 2“We always think that six-month inventory is normal for existing homes,” Jones said. “We’re in that mid-four-month inventory range. We know that rents are going to continue to rise. You have the option of either renting or owning. Rents have actually been going up while interest rates have stayed the same or even going lower.”

While existing-home sales in 2015 experienced their best year since 2006, a repeat in 2016 is unlikely if inventory remains at its current levels.

“Although some growth is expected, the housing market will struggle in 2016 to replicate last year’s 7 percent increase in sales,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “In addition to insufficient supply levels, the overall pace of sales this year will be constricted by tepid economic expansion, rising mortgage rates and decreasing demand for buying in oil-producing metro areas.”

According to Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan, single-family starts should accelerate to 17 percent this year. But only, he said, “if easing housing supply shortages and a continued strong pace of household formation pan out.”

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This Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!!!!!

Posted: 04 Feb 2016 KCM CrewThis Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!! | Keeping Current MattersRecently, on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary, also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” said Millennials “don’t give a poo-poo about owning a house.” This thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s give a few examples to make this point. 1.) In the recent National Housing Market Survey conducted by Fannie Mae, it was revealed that:

“…data indicates that millennial renters today have as much desire to own a home as the general population of renters. According to NHS data, the substantial majority of renters age 25-34 say that owning makes more sense than renting from a financial perspective. A majority also agree that owning makes more sense than renting from a lifestyle perspective. The vast majority of millennial renters tell us they plan to own a home at some point in the future.”

2.) A recent Merrill Lynch report found that 81% of Millennials agree that“homeownership is an important part of their personal American Dream” 3.) The most recent H.O.M.E. Survey explained that 85% of Americans ages 34 and under believe that “homeownership is a good financial decision”.

Bottom Line

Kevin O’Leary might be a great white shark when it comes to investing in companies. However, he is just a guppy when dealing with the residential real estate market.

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