September 2015 Newsletter
Our annual conference is just around the corner! Don’t miss an opportunity to network with like-minded communities and peers! This is also a great opportunity to bring those who may want to learn more about retiree demographics, trends, and economic potential. Click Here to learn more about the 2015 Conference. Early Bird Sign Up Ends October 15, 2015
Does your community recognize the potential of retiree recruitment as a non-traditional economic development strategy? For those who do, their economies have been improved without huge investments in infrastructure, tax abatements, “clawback” agreements, and industrial parks.
This population group will grow to 92 million by 2060. Many of these retirees are going to be looking for a home to purchase and a community to spend their lifetime of accrued earnings. Will it be yours?
So what are you waiting for? Learn more about the Annual Conference and market yourself to this crucial piece of the economic pie.
Jeff Fleming Chair, The AARC
New Home Sales Highest since 2008
Patrick Gillespie/CNN Money – September 24, 2015
Americans went shopping for homes in August.
It was nearly a 6% increase from July, which was also revised up, according to the Census Bureau.
Still, the figure is a far cry from the historic average: the average monthly number of new home sales over the last 30 years is 706,000 according to Peter Boockvar, chief market strategist at the Lindsey Group.
“Today’s figure is encouraging but we’ve got a LONG way to go,” Boockvar wrote in a note to clients.
Some economists believe there could be an uptick in home buying as prospective home owners try to lock in a low mortgage rate before the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage in August was 3.9%, very low on a historical basis. A decade ago the rate was about 5.8% and 20 years ago it was 7.8%. When the Fed raises rates, the expectation is that rates on mortgages will gradually move up too.
The central bank is now expected to raise rates in either October or December.
No Liftoff: Federal Reserve leaves rates near 0%
Patrick Gillespie & Heather Long/CNN Money – September 17, 2015
The Federal Reserve is still waiting for the right moment.
In a decision that could have gone either way, the Fed decided not to raise its key interest rate in September. America’s central bank hasn’t raised rates in almost a decade and rates have been stuck near zero since the depths of the financial crisis in December 2008.
Concerns about a global economic slowdown, low inflation in the U.S. and volatile stock markets lowered the chances of a September rate hike.
“The situation abroad bears close watching,” Fed chair Janet Yellen said at a press conference Thursday. “Heightened concerns about growth in China and other emerging market economies have led to notable volatility in financial markets.”
The stock market surged after the decision with the Dow rising over 150 points, but then it feel back to flat as it appeared to sink in to investors that a rate increase is likely coming.
Although they didn’t raise rates now, the majority of Fed committee members believe there will be a rate hike in 2015, according to its economic projections. The committee has two remaining meetings this year — in October and December.
“Every meeting is a live meeting,” Yellen stressed. October “remains a possibility”
Overall, the Fed does sound slightly more optimistic about the U.S. economy. It raised its expectations for economic growth this year to 2.1% from 1.9%, and it lowered its projection for the unemployment rate by the end of the year to 5%. Currently, unemployment is 5.1%.
Yellen emphasized that even though the committee is watching the jitters abroad and in U.S. markets, it has “not fundamentally altered our outlook.”
Still, it wasn’t enough to raise rates in September.
“The committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen some further improvement in the labor market,” and remains reasonably confident that inflation will pick up, the Fed’s committee said.
A variety of prominent voices — from chiefs of the IMF and World Bank to a Nobel Prize-winning economist — had urged the Fed not to raise rates in September. It’s unclear how much of a role those voices played, although protestors stood outside the Fed’s meeting spot this week urging them not to raise rates until more people have jobs.
Two forces are playing into the Fed rate hike debate: a good-but-not-great U.S. economy and a gloomy economic outlook outside the U.S. The Fed’s two primary goals are to help the economy achieve full employment and keep inflation from getting out of hand.
Stock market volatility plays into the Fed’s decision too, although Yellen tried to downplay the market’s impact on central bankers’ thinking.
“The Fed should not be responding to the ups and downs of the markets,” she said.
Weekly Mortgage Applications Surge 13.9% on Rate Dips
Diane Olick/CNBC – September 23, 2015
The high drama leading up to and following the Federal Reserve’s decision not to raise interest rates had mortgage borrowers and their lenders busy last week.
Total application volume surged 13.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ended Sept. 18 versus the earlier week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The previous week had an adjustment for the Labor Day holiday.
“We saw significant rate volatility last week surrounding the FOMC meeting, and rate declines toward the end of the week likely drove applications from both prospective homebuyers and borrowers looking to refinance,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.
Refinance applications, which are most rate-sensitive, increased 18 percent from the previous week. Purchase applications rose 9 percent to their highest level since June 2015. They are now 27 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
“The increase in purchase activity was solely driven by applications for conventional purchase loans, which reached the highest level since June 2013. That time period was the so-called taper tantrum, when mortgage rates picked up significantly following Fed communication to slow the pace of its asset purchases. Overall, the purchase market continues to show strength,” added Fratantoni.
Despite moves lower during the week, by the end the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) was unchanged at 4.09 percent, with points increasing to 0.45 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
The increase in purchase applications is a welcome sign for the housing market, after a disappointing read on August home sales this week. Sales fell nearly 5 percent for the month after rising for three straight months, according to the National Association of Realtors. The group blames tight inventory and high prices for the weakness in home sales.
Mortgage rates moved lower Tuesday amid a selloff in the stock market; they are now at the lowest levels in four months, which could prompt even more current borrowers and potential buyers to take advantage.