Bainbridge Island, WA Real Estate News

A customer called me this morning and said, "Look, I know you have told me you don't have a crystal ball for interest rates, but can you tell me, when rates do go up, based on a review of what has happened in the past, do they go up slowly a little bit at a time or can they jump up fast?" First, I do have a crystal ball, but it was shattered when the Federal Reserve started purchasing our own debt and mortgage bonds.  Second, history is only an indicator, but I did find the exercise of reviewing what has happened with the Prime Rate since the 1950s to be pretty fascinating. Many homeowners are concerned about what will happen with interest rates as many of them have fairly large balances on their home equity line of credit. When they are sitting at 3.25% and they are making an interest ...
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There is quite a buzz going around about a "new tax on all real estate sales" related to new health care legislation. Here are the facts: The new health care legislation includes a 3.8% Medicare tax that may apply to certain real estate transactions in certain very specific circumstances. Unfortunately, this has been misreported all over the internet in some alarming ways. Here is the fiction: "The new health care legislation imposes a 3.8% tax on all home sales.""If you sell your home for $400,000, you'll pay a $15,200 'sales tax.'""Middle-income people will pay the full tax even if they're only 'rich' the day they sell their home." Please note: Every one of the above statements is COMPLETELY FALSE. What the Law Really Says One of the provisions of the Patient Protection Affordable Car...
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For those of us with a strong will to succeed in this housing recovery, the way appears to be by focusing on the extraordinary affordability of today's residential market. Part of this affordability lies in the fact that mortgage rates fell again for the third week in a row, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of national average rates for conforming mortgages. This drop took them to their lowest point of the year. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly survey reported demand for purchase loans was UP a seasonally adjusted 0.3% from the prior week.The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released another annual forecast, this one predicting a 1.8% drop in the medium price of existing homes this year. Sales of existing homes, however, are expected to grow almost 8%, which s...
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INFLATION, CONSUMER FEELINGS, CONSUMER SPENDING... This is the week for looking at inflation once again. Thursday's Producer Price Index shows us how prices are doing at the wholesale level. The overall headline number will continue just shy of 1% with the core number holding at 0.3%. How much of this price increase gets passed on to the consumer will be told by Friday's Consumer Price Index. The Fed focuses on Core CPI, which excludes food and energy and is expected to rise to 0.2%. We'll see how much consumers are spending with Thursday's Retail Sales for April which should show continued growth, although at a slower rate when they take out car sales. Consumer feelings will be felt Friday with the University of Michigan Sentiment Index,  forecast to be down slightly for May.  From my ...
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Last week bond prices moved higher, with safe haven buying from investors concerned over Greece's threats to leave the EU and those plummeting commodities prices. The price of the FNMA 4.0% bond we watch ended the week UP .97, the same amount as last week, closing at $100.14. Higher mortgage bond prices signal lower mortgage rates and national average rates for conforming mortgages fell again, as covered above.  All eyes continue to be on Europe and Greece is not alone as economists are looking for another shoe to fall. From my weekly enewsletter INSIDE LENDING, for real estate pros, May 9, 2011
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Wall Street gave investors a wild ride, in a week that began with the death of Osama bin Laden and ended on a mixed April jobs report. The net result was that after two weeks of gains, all three major stock indexes slid a bit. Commodities also took a hit, with crude oil prices off almost 15% for the week. This is good for consumers, who should get lower gas prices, and good for the rest of the economy, as it starts seeing some of that money which had been going into our tanks. ISM Manufacturing and Services were down for the month, though still indicating growth. Q1 Productivity was up, but lower than the prior quarter.The April Employment Report held a few surprises. Overall payrolls, expected to increase by 183,000, came in at 244,000 new jobs. The private sector had the best gain in ...
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While Crude Oil is trading north of $100 today, last week's 15% decline was the first time that Crude has been under $100 a barrel for two months. Bloomberg notes that this weekly decline was the biggest one seen since 2008. Unfortunately the price drop may be short-lived, according to reports today from the business news service: "Futures climbed as much as 4.4 percent, snapping a five-day losing streak, after a report today showed German exports surged to a record in March and the U.S. Labor Department said last week that payrolls expanded. Prices also advanced on concern that a rising Mississippi River will flood Louisiana refineries." See complete story at http://tinyurl.com/5tgryeu. At least locally, gas in nearby Suquamish fell yesterday from $4.02 for unleaded to $3.97.  Check ou...
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Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months...Even though more economists are talking about the need for the Fed to raise the Funds rate to curb inflation, virtually none believe Chairman Bernanke will listen to them any time soon. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same. Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%-0.25% After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Jun 22 0%-0.25% Aug 9 0%-0.25% Sep 20 0%-0.25% Probability of change from current policy: After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Jun 22      <1% Aug 9      <1% Sep 20      <1% From my weekly enewsletter INSIDE LENDING, for real estate pros, May 9, 2011
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Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates. Economic Calendar for the Week of May 9 - May 13  Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact WMay 11 08:30 Trade Balance Mar -$46.3B -$45.8B Moderate WMay 11 10:30 Crude Inventories 5/7 NA 3.421M Moderate ThMay 12 08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 5/7 445K 474K Moderate ThMay 12 08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 4/30 0M 3.733M Moderate ThMay 12 08:30 Producer Price Index (PPI) Apr 0.9% 0.7% Moderate ThMay 12 08:30 Core PPI Apr 0.3% 0.3% Moderate ThMay 12 08:30 Retail Sales Apr 0.7% 0.4% HIGH ThMay 12 08:30 Retail Sales ex-autos Apr 0.6% 0.8% HIGH ThMay 12 10:00 Business Inventories Mar 0.8% 0.5% Moderate FMay 13 08:30 C...
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By Paul Pival, A Realtor with the soul of a professor.
(Coldwell Banker Bain)
 Closed Transactions Month of April   Please note: we are comparing closings during this year's April and last year's April. 28% fewer homes closed in April this year. Transactions took nearly a month longer to close.  The average selling price was six percent higher.    Sellers accepted 16% less than they originally asked. There are 193 homes in inventory at all price ranges (the highest listing is $4.4M).  Average listing  price is $863,000) , with half the inventory under $645,000.  If you would like details of the home that closed in your neighborhood, call or email me.                                      
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Last week (ending April 29, 2011), bond prices moved higher, reacting positively to the tame inflation report and the slowing economic recovery reflected in the lower GDP growth number. The price of the FNMA 4.0% bond we watch ended the week UP .97, closing at $99.17. Higher mortgage bond prices signal lower mortgage rates. Freddie Mac's weekly survey showed national average rates for conforming mortgages at historically low levels, falling for the second week in a row.  From my weekly enewsletter INSIDE LENDING for Real Estate Pros, Week of May 2, 2011
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Last week's reports showed the progress of the housing market recovery is definitely on a zigzag trajectory. Zigging upward were new home sales, UP a strong 11.1% in March, hitting the 300,000 threshold annual rate. The supply of new homes dropped to 7.3 months and the inventory fell again, to its lowest level since 1967. Also zigging UP 5.1% were March Pending Home Sales, which measure contracts on existing homes and point to continued gains in existing home sales come April and May.But the path to progress in the housing market recovery zagged downward in the pricing area. The FHFA index of prices for homes financed with conforming mortgages slipped 1.6% in February. The Case-Shiller index of home prices in the top 20 metro areas dropped 0.2% for February (seasonally adjusted). But ob...
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Once again, investors on Wall Street sent stock prices higher and the Dow Jones Industrial Average wound UP 4% for April, its best monthly gain since December. This happened in spite of the still slipping home prices covered above, plus a preliminary Q1 GDP reading of just a 1.8% annual growth rate. But consumer inflation is up only 1.8% versus a year ago and Core PCE prices, which exclude food and energy, came in just 0.9% up over the past year. Consequently, the Fed, as expected, kept the Funds rate at its rock bottom level coming out of their FOMC meeting on Wednesday. That meeting was followed by the historic, first-ever press conference by a Fed chairman. Ben Bernanke used this event to tell the world he doesn't see the need for any policy changes or a hike in the Funds rate. Inves...
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From beginning to end, this week features answers to those two burning questions: Monday's ISM Index for April is expected to show a slight slowdown in the growth of manufacturing, although the expected reading is still well above 50, indicating expansion. Wednesday's ISM Services is forecast to show the same level of continued growth in that sector of the economy, which provides about 85% of our country's jobs.How the economy is doing creating those jobs will be reported in Friday's Employment Report for April. Another 183,000 jobs are expected to be added, fewer than in March, but the unemployment rate should hold at 8.8%. From my weekly enewsletter INSIDE LENDING for Real Estate Pros, Week of May 2, 2011
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If anyone doubted it, Chairman Bernanke said it himself at last week's historic press conference -- rates will stay at their current rock bottom level "for an extended period." Many economists are taking that to mean till the end of the year. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same. Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%-0.25% After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Jun 22 0%-0.25% Aug 9 0%-0.25% Sep 20 0%-0.25% Probability of change from current policy: After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Jun 22      <1% Aug 9      1% Sep 20      3% From my weekly enewsletter INSIDE LENDING for Real Estate Pros, Week of May 2, 2011
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Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates. Economic Calendar for the Week of May 2 - May 6  Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact MMay 2 10:00 ISM Index Apr 59.7 61.2 HIGH WMay 4 10:00 ISM Services Index Apr 57.3 57.3 Moderate WMay 4 10:30 Crude Inventories 4/30 NA 6.156M Moderate ThMay 5 08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 4/30 400K 429K Moderate ThMay 5 08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 4/23 3.638M 3.641M Moderate ThMay 5 08:30 Productivity-Prelim. Q1 1.0% 2.6% Moderate FMay 6 08:30 Average Workweek Apr 34.3 34.3 HIGH FMay 6 08:30 Hourly Earnings Apr 0.2% 0.0% HIGH FMay 6 08:30 Nonfarm Payrolls Apr 183K 216K HIGH FMay 6 08:30 Unemployment Rate Apr 8.8% 8.8%...
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A good first impression is the way to start a great relationship. A negative first impression can often be overcome, but why give yourself the extra work? Statistics from psychological studies show what to do to make a first impression that will last. 1. Watch what you wear. First impressions are formed within 7 to 17 seconds of meeting someone and 55% of a person's opinion is driven by physical appearance. Dress conservatively when meeting for the first time, even if you're in a "creative" office environment. Don't use accessories, perfumes, hair styles and shoes that call attention to themselves. 2. Edit your body language. 93% of our judgment of others is based on non-verbal input. Watch your posture when standing and sitting. Use a firm hand shake. Maintain eye contact. Sitting too ...
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