Bainbridge Island, WA Real Estate News

This is a week full of popular topics, starting with March New Home Sales, forecast to be up a bit from February. Thursday's Pending Home Sales for March will give us an idea of existing home closings a couple of months out, expected to be up a tad too. Wednesday, it's the Fed's FOMC rate decision. No one expects the rate to budge, but the policy statement will be scrutinized for signs of when that situation might change. The inflation watch continues with Friday's Core PCE Prices for March. It should be up slightly, but not enough to concern the Fed. This key inflation indicator excludes food and gas prices which we all know are on the rise. Finally, we'll check into the overall state of the economy during Q1, with Advanced GDP expected to show growth, though at a slower rate. From my ...
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Bond prices drifted slightly higher for the week, as the market figured that all the federal government belt tightening would slow economic growth. This helps bonds and the price of the FNMA 4.0% bond we watch ended the week up .05, closing at $98.20. National average rates for conforming mortgages eased lower in Freddie Mac's weekly survey, and remain at historically low levels. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported demand for purchase loans UP 10% compared to the week before. From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 25, 2011  
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In a four-day week of trading, investors sent stock prices back in the right direction (UP!), as all three major indexes posted gains. This happened in spite of some negative items that could have easily pulled things the opposite way. The biggest bit of bad news came Monday when Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook to negative on the U.S. AAA credit rating. They threatened to downgrade this rating unless Washington can cut its huge federal budget deficit in the next two years. We also had the Philly Fed index showing manufacturing sentiment in that region dropping to a five-month low.But a bunch of blow-out corporate earnings reports got everyone feeling more hopeful and started the stock market rallies. Big winners who exceeded Q1 earnings expectations included Intel, United Technolo...
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The secret to success in business? Give terrific value, treat your customers well and watch your expenses. Experts say to focus on these three things and everything else will take care of itself. From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 25, 2011
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The housing recovery isn't yet a success, but last week gave us a few good reasons to keep plugging along. First came March Housing Starts, bursting UP 7.2% to a 549,000 unit annual rate. February starts were also revised UP 6.9%. Then we found out new Building Permits surged 11.2% in March to a 594,000 annual rate and were revised UP 3.3% for February. Starts and permits are still down over 13% from a year ago, as residential construction has dropped to only 2.3% of GDP, its lowest level on record. But economists say it won't go much lower, and that's what these latest numbers are signaling.We also had Existing Home Sales UP 3.7% in March and off only 6.3% compared to a year ago. The median existing home price rose for the month and is down just over 5% for the year, while average pric...
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Economists are sticking to their guns about no hike in the Fed Funds Rate for the near term. 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 Apr 27 0%-0.25% Jun 22 0%-0.25% Aug 9 0%-0.25% Probability of change from current policy: After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Apr 27      <1% Jun 22      <1% Aug 9      <2%  From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 25, 2011
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 Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact MApr 25 10:00 New Home Sales Mar 280K 250K Moderate TuApr 26 10:00 Consumer Confidence Apr 64.4 63.4 Moderate WApr 27 08:30 Durable Goods Orders Mar 1.9% -0.6% Moderate WApr 27 10:30 Crude Inventories 4/23 NA -2.322M Moderate WApr 27 12:30 FOMC Rate Decision 4/27 0%-0.25% 0%-0.25% HIGH ThApr 28 08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 4/23 390K 403K Moderate ThApr 28 08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 4/16 3.700M 3.695M Moderate ThApr 28 08:30 GDP-Adv. Q1 1.7% 3.1% Moderate ThApr 28 08:30 GDP Deflator Q1 2.3% 0.4% Moderate ThApr 28 10:00 Pending Home Sales Mar 1.5% 2.1% Moderate FApr 29 08:30 Personal Income Mar 0.4% 0.3% Moderate FApr 29 08:30 Personal Spending Mar 0.5% 0.7% HIGH FApr 29 08:30 PCE Prices-Core Mar 0.1% 0.2% HIGH FApr 29 08:...
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HOMES STARTED, HOMES PERMITTED, HOMES SOLD...This week looks at a good part of the housing market. March Housing Starts on Tuesday are expected to be up nicely, the same as Building Permits, which show planned starts a month or two out. Wednesday's Existing Home Sales should report the annual rate back at 5 million, definitely a good thing.Other data includes the Philadelphia Fed Index of manufacturing activity in that region, forecast down some for April. We'll also look at the overall recovery with March Leading Economic Indicators, predicted up by a small amount. On Good Friday, the markets will be closed and there are no economic reports. From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 18, 2011.  
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Stocks were down for the week, but only slightly, falling sideways, if you will. This seemed to stem from general investor unease over the U.S. budget deficit, the European debt crisis and a mixed reaction to Q1 corporate earnings. Alcoa beat estimates, but revenues were off. JPMorgan Chase topped expectations, but Bank of America missed. Even Google was punished for higher operating costs, while reporting in-line earnings and better than expected revenue. Yet, the 33 S&P 500 companies reporting so far had 7.3% higher sales and 38% better earnings than a year ago.In other news, Retail Sales were on a roll in March, up 0.4% overall and up 0.8% taking out autos. That's annual sales growth of almost 10%, so the consumer is clearly helping out. On the inflation front, the PPI showed prices ...
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Two of the most powerful words in business are "thank you." Let your customers and employees know how much you appreciate them. Say "thank you" often. Even better, write them a note--not an email, text or Tweet, but an old-fashioned, hand-written, personal note! From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 18, 2011.
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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) predicts rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages could rise a bit in the second half of this year. They see this gradual rise in mortgage rates continuing, even if the Federal Funds rate does not increase for another six to 12 months, as many economists expect. That's because both the Treasury Department and the Fed announced last month they would start selling their huge portfolios of mortgage-backed securities. Some analysts believe these moves will raise rates. Bottom line: now is a good time to buy with rates dropping a bit today (Monday, April 18, 2011) From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 18, 2011.
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Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months...Last week's benign inflation readings mean the Fed can hold onto its rock bottom rates a while longer. Economists expect this to be the situation in the near term. 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 Apr 27 0%-0.25% Jun 22 0%-0.25% Aug 9 0%-0.25% Probability of change from current policy: After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Apr 27      <1% Jun 22      <1% Aug 9      2%  From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 18, 2011.
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Economic Calendar for the Week of April 18 - April 22  Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact TuApr 19 08:30 Housing Starts Mar 520K 479K Moderate TuApr 19 08:30 Building Permits Mar 538K 517K Moderate WApr 20 10:00 Existing Home Sales Mar 5.00M 4.88M Moderate WApr 20 10:30 Crude Inventories 4/16 NA 1.627M Moderate ThApr 21 08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 4/16 390K 412K Moderate ThApr 21 08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 4/16 3.650M 3.680M Moderate ThApr 21 10:00 Leading Economic Indicators Index (LEI) Mar 0.2% 0.8% Moderate ThApr 21 10:00 Philadelphia Fed Index Apr 32.9 43.4 HIGH  From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 18, 2011.
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Optimists received some encouragement from data aggregator CoreLogic, who reported that home prices fell again in February, but the price drops appeared mostly with distressed sales--short sales and bank-owned homes, otherwise known as REO properties. Excluding these, the CoreLogic index was essentially flat, down just 0.1% versus a year ago. Their Chief Economist commented, "When you remove distressed properties from the equation, we're seeing a significantly reduced pace of depreciation and greater stability in many markets." During the month, 6 out of 10 of the country's biggest markets saw home price APPRECIATION in non-distressed sales. From my weekly enewsletter for real estate pros, INSIDE LENDING, for the week of April 18, 2011.
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By Brenda Prowse
(Prowse and Company)
Bainbridge Island residential properties were selling for a March median price of $501,500, about 1% less than in February and 4% lower than a year ago. The more stable three month moving average closed sale price fell 4% from last month to $485,708 and is 16% lower than a year ago. The Kitsap County 3 month moving average median price is about the same as it was a year ago. The 3 month moving average for Bainbridge Island's number of closed sales is 12% higher than a year ago. The 3 month moving average of closed sales is down 12% Countywide from a year ago. The 3 month moving average number of Bainbridge pending sales in March was down 7% from a year ago. The number of active listings on Bainbridge (166) rose 4% from February and is about 14% lower than a year ago.  The inventory turn...
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DID YOU KNOW?...The Commerce Department reported the average price of a new home sold in December was the highest it's been since July 2008--$291,400. From my weekly e-newsletter for real estate professionals, INSIDE LENDING, April 11, 2011
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Avoid the hard sell--a soft sell approach is actually far more effective. Satisfy your customers' needs and wants. Discover their pain points and be their problem solver. Do what really is best for your customer and see your reputation and business grow. From my weekly e-newsletter for real estate professionals, INSIDE LENDING, April 11, 2011
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Review of Last Week... Our representatives in Washington waited until the last minute to agree on budget cuts and avoid the first Federal government shutdown in 15 years. The media had a field day, but investors largely ignored it, understanding that the last thing any government wants to do is put a stop to its own operations. But there was enough other bothersome news--rising gold and oil prices, a declining dollar and a rate hike by the European Central Bank--to leave the Dow flat and the other two major stock indexes off a tick for the week.But the ISM Non-Manufacturing index, which dipped slightly in March, still shows the services sector above 50 and growing. In fact, this index has been in that territory now for 16 straight months! It was also encouraging that initial weekly jobl...
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 Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months...Friday, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said the Fed is close to the point at which it has to start reversing its "accommodative" monetary policy (i.e., raise the Funds rate). But economists still don't expect that until much later in 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 Apr 27 0%-0.25% Jun 22 0%-0.25% Aug 9 0%-0.25% Probability of change from current policy: After FOMC meeting on: Consensus Apr 27      <1% Jun 22      <1% Aug 9      4% From my weekly e-newsletter for real estate professionals, INSIDE LENDING, April 11, 2011
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HOW MUCH ARE WE BUYING, WHAT ARE WE PAYING AND HOW'S BUSINESS?... Wednesday's March Retail Sales are expected to show we consumers continue to buy more. We're also paying more, as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is forecast up a tad. But Core CPI is what the Fed focuses on, which excludes volatile food and energy prices. Some economists think food and energy hikes are exactly why the Fed should begin raising rates. Wholesale inflation is also moving up, measured by the Producer Price Index (PPI), and some experts say businesses will eventually pass these higher prices on to the consumer. Yet Michigan Consumer Sentiment is predicted to remain fairly positive.How business is doing will be reflected in the Trade Balance, expected to show a $45 billion export-import gap, and the Empire State...
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