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Economic News Week: May 7, 2012
SWBC Mortgage
Wednesday, May 9, 2012 • Posted May 10, 2012

On Tuesday of last week the DOW hit its highest level in four years as U.S. manufacturing had its fastest growth in 10 months. Manufacturing expanded last month at the strongest pace since June 2011, according to the Institute of Supply Management. But, Friday the DOW dropped 168.32 points to 13038.27 as news from April’s job growth wasn’t what investors were hoping for. The U.S. unemployment rate did drop to 8.1% which is better than the alternative when you take into consideration that we were losing 750,000 jobs a month just a little more than 3 years ago. The now 8.1 percent rate is the lowest since January 2009. Keep this in mind too-the Labor Department said weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 27,000 last week. It was the biggest drop in nearly a year. The bigger economic picture is what is happening over in Europe today-Monday. The stock market may be in for another round of losses as France and Greece held elections and investors didn’t like what they heard. Here in the U.S. consumers have a little more spending cash as oil prices fell to its lowest level in nearly six months. Gas prices have fallen about .06 cents recently and are expected to fall further before the summer driving peaks hit. The automotive markets seem to be growing stronger as sales of Dodge Durango SUV’s and Jeep Grand Cherokees have been strong enough to announce that Detroit factories will stay open through the normal two week summer shutdown. Finally, Construction spending was up by 0.1 percent for March. Not a big increase, but positive news anyway.

Real Estate, Mortgage Industry, and Other Economic News

The Boerne Cibolo River Walk had its grand showing this past Saturday and what a debut it was. Vendors were displaying their attributes along the walk. Folks were able to stroll and take in the newly built walk way. Of course, the plan is to increase tourist visits but, it also is an added benefit to locals as they now have another reason to be proud of their city. Other communities are spending money for economic improvement and development as well. Kerrville is re-constructing the old Sid Peterson Hospital downtown into a park like atmosphere. Johnson City just completed their new Youth Center. Fredericksburg is in the throngs of voting on a major community project by making additions to its community pools. Plus, The Boot Ranch premier development just outside Fredericksburg was featured in an article this past week in The S.A. Express News. The golf course has been designated an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International as a three year effort included identifying 122 different birds and other wildlife. The development also demonstrated water-quality management and reducing the use of chemicals on site.

Talking about the Texas Hill Country, I was able to buy sweet peaches in Fredericksburg/Stonewall as this past weekend kicked off their roadside markets. Boerne even opened their own Farmers Market at the Cibolo Wilderness Trail. It’s that time of year when the area explodes with travelers and visitors.

Finally, the average rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages fell to fresh record lows this past week: 3.84 percent for the 30-year and 3.07 percent for the 15-year. The question always remains is, “will they go down further?” That is a hard question to answer. I tend to watch the markets for clues. For example, when the DOW does well, rates tend to go up as investor are purchasing stocks. However, when the DOW does bad, investors tend to invest in Bonds and MBS’s (mortgage-backed securities) which can cause rates to drop. My advice to future home buyers is to watch the markets but, you will do well to find a Mortgage provider and Loan Officer who can advise you when to “lock-rate”.

This article is for informational purposes only. Do not use it as financial advice. For questions/comments contact Tony Stevenson at 1-800-460-6990 or email tstevenson@swbc.com

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