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Economic News Week: July 9, 2012
SWBC Mortgage
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 • Posted July 13, 2012

The Dow closed last Friday at 12,772.47 based on what some economists claimed to be a weak jobs report. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 8.2% as 80,000 jobs were gained. Keep in mind that is still jobs “gained” not lost as it was a few years ago when we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs per month. Last Thursday’s weekly jobless claims report stated that the job market brightened a little after the government said fewer people applied for unemployment benefits and surveys of private companies showed hiring increased in June. ADP said businesses added 176,000 jobs last month. That’s better than the revised total of 136,000 jobs it reported in May. Plus, factory orders were up 0.7 percent in May a report from the Commerce Department stated. Core capital goods (durable goods), which include machinery and computers, rose 2.1 percent, showing companies are still making investment plans. What’s sad is that consumers do not hear the good news about the economy. Our economic recovery is based on 70 percent of consumers spending. When the consumer stops spending or even slows down, our economic recovery suffers. Look at recent car sales though. Consumers shook off any jitters over the economy in June a report in the S.A. Express News said last week. Recent auto sales helped automakers push sales of some models to levels not seen since pre-recession days. Europe’s financial crisis hasn’t helped matters. However, there finally seems to be some resolution to their crisis for now. Here in the U.S., we are in the throngs of an election cycle. If only we could advise consumers to plug their ears and look for the positive-which is out there, our economy would be growing at a faster pace in my opinion.

Real Estate, Mortgage Industry, and other Economic News

AAA projected that almost 3 million Texans traveled during the Independence Day extended weekend. That is a 5 percent increase from last year. Many of the travelers were expected to come to San Antonio in order to attend festivities and watch the fireworks. Boerne, as usual, had a tremendous fireworks display for all to see at their city park. Johnson City celebrated as well with their annual “Star Spangled Celebration” at the Blanco County Fairgrounds. I don’t know but, it just felt good to be an American this past week. It also made me even prouder to know that I am from Texas, where being an American and family values still mean something. Maybe that is why folks are wanting to move and live here? In any case, I do not blame them.

Texas Cities (Still) Among Nation's Fastest Growing -Washington (National Association of Realtors) – Texas has eight of the nation’s 15 fastest-growing cities and six of the top seven, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. From April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2011, Round Rock had the second-highest rate of population change in the country, with 4.8 percent growth. Following Round Rock were Austin, Plano, McKinney and Frisco, each with 3.8 percent. Denton was seventh with 3.4 percent; McAllen and Carrollton claimed the 13th and 14th spots with 3 percent each. Coming in first was New Orleans with nearly 5 percent growth. "These numbers provide further evidence of a continuation of the trend of rapid population growth in Texas we observed between the 2000 and 2010 censuses," said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. To compile its list, the Census Bureau evaluated population increases in 2011 for cities with more than 100,000 residents. So, keep in mind that these stats do not include cities such as Boerne and New Braunfels.

Mortgage rates dropped to record lows according to Freddie Mac. The 30 year fixed rate index dropped to an average of 3.62 percent, the lowest level since long-term mortgages began back in the 1950s. The rate on the 30 year index has fallen to or matched record lows in 10 of the past 11 weeks. How long rates will remain at these levels is anybody’s guess. Some pundits expect rates to start increasing after the November Presidential elections. However, the newly created CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) intends to overhaul the home mortgage market as first step toward improving fairness and clarity. The goal is to remake the process of getting a mortgage, making it easier for borrowers to understand the kind of loan they are getting and its costs. So far, I have not seen the “cost” aspect to this far reaching plan. While rates and costs increase? I am afraid that it could cost the same people it is designed to protect-leaving many without the possible means of even getting a mortgage in the future. Personally, the Dodd-Frank Act should be revamped in its entirety if it is to benefit and protect at the same time. Leave it to Congress to do what it thinks is in our best interest while not even having the faintest idea what they are doing or who it affects. In the meantime, I would advise prospective home-buyers to jump off their respective fences and get down to business buying the home of their dreams. Rates are very attractive and Lenders are loaning money-for now.

(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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