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Economic News Week: July 16, 2012
SWBC Mortgage
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 • Posted July 20, 2012

Better-than-expected quarterly results from J P Morgan Chase boosted enthusiasm about earnings season and caused the DOW to jump 203.82 points last Friday, stopping the DOW from its longest decline in almost two months, according to a report in this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal. What’s ironic is that Chase had reported that they had underestimated their “whale” losses from trades that investors had hidden in portfolios. Estimates now put the loss at $5.8 billion-up from $2 billion in May. The cause for the market’s rise is that Chase had just reported $4.4 billion in quarterly profits. Plus, China said its economy hadn’t slowed as much as investors feared. Better news is that our trade deficit was down as the U.S. narrowed to $48.7 billion in May, down 3.8% from April, which was helped by cheaper oil and an increase in U.S. exports. The Dow ended last Friday at 12777.09. On the job front-U.S. employers advertised more job openings in May than April. A hopeful sign after three months of weak hiring efforts. A rise in openings could mean hiring will pick up in the coming months-despite seasonal job layoffs. It typically takes 1-3 months to fill a job.

Real Estate, Mortgage Industry, and other Economic News

Another accolade for Texas as CNBC named Texas the “Top State For Business” in CNBC’s sixth annual listing of America’s top businesses. Texas beat out last year’s winner-Virginia. The study by CNBC also identified San Antonio- based HEB retail grocery store-as the state’s largest employer-and health care and energy sectors as its largest industries. “The state does face some challenges in areas such as education and health care, but its big, deep, diverse economic climate make Texas impossible to ignore,” CNBC Senior Correspondent John Cohn said in its release. It’s clear as to what Texas Legislatures need to concentrate on next session and that is education and health care. Governor Perry recently rejected any Federal help for our state’s Medicare program-which will hurt hospitals for one. Plus, we have already been informed that education is in for another round of cuts. Do we let go of even more teachers? Make class rooms larger than they already are? In my opinion, a State’s economy is only as good as its education for its children. Dare we touch the rainy day fund again? In any case, let your legislature know that you refuse to put our children’s future on hold any longer. Tell them to fix education funding this time around.

Texas Tops Nation in Job Gains

Of the states regaining all the jobs they lost during the recession, Texas tops the list. Gaining 410,400 nonfarm jobs between May 2007 and May 2012, Texas ranked first among the nine states and the District of Columbia that have reached prerecession job levels, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. New York earned its second-place standing with 88,600 net jobs added since May 2007, followed by North Dakota; Washington, D.C.; Louisiana; Oklahoma; Alaska; Nebraska; South Dakota; and West Virginia. The state with the largest job shortfall is California, having lost 891,200 jobs since the start of the recession.(Excerpt from the on-line Real Estate Center).

Record Low for Mortgage Rates

Another record low for mortgage rates. The average rate for the 30 year fixed mortgage rate dropped to 3.56 percent for the week ended July 12th , according to Freddie Mac. Rates for the 15 year index dropped to a record low of 2.86 percent. Most of these reported rates include an 1% origination fee and/or a discount point-just to keep things in perspective. If you haven’t refinanced you should. A question on most folks mind is, “when should I refinance”? Not a simple answer. However, I will give it my best shot. If your loan balance is $150k or less and you can beat your current rate by 2 points, then it may be worth it. If your loan balance is $200k then it may be worthwhile if you can beat your current rate by 1 percent. Of course you should look at the whole picture. How much are the lender’s closing costs? Third party vendor fees? Do I plan on living in the home 5 years or more? There is always a grey area as to when it makes sense or not. That is why it is so important to rely on the opinion of a licensed Professional Mortgage Loan Officer. Not some internet company who treats you like a number or a company that is not even from the same state you live in. The key word here is “licensed”. Yes, there are some loan officers who aren’t even licensed-who may fall under the umbrella of a Big bank’s federal depository. A licensed Mortgage loan officer is someone who took the time to be educated and informed in today’s mortgage laws, programs, and practices. So, when you look for a Mortgage Loan Officer, ask them these two questions, “are you licensed in the State of Texas?” and “what is your NMLS number?” Now get busy and take advantage of these low rates while the gettin’ is good!

(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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