The DOW ended on a positive note this past Friday as it snapped a short losing streak while closing at 13328.85. Worries about bank profits balanced off against a jump in Consumer Sentiment. The worries were unfounded as two big banks -Chase and Wells- both reported better numbers than expected. Their third-quarter results suggest the housing market, a key factor in the nation’s economic performance, is bouncing back as mortgage rates hit record lows and home refinancing surged. “The housing market has turned the corner,” said J.P. Morgan’s Chief, James Dimon. Fifty-nine percent of corporations are beating estimated earnings for the third quarter. More earnings are expected this week. Consumer Sentiment rose to its highest level since the fall of 2007. The report suggests that the holiday shopping season could turn out stronger than forecast. Plus, the Retail Sales report had better number as well. On top of all the positive news last week, the Weekly Jobless Claims report said that American’s seeking employment fell by 30,000. This is its lowest level in five years. The sharp drop, if sustained, could signal a stronger job market. Just in time for the holidays too, I might add.
Real Estate, Mortgage Industry, and Other Economic News
U.S. foreclosure filings dropped to a five-year low in September as fewer homes were on track to be seized. San Antonio’s foreclosures dropped even further to their lowest level in seven years, one report stated. Consumer Confidence and Retail Sales appear to be on the rebound in San Antonio, according to the Texas Comptroller’s office, as the city reported an eight percent increase compared to 2011 numbers. “Bexar has new tool for foreign investors” was a recent headline in the S.A. Express News. The article continued to state that Bexar County now has its own EB-5 regional center, a financial tool that invites foreign investors to pour money into U.S. job creation projects and allows investors to start a process to obtain U.S. residency. WOW! Way to go, San Antonio! I am excited, as the spill-over into the Texas Hill Country for jobs and housing will be a great benefit.
National Mortgage Professional Magazine: Rates on the most popular types of mortgages either held fast or moved slightly upward, according to HSH.com’s Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar. The average rate for conforming 30-year fixed rate mortgages (FRMs) rose by four basis points (0.04 percent) to 3.52 percent. It was the first increase in the average rate for the most popular loan choice since mid-August. Conforming 5/1 Hybrid ARM rates remained unchanged, closing the Wednesday-to-Tuesday wraparound weekly survey at an average of 2.68 percent. “Some positive news about the economy late last week pushed aside some of the gloom”, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. “The employment picture brightened a little bit and some measures of economic activity moved a bit higher. This stopped the recent decline in mortgage rates and caused a modest bump in the fixed-rate average this week.” Poor economic news fosters a lower interest rate environment, as investors discount the prospects for future inflation, and the demand for many kinds of credit slows, along with other considerations such as Federal Reserve policies-end article.
All in all, mortgage applications, especially mine, have been better recently due to the low mortgage rate environment we are still in. My advice to anyone looking to obtain a mortgage is to “be prepared.” Provide the lender with all supporting documents (income and assets) in a timely manner so the process goes as smoothly as possible. A delay in getting bank statements, tax returns, or any number of items can delay the whole process, especially if your loan is under an underwriter’s microscope. Underwriters have no choice but to follow certain guidelines established by the government. So when you hear a statement such as “Lenders have to loosen lending standards,” keep in mind who makes those guidelines, in most cases, the government. Find a local Mortgage Loan Officer and Realtor and let them be your guide to what should be a stress-free and fun process, -if you do it right!
(This article is for informational purposes only. Do not use it as financial advice. Information for this article obtained from, but not limited to, The Wall Street Journal, S.A. Express News, Blanco County News, Boerne’s Hill Country weekly. For questions/comments contact Tony Stevenson at 1.800.460.6990 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).