Did You Know?
Mortgage rates have fallen to around their lowest levels in 8 months. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.51%, matching the lowest level since last spring, according to Freddie Mac. That rate is still higher than its level of 3.95% from a year ago but has fallen from a more-than-7-year high of nearly 5% in October.
$ 1 trillion of China's $24 trillion wealth is held abroad. New tax policies may impact rich Chinese citizens including a new GIFT TAX of as much as 20%. In the past, the rich could avoid paying taxes on overseas earnings by acquiring a foreign passport/green card, while keeping their Chinese citizenship. This won’t work starting in January as the government will tax global income from all holders of "hukou" household registrations regardless of whether they have any additional nationalities. New property...Click here to read more.
Did You Know?
The Federal Reserve reports that at the last count, everyone across the financial system, from grandmothers to hedge funds, was holding a total of $2.9 trillion in overnight money market funds, $4.4 trillion in checking accounts and currency, and another $12.1 trillion in savings account and Certificates of Deposit. That comes to $19.4 trillion in gross "cash" and equivalents that is "on the sidelines" of the stock market.....and maybe the real estate markets too? With that much cash on the sidelines, one would have to assume any market corrections should be mild. (Marketwatch)
Thousands of U.S. home sales are being held up because the federal government shutdown has halted the issuance of new flood insurance policies, a move that lawmakers and a Realtors lobby want to be overturned. (Bloomberg)Click here to read more.
Did You Know?
The total net worth of U.S. households rose by 1.9% or $2.07 trillion in the third quarter of 2018 to $109.04 trillion, as higher property and stock prices boosted the wealth of Americans. These figures released by the Federal Reserve are before the 4th quarter's equity market swoon. Household debt also increased at a 3.4% seasonally adjusted annual rate, up from a 2.9% rate in the second quarter. (WSJ)
The housing market comprises a little less than 14% of US GDP yet is a larger part of the overall economy than the oil and gas industry: the mining sector constituted just under 2% of GDP in the second quarter of 2018.
U.S. luxury home builder Toll Brothers reported today a fall in 4th-quarter orders, as demand was hurt by rising interest rates and higher home prices. "In November, we saw the market soften...Click here to read more.
Mortgage Applications Heat Up After Holiday Lull
Mortgage application activity roared out of the gate in the first week of the New Year, as the country got back down to business. Much of the week's gain could probably be attributed to consumers catching up after the usual holiday induced December slowdown. Applications for both refinancing and home purchasing were up substantially during the week ended January 5. It was, in fact, the strongest week for refinancing applications since mid-July.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of loan applications volume, increased 8.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and rose 46 percent compared with the week ended December 29 on an unadjusted basis. The week's report included an adjustment to account for the New Years Holiday. MBA said there was also a revision of...Click here to read more.