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Archive for Retail Sales

Consumer Confidence vs Retail Sales (2009-2012)

The U.S. economy continues to show signs of a rebound.

According to the Census Bureau, Retail Sales climbed to $329 billion last month on a seasonally-adjusted basis, excluding automobiles. January’s data marks the 18th time in 19 months that Retail Sales rose, a run that’s increased total sales receipts by 11 percent.

This is big news because Retail Sales accounts for close to 70% of the U.S. economy.

In addition, consumer confidence is rising.

In a separate, joint report from the University of Michigan and Thompson Reuters, it was shown that consumer attitudes toward the economy and the future are improving, primarily the result of recent job gains.  

The Survey of Consumers posted its highest value in 12 months.

It is not a coincidence that Retail Sales and consumer confidence both made multi-month highs — the readings are more than loosely linked. As consumers feel more confident about the economy and their personal prospects for the future, they’re more likely to spend money on goods and services, which leads to an increase in consumer spending.

For the housing market, the ramifications are two-fold.

First, from the financing side, an expanding economy is linked to rising mortgage rates. This is because Wall Street tends to chase risk in a growth economy and the bond market offers little in the way of risk. As demand for bonds drops, then, mortgage rates rise throughout Wisconsin.

Second, rising consumer confidence can lead Delavan home values higher, too.

Confident consumers are more likely than fearful ones to become home buyers. They’re more likely to stop renting and start buying; more likely to list their home and “move-up” to something bigger; more likely to “take the next step”.

So, as more buyers enter the market at a time when the national home supply is shrinking, the supply-demand balance in housing is shifting toward the sellers. This creates price pressures and should lead to higher home valuations in neighborhoods like Geneva National.

If you have plans to buy a home in 2012, the best time to buy may be now. Today’s mortgage rates are low and so are the home prices — a combination that’s unlikely to last.

Categories : The Economy
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Retail Sales and mortgage ratesMortgage markets were mostly unchanged last week as Greece — once again — was front-of-mind for Wall Street investors. The nation-state is attempting to avoid a debt default, and has been attempting to avoid default since May 2010.

Early in the week, Greece reached a deal with European Union leaders to secure additional financial aid. By Friday, however, the deal was in doubt, as the EU leaders declared that the Greek Parliament would have pass new austerity measures before the aid would be released.

Austerity measures have been unpopular in Greece, giving rise to riots among citizens and resignations among politicians. Markets responded to the potential undoing of the debt deal by seeking safety in bonds — including U.S. mortgage-backed bonds.

The Greek debt default story has helped fuel low mortgage rates in Wisconsin. Once a final deal is reached, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

For now, though, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average, conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate held firm at 3.87% last week for mortgage borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus applicable closing costs. 1 discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size.

For borrowers unwilling to pay discount points and/or closing costs, average mortgage rates are higher.

This week, data returns to the U.S. economic calendar.

Greece will still be in play, but the health of the U.S. economy will determine in which direction mortgage rates will go. There are two inflation reports due — the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index.

The former is a “cost of living” indicator for U.S. households; the latter measures the same for business. Inflation is bad for mortgage rates so if either report comes in unexpectedly high, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

The same is true for Tuesday’s Retail Sales report.

Retail Sales account for close to 70% of total U.S. economic activity. An unexpectedly strong Retail Sales figure will suggest that the domestic economy is improving and that, too, would pressure mortgage rates up.

If you’re shopping for a mortgage, or floating one with your lender, consider locking in this week. Mortgage rates don’t have much room to fall and there’s much room to rise.

Categories : Mortgage Rates
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Retail Sales and mortgage ratesMortgage markets were mostly unchanged last week as Greece — once again — was front-of-mind for Wall Street investors. The nation-state is attempting to avoid a debt default, and has been attempting to avoid default since May 2010.

Early in the week, Greece reached a deal with European Union leaders to secure additional financial aid. By Friday, however, the deal was in doubt, as the EU leaders declared that the Greek Parliament would have pass new austerity measures before the aid would be released.

Austerity measures have been unpopular in Greece, giving rise to riots among citizens and resignations among politicians. Markets responded to the potential undoing of the debt deal by seeking safety in bonds — including U.S. mortgage-backed bonds.

The Greek debt default story has helped fuel low mortgage rates in Wisconsin. Once a final deal is reached, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

For now, though, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average, conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate held firm at 3.87% last week for mortgage borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus applicable closing costs. 1 discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size.

For borrowers unwilling to pay discount points and/or closing costs, average mortgage rates are higher.

This week, data returns to the U.S. economic calendar.

Greece will still be in play, but the health of the U.S. economy will determine in which direction mortgage rates will go. There are two inflation reports due — the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index.

The former is a “cost of living” indicator for U.S. households; the latter measures the same for business. Inflation is bad for mortgage rates so if either report comes in unexpectedly high, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

The same is true for Tuesday’s Retail Sales report.

Retail Sales account for close to 70% of total U.S. economic activity. An unexpectedly strong Retail Sales figure will suggest that the domestic economy is improving and that, too, would pressure mortgage rates up.

If you’re shopping for a mortgage, or floating one with your lender, consider locking in this week. Mortgage rates don’t have much room to fall and there’s much room to rise.

Categories : Mortgage Rates
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Lake Geneva real estate Retail Sales May 2009-April 2011Another day, another piece of evidence that the U.S. economy is expanding.

Thursday, the Census Bureau released the April Retail Sales report.  Excluding cars and auto parts, retail receipts rose for the 10th straight month and, at $321 billion, reached an all-time high.

Retail sales account for roughly half of consumer spending, and roughly one-third of the economy overall.

For home buyers and rate shoppers of Lake Geneva real estate mortgage, the sales figures have positive and negative implications.

On the positive side, more retail sales suggests more confidence in the U.S. economy.  This can spark a growth cycle that benefits the country, on the whole.

  1. Consumers spend more money
  2. Businesses sell more product
  3. Businesses expand payroll to meet new product demand
  4. Governments collect more taxes; fund more projects
  5. Consumers gain more confidence and the cycle repeats

Furthermore, rising employment rates help to support higher levels of Lake Geneva real estate home sales which, in turn, can lead to higher home prices in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

This is why Retail Sales data is so important to Wall Street and economists.  It can hold clues to the future of the U.S. economy.

On the negative side, however, rising Retail Sales figures can harm home affordability.  In addition to the aforementioned pressure on home prices, a strengthening economy can lead to higher Lake Geneva real estate mortgage rates.  The weak economy of 2009-2010 is a major reason why mortgage rates were so low for so long.

As the economy improves, therefore, it follows that rates should reverse.

Each 1/8 percent increase to mortgage rates raises a mortgage payment $8 per $100,000 borrowed.

Retail Sales are up 7 percent from a year ago.

FOMC meets this weekLake Geneva mortgage markets were highly volatile, yet relatively unchanged last week in back-and-forth trading on Wall Street.  Global investors are grappling with the state of U.S. economy and unable to discern whether it’s growing, or slowing.

As an real-world illustration, the government’s August Retail Sales report showed strong growth nationwide.  However, in looking at a subset of that same data that accounted for rising gas prices, and excluded automotive-related sales, the results were far more tame.

In other words, despite the winning headlines, there was no clear conclusion in August’s Retail Sales.

As another example, consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level since August 2009, it was reported last week.  Now, on most days, this statistic would lead Lake Geneva mortgage rates lower, but the figures happened to be offset by improving employment report that suggests a looming jobs recovery.

Again, markets got confused and without clear direction, Lake Geneva mortgage rates have been dancing.

Last week, conforming rates carved out a range close to 0.375 percent, making it difficult for Lake Geneva real estate rate shoppers to zero-in on pricing. 30-year fixed rates worsened, 15-year fixed held steady, and ARMs improved overall.

This week, expect rates to be equally jumpy.  There’s a lot of housing data due for release and the Federal Open Market Committee is meeting.

  • Monday: Homebuilder Confidence Survey
  • Tuesday: Housing Starts, Building Permits, FOMC Meeting
  • Wednesday: FHFA Home Price Index
  • Thursday: Existing Home Sales
  • Friday: New Home Sales

That’s one housing-related release per day, and a Federal Reserve meeting to boot.  Today’s low rates could be vanished by Friday. 

Therefore, if you haven’t already, it may be time to contact me for a refinance.  Rates could certainly fall further, but they’re looking more likely to rise.

Lake Geneva Real Estate, Lender