Brought to you by Catherine Darwin       For the week of september 23, 2019     YOUR WEEKLY SMILE     What kind of dog does a chemist have? A Lab!         NATIONAL MARKET UPDATE       Housing Starts shot up 12.3% in August, to a 1.364 million annual rate, a new post-recession high. And Building Permits gained 12.0% over a year ago, to a 1.419 million yearly rate, another post-recession record. No wonder builder confidence hit an 11-month high! Meanwhile, Existing Home Sales have now risen two months in a row, up 1.3% in August, to a 5.490 million annual rate, 2.6% above a year ago.
Housing activity is clearly gaining momentum with a nice rise in purchase demand.  The Mortgage Bankers Association reports purchase mortgage applications up 15% from a year ago. Credit the strong labor market and low interest rates.
        REVIEW OF LAST WEEK       BACK AND FORTH… Investor sentiment fluctuated and the three big stock indexes ended slightly lower after three weeks of gains. The first downer was the attack on Saudi refineries that created the worst oil supply disruption in history. But the Saudis began restoring production quickly and the conflict didn’t escalate. More good news came when the U.S. granted China tariff exemptions, but then Chinese representatives aborted a friendly visit to farms in Montana. Har-umpf! We had the Fed’s expected rate cut to “sustain the expansion,” which has been doing fine all by itself, with 3.7% unemployment, the strongest wage growth in over a decade, and consumer spending up an average of 3% since 2018. The week ended with the Dow down 1.0%, to 26,935; the S&P 500 down 0.5%, to 2,992; and the Nasdaq down 0.7%, to 8,118. All the back-and-forths sent bond prices up as investors sought a safe haven. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond ended UP .22, to $103.64 The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey saw its biggest uptick since October, but is almost a percent below a year ago. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information. DID YOU KNOW?… Thanks to the drop in mortgage rates, Fannie Mae’s latest forecast projects refinances at a three-year high. Even with last week’s rate move, refinance applications were 148% higher than a year ago.         THIS WEEK’S FORECAST       NEW AND PENDING HOME SALES, CONSUMER INCOME AND SPENDING, GDP, ALL UP… The “looming” recession forecasters keep having this problem: the economic data won’t cooperate, as we should continue to see this week. August New and Pending Home Sales are expected to show the housing recovery intact. Personal Income and Spending are predicted to reveal consumers making more money and spending it, sending the third estimate for Q2 GDP to solid 2.0% growth.  NOTE: Weaker economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and higher loan rates.         FEDERAL RESERVE WATCH       Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… The Fed Futures market expects the rate to hold in October, drop come December, then hold in January. Note: In the lower chart, a 45% probability of change is a 55% probability the rate will stay the same. Current Fed Funds Rate: 1.75%-2.00% AFTER FOMC MEETING ON: CONSENSUS Oct 30 1.75%-2.00%
Dec 11  1.50%-1.75% Jan 29 1.50%-1.75%
Probability of change from current policy: AFTER FOMC MEETING ON: CONSENSUS Oct 30    45% Dec 11     63% Jan 29     55%           BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK     Sure, you can land a client on the first contact. But 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact. Follow up, follow up, follow up!       Catherine Darwin
Loan Originator
NMLS# 1606718
4301 Westbank Drive, Building B, Ste 150
Austin, TX 78746 Office:(512) 450-1222
Mobile:(512) 801-4606
Fax:(512) 420-9500
                This e-mail is an advertisement for Catherine Darwin. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice, or a commitment to lend. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee of its accuracy. The material contained in this message is the property of Hometrust Mortgage and cannot be reproduced for any use without prior written consent. This message is intended for business professionals only and is not intended for distribution to consumers or other third parties. The material does not represent the opinion of Hometrust Mortgage. HomeTrust Mortgage, Company NMLS# 149932, Company Phone: 713.369.4000. Branch NMLS# 808495.         This e-mail was sent to
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