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Archive for July, 2010

Freddie Mac mortgage rates (January - July 2010)

No doubt you’ve heard that mortgage rates are low. They’re lower than they’ve ever been in history.  The news is everywhere.

Just check out some of these headlines from the last 24 hours:

  • Mortgage rates set new lows for the 6th straight week (Reuters)
  • Mortgage rates fall again; 30-year fixed at 4.54% (Wall Street Journal)
  • Mortgage rates hit another low : 4.54% (NPR)

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Categories : Las Vegas Mortgages
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Consumer Confidence Index July 2008-July 2010For the second consecutive month, U.S. consumer confidence is plunging. July’s official reading is its lowest since July of last year and the figures run in stark contrast to just two months ago, when the index touched a multi-year high.

According to The Conference Board, July’s figures are reflective of a more pessimistic consumer; one concerned about “business conditions and the labor market”.

Falling confidence numbers are presumed to be poor for the economy. For Las Vegas homeowners and home buyers, however, they can create opportunity.  Low confidence can influence the mortgage market in a positive manner, driving mortgage rates down.

Mortgage rates are already at their lowest levels of all-time.

The link between consumer confidence and everyday mortgage rates roots in consumer spending.

Consumer spending accounts for close to 70% of the overall U.S. economy so, the thought goes that, a less confident consumer is less likely to spend money, thereby retarding economic growth. This harms the stock markets and drives cash to bonds, including mortgage-backed bonds.

More bond demand leads bond prices to rise which, in turn, pushes mortgage rates lower.

The other side of lagging confidence is that Americans may be less likely to take new financial risks when they’re feeling unsure, including buying a new home. This can then drag on the housing market, negatively impacting Las Vegas home prices.

Falling home values can help buyers, harm sellers, and stymie would-be refinancers.

It’s tough to predict how consumer confidence data will work its way through the economy, but in the near-term, it appears to be helping mortgage rates stay low. If you’re floating a mortgage rate with your lender, or contemplating a refinance, the time may be right to lock in a rate.

Low rates can’t last forever.

Considering a Las Vegas Home purchase?  Search all Las Vegas Homes for Sale using our free, interactive map-based search.

Kathryn Bovard is a Certified Short Sale Professional and experienced with the often lengthy and stressful Las Vegas short sale process.   If you are contemplating a  Las Vegas short sale , she can assist and navigate you through the entire process. Call Kathryn direct at 702-348-7191 to schedule a short sale consultation today.

Case-Shiller Change In Home Values April-May 2010

Standard & Poors released its Case-Shiller Index Tuesday. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, between April and May 2010, home prices rose in 19 of Case-Shiller’s 20 tracked markets.  It’s the second straight month of strong Case-Shiller findings.

Also, May’s numbers are a mirror-image of February’s. In February, 19 of 20 markets lost value.

In its press release, the Case-Shiller staff resisted calling May’s data proof of a housing recovery, noting that home values remain flat as compared to October of last year. However, there are some noteworthy numbers in the Case-Shiller report.

  1. 13 of the 20 tracked cities are showing home price improvement year-over-year
  2. Foreclosure posterchlld San Diego has now shown 13 straight months of improvement
  3. San Diego, San Francisco and Minneapolis are showing double-digit annual growth

These are all good signs for the housing market, but the Case-Shiller Index is not without its flaws. Most notably, the data is limited to just 20 cities nationwide — and they’re not even the 20 largest ones

Cities like Houston, Philadelphia, and San Jose are excluded from Case-Shiller, while cities like Tampa (#54) are not.

Another Case-Shiller flaw is that it reports on a 2-month delay.

Therefore, today is several days from the start of August but we’re now reflecting on data from May. Given the speed at which the Las Vegas real estate market can change, May’s data is almost ancient.  Today’s values may be higher or lower than what Case-Shiller reports.

For home buyers, reports like the Case-Shiller Index may not be useful in making a “Buy or Not Buy” decision, but can aid in watching longer-term trends in housing.  For real-time data, talk to a real estate agent with access to local figures instead.

Considering a Las Vegas Home purchase?  Search all Las Vegas Homes for Sale using our free, interactive map-based search.

Call Kathryn direct at 702-348-7191 to schedule a free consultation today.

CFL bulbs require care when handling

According to the EPA, if every household in America replaced one “traditional” bulb with an energy-saving compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulb, it would result in $700 million in energy cost savings each year, plus a greenhouse gas savings equivalent to that of 800,000 automobiles.

They’re expensive, but CFL bulbs tend to pay for themselves in less a year, and often last for several. It’s no wonder they’re so popular with homeowners in Henderson.  But, CFLs also come with health risks.

Namely, CFL bulbs contain mercury — an average of 4 milligrams per bulb.

The mere presence of mercury doesn’t make CFLs dangerous. It just means that you should exercise care when handling them, and take certain precautions when disposing of them.

The Environment Protection Agency offers some tips:

  1. Screw/unscrew the bulb from the base and not the bulb to prevent breakage
  2. Never force a CFL bulb into a light socket
  3. When the bulb burns out, bring it to one of 3,106 recycling centers

The EPA website also give guidance for dealing with broken bulbs. Among the recommendations: Don’t wash mercury-covered clothing to prevent contaminating other clothing, too, and don’t vacuum up the poison, either. There are special handling instructions to prevent poisoning yourself and others in your household.

The EPA’s CFL safety PDF is 3 pages long and can be viewed on its Web site.

CFLs provide long-term energy and environment cost savings. And, with some common sense care, their risks to your health can be minimized.

Kathryn Bovard is a Certified Short Sale Professional and experienced with the often lengthy and stressful Las Vegas short sale process.   If you are contemplating a  Las Vegas short sale , she can assist and navigate you through the entire process. Call Kathryn direct at 702-348-7191 to schedule a short sale consultation today.

Considering a Las Vegas Home purchase?  Search all Las Vegas Homes for Sale using our free, interactive map-based search.

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New Home Supply June 2009 - June 2010

After a down month in May, the sales of newly-built homes appears back on track.

As published by the Census Bureau, June’s New Home Sales report showed:

  1. A 24 percent sales volume increase from the month prior
  2. A 2-month drop in the supply of newly-built home

There are now just 210,000 new homes for sale nationwide.

June’s data is a major improvement over May, but it’s possible that the true “new home market” may be softer than the statistics suggest.  This is for several reasons.

First, we’re comparing June’s sales data to the worst month in New Home Sales history.

In May, sales of new homes totaled just 267,000 units nationwide. That’s one-quarter fewer sales than in the previous worst month in New Home Sales history. May’s sales levels were awful by any measure but June’s improvement to 330,000 units remains second-worst sales levels ever posted.

Second, although much improved, June’s new home supply of 7.6 months is elevated versus the historical norm near 6.0 months.  The last year has averaged 7.7 months.

For buyers of new homes in Las Vegas , this combination of low sales volume and higher-than-normal inventory may be a positive.  It’s the main reason why homebuilder confidence is reeling and the downturn has opened some doors for big discounts and deals. Free upgrades and closing cost credits can make a well-priced home even more attractive.

Plus, with mortgage rates at all-time lows and expected to rise, home affordability is may never be better.

Kathryn Bovard is a Certified Short Sale Professional and experienced with the often lengthy and stressful Las Vegas short sale process.   If you are contemplating a  Las Vegas short sale , she can assist and navigate you through the entire process. Call Kathryn direct at 702-348-7191 to schedule a short sale consultation today.

Considering a Las Vegas Home purchase?  Search all Las Vegas Homes for Sale using our free, interactive map-based search.

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