Jerome “Jay” Powell was sworn in as Chair of the Federal Reserve amidst wild fluctuations in U.S. stock markets. Analysts attributed sliding stock prices to fears over inflation. Continue reading
Last week’s economic news included minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released. Continue reading
Last week’s economic reports included Existing and New Home Sales and Consumer Confidence along with regularly scheduled weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. Continue reading
Last week’s scheduled economic news included the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits. The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) issued its usual statement at the conclusion of its meeting, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen also gave a press conference. Continue reading
Residential Construction Spending Up
Last week’s mortgage and housing-related reports began with Construction Spending for December, with a reading of 0.10 percent or a seasonally adjusted $930.5 billion. December’s reading fell short of an expected increase of 0.40 percent.
Spending for private sector projects rose by 1.00 percent; of this amount, residential construction spending increased by 2.60 percent and private sector spending for non-residential construction fell by -0.70 percent. Continue reading
Economists believe the strength of the 2012 housing market will be closely tied to jobs. If they’re right, the housing market is ripe for a boost. It spells good news for Metro Atlanta home sellers and may mean the end of bargain-basement prices for buyers.
Since peaking in mid-2009, the number of U.S. workers filing for first-time unemployment benefits has dropped 44 percent. Over the same period of time, the U.S. economy has added more than 2 million jobs and the national Unemployment Rate is down more than 1 percentage point to 8.3%.
Employment’s link to the housing market is both economic and psychological.
To make the economic link is straight-forward. A person with a job earns verifiable income and such income is required in order to be mortgage-eligible. For conventional and FHA purchase loans, for example, mortgage lenders want a home buyer’s monthly income to be more than double his monthly debts.
For the formerly unemployed that have since returned to work, having a full-time income makes buying homes possible. It also supports higher home valuations nationwide because home prices are based on supply-and-demand. All things equal, when the number of buyers in a market goes up, prices do, too.
The psychological connection between housing and employment is a tad more complicated, but every bit as important. It’s not just out-of-work Americans that don’t look for homes — it’s fearful Americans, too. People with concerns about losing a job are just as unlikely to shop for homes as people actually without a job. The same is true for people unsure of their prospects for a better-paying job, or their own upward mobility.
A recovering job market can lessen those fears and draw out buyers — especially those who face a loss on the sale of an “underwater” home.
The Initial Jobless Claims rolling 4-week average is at its lowest level since 2008. Fewer Americans are losing jobs, and more are finding permanent placement.
It’s one more reason to be optimistic for this year’s housing market.
For more information about the Atlanta area real estate market, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 404.918.2500.
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