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Last Updated:
October 15, 2009

May Summit County Real Estate.Net Notices

Last week did have some negative economic reports throughout the headlines, however, there was also some good news tiptoeing around.

The unemployment line is getting even longer, as Initial Jobless Claims showed that the number of people collecting benefits reached a record high of 5.11 million. Not surprisingly, Consumer Confidence fell to its lowest reading since records began in 1967. The sour report indicates that the fear of losing one's job has made the consumer more reluctant to spend.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the broadest measure of economic activity - and for the 4th quarter of 08, came in worse than expectations and at its lowest reading since 1982.

The news on the housing front was also gloomy; as New Home Purchases dropped to the lowest level since data collection began in 1963. Existing Home Sales for January came in lower than expected; however, that number was probably influenced by buyers waiting to see what the government's Stimulus Plan might have in store for them.


The Treasury Department announced on Friday that they plan to take a 36% stake in Citigroup by converting $25 Billion of preferred shares into common stock. The move will dramatically dilute shareholder value, but should help bolster the struggling bank's capital base.


Some good news from Reuters, as they released the results of a survey of 47 professional forecasters, predicting that the economy will begin to recover in the second half of this year. Additionally, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index was better than expected, and being a forward-looking indicator, gives another bright spot of hope down the road.


Despite the negative news, Bonds and home loan rates were not able to make improvements over the course of the week, and ended a bit worse than where they began.

The Problem Is...

Many consumers are in situations where they can refinance now and save hundreds of dollars a month on their mortgage payments. But when they hear the media throwing around teases of lower rates ahead, they decide to hold off on making the decision to save, in the hopes of gaining a few more dollars of savings per month if a lower rate came their way. Of course, while they're waiting, rates could turn higher - and this window of opportunity could pass them by entirely.

Here's the Clincher...

Even if consumers are ultimately able to time the market perfectly and save another few bucks per month, they could still end up losing. That's because while they delayed, they lost the savings each month they could have gained by taking action sooner. In other words, they may have lost hundreds of dollars for every month they waited. So even if they got lucky and obtained the rate they were looking for, it could take years to make up what they lost by waiting.

I don't want anyone to miss an opportunity by either waiting or misunderstanding the media headline. Let's talk further on this. Call or email me, and let's discuss what this might mean for you.

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The Obama Administration unveiled the final details of its "Making Home Affordable Program," which is designed to help up to 9 million American families refinance or modify their loans to a payment that is affordable now and into the future. One of the initiatives in this program is aimed at helping responsible homeowners "refinance" their loans to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Here are some common Questions and Answers about the Refinancing Initiative in the program.

REFINANCING INITIATIVE

Who is eligible?

You may be eligible if:

You own and currently occupy a one- to four-unit home.
Your mortgage is owned or controlled by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
You are current on your mortgage payments.
The amount you owe on your first mortgage is about the same or slightly less than the current value of your house.
And, you have a stable income sufficient to support the new mortgage payments.
How do I know if my loan is owned or controlled by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Your servicer can tell you or call or email me. I'll help you determine if your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

I owe more than my property is worth. Do I still qualify to refinance under the Making Home Affordable Program? Eligible loans will include those where the first mortgage will not exceed 105% of the current market value of the property. For example, if your property is worth $200,000 but you owe $210,000 or less, you may qualify. The current value of your property will be determined after you apply to refinance.

If I am delinquent on my mortgage, do I still qualify for the Refinance Initiative? No. But the good news is, you may qualify for the Modification Initiative. Check with your servicer.

I have both a first and a second mortgage. Do I still qualify to refinance under Making Home Affordable? As long as the amount due on the first mortgage is less than 105% of the value of the property, borrowers with more than one mortgage may be eligible for the Refinance Initiative. The second mortgage holder will be asked to remain in second position, called a subordination.

Will refinancing lower my payments? That depends. If your interest rate is much higher than the current market rate, you would likely see an immediate reduction in your payment amount. However, if you are paying interest only on your mortgage, you may not see your payment go down. BUT... you will be able to avoid future mortgage payment increases and may save a great deal over the life of the loan.

What are the terms of the refinance and what will the interest rate be? All loans refinanced under the plan will have a 30- or 15- year term with a fixed interest rate. The interest rate will be based on market rates at the time of the refinance. Currently, interest rates are at historical lows, which makes this a good time to examine your refinancing options.

Will refinancing reduce the amount that I owe on my loan? No. Refinancing will not reduce the principal amount you owe. However, refinancing should save you money by reducing the amount of interest that you repay over the life of the loan.

Can I get cash out to pay other debts? No. Only transaction costs, such as the cost of an appraisal or title report may be included in the refinanced amount.

How do I apply for the Refinance Initiative? Call or email me today to discuss your specific situation and to examine your options. If this plan is right for you, we can begin working on your refinance very soon.

As part of the discussion, we may need to look at the following information:

Recent pay stubs to help determine your gross (before tax) household income.
Your most recent income tax return.
Information about any second mortgage on your house.
Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.
Account balances and monthly payments on all other debts, such as student loans and car loans.

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For the week of Mar 09, 2009 ...

Last Week in Review

“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well…And to help those who are doing well to do even better.” — Jim Rohn. Let’s hope that some of the actions that the Obama Administration took last week — intended to help millions of US homeowners — will show that kind of leadership for our country, as last week’s Jobs Report and Stock Market losses showed that help is certainly needed.

Wednesday brought more details on the new “Making Home Affordable” program, which was created to help as many as 7 to 9 million homeowners who are making every effort to remain current on their mortgage payments. There are two important parts of this plan: The first of these is a program that is available to homeowners who have a solid payment history on an existing home loan owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, but who have been unable to take advantage of today's favorable rates because their homes have lost value. A second program, which involves loan modification, will help at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing monthly payments. Give me a call, so we can help determine if either of these programs may be right for your situation.

Making it tougher for many to keep up with house payments, Friday’s Jobs Report showed that 651,000 US jobs were lost in February, while revisions for the past two months showed that an additional 161,000 were jobs lost between December and January. December's decline was the largest since 1949. What’s more, the US economy has now lost almost 4.4 Million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, which is the biggest employment malaise of any economic downturn in the postwar period. In addition, the unemployment rate soared to 8.1% versus expectations of 7.9%, the highest rate in over 25 years, as you can see in the chart below.

In other news from last week, the Dow fell below 7,000 for the first time since 1997, due to continued negative economic reports and headlines hitting the wires. Bonds and home loan rates were able to make some improvements last week as Stocks fell, and as a result, the week ended with Bonds and home loan rates slightly better than where they began.

At least we've got sunshine...And you know that daylight savings time happened on Sunday, March 8th. But do you know we're enjoying the extra daylight three weeks earlier than we used to? Learn why in this week's view below.

Forecast for the Week

The week ahead is a quiet one when it comes to scheduled economic reports being delivered, but with last week’s plunge in the Stock market and the details of the Making Home Affordable program still being analyzed, it’s unlikely the week ahead will be quiet overall.

In the way of economic news, Thursday will bring the Retail Sales Report for February. Consumers continue to rein in spending and many retailers continue to struggle, so it wouldn't be a surprise if this is a horrible report. It also wouldn't be a surprise for Friday's Consumer Sentiment Report to be a bit dismal as well. And given the current job market, Thursday's weekly Jobless Claims Report will be another one to watch.

Remember: Weak economic news normally helps Bonds and home loan rates improve, as money flows out of Stocks and into Bonds. As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and home loan rates reversed course and improved last week…and if the above mentioned reports are indeed negative, Bonds and home loan rates could build on their recent improvements during the coming week.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 06, 2009)

The Mortgage Market View...

Spring Forward Began March 8
Daylight Saving Time (DST) began on Sunday, March 8, 2009. The way we refer to time zones also changes. For example, Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

But remember, some areas of the United States don’t use DST, such as Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
More Sun… Daylight Saving Time Runs Longer

In case you hadn’t noticed over the last two years, DST now begins earlier and runs longer. The extra time that we enjoy is actually the result of the Energy Policy Act, which President Bush signed into law in 2005 and went into effect in 2007. The Act changed the start date of DST to the second Sunday in March — three weeks earlier. It also moved the end date out one week to the first Sunday in November.

Benefits of Daylight Saving Time
Despite some concerns, Americans overwhelmingly like Daylight Saving Time. There is simply more sunlight in the evenings to enjoy the outdoors and get things done. Plus, additional hours of daylight can help save energy on a national scale — as much as 100,000 barrels of oil per day according to some estimates.

And brighter is safer. Studies have shown that the DST shift reduces traffic accidents. Additionally, a study by the US Law Enforcement Administration also determined that crime is consistently lower during DST, with violent crimes down as much as 10% to 13%. For many crimes, like mugging, darkness is a factor — so more light in the evening hours reduces these types of crimes.

Cons of Daylight Saving Time
Not everyone benefits from DST. For example, many farmers say that DST has a negative impact on their livestock’s natural schedules. The airline industry also reports that it costs millions of dollars to adjust time schedules — and even then, airlines report numerous problems with international flight connections during the transition time since DST isn’t followed uniformly worldwide.

Finally, since many electronic devices and computer programs are set to adjust to DST based on the old dates, they may not change automatically on March 8. So, you’ll want to double-check all of your devices and confirm that the time is correct.

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As the first full trading week in the New Year begins, more important news is coming as we look forward to Friday's Jobs Report, which will show the number of jobs lost or gained in December. Remember that the Department of Labor averages their numbers, and part of each month's report includes "revisions" to the several prior months' numbers.

The employment news last month was record-breaking: 533,000 jobs were lost during the month of November, which represented the most job losses the US has seen in 35 years. Additionally, November was only the fourth time in 58 years that our economy lost over 500,000 jobs. And adding more pain to last month's Report were heavy downward revisions for September and October, which erased an additional 199,000 jobs.
I'll be watching closely to see how Bonds and home loan rates respond to the Report...and all the other news this coming week is sure to have in store! Again, I encourage you to get in touch with me to review your own home loan scenario. We can determine together if it makes sense to consider acting on the low home loan rates currently available.

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As you may have seen, on December 23, 2008 the Federal Housing Finance Agency formally announced the final version of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct with implementation required by May 1. Clearly, this will have a major impact on all facets of the mortgage industry. Specifically, the code prohibits:

Direct contact between a loan originator and an appraiser.
Passing an expected or desired value.
Requesting estimated values or sales comparables prior to completion of an appraisal report.
Direct payment for appraisals to appraiser by origination-related personnel

As the new procedures become clear I will keep you informed on how more specifically this is going to impact us all.

FHA Down Payment Requirements are increasing effective with new case number assignments on or after January 1, 2009, the minimum down payment requirement on purchase transactions increases to 3.5% (from 3%) of the lesser of the appraised value or sales. This amount is in addition to any borrower closing costs.

Lastly, a tax update for new limits on turning a second home into a main home take effect in 2009: Some of the gain will be ineligible for the home-sale exclusion if the house is converted to personal use after 2008 and is later sold. The portion of the profit that’s taxed is based on the ratio of the time after 2008 that the home was used as a second residence or rented out to the total time that the seller owned the house. The rest of the gain remains eligible for the home-sale exclusion of up to $500,000.

Interest rates are still low!. This is another short week for the Bond Market and very little economic news being released. We are here to help you take advantage of this great rate environment, so if you have any questions about how we can help you, please call me today.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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I can provide you with information about qualifying for the opportunities that are provided by the stimulus plan.

Speaking of qualifying, if you are not sure if you if you can take advantage of the $8,000 tax incentive, here are some examples to help you better understand the income limits and phase-out structure.

The $8,000 incentive starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000 and is phased out completely at incomes of $170,000 for couples and $95,000 for single filers.

To break down what this phase-out means, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:
Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phase-out threshold is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer incentive to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.

Example 2: Assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer's income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible to reduce the tax liability by $2,800.

Remember, these are general examples. Borrows should consult a tax advisor to provide guidance relevant to their specific circumstances.

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Forecast for the Week

This week is a quiet one when it comes to scheduled economic reports being delivered, but there's still plenty of news that could shake the markets, including updates on the Stimulus Plan still making its way through Congress, as well as the aforementioned mark-to-market rule. It should be noted that Stock prices, especially within the financial sector, have reacted very well anytime there is a mention of a possible relaxation of mark-to-market accounting.

In the way of economic reports, Thursday will bring the Retail Sales Report for January. Since many retailers are still struggling, as consumers continue to rein in spending, it wouldn't be a surprise if this is a horrible report...which could be friendly for Bonds and home loan rates. It also wouldn't be a surprise for Friday's Consumer Sentiment Report to be horrible as well. And given the current job market, Thursday's weekly Jobless Claims Report will be another one to watch.

Remember: Weak economic news normally helps Bonds and home loan rates improve, as money flows out of Stocks and into Bonds. As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and home loan rates have lost some ground and worsened in recent weeks. I will be watching closely to see what happens this week.
Chart: Fannie Mae 4.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Feb 06, 2009)

Summit County Community Health Care Discussion

Do you identify with any of these statements?

"My insurance company won't provide the coverage they said they would, and now I owe tens of thousands of dollars!"

"The cost of health care and insurance has gone through the roof and so I don't even have any health insurance"

"I went in for what seemed like a simple procedure and the costs were sky high!"

"I don't have any problems, but my parents, friends, or neighbors do, and I want to tell their story"

There will be a grass-roots, all-volunteer, non-partisan community discussion of these and other issues for health care and insurance this Monday.

Come and be heard! Our feedback and concerns have been solicited by the incoming Obama-Biden administration. They want to hear what we have to say. The results of this meeting, and other meetings in all 50 states, will be sent to Senator Tom Daschle, Secretary-designate for Health and Human Services of the Obama administration.

This is a non-partisan event. We will not be debating political issues. We will be providing community feedback about health care to the incoming Obama administration. The official website of President-Elect Obama, change.gov, says "Health care reform will come from the grassroots, and we're counting on you to take the lead in your communities." That's what we're doing.

Within a day or two after the meeting, the volunteer organizers of this local event will use the change.gov website to submit a summary of your comments and survey responses. We are even being asked to upload photos and videos of the group, if anyone is interested, to add that personal touch.

Please, come, and be prepared to share your opinions and ideas about health care. The incoming administration specifically asks us to "Identify particularly poignant stories about health care from participants that can be used to help emphasize the need for health care reform in our country."

This is your chance to make a difference!

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Last Week in Review

Rates were basically flat, to slightly worse, last week. Not much anticipation this week for improvement.

THEY SAY "NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS"...and that sentiment was particularly true last week, as several pieces of news that arrived were far from good.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that 598,000 jobs were lost in January. This was worse than expectations of 540,000 jobs lost, and is the worst number since December 1974. Overall, about 3.6 Million jobs have been lost since December 2007, with nearly half of them in just the past three months. And you can see this clearly in the chart below, which looks unusual because it's measuring a negative number, for something that is normally reported as a positive (i.e. the number of jobs created). The rate of unemployment jumped to 7.6%, but the number of part-time workers increased dramatically as well. Many part-time workers would rather be full-time, but are simply taking what they can get. Added up, the number of underutilized workers now represent over 15% of the workforce overall. Let's hope the Stimulus Plan spurs some job growth.

And with last Monday's news that the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) index reported its smallest gain in five years, the argument of inflation being a threat to the economy has taken a back seat for now. While that may sound like good news, the bigger topic for the moment is the threat of deflation in the near term. Why is deflation considered worse? Deflation kills the over-all economy, as there is no incentive to spend today when prices look as if they'll be getting cheaper in the future. This consumer mind-set obviously destroys product sales, and in turn, adds to the already dismal amount of job losses. If deflation takes hold, the fear is that it can lead to a devastating economic cycle.

However, there was some possible good news from last week. There was renewed talk about relaxing the "mark-to-market" accounting rules, which is not only vital to the economy, but also to the mortgage industry as lenders need the ability to lend for the mortgage and housing industry to recover and thrive. "Mark-to-Market" rules led to the failure of many financial institutions that really weren't in bad shape, but simply made them appear to be over leveraged as they were forced to value their assets against distressed institutions selling assets at steep discounts. It will be important to watch this news story in the weeks ahead.

And when all was said and done, the news of the week wasn't so horrible for Bonds and home loan rates, as they ended the volatile week only slightly worse than where they began.

HAVE YOU BEEN THINKING OF BUYING A HOME OR REFINANCING YOUR LOAN? CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S MORTGAGE MARKET VIEW TO MAKE SURE YOU AVOID A VERY COSTLY MISTAKE!

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Breckenridge Open House Sign Ordinance

Also on Tuesday, March 10th, the Breckenridge Town Council will consider an ordinance that will allow REALTORS to use 3 directional signs to an open house. Last Fall, SAR, along with a number of REALTORS, requested that the town amend its sign code policy to allow directional open house signs to better market listings. Negotiations with the town have been tough. Council members are hesitant to allow signs because of a fear of clutter, and hurting the character of Breckenridge. After many talks with the town, the following  points encompass the proposed ordinance. Our concerns are in parentheses.

Allowing up to three (3) off-site directional open house signs outside of the Conservation District. (Realtors initially asked for up to five signs.)

Prohibiting off-site directional open house signs inside the Conservation District.

Allowing the off-site open house signs in the Town right-of-way,

Prohibiting open house signs in the rights-of-way for Main Street, Park Avenue and Highway 9. (Realtors believe that it is important to allow open house signs on these main roads.)

Establishing time limits for the display of off-site directional open house signs.

Establishing a standard design, including color and logos, for all off-site directional open house signs. (Some realtors are opposed to this requirement, since they already have already purchased customized open house signs.)

While the proposed ordinance is far from what REALTORS would like in the way of open house signs, it is an improvement over what we currently have, and we would like to see the ordinance approved. At the last work session, the council voted by a slim majority to move forward in with consideration of a new open house sign policy. The vote was 4-3 with McAtamney, Millisor, Bergeron, and Rossi supporting. Mayor Warner, Mamula, and Joyce dissented.

YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED!

We expect the vote to be very close. Please plan to attend the council meeting on Tuesday, March 10th. It is expected to be at the evening session. Details will be released soon. In addition, please call or email council members to voice your support for open house signs. Let them know how important the signs are to your business! Also let them know it is in the best interest of REALTORS to ensure the beauty and character of Breckenridge in maintained. REALTORS are ambassadors to the community!   

It looks like the senate will compromise and not fight to keep the $15,000 tax credit provision for all buyers.

That’s the bad news. The good news is the original $7,500 tax credit will be raised to $8,000 and WILL NOT have to be repaid.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE

This is what is in the bill; nothing has been signed yet

There is some sketchy information out there right now but here is what the LA Times Reported

Home-buyers and homeowners

First-time home-buyers could qualify for an $8,000 tax credit.

The credit is slightly larger than the $7,500 credit in existing law, but it is substantially less than a proposal in the Senate bill that would have boosted the credit to $15,000 and broadened the eligibility.

In addition, the compromise bill waives a requirement that the tax credit be repaid. The credit applies only to homes bought between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 of this year.

Stay tuned!

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Rate Review
In Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Mkt Survey (for the week ending January 30) in which the 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) avg. 5.10%. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM avg 5.68%.

The 15-year FRM this week avg 4.80%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM avg 5.17%.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) avg 5.27%. A year ago, the 5-year ARM avg 5.32%.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs avg 4.90%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM avg 5.05%.

Breckenridge Shared Driveway Ordinance

On Tuesday, March 10th , at its afternoon work session, the Breckenridge Town Council will begin consideration of a new ordinance that would prohibit shared driveways within the town limits except in approved spaces. The ordinance would prohibit a homeowner from parking on a shared driveway in a way that would hinder access by his neighbor or emergency vehicles. The ordinance would also prohibit a homeowner or his guest from even temporarily parking, even if the neighbor’s access was not hindered in any way. The ordinance would also prohibit service and delivery vehicles (that means FedEx, the plumber, Comcast, etc) from parking in a shared driveway and would render the driver subject to receiving a municipal traffic citation. Breckenridge does not currently have a parking policy and the town believes an ordinance would give them a tool to use when a homeowner complains that his neighbor has parked a car in a driveway the two neighbors share.

The Summit Association of REALTORS believes the proposed ordinance is a violation of private property rights. The proposal is overreaching and would create an additional burden on homeownership in Breckenridge.

Be INVOLVED!

Plan to attend the council meeting on Tuesday afternoon, March 10th, to voice your concerns with the proposed ordinance. We also encourage you to call or email council members.

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Last Week in Review

TO EVERYTHING (EARN, EARN, EARN)...THERE IS A SEASON (EARN, EARN, EARN)... That's how Pete Seeger and The Byrd's famous 1962 hit, "Turn, Turn, Turn" could be rewritten for the financial markets of late - earnings season kicked off last week, with several reports delivering music to the economy's ears.

The week began with the sweet sounds of investment banking giant Goldman Sachs reporting earnings that were much better than expected. More good news from the financial zone followed, with better than expected earnings from JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup. As you can see in the chart below, the financial sector has clearly been helped by the recent mark-to-market discussions and easing of the FASB ruling. In other sectors, big players Google and General Electric also reported earnings that were higher than anticipated.

And more good news last week, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sang out that there are signs that the sharp decline in the economy is slowing, indicating a potential "first step" towards a recovery from the worst recession in a generation. Specifically, he said, "I am fundamentally optimistic about our economy. Today's economic conditions are difficult, but the foundations of our economy are strong, and we face no problems that cannot be overcome with insight, patience, and persistence." While last week's Retail Sales Report came in lower than expected, indicating that consumers are still keeping a good grip on their wallets - Bernanke's words certainly inspire some economic confidence.

There was also some inflation news to note last week - important in particular as inflation is the arch-enemy of Bonds and home loan rates. While the Producer Price Index showed that inflation at the wholesale level is tame and the overall Consumer Price Index was lower than expected, the Core Consumer Price Index - which excludes volatile food and energy prices - came in slightly hotter than expected. Although inflation is not a present concern, traders are watching carefully for signs of it heating up, particularly as the year progresses and the impact of massive economic stimulus takes hold.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. And that's what was seen at the end of last week, as Stocks were buoyed by the strong earnings reports, causing Bonds to fall below a key technical support level as money flowed out of Bonds and into Stocks. After bouncing around a bit throughout the week, Bonds and rates ended the week at similar levels to where they began.

WANT TO MAKE SURE THE GOVERNMENT ISN'T GOING TO BURN, BURN, BURN THROUGH THE $787 BILLION STIMULUS PACKAGE? CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S MORTGAGE MARKET VIEW TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN STAY IN THE KNOW.

Forecast for the Week

There are several important economic reports hitting the charts this week, as we get a read on the housing market with Thursday's Existing Home Sales Report and Friday's New Home Sales Report. Also on Friday, we will get an update on consumer and business consumption and buying behavior via the Durable Goods Report, which shows data on items that are non-disposable, such as cars, furniture, appliances, games, cameras, business equipment, etc.
In addition, earnings season continues, and while some additional "better-than-expected" earnings reports would be great news for our economy, they could also make it harder for Bonds and home loan rates to improve in the short term. As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and rates ended the week in a worsening direction, due in part to the positive earnings reports. As always, I will be watching closely to see what happens this week - but remember, home loan rates are still near historic lows. Give me a call if you want to learn if this presents an opportunity for you, or to simply confirm that your current home loan is positioned properly.

The Mortgage Market View...

Give Me Money... That's What I Want

The Beatles weren't singing about the US economy, but they may as well have been. Earlier this year, the government unveiled its new $787 Billion Stimulus Plan to infuse the economy with money and confidence. That's some serious money!
But have you ever wondered who's actually getting that money. what types of projects may be funded. and how it impacts your state and local community?

Here's your answer: StimulusWatch.org!

StimulusWatch.org was built to help the government keep its pledge to invest stimulus money smartly and to add transparency and accountability to the process.

At StimulusWatch.org, you can find and review projects that are candidates for funding by federal grant programs. You can even sort the projects by activity, expense, and need.

Better still, you can access a list of projects by state, so you can see how the Stimulus Plan may impact your state and local community - including costs, number of jobs, and exact locations! Simply select your state and review the projects under consideration. You can even add comments about the value of the projects listed!
It's convenient, interactive, and easy to understand - check it out today!

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

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YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED!

We expect the votes to be very close. Please plan to attend the council meeting on Tuesday, March 10th. It is not necessary for you to speak, we just need REALTORS in attendance. In addition, if you cannot attend the meeting, please call or email council members to voice your support for open house signs.
Talking Points On Open House Signs:

* Three directional open house signs are needed in Breckenridge because there are many areas where open houses are hard to find.

* Allowing open house signs will make it easier for prospective buyers to find open houses, and potentially their future homes in Breckenridge.

* Open House signs allow sellers to market their homes to a wider aray of people. The town of Breckenridge relies heavily on real estate transfer
taxes. Helping the real estate industry will help the town
budget.

* The real estate community will self-police the open house
signs. As ambassadors to the community, it is in the best
interest of REALTORS to ensure that open house signs do not
clutter neighborhoods.

WHERE TO GO:

The Breckenridge Town Council's evening session will begin at
7:30 P.M. at 150 Ski Hill Road in Breckenridge. Both issues are
the first two items on the agenda. The phone number for the Town
Hall is 453-2251.

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