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Mortgage Rates

Cost of Living Reaches An All-Time High, Pressures Mortgage Rates Higher

Mortgage rates are up 0.875% since mid-November, causing home buyer purchasing power across Portland to fall more than 10 percent since. Persistent concerns over inflation are a major reason why and this week's Consumer Price Index did little to quell fears. CPI rose for the third straight month last month. Wall Street was not surprised. As the economy has picked up steam since late-2010, the Federal Reserve has held the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent, and kept its $600 billion bond plan moving forward. The Fed believes this is necessary to support the economy in the near-term.  Over the long-term, however,…
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Home Safety

Going On Vacation? Don’t Tell The Burglars!

Want to help keep your home safe from burglars while on vacation? One smart way is to refrain from announcing your plans on various social networks such as Facebook.  There's other common-sense tips, too, as shared in this 4-minute video from NBC's The Today Show. Drawing from a series of interview with former convicts, you'll learn that there's more to keeping your home safe than just locking the doors and windows, and setting the alarm system for "away". You'll also want to make sure your home looks "lived in". And some of these tricks you may have never thought of. …
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FOMC , ,

Fed Minutes Show Lower Unemployment And Higher Growth For 2011 and 2012

The Federal Reserve released its January 25-26, 2011 meeting minutes Wednesday afternoon. Washington mortgage rates have been in flux since. Fed Minutes are comprehensive recaps of Federal Open Market Committee meetings; a detailed look at the debates and discussions that shape our nation's monetary policy. As such, they're released 8 times annually; 3 weeks after the most recent FOMC meeting. Fed Minutes can be viewed as the unabridged version of the succinct, more well-known "Fed Statement" that's released to markets immediately post-adjournment. Just how much more lengthy are Fed Minutes? The January 25-26, 2011 statement contains¬†395 words The January 25-26,…
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Homebuilders

Single-Family Housing Starts Fell In January, Despite What The Headlines May Have Told You

Annualized Single-Family Housing Starts dropped 1 percent in January to 413,000 units nationwide, it's lowest reading almost 2 years. A "Housing Start" is defined as a home on which construction has started.  Now, if you had only seen the Housing Starts story in the headlines today, you wouldn't have known that single-family starts fell at all. It's because of how the story is being reported. Most commonly, newspaper headlines are reading something similar to "Housing Starts Jump 14.6%" with the lead paragraph making mention that "housing starts are at their highest levels in 4 years". It's a true statement, but it's misleading,…
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Homebuilders

Home Builders Report Higher Sales Levels In January

Homebuilder confidence in the market for newly-built, single family homes appears stable as the spring buying season gets underway in Seattle. The confidence reading is recorded and reported monthly by the National Association of Homebuilders. For the 4th straight month, the group's Housing Market Index reads 16. As a market indicator, Housing Market Index has been tracked for more than twenty years and reports on a 1-100 scale. A value of 50 or better indicates "favorable conditions" for home builders. HMI hasn't read higher than 50 since April 2006. Broken down, the Housing Market Index is actually a weighted composite…
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Retail Sales , ,

Retail Sales Rise For 7th Straight Month; Mortgage Rates Worsen

If consumer spending is a keystone element in the U.S. economic recovery, a full-on rebound is likely underway. Tuesday, the Census Bureau released its national January Retail Sales figures and, for the seventh straight month, the data surpassed expectations. Last month's retail figures climbed 0.3 percent as total sales receipts reached an all-time high. It's good news for the economy which is scratching back after a prolonged recession, but decidedly bad news for people in want of a mortgage across the state of Washington. This includes home buyers and would-be refinancers alike. Because consumer spending accounts for the majority of the U.S.…
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