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Markets in a Minute | October 21, 2016

For the Week Ending October 21, 2016

Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.

Consumer prices rose in September, suggesting an increase in inflation that could keep the Fed on track for raising policy rates in December.
September’s retail sales numbers offer another sign of an improving economy. Retail sales rose 0.6% in September and have increased 2.9% for the year.
The Fed will also look at employment when making a decision to raise policy rates, and this week’s jobless claims showed the labor market remains strong.

In a sign that the housing recovery continues, a recent index showed home builder confidence at its second highest level of the year.
In another sign of housing market strength, single-family home starts surged in September. Groundbreakings jumped 8.1% to the highest level since February.
Despite a tight supply, existing home sales rebounded in September to rise 3.2%. Median prices of existing homes were up to $234,200, a 5.6% annual increase.

A recent scientific study showed that out of 2,293,618,367 people, 94% are too lazy to actually read that number.

Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.

What’s with the Fed and Rates?

fed-ratesHave you heard references to the Federal Reserve or “the Fed” in the news? These reports usually pertain to the Fed’s raising or lowering of interest rates. The impacts of a rate decision can vary. Here are a few things to remember:

  • The Fed sets target rates for bank-to-bank and Fed-to-bank loans.
  • The Fed does not directly control fixed mortgage rates. In fact, fixed mortgage rates can change well in advance as the market anticipates any adjustments.
  • The prime rate is directly influenced by Fed moves. This rate is often used as the benchmark for interest charged on credit cards, auto loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs).

There’s talk that the Fed may raise rates before the end of the year. That may make this a good time to “lock in” a low rate on a purchase if you’re so inclined. Existing owners may want to consider refinancing or combining adjustable rate loans like HELOCs or even consumer debt into one low fixed rate. Consolidating debt is not for everyone, but we’re happy to arm you with information as you decide what’s right for you.

Please let us know how we can help; please contact us.