Last Week in Review
Table Source: Mortgage Success Source
There weren’t many significant changes from last week’s economic news, but we’re still keeping a close eye on the Fed’s bond purchases, changes to the labor market and changes to home loan rates.
The minutes from the Fed’s June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee showed that the Fed’s bond purchases will be contingent on how the U.S. economy performs. Some members said further labor market improvement is needed, while several said a reduction in purchases would soon be warranted.
In terms of the labor market, regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in May. Fifty percent of states had unemployment rate decreases, 34% had increases, and 16% had no change. While the Jobs Report for June looked strong, it’s important to note many of the jobs were low-paying and part-time positions. In addition, for the 18-29 year age group, the Unemployment Rate is at 16.1 percent.
The labor markets have not recovered yet, and this is one of the reasons for continued stimulus from the Fed. On Wednesday Fed Chairman Bernanke tried to soothe the markets by stating that some of the easy money policies will be around for the foreseeable future due to high unemployment and inflation pressures remaining stable.
What does all of this mean for home loan rates?
The Fed’s bond purchase program has helped bonds and home loan rates remain attractive. But the timing of tapering this program really does depend on whether the housing and labor markets continue to improve. In addition, with thousands of companies reporting their second quarter earnings over the next few weeks, the Fed will be watching closely. If numbers are reported at or below estimates for key sectors, the Fed may have to rethink the timeframe for tapering its bond purchases.
Another key factor to monitor is inflation. Inflation at the wholesale level jumped by 0.8 percent in June, well above expectations, led by an increase in energy costs reflecting higher gasoline prices. Remember that inflation has a negative impact on bonds (and therefore home loan rates, which are tied to mortgage bonds) because inflation reduces the value of fixed investments like bonds. Low inflation has given the Fed cover to continue its bond purchases, but if inflation increases, this could cause bonds and home loan rates to worsen.
Forecast for the week
The calendar will be busy all week with several key reports.
- The week kicks off on Monday with Retail Sales.
- Look for two important manufacturing reports: the Empire State Index on Monday, followed by the Philadelphia Fed Indexon Thursday.
- Tuesday we’ll get a read on inflation at the consumer level with the Consumer Price Index.
- Gauges on housing will be reported on Wednesday with Housing Starts and Building Permits.
- Also releasing on Wednesday, the Fed’s Beige Book, which gives information on current economic conditions in the Fed’s twelve districts.
- Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be reported as usual on Thursday.
Getting More Leads with Podcasting
A recent study discovered podcast awareness has increased 105 percent since 2006. Also, the number of consumers listening to these online audio and video broadcasts has increased by 163 percent.
Websites, blogs and social media accounts require up-to-date content, but not everyone is comfortable writing or has the necessary budget to employ a skilled writer. Podcasting can help business owners bridge the gap, without requiring too much technical savvy.
Here are the four steps to producing a basic podcast:
Rehearse: Podcasts will be noticeably smoother, more interesting, and easier to follow if you work from an outline and practice first.
Record: Inexpensive or free audio software will record, edit, and output the finalized audio file. Audacity is the most popular, but there are others as well. Note that if you want to add bumper music or other audio elements, make sure to get multi-track software. Most user manuals do a good job explaining how the software works, but if you still have trouble, users often post helpful walk-through tutorials on YouTube.
Consider using an external microphone instead of the built-in mic on your computer. Most mics these days are plug-and-play and your listeners will appreciate the higher audio quality. Here are a few mics to choose from.
Publish: Once your audio has been finalized, you need to upload it to a podcast host such as Libsyn or Podbean. Also, make sure to apply to have your feed posted on iTunes, which will expand your reach.
Promote: Now it’s time to link your podcast feed across your website, blog, and social media accounts. Also notify your clients and contacts by email. Ask strategic partners to post your podcast on their website, and look for other ways to promote it locally. Don’t forget to list it on your business card.
Senior Director, Coldwell Banker New Homes Division
With over 200 condominium, townhome and loft projects successfully marketed
“Fewer properties for sale with such remarkably low interest rates make it a great time to sell but a more difficult time to buy”