Incline Village at Lake Tahoe, Nevada Real Estate and Community News

April 20, 2017

LAKE TAHOE FILLED TO THE BRIM

Lake Tahoe is full. As of April 17, the lake's surface elevation was 6,227.64 feet — almost 5 feet above its natural rim.

U.S. Water Master Chad Blanchard said his office has been spilling water from Lake Tahoe since Feb. 22 in an effort to prevent the lake's level from rising too high. It's the first time since 2006 that excess water has been spilled from the lake.

"We're already over 200 percent of the average precipitation for Tahoe City for the month of April, with a little bit more to come at least," he said. "So the big year is not letting up."

Blanchard's job is to oversee the distribution of water from Lake Tahoe. Blanchard, who is based in Reno, said water is currently being released at a rate of about 1,200 cubic feet per second (cfs).

“This is the biggest year in history as far as precipitation and snow, and we don’t know what’s going to happen, whether it’ll be one and done or we’ll hang for awhile at the top.”Chad Blanchard-U.S. Water Master

"It hasn't happened in quite a while because of the drought, but it's not that uncommon to have this much released from Lake Tahoe," he said.

The current rate that water is being released from the lake, 1200 cfs, pales in comparison to the amount of water flowing into it, or the "inflow."

"Just today (April 18), alone, the inflow was about 3,100 cfs and we're releasing 1,200," Blanchard said. "Lake Tahoe inflow in a big event, in a flood event, can reach almost 100,000 cfs."

But even though it's been years since the lake last filled, Blanchard said that the 1920s began a period where the lake didn't fill for 20 years. Following that period, the lake remained fairly full for the next 20 years.

"Its very cyclical," Blanchard said. "Typically, when the dry periods ends the lake fills back up rather quickly."

Blanchard said the lake nearly filled in 2011. He calls years like 2006 and 2011 "one and done years," since the lake level rose but the following years were relatively dry. That's unusual looking back at the 117-year record, since most of the time when the lake fills it remains full over the following years.

"This is the biggest year in history as far as precipitation and snow, and we don't know what's going to happen, whether it'll be one and done or we'll hang for awhile at the top," he said.

But Blanchard also pointed out that knowledge of the weather and Lake Tahoe is very limited, since records go back 117 years compared with the 4.5 billion years the Earth has existed. Lake Tahoe, itself, has existed for roughly two million years.

As for the rest of this season, Blanchard said there will be runoff flows from melting snow that could be higher than possibly ever seen, but it will be manageable.

"Right now, all of the snowpack should be melting significantly," he said. "The highest typical snowpack peaks in early April — we're still accumulating at most elevations."

The average snow water equivalent for the Central Sierra, according to the California Department of Water Resources, was 194 percent of normal on April 18. Locally, at the Tahoe City station, the snow water equivalent was reported 98 percent of normal on April 17, with 15.7 inches compared with the April 1 average of 16 inches.

The larger contrast shows in the higher elevations. For example, on April 17 the snow water equivalent measured at Rubicon Peak was 202 percent of normal, with 59 inches compared with the April 1 average of 29.1 inches. Mount Rose Ski Area received the greatest snowfall in the Lake Tahoe Basin this season, with a snow water equivalent of 92.6 inches measured on April 17, compared with the April 1 average of 38.5 or 240 percent above normal.

Blanchard explained that in past years when a large amount of snow has fallen — like 1983, 1995, 2006 and 2001 — snow accumulation often continues into May, rather than stopping in April.

"It's not abnormal, but it seems that it is often the pattern in these big years that the snow keeps accumulating at the high elevations well into May, and then it starts melting," he said.

That means Lake Tahoe will continue to rise, as temperatures warm and thaw the snow into water (inflow), which runs into the lake.

Typically, inflow peaks around June or July, but this year it isn't expected to happen until August because of the amount of snow accumulated and storms haven't let up yet. But when it does peak, the level will then begin to lower as the rate of evaporation increases with temperature and exposure to the sun.

"Basically, the lake will keep rising as long as the precipitation or inflow is greater than evaporation, and that's usually in June," Blanchard said. "It can be earlier in dry years, like May. In these big years it can be late July or early August before evaporation outpaces inflow."

Posted in Community News
April 18, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Consumers were holding back on purchases again in March, while home loan rates hit their lowest levels of the year.

Retail Sales fell for the second month in a row, the worst two-month stretch in two years. The Commerce Department reported March Retail Sales decreased 0.2 percent from February. January to February also was revised from the previously reported increase to a decrease of -0.3 percent. These negative numbers could be significant once first quarter Gross Domestic Product is released later this month, as consumer spending makes up two-thirds of overall economic activity. Despite the declines, total sales for the first quarter were up 5.4 percent from the same period a year ago.

Inflation was tame in March on both the wholesale and consumer levels. The Producer Price Index decreased 0.1 percent in March while the Consumer Price Index fell 0.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Tame inflation is typically good news for Bonds, as inflation reduces the value of fixed investments. Since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, they can also benefit when inflation remains cool.

In other important news, uncertainty over the tensions surrounding global events caused investors to move their money into the safer haven of the Bond markets before heading into the holiday weekend.

At this time, home loan rates have hit 2017 lows. If you or someone you know has any questions, please contact me. I'd be happy to help.

Forecast for the Week

Housing and manufacturing reports will dominate a busy week, along with continued uncertainty around the globe.

Manufacturing data kicks off the week with the Empire State Index on Monday, followed by the Philadelphia Fed Index on Thursday.

Housing numbers will come from the NAHB Housing Market Index on Monday, Housing Starts and Building Permits on Tuesday, and Existing Home Sales on Friday.

The Fed's Beige Book will be delivered on Wednesday.

As usual, weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released on Thursday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds pushed to 2017 price peaks, driving home loan rates to their lowest levels of the year.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Apr 14, 2017)

The Mortgage Market Guide View...

3 Brain-Boosters on a 30-Minute Break

Taking regular breaks during the workday can lead to lower stress levels and better focus. In the last two weeks, we've shared a few ideas on what you can do to boost brainpower on five- or 15-minute breaks. This week, we offer three options to consider when you have 30 minutes:

Take a class. New ways to continue your education are constantly coming online, and many are a fraction of the costs of attending in person. Coursera and edX offer classes from top universities, while Open Culture links free courses, audio books, e-books and more.

Write thank you notes. Grab some note cards and tell clients or colleagues how much you appreciate them. Thinking about what you're grateful for in others (and letting them know!) is an effective way to ease workday stress.

Plan your weekend. Rather than let the weekend bring what it will, give yourself something to look forward to. Map out a mini road trip or schedule a barbecue with family and friends. Use the time to plan out the menu and send out emails or texts to invite people over.

Get more from your breaks with these great ideas!

Source: Entrepreneur

Economic Calendar for the Week of April 17 - April 21

Posted in Real Estate News
April 10, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Headline news made investors (and politicians) jumpy this week, and the average American received a mixed bag of money matters.

Job growth, as reported by the Department of Labor, came in at 98,000 in March, following gains of 216,000 in January and 219,000 in February. Both January and February job numbers were revised downward by a total of 38,000 from initial reports, and the March number was nearly half of what was expected. On a positive note, the Unemployment Rate dropped from 4.7 percent to 4.5 percent from February to March, the lowest in 10 years. Plus, average hourly earnings rose 2.7 percent over the last year, though wage growth slipped from February to March.

In housing news, CoreLogic, a leading provider of data analytics, reported that home prices, including distressed sales, jumped 7 percent from February 2016 to February 2017 due in part to high demand and limited supply across most local markets. Month over month, prices rose 1 percent. Looking ahead, prices are expected to rise 4.7 percent from February 2017 to February 2018.

Jobs data spurred some market volatility, but markets were further agitated by continued unrest in North Korea and Syria as well as March Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes that revealed the Fed may begin to shrink its balance sheet by the end of 2017 and that some members are worried Stock evaluations are too high.

Mortgage Bonds benefited throughout the week because investors are uncomfortable with uncertainty. Home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, so when Bond prices improve, home loan rates can improve too. At this time, home loan rates remain near historic lows.

If you or someone you know has any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Forecast for the Week

Inflation numbers are the ones to watch this week as the Fed continues to weigh its 2017 monetary policy options. The Bond markets close at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday and both Stock and Bond markets are closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.

Inflation numbers will be reported in Thursday's wholesale Producer Price Index and Friday's Consumer Price Index.

Also being released on Thursday will be weekly Initial Jobless Claims and the Consumer Sentiment Index.

Retail Sales are scheduled for Friday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds improved to levels seen in January, keeping home loan rates near historic lows.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday, April 7, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News
April 7, 2017

SIERRA SOTHEBY'S RELEASES Q1 LAKE TAHOE MARKET DATA

1st Quarter | Lake Tahoe, Truckee & Surrounding Areas

Lake Tahoe, Truckee and surrounding area real estate market trends can vary dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty compiles quarterly micro market statistics from four different multiple listing services to help you better understand values, identify opportunities and make informed real estate decisions. Follow the links below to review regional Micro-Market reports drilled down by specific neighborhoods.

If your community is not listed or you’re unsure what the data means for your situation, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Click here to view the report:

https://tahoerealestatediary.com/micro-market-reports/

Posted in Market Updates
April 4, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Spring has sprung! It has been beautiful the past 10 days here in Incline Village, with temperatures in the 50's at lake level. A Winter storm is fast approaching with 2-4 feet of snow forecast for the higher elevations by Sunday. 2016-2017 may be the winter that never ends. Lake Tahoe is fast approaching its legal limit of 6229 feet. As of today it is at 6227.26 feet MSL .

Real Estate and Mortgage Rates - Last Week in Review and Forecast for this Week;

While 2016 Gross Domestic Product was anemic, consumers showed some strong spending in the fourth quarter.

Final fourth quarter 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose to 2.1 percent from the second reading of 1.9 percent. This follows a 3.5 percent increase in the third quarter. For all of 2016, GDP rose an anemic 1.6 percent, the worst since 2011 and below the 2.6 percent in 2015.

There were some bright spots with the latest numbers. Consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds of economic activity, rose 3.5 percent from the previous reading of 3 percent. Corporate profits also were up 9.3 percent year over year, the most in four years due in part to a recovery in the energy sector.

In economic news, Consumer Confidence was also a bright spot, as it surged well above expectations. However, tight housing inventory remains a reality across much of the country, and is a key factor in rising home prices. The January S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index showed home prices rose 5.7 percent year over year, just above the 5.6 percent expected.

Inflation had a slight uptick in February from January but remained just below the Fed's target range of 2 percent. Core Personal Consumption Expenditures, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 1.8 percent year over year in February, consistent with January's reading. The Fed would like Core PCE to reach, exceed and stay above 2 percent -- something it has not done in nine years -- before hiking the benchmark Fed Funds Rate more aggressively. If Core PCE stalls at current levels, it will be tough for the Fed to justify additional hikes, as these hikes are designed to stave off inflation.

Inflation is an important measure to watch because rising inflation reduces the value of fixed investments like Bonds. Since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, home loan rates can improve when Mortgage Bond prices improve. The opposite is also true.

The good news is that Mortgage Bond prices have gained some ground recently, and home loan rates remain historically attractive for those in the market to buy a home.

If you or someone you know has any questions , please don't hesitate to contact me.

Forecast for the Week

March may log another solid month of job growth to wrap up the first quarter of 2017.

National manufacturing numbers in the ISM Index will be released on Monday followed by the ISM Services Index on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, FOMC minutes from the March Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be released.

Labor market data will come from Wednesday's ADP National Employment Report, Thursday's weekly Initial Jobless Claims, and Friday's closely watched monthly Jobs Report for March, which includes Non-farm Payrolls, the Unemployment Rate and Average Hourly Earnings.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds have gained some ground after falling during the early part of March. While Bond prices have currently stalled, home loan rates remain attractive.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 31, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News
March 20, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen had one simple truth that was like music to Stock and Bond markets: "The simple message is the economy is doing well."

When the Fed expectedly raised its benchmark Federal Funds Rate 0.25 percent at its March 14-15 meeting, Stocks and Mortgage Bonds both improved following the news.

The Fed's tame read on inflation and its decision to maintain its balance sheet of existing Mortgage Bonds helped Bonds rally. Meanwhile, Stocks responded favorably to the news that the Fed is planning two additional hikes this year, eliminating some uncertainty.

The Fed Funds Rate, with a new target rate range between 0.75 to 1.0 percent, is the rate at which banks lend money to each other overnight and is not directly tied to consumer products like purchase or refinance home loans. Instead, home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bond market performance. Home loan rates can move lower when Mortgage Bonds improve and vice versa.

There was good news from the housing sector, as the Commerce Department reported that Housing Starts hit a four-month high, rising 3 percent from January to February to an annual rate of 1.288 million. Housing Starts measure when excavation begins on a new home. Starts on single-family homes rose to a near 10-year high. From February 2016 to February 2017, Housing Starts were up 6.2 percent. The increase is a welcome sign for those in the market for a home as limited inventory has driven home prices up in many areas, discouraging some buyers. Another welcome sign: The National Association of Home Builders reported that its Housing Market Index, a measure of home builder sentiment, jumped six points to the highest level in 12 years!

In economic news, wholesale inflation came in hotter than expected in February, with the year-over-year Producer Price Index reading reaching 2.2 percent, the highest since March 2012. The Consumer Price Index was in line with expectations, falling in February from January to 0.1 percent due in part to lower gasoline prices. Retail Sales also met expectations, though they did decline from January.

For those in the market for a new home or a refinance, home loan rates remain attractive.

If you or someone you know has any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Forecast for the Week

Housing news dominates the week. Will the positive momentum continue?

Housing data kicks off on Wednesday with the release of Existing Home Sales, followed by New Home Sales on Thursday.

As usual, weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released on Thursday.

The week rounds out with Durable Goods Orders on Friday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds experienced a nice rebound following the release of the Fed's monetary policy statement. Home loan rates remain in attractive territory.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 17, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News
March 17, 2017

LAKE TAHOE EXPECTED TO FILL UP WITH LARGEST PHYSICAL RISE IN RECORDED HISTORY

The depressing scene of boat docks sitting high and dry on wide beaches around Lake Tahoe will likely be a fleeting memory this summer.

Winter's unrelenting storms built up a substantial Sierra snowpack and are expected to fill the lake for the first time in 11 years.

Many low-lying areas that were exposed when the lake level was declining during the drought will be inundated with water. The docks will be bobbing in crystal blue waters once again.

Straddling the California–Nevada border, Tahoe is the sixth largest lake in the United States, an outdoor playground for people around the world, and the main water source for the Reno-Sparks, Nevada, area. The renowned ecological wonder is fed by 63 tributaries that drain 505 square miles known as the Lake Tahoe Watershed. With a vast surface area of 191 square miles, Tahoe requires an immense amount of water to fill, especially because roughly 100 billion gallons of water evaporates annually.

Lake Tahoe's natural rim is at 6,223 feet above sea level. The lake can store an additional 6.1 feet in its reservoir and climbs up to 6,229 feet at full capacity, its legal maximum limit. The only outlet, a dam at Tahoe City, regulates the upper 6.1 feet above the low water mark, and this winter water is being released into the Truckee River as billions of gallons flow into the lake.

Tahoe's water level reached 6,226.84 feet on Wednesday, and the lake needs some 88 billion gallons of water to jump up the 2.26 feet required to be completely full. That's the equivalent of filling more than 133,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

"We feel really good right now," said U.S. District Court Water Master Chad Blanchard. "We're releasing 500 cubic feet of water per second, and trying to manage the elevation. The elevation has been flat for a couple weeks, but we don't want to get too high because we have two-and-a-quarter feet of room. But we could still have as much as four to five feet of water to come into the lake in next five months. It's a balancing act. We have to fill, but we don't want to overfill. And the forecasts we get are just forecasts. They're not perfect."

If Tahoe reaches full capacity, as Blanchard expects the lake will do at the end of July, it would see its largest physical rise in recorded history going back to 1900.

Since the start of the rainy season on October 1, the lake level has shot up 4.5 feet. If the lake fills, it will rise a total of 6.5 feet, beating the 1995 record when it jumped up six feet in a single season, which runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

This is a huge milestone for a body of water that flirted with record-low levels amid a five-year drought. At the same time last year, the lake level was a full 4.19 feet lower. This was discouraging in an El Niño year when storms expected to bring record-breaking snow and rain delivered only average precipitation, filling some reservoirs but making only a small dent in California's drought conditions overall.

This year is telling a different story as storms ceaselessly battered the Sierra Nevada in January and February. The Lake Tahoe Basin received 10 more inches of precipitation than any year in recorded history, going back to 1910. Because Tahoe has a large surface area, the precipitation alone provides a significant rise.

And then there's the Sierra Nevada snowpack. The range is piled high with the most snow it has seen in decades, and a recent survey on March 1 indicated the snowpack is 185 percent of average. As the weather warms, this snow will melt and pour billions of gallons of water into the rising lake.

And perhaps the most significant milestone is that the drought will be considered over in the Tahoe area.

"In the Truckee basin, drought is defined as water storage in Lake Tahoe," Blanchard said. "Tahoe is the defining factor. If we're full at Tahoe, the drought is over. Typically, we can get three year's worth of water from the reservoir part. Of course, that could vary in some freak extreme."

Posted in Community News
March 13, 2017

REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE RATES - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Its official. Mount Rose Ski Area has the most Snow in North America with almost 700 inches. The February Jobs Report had a lot to celebrate, including job and wage growth.

U.S. employers added 235,000 new jobs in February, above the 188,000 expected, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Gains in construction and manufacturing, in particular, led the surge. While December's numbers were revised down and January's were revised up, combined revisions totaled 9,000 more jobs than previously reported.

The unemployment rate was 4.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent, and the Labor Force Participation Rate was at its highest in a year at 63 percent. Average hourly earnings rose by 2.8 percent from February 2016 to February 2017.

Overall, this was a robust report and likely means the Fed will raise its benchmark Fed Funds Rate at its meeting on March 14-15. This is the rate at which banks lend money to each other overnight.

In housing news, home price gains continued in January. CoreLogic, a leading provider of consumer, financial and property information, reported that January home prices, including distressed sales, rose 6.9 percent from January 2016 to January 2017. The gains were due in part to lean inventories of homes for sale on the market. From December 2016 to January 2017, prices rose 0.7 percent. CoreLogic's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said, "Many markets have seen housing prices outpace inflation."

While home price gains are expected to continue, the sizes of the increases are expected to be less severe. Looking ahead, CoreLogic sees a 4.8 percent increase in prices from January 2017 to January 2018.

For those in the market for a new home, home loan rates remain attractive despite recent market volatility.

If you or someone you know has any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Forecast for the Week

While the week is jam-packed with key economic reports, the March 14-15 Federal Open Market Committee meeting and release of the monetary policy statement will likely be the headline grabber.

Inflation data from Tuesday's Producer Price Index and Wednesday's Consumer Price Index will be dissected by Fed members at this week's FOMC meeting.

Retail Sales will be released on Wednesday along with the Fed's monetary policy statement.

Regional manufacturing numbers will be delivered in Wednesday's Empire State Index and Thursday's Philadelphia Fed Index.

On Thursday, Housing Starts and Building Permits will be released along with the usual weekly Initial Jobless Claims.

The Consumer Sentiment Index will be reported on Friday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds struggled to gain traction recently. Home loan rates remain attractive despite Bond market losses.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 10, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News
March 8, 2017

WHY WORK WITH A CERTIFIED RESIDENTIAL SPECIALIST AGENT?

A CRS REALTOR® is a Certified Residential Specialist—one of the top 3 percent of real estate agents in the U.S. CRS agents have more experience and training than the average REALTOR® and they are part of a community of REALTORS® dedicated to improving the real estate industry for homebuyers and sellers everywhere.

Why Work With a Certified Residential Specialist Agent?

Buying or selling your home is one of the biggest and most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. You need someone you can trust by your side, who is looking out for your best interests and is willing to put all their knowledge and experience to work for you. You need a CRS.

Not all real estate agents are made the same: There are millions of real estate agents out there, and their experience and dedication to their profession and clients varies widely.

The threshold to becoming a real estate agent is surprisingly low. Requirements vary by state, but some ask for as little as 40 hours of training and few ask for more than 100 hours—compare that to the 1,000 hours that are typically required to become a hair stylist.

To become a CRS, however, REALTORS® must meet a number of stringent requirements that combine advanced hours of education and training, experience and success in the marketplace. A CRS agent adheres to a strict code of ethics that binds them to perform in the best interest of their clients at all times.

CRSs are required to have between 25 and 150 transactions and between 16 and 80 additional hours of education beyond what’s required of the typical REALTOR®.

These are agents who are invested in their careers, in buying and selling real estate and in making sure their clients are satisfied. CRS is the sign of a true real estate professional.

Don’t work with the rest, choose the best. Choose a CRS.

The Benefits of Working with a CRS Agent

· CRSs receive advanced training above and beyond what is required of typical agents

· CRSs have proven experience through logged transactions

· CRSs continuously improve their skills and learn about new regulatory developments

· CRSs adhere to an ethics code not required of other agents

Posted in Community News
March 6, 2017

REAL ESTATE - LAST WEEK IN REVIEW AND FORECAST FOR THIS WEEK

Consumer Confidence hit the best reading since July 2001, while home prices and consumer inflation have also been on the rise.

Housing prices posted strong gains through the end of 2016. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index saw a 5.6 percent annual gain from December 2015 to December 2016, as low housing inventory continued to fuel rising home prices. Within the index it showed that Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Denver, Colorado had the largest year-over-year gains.

Pending Home Sales, which is a future-looking indicator based on contract signings, were down a disappointing -2.8 percent in January, below the 0.9 percent expected, per the National Association of REALTORS®. December Pending Home Sales also were revised lower to 0.8 percent from 1.9 percent.

In economic news, the second reading of fourth quarter 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) matched the first reading of 1.9 percent, just below the 2.1 percent expected even though consumer spending surged. GDP is the value of goods and services produced by the nation's economy and it's considered one of the broadest measures of economic health.

Inflation data ticked up in January as Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.3 percent from December. The headline PCE index (which includes food and energy) rose to 1.9 percent year over year, the biggest 12-month gain since October 2012.

Higher inflation can take a toll on Mortgage Backed Securities, reducing their value and negatively affecting the home loan rates tied to them. The record high Stock rallies experienced with the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 also weigh down Bonds.

For those in the market for a new or existing home, home loan rates remain in historically low territory despite recent market volatility.

If you or someone you know has any questions , please don't hesitate to contact me.

Forecast for the Week

What direction will the 2017 job growth trend line go after a strong start in January?

Economic news kicks off on Wednesday with the ADP National Employment Report and Productivity numbers from the fourth quarter of 2016.

As usual, weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released on Thursday.

On Friday, look for the Jobs Report for February, which includes Non-farm Payrolls, Average Hourly Earnings, the Unemployment Rate and the Average Work Week.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bond prices were driven downward recently as Stock markets posted record highs. Despite the volatility, home loan rates are still in attractive territory.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 03, 2017)

Posted in Real Estate News