Recap and update

On many fronts, 2015 ended on a high note. The first month of 2016 had its ups and downs.

Build It Up!
In housing news, December Existing Home Sales surged nearly 15 percent from November. New Home Sales were also strong in December, rising 14.5 percent for all of 2015. Also, December marked the ninth straight month that Housing Starts (measured by the start of excavating a home’s foundation) were above 1 million units, the longest stretch since 2007. Overall, Housing Starts were up nearly 11 percent for the year.

Home prices also increased an average of 6 percent—good news for home sellers. For homebuyers looking to get affordable housing options, home loan rates helped temper home prices. In fact, home loan rates ended 2015 near historically low levels.

Everybody’s Working for the Weekend
On the jobs front, the end of 2015 marked the fifth straight year in which employment grew by 2 million, with solid job creation in October, November and December. Wage growth was up, and the Unemployment Rate remained at a seven-year low. All of this means more hard-working people are employed and seeing their household incomes increase.

Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Despite the good news in the housing and job sectors, plunging oil prices, stagnant manufacturing data, lower-than-expected wholesale inflation and China’s faltering economy were ongoing issues that drove Stock prices down at the beginning of 2016.

When Stocks plunge, however, Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) and other Bonds usually improve. Because home loan rates are directly tied to MBS, home loan rates can improve in the process.

The fact is, right now home loan rates remain near historic lows, which is good news for homebuyers and homeowners considering a refinance. If you have any questions about home financing, please let me know.

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