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MORTGAGE TIME

13 Oct
Core Inflation Steady
The two big economic reports this week were released on Friday. Investors placed more weight on tame inflation data than on strong retail sales figures, causing mortgage rates to improve. Wednesday’s minutes from the September 20 Fed meeting contained little new information and the reaction was small. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week a little lower.
In September, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a widely followed monthly inflation indicator, posted its largest monthly increase since June 2009. This was mostly due to a hurricane-related 13% increase in gas prices during the month.

However, most investors prefer to look at core CPI for a clearer indication of the underlying trend. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose less than expected in September. While several other recent indicators have pointed to rising inflation, core CPI has held steady at an annual rate of 1.7% for five straight months. The tame core inflation data was good for mortgage rates.
Retail sales posted better than expected results in September, rising 1.6% from August. Car sales, in particular, were strong as people replaced vehicles lost in the hurricanes. Overall, though, it was difficult to determine the impact of the hurricanes. According to the Commerce Department, companies reported that "the hurricanes had both positive and negative effects on their sales data." Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of economic activity in the U.S., and the retail sales data is a key indicator, so this report was good news for the economy.
Looking ahead, it will be a light week for economic data. The housing sector reports will be featured. Housing Starts will be released on Wednesday and Existing Home Sales on Friday. Beyond that, Industrial Production will be released on Tuesday.

>> Read the newsletter online: http://www.mbsquoteline.com/newsletter/view/281/21342/0/3

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

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Thank you Sue for the wonderful review!

5 Oct

Nothing makes my day better than receiving another 5-star review from a happy customer!

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

#MortgageBlog, #BestMortgageLender, #GMFS, #JulieNichols, #NicholsTeam, #FiveStarReview

Congrats Jordan on your beautiful new condo!

29 Sep

Superb closing with great people! Congrats on your amazing condo Jordan! Great realtor you have there, Christie Deaton.

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

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Mortgage Time

29 Sep
Progress on Tax Plan
Additional threats from North Korea were positive for mortgage rates early in the week. However, the announcement of a tax reform plan on Wednesday was negative. The two events were roughly offsetting, and mortgage rates ended the week just slightly higher.
On Monday, North Korean officials said that they interpreted recent comments made by President Trump as a declaration of war. Investors reacted to this by shifting to relatively safer assets, including mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The increased demand for MBS caused mortgage rates to decline.
The volatility seen this week continued on Wednesday, but the movement was in the opposite direction from Monday. It took place after President Trump released additional details about his proposed tax reform plan. If passed, this plan is expected to boost economic growth and to increase the budget deficit. Faster economic growth raises the outlook for future inflation, which is negative for mortgage rates. A larger deficit increases the supply of bonds, which also is bad for mortgage rates.

In August, core PCE was just 1.3% higher than a year ago, down from an annual rate of 1.4% in July and from 1.9% in February. This is the inflation indicator favored by the Fed. Most Fed officials expect that inflation will gradually rise toward their target level of 2.0% over the medium term, but each additional month of low readings adds doubt that their forecasts are correct.
Looking ahead, the important monthly Employment report will be released on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the unemployment rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Before that, the ISM national manufacturing index will be released on Monday, and the ISM national services index on Wednesday. In addition news about North Korea or tax reform again could influence mortgage rates.

>> View the newsletter online: http://www.mbsquoteline.com/newsletter/view/279/21342/0/3

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

#MortgageBlog, #BestMortgageLender, #GMFS, #JulieNichols, #NicholsTeam, #ChangingLives

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We love happy customers!

26 Sep

Thank you Satyen for the great Google Review! Customer Service is our focus and we like to hear we were successful!

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

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Mortgage Time

22 Sep
Fed Meeting and North Korea
Wednesday’s Fed meeting was viewed as mildly negative for mortgage rates. Threats from North Korea on Friday were slightly positive. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week with little change.
For investors, the most notable information from the Fed meeting was that a rapid pace of raising the federal funds rate received support from more Fed officials than expected. Roughly 75% of Fed officials forecasted one more rate hike this year and three rate hikes in 2018. This news caused mortgage rates to rise.
In the years following the financial crisis, the Fed sought to drive longer-term interest rates lower and stimulate the economy by purchasing enormous quantities of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS). While there is broad agreement that those goals were achieved, the purchases left the Fed with massive holdings of these securities. On Wednesday, the Fed said that it is going to gradually shrink its balance sheet beginning in October. Investors had been expecting this announcement at this meeting, so there was little reaction.
On Friday, North Korea threatened to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. Investors reacted to this by shifting to relatively safer assets, including MBS. The increased demand for MBS caused mortgage rates to decline a little.

In August, single-family housing starts rose from July. The streak of strong readings seen over the last three months may be at risk, however, as the effects of the hurricanes will be seen in coming months. According to the Commerce Department, about 13% of home construction takes place in regions in Texas and Florida that were affected by the recent hurricanes.
Looking ahead, New Home Sales will be released on Tuesday and Pending Home Sales on Wednesday. Durable Orders, an important indicator of economic activity, also will come out on Wednesday. The core PCE price index, the inflation indicator favored by the Fed, will be released on Friday. In addition, there will be Fed speakers every day next week including a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday.

>> Read the article online here: http://www.mbsquoteline.com/newsletter/view/278/21342/0/3

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

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#NicholsTeam

1031 Exchange = Smart investing!

15 Sep

Sell one investment and purchase up to 3 more with the proceeds while avoiding the capital gains tax! Jeff and Mimi know this is a very smart strategy! We like your style!

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

#MortgageBlog, #BestMortgageLender, #GMFS, #ChangingLives, #JulieNichols, #NicholsTeam, #1031exchange, #OldRepublic, #investmentproperty, #smartmoney, #FortWorth

Mortgage Time

15 Sep
Hurricane Effects
Early in the week, good news regarding North Korea impacted mortgage rates. The economic data caused little reaction. Mortgage rates ended the week higher, up from the best levels of the year.
In recent weeks, investors have reacted to news about North Korea in the expected fashion. Each time North Korea has conducted a missile test, investors have shifted to relatively safer assets, including mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The added demand has been positive for mortgage rates. As the North Korean government celebrated its 69th anniversary last weekend, many investors had expected another missile test. When this did not occur, investors took the reverse action on Monday. They added riskier assets to their portfolios, which was negative for MBS and mortgage rates. On Friday, however, investors broke from the recent trend and showed surprisingly little reaction to another missile launch.

Two big economic reports released on Friday fell well short of the expected levels. Retail sales in August fell 0.2% from July, below the consensus for a small increase. Auto sales dropped sharply from July, partly due Hurricane Harvey. Estimates of vehicles destroyed by the storm are around 300,000, though, which should boost auto sales in coming months.
Industrial production posted a much bigger miss with a decline of 0.9% from July, well below the consensus for a small increase. However, the Federal Reserve attributed nearly all of the drop to the effects of the hurricane, so there was little market impact.
It is difficult to know what effects the hurricanes will have on economic activity. Some areas will look weak now due to the storms, but the rebuilding efforts will boost activity in the future. As a result, investors likely will not react much to individual reports for some time. Instead, they will look at the results over a longer time frame to try to judge the underlying strength of the economy.
Looking ahead, the next Fed meeting will take place on Wednesday. Investors widely expect the Fed to announce that it will begin to reduce the quantity of Treasury and mortgage securities on its balance sheet. In addition, Housing Starts will be released on Tuesday and Existing Home Sales on Wednesday.

>> Read the newsletter online: http://www.mbsquoteline.com/newsletter/view/277/21342/0/3

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

#MortgageBlog, #BestMortgageLender, #GMFS, #JulieNichols, #NicholsTeam, #ChangingLives

Equifax breach could be worst in history

15 Sep

Reblogged from Scotsman Guide – Victor Whitman

The hack reported last week by Equifax will go down as one of the worst data breaches in history, and could prove to be the most damaging ever for American consumers, many security experts contend.

Anonymous criminals committed the crime, but cybersecurity experts told Scotsman Guide News that the blame for exposing sensitive information belonging to roughly half of the U.S. population lies with Equifax, which has a history of data breaches.

“I firmly believe they could have prevented this,” said Tim Crosby, a senior security consultant with Austin, Texas-based Spohn Consulting.

Equifax reported last Thursday that it discovered on July 29 that cybercriminals exploited “a U.S. website application vulnerability” to gain access. Equifax determined that as many as 143 million people were compromised.

The information included Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, drivers-license information. Also, the credit card numbers of 209,000 U.S. consumers were exposed. Information on consumers residing in the United Kingdom and Canada also was breached.

Equifax believes the attack occurred in mid-May and continued until it was discovered nearly two months later.

“This is a pretty scary thing,” Crosby said. “It is going to affect the other credit reporting agencies, who are going to have to be on their toes. We know somebody has the information. We don’t know how widely it has been distributed, or who got it yet.”

Repeated breaches

Equifax has been breached or admitted to mishandling sensitive consumer information five times since 2005, according to the website privacyrights.org. Most recently it was reported in May 2016 that hackers breached its W-2 Express Website, exposing tax and salary information on 431,000 Kroger employees.

In October 2010, Equifax agreed to pay a $1.6 million fine to settle a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, after admitting to selling information on people who had been late in paying their mortgages. This affected 17,000 consumers. The company had two other smaller incidents in 2010 and 2006.

“In my opinion, this is the super jackpot of cybersecurity compromise,” said Jeffrey Bernstein, the managing director of Critical Defence. Bernstein doubted that the hackers will ever be caught. They may have already sold the information on a shadowy "dark web," a number of small private networks that can’t be accessed through traditional search engines. Equifax could face severe penalties, Bernstein said.

“This type of breach should never happen,” Bernstein added. “A company like Equifax has a very high-profile, high-threat environment that they operate in. They have a treasure trove of data, of our private data, and they need to protect it.”

Equifax officials were not immediately available for comment.

As of Monday, Equifax had provided no additional information on how cybercriminals accessed its database. Web applications can be any program accessed over a network connection. Typically, a person logs in with a user name and password. Facebook and LinkedIn are two well-known examples of web applications.

Hackers often develop attack tools to exploit vulnerabilities in these programs, engaging in a cat-and-mouse game. Companies, in turn, must constantly test their web applications for vulnerabilities and provide fixes.

>> Read the original article here: http://www.scotsmanguide.com/News/2017/09/Equifax-breach-could-be-worst-in-history/?utm_source=TopNews091517&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TopNews

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

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Congratulations Satyen & Reema!

11 Sep

We hope you enjoy your new home! We really enjoyed working with you.

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Visit my website at: www.juliecnichols.com or contact me with any of your home loan questions.

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