THE BASIS POINT

Author Tattoos ‘NYT Bestseller’ On Chest, Last Day of Fed MBS Buying, Home Purchase Loan Apps Highest Since Oct

Author Tattoos ‘NYT Bestseller’ On Chest
When was the last time that you got a tattoo? Longtime mortgage and marketing expert Kevin Daum actually committed to his book ROAR!’s success by tattooing “New York Times Best Seller” on his chest backwards so he could see it every morning. We should all be that committed to closing more deals and making more money! Check out the tattoo story and order the book. Here we are all banging our heads trying to figure out how to say the right things to the right people in the right way and the answer has been around for 3,500 years! You have to check out this new Wiley book by Mr. Daum called “ROAR! Get Heard in the Sales and Marketing Jungle”.It’s a great story.

Thoughts On Home Prices
US S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for January was up .3% over December, although it is negative .7% year-over-year. This gives us eight months of, on average, home prices in 20 cities being up on a seasonally-adjusted basis. This data bucks the trend seen by other index trackers, including the NAR median, RadarLogic’s RPX and the FHFA “Purchase-Only” index. One analyst noted that

“economically, housing is an illiquid good with poor price discovery, and major price turns are often preceded by changes in volume as buyers and sellers meet more or less frequently. If home prices are really recovering, we need to see confirmation in rising volume.”

All real estate is local. Florida is struggling, Southern California was a mixed bag for all of 2009, and Northern California has been strong. Las Vegas and Phoenix have been weak, as are Seattle and Portland and Atlanta. New York has not bounced; Boston is doing ok, as is Cleveland, although generally speaking the Midwest is having a tough time. Texas is steady.

Home Purchase Loan Applications Highest Since October
Loan agents and brokers specializing in purchasing are keeping lock desks busy around the nation. The weekly survey by the MBAA showed that mortgage applications for purchases hit their highest level since October. Overall, the index climbed 1.3% in the week ended March 26. Purchase apps rose 6.8%, the fourth gain in five weeks, while its refinancing measure dropped 1.3%. We have one month left until the end of April, the deadline for Americans to sign a contract on a home and qualify for the tax incentive.

Economic Chatter Last Day of Quarter
It is the last day of the quarter. Pundits will be talking about what rates have done, what stocks have done, what jobs have done. Manufacturing obviously impacts job growth, and manufacturing expansion remains firmly in place as we close out the first quarter. Manufacturers here in the US are replenishing low inventories, and we’ve seen some recovery in the global trade markets – both of which are helping. We will soon have the March ISM index, which is expected to show a slight increase from February’s levels.

Last Day of Fed MBS Buying, ADP Lower Than Expected
It is also the last day that the Fed will be buying mortgage-backed securities. Mortgage rates are pretty steady, compared to Treasuries. Rates are holding at the top end of the range and the curve is maintaining a steepening bias. Fannie and Freddie predict that the effect will not be major: a rise of about 25bps in mortgage rates over the next 3 months, or around $30/month more on a $250,000 mortgage. ADP reported that March private payrolls (not including census worker hiring) dropped 23,000, which is a disappointment for the economy – its number was expected to show an increase of 40k. Service-providing industries showed an increase. After the ADP number stocks may have a tough day, but bonds have improved: the 10-yr yield is down to 3.83%, and mortgage prices appear to be .250 better in price.

Daily Humor
Two ladies were talking in Heaven.

1st woman: “Hi! Wanda.”

2nd woman: “Hi! Sylvia. Imagine seeing you here – what happened?”

Sylvia: “I froze to death.”

Wanda: “How horrible!”

Sylvia: “It wasn’t so bad. After I quit shaking from the cold, I began to get warm & sleepy, and finally died a peaceful death. What about you?”

Wanda: “I died of a massive heart attack. I suspected that my husband was cheating, so I came home early to catch him in the act. But instead, I found him all by himself in the den watching TV. ”

Sylvia: “So, what happened?”

Wanda: “I was so sure there was another woman there somewhere that I started running all over the house looking. I ran up into the attic and searched, and down into the basement. Then I went through every closet and checked under all the beds. I kept this up until I had looked everywhere, and finally I became so exhausted that I just keeled over with a heart attack and died.”

Sylvia: “Too bad you didn’t look in the freezer—we’d both still be alive.”