Economy Continues To Strengthen

New research reports that the United States economy is continuing to shape up, and experts expect brighter days to come. Private-sector employment has increased by 200,000 for the last 3 consecutive months, and the trade deficit has decreased to levels that have not been experienced in approximately four years. The chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley’s wealth management arm, Michael Wilson said, “growth appears to be accelerating, we are now five years into the recovery from the financial crisis and the economy may finally be achieving some self-sustaining momentum.” More here

Changes To Jumbo Loans Go Into Effect

Jumbo loans, loans that exceed $417,000, are on the rise as significant changes have been introduced. The new rules contain both negative and positive aspects, according to many experts. Changes to the program are expected to make credit access more expensive for jumbo borrowers. Experts also suggest that jumbo loan rates will not increase as fast as other home loans, and down payments will be more affordable than in the past. More here

Boomerang Buyers Expected To Help Housing Market This Year

Experts have named 2014 the year of the boomerang buyer. Revised guidelines and updates have made room for many former homebuyers, some of whom foreclosed as recently as one year ago, to be able to buy again. In the past, the wait-period to buy after foreclosure was seven years. Many experts expect the change to help accelerate the housing market and help homeowners previously foreclosed upon once again attain home ownership. More here

New Reverse Mortgage Changes Deemed Positive Overall

Experts largely agree that the recent changes made to the Federal Housing Administration-insured reverse mortgage program should be considered positive for those considering, or about to enter into the HECM process. The modifications made to the program will help protect both the federal government and borrowers, and should also offer a better experience for consumers. Experts have suggested that the HECM changes were necessary to address retirees’ growing needs. Many say that the updates will aid in borrowers feeling better prepared and safer in the face of possible future financial hardships. More here

Mortgage Rates Remain Steady

New data from Freddie Mac states that mortgage rates stayed around the same this week. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for last week averaged 4.51%, up from 3.40% last year, and down 0.2% from the week prior, while the average 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage came in at 3.56% up 0.1% from last week. The chief economist and vice president of Freddie Mac, Frank Nothaft said, “mortgage rates were little changed amid a week of light economic reports.” Additionally, job reports showed a slight improvement, growing by 238,000 from November to December, up from 229,000 in November. More here

Many Southern And Western Cities Named Worst Locations For Retirement

According to a new article published in the Huffington Post, the worst cities in which to retire are found in the western and southern parts of the country. Experts suggest that this is due to many factors, but the most common are foreclosure rates, vacancy rates, high crime rates, public transit and air pollution levels. Grandparents.com named Las Vegas, St. Louis and Modesto, California as the top worst retirement locations. Atlanta and Little Rock also made the list. More here

Home Prices Jumped 11.8% In Past Year

Home prices in the U.S. increased in November, jumping 11.8% from November 2012. Home sales have gradually increased nationally over the last 21 months, showing positive signs that the housing market is making a comeback. Home prices, including distressed sales, inched up 0.1% from October 2013 to November 2013. The chief economist for CoreLogic, Mark Fleming said, “the housing market paused as expected in November for the holiday season with very low month-over-month appreciation. Year-over-year home prices are up an impressive 11.8%.” More here

New Home Sales Grew During Holidays

Recently released data states that new home sales in many locations increased during the holidays, a surprise for many as the holidays are usually considered  a slow period for home sales. Experts are hopeful that the positive numbers being reported in numerous locations may be a sign of what’s to come in 2014. The Sacramento area experienced large gains during the holidays having a burst of activity. Experts say the rise in new home sales in many areas could be due to home buyers’ uncertainty of what interest rates and prices may hold in 2014. More here

2014 Economic Data Looks Strong

New economic data just released shows that 2014 has started off on a very positive note. Housing reports shot up, and manufacturing companies released their largest gain in orders in nearly three years. Reports are also showing that consumer confidence has risen considerably, increasing business spending. Additionally, job growth has picked up, and experts expect all of these positive trends to carry on throughout the new year. More here

Mortgage Rates On The Rise

According to Freddie Mac’s mortgage survey, the average fixed-rate mortgage is continuing to see a slight increase. Pending home sales jumped 0.2% last month, and consumer confidence also experienced additional growth as 2013 came to a close. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged approximately 4.53%, up from 4.48% last week, and the average 15-year-fixed rate mortgage increased from 3.52% to 3.55%. More here