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Lesson learned – We’ve made many positive financial changes:
Bottom Line: There was a silver lining to the otherwise evil financial crisis that struck in the fall of 08’. Many of us learned financial lessons from mistakes that we swore we’d not repeat. Thus far many are demonstrating that they have changed their financial habits and health for the better. By the numbers here are changes made over the past five years:
In this super uncertain world it’s more important than ever to control your own destiny to the best of your ability. Having less debt is the first place start. Ideally we should work parallel paths, saving and investing more while paying down debt.
This is evidenced by the latest report on credit card delinquencies that also showed the lowest level of credit card defaults since 1994. Now if we only held our elected officials to this same standard…
Fannie Mae just reported a big time profit – really – what’s next?:
Bottom Line: Fannie Mae – once viewed in a light similar as a plague or other societal blight, has turned profitable. Very profitable… By the numbers:
Fannie Mae’s 4th quarter profit:
Fannie Mae’s full year profit:
Amount of Fannie Mae’s total bailout:
Amount Fannie Mae still needs to pay back:
So Fannie is on the comeback trail. It’s impressive what a year of a housing recovery can do for the biggest backer of mortgages in this country. Not only has the default rate on post crisis mortgages decreased to a safe level of 1.5% but the balance sheet of Fannie looks a lot stronger these days too.
You may recall the term mark to market. Simply put any holder of a mortgage must adjust the estimated value of the home it owns to the overall housing market when it reports its quarterly results. Just as balance sheets took big hits and accelerated the housing crisis during the downturn, the increase in home prices is strengthening the balance sheet of Fannie Mae and other mortgage holders boasting profits. So what’s next?
As Fannie recovers, just as almost all big banks have, it will signal a time for the Government to end assistance programs to aid housing. That includes programs like QE that keep mortgage rates artificially low. In other words don’t be complacent with the current market conditions. It’s only a matter of when certain programs go away and interest rates go higher. With Fannie Mae now firmly on the comeback trail we’re getting closer to that reality.
On the move again – a housing recovery story:
Bottom Line: So over the past two years just over 70 million Americans hit the road and moved into a new home. We’ve known that the housing story played into many people staying put because of their underwater home. Now we know just how many.
49% of those who’ve been on the move have stated that housing played into their inability to move sooner. Half of the country! As the housing recovery continues to play out this year we should continue to see an above average number of people moving because they can and they’d wanted to. This should also include move of buyers which I suspect will be a large number in our area.
Individual investors are back to investing in stocks:
Bottom Line: In January I reported that the trend has changed and we’d been allocating money back into stocks. Individual investors had not only been absent from the stock market recovery that started in March of 2009 – they (we) had been drawing money out – more than $400 billion from 2009-2012. That trend not only changed for January. It changed for every week of the first quarter.
We’ve now had twelve consecutive weeks of individual money flowing into stocks. $75 billion all told. It’s no coincidence that we set new record highs for the Dow and S&P 500 in the 1st quarter when the individual investor rejoined the market.
Sending large files just got easier with Yahoo email:
Bottom Line: Yahoo is still the number one email company in the
One of the annoyances with traditional email in a digital world – is the inability to send sizeable files through email. Yahoo has addressed that issue. Yesterday Yahoo and Dropbox (the leading file sharing service) struck a partnership that will enable Yahoo email users to send up to 2GB free of charge (for perspective that’s about 500 high res photos). Additionally if you already have a Dropbox account, this service will work seamlessly with your existing account. More sending capability is available, for a price of course – but for most this added file sharing ability should be enough. Especially compared to what you’re used to with Yahoo email.
Google’s next best effort to command computing:
Bottom Line: To actually create a computer. Google’s list of products include:
All that’s missing is creating their own laptop computer so it stands to reason that they’re angling to release one before the end of the year. This is more bad news for Microsoft who stands to lose the most from increased competition for an operating system. Companies like, Samsung that use Android should be put on notice and looking to develop their own OS because its clear that Google wants to compete with their own devices and their own OS on all technology devices going forward.
Looking to rent? Look to pay up – vacancy rates:
Bottom Line: Many are wondering if the housing recovery has run its course. I’ve suggested it hasn’t and let me introduce another reason as to why housing still has room to grow… Rental conditions…
Vacancy rates just hit the lowest level since 2001. More than 95% of all rental properties are currently rented. That continues to indicate rental price increases for those who are seeking rentals and when renewal time comes up for existing renters. That will also continue to incentivize would be renters to buy if they’re able.
Every time historically that the price to may a mortgage payment equals or is lower than the monthly rental rate on a property we’ve seen prices on property move higher. That was my basis for calling on a housing recovery in 2011. We’re still there with interest rates remaining so low and rental rates rising with low inventory.