Thursday, August 27, 2009
College Mascots: Pounce (GA State), Buzz (GA Tech) &Scrappy (Kennesaw State)UGA CheerleadersBook signing by Loren Smith & Jack WilkinsonMost spirited kid & Alumni group contest SEC RULES!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
18 of 20 markets tracked by the Case-Shiller Index showed rising home values in June. It's the 5th consecutive month with strong numbers and the best showing for the benchmark housing index since home values began deflating in 2006.
Some would argue it's a sign that housing has finally bottomed out. Even Case-Shiller representatives acknowledge that home prices are "on an upswing".
Despite the Case-Shiller Index's popularity with economists and the press, though, it's falls short of being a perfect housing indicator. As examples:
- Its data is reported with a 2-month lag
- Its sample set includes just 20 U.S. cities
- Real estate isn't a "national" market -- it's local
Nevertheless, flaws aside, Case-Shiller is still important. It helps identify broader trends in housing and many people believe the housing is the keystone of the economy right now.
This is why June's Case-Shiller Index gives cause for hope. The nascent housing recovery has a long road ahead but June's Case-Shiller data shows that we're heading in the right direction.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Posted: 24 Aug 2009 07:45 AM PDT
Mortgage markets finished the week unchanged last week but don't let that make you think the markets were flat. It was a bumpy five days and rates were volatile.
Friday was the worst day of the week by far.
An all-day deterioration, sparked by better-than-expected housing data, caused mortgage rates to tack on a quarter-percent by the noon hour and markets never recovered.
Rates closed out at their worst levels of the week and the unfavorable momentum figures to carry into this week's trading, too.
There are two major reasons why rates could rise higher this week:
- Fed Chairman Bernanke said Friday that the near-term growth prospects "appear good". Comments like this draw money from bond issues to the stock market -- a move that's bad for rates.
- Crude oil hit a 10-month high, a potentially inflationary development. Inflation often leads mortgage rates higher.
Furthermore, rate shoppers should take note that this week will feature the release of two key housing reports -- the Case-Shiller Index (Tuesday) and the New Homes Sales report (Wednesday). Both have handily beat expectations in recent months and should that trend continues, mortgage rates would likely rise because of renewed economic optimism.
What's good for the economy, lately, has tended to be bad for rates.
Whether you're shopping for a new home or looking to refinance an existing one, be wary of the ever-changing mortgage market. Rates move quickly and without warning. However, they tend to rise faster than they fall.If you know you will need a rate lock this week or next, consider locking in at the first sign of trouble. Once rates spike, they likely won't be so quick to fall. see us ATLloans.com to
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the IRS has officially released Form 5405 -- better known as the First-Time Homebuyer Credit Form.
True to tax code standards, the 10-field form is accompanied by 3 pages of instructions.
Form 5405 is a helpful, go-to resource for home buyers with questions about the tax credit.
For example, the form distinguishes tax consequences for homes bought in 2008 versus 2009, and clearly defines the term "first-time home buyer".
In addition, Form 5405 highlights the math behind the tax credit. In general, the First-Time Homebuyer Credit is equal to the lesser of:
- $8,000 for homes bought in 2009
- 10 percent of the home's purchase price
Married couples filing separately are entitled to half of the expected credit, and homes sold within 3 years are subject to a credit repayment in the year the home ceases to be the "main home".
Form 5405 is a comprehensive reference. However, be sure to check with your accountant for specific questions about your personal returns and how the First-Time Homebuyer Credit may impact your finances. There is no substitute for professional, paid advice.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
6th Annual Smyrna Beer Fest
Smyrna Market Village
Saturday, September 5 - 1pm - 6pm
"A History in the Tasting" with over 100's of the finest local, domestic & import beers available for tasting plus a couple of wines.
Tickets: $25 Advance, $35 Gate
5th Annual Beer & Whiskey Fest
Park Tavern @ Piedmont Park
Sunday, September 6 - 2PM - 11PM
This charity event will feature a variety of different whiskies & beers & 4 great tribute rock bands (80’s Hair Metal, Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute & Queen) plus BBQ while raising money for PAWS Atlanta (Atlanta's Largest Animal Shelter helping pets find loving homes).
Tickets: $8 by Aug. 14th, $10 after Aug 14th, $15 Gate
Monday, August 3, 2009
Posted: 03 Aug 2009 08:00 AM PDT
Mortgage markets improved last week despite a series of volatile trading sessions.
A combination of weaker-than-expected economic data and massive-sized Treasury auctions kept investors guessing and mortgage rates moving.
By Friday, however, momentum was in favor of lower rates and that's how the week finished up -- slightly more favorable overall.
It's the second consecutive week in which rates fell.
This week, markets will digest a host of new data. Rate shoppers can expect the volatility to continue.
Monday afternoon, Auto and Truck Sales data is released. We normally don't track this report, but because of the auto industry's role in the economy right now, strong numbers should lead to a mortgage bond sell-off, pushing mortgage rates higher.
Then, Tuesday, the Personal Income and Personal Spending report is released as well as the Pending Home Sales Index. Again, strength in the numbers should result in higher mortgage rates.
Thursday, Initial Jobless Claims will get the market's attention. The data has been trending lower over the past two months and, last week, the rolling, 4-week average posted its lowest mark since January. A reversal in the trend would likely boost the mortgage markets, helping rates to fall.
And, Friday, the jobs report is due.
With unemployment close to 10 percent nationwide and more than 3 million jobs lost this year, investors will respond to "less weak" data with enthusiasm -- a bad result for rate shoppers. No matter what the data says, it's sure to move markets.