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Mortgage Rundown: Capital Market

Today we are going to talk about what’s happening in the capital markets.

On March 21st the Federal Reserve met and raised the benchmark rate by 25 basis points.  Now what you may not have noticed or expected is that longer term interest rates actually came down since the meeting.  The graph on your screen shows the 10yr Treasury over the past few months with the FOMC meeting indicated by the red dot.  As you can see the 10yr has dropped from 2.90 to 2.76%.


One of the big drivers has been the trade disputes between the United States and China.  The idea of a potential trade war has investors reducing their positions of stocks and purchasing safer assets like US Treasuries.  As long as that fear is out there I wouldn’t expect the 10yr to rise above 2.90%.

What could push rates higher as always is higher inflation or lower unemployment.  Last Friday was the monthly non-farm payroll report which showed 103k jobs added in March, well below expectations.  However it’s important to remember that the February report was exceptional at a revised 326k, so the two month average is still quite good.  Anything near or above 200k jobs added is a welcome sign by investors.

In terms of inflation, both CPI and PPI are rising slowly which puts some upward pressure on rates but we won’t see the Fed’s preferred inflation measurement, PCE, until the 30th.

In the coming weeks you should keep an eye on the following items:
1. The trade dispute with China could vanish in a week or could continue for a few months
2. Core PCE, the infamous measurement of inflation coming out on the 30th could outweigh the trade dispute with China if it rises closer to 2% or it can buoy interest rates if annualized inflation stays close to 1.5%.
3. And last but not least is the X Factor.  Will the current scrutiny of Facebook or Bitcoin or investigations of the President or any other variable cause concerns over equity valuations or bond yields.

Have a hankering to watch the full lowdown about the rundown? Of course you do!

Mortgage Rundown: Interest Rates

The United States Treasury Department building in Washington, D.C.

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Mortgage Rundown. Today we are going to talk once again about what’s happening with interest rates. Recall from mid-December to mid-February, the 10yr Treasury rose from 2.35% all the way up to 2.95%. Now in the last month it’s down somewhat to around 2.85% while the market takes a little bit of a breather.

Next week on March 21st is the next FOMC meeting and the first chaired by Jerome Powell. The odds are by and large that the Fed will raise interest rates 25bps, but what’s interesting is that the market has priced in a 16% chance that the Fed raises interest rates 50bps. That is an overly optimistic view of the economy or overly pessimistic view of interest rates. A 50bps move could spook the already fragile Treasury market.

With that in mind there might be what’s called a relief rally on Treasury rates, and by extension, mortgage rates. A relief rally is when the market has priced in excessive fear and with a new Fed chair there definitely is a lot of uncertainty. If the FOMC raises rates 25bps and makes no major changes to guidance for the remainder of 2018 then we could see rates drop some on the relief that it wasn’t 50bps or no major changes to the forward guidance on rates.

If you need further evidence then take a look at the following graph. This shows the implied odds of a 50bps FOMC move at the March 21st meeting. Jerome Powell took over the Fed Chair role on February 5th and the odds were pegged at zero. As you can see since that day the odds of a 50bps move have gone up and up.

With the Fed’s inflation measurement still running well below 2%, I think there is more fear than economic reality priced into rates.

In the coming weeks you should keep an eye on the following items:
1. Next week’s Fed meeting, will it be 25bps or 50bps as some have feared?
2. The run-up to the Fed meeting, will we experience some short term volatility as traders adjust their positions in front of the Fed
3. And lastly the fallout from the Fed meeting, what will their guidance be for the remainder of 2018 and 2019.

Have a hankering to watch the full lowdown about the rundown? Of course you do!

Meet Molly and Indy. The Golden Ticket.

If you missed Part 1 of Molly’s story of bravery, honesty, her bun in the oven and her home buying experience, then you must read her story to understand how beautiful Part 2 turns out.

Read Part 1: Meet Molly. Through Adversity We Rise.

But to quickly sum up Part 1, for years of battling anorexia and one great fear she had, next to death, was not having kids and a family of their own. She feared she’d never become a mother or home owner. Until she took matters into her own hands and did things The Molly Way.

After talking to Beny about her options to purchase a home of her own and quite frankly feeling depressed about what you can (or can’t) get for your dollar in SoCal, she ended up finding a home in Pacific Palisades that she could purchase.

Not unlike her doubts about her body and her ability to become a mother, she doubted and asked herself “can I do this?” Can I afford to buy a house all by my tiny self?”

She sure could. And that is what she did.

In the midst of the home buying process, she struggled with the fact that she wasn’t a mother. It was time for her to take some action. Molly was just “over” finding the right mate to have a family with. After multiple rounds of fertility treatments, Molly got pregnant. At her first ultrasound she found out that she was carrying multiples. How would she manage that as a single mom?

As a twin herself, she made a decision with her fertility doctor that reducing from twins to a singleton was going to be the best option for her. And don’t judge. Not only were both babies at risk, but her health could also be at risk.

As she waited for the procedure, her mind going back and forth about whether she was doing the right thing, the doctor said, “there is something wrong with baby A’s heart.” The heart was far to the side rather than more towards the center and the stomach was up in the diaphragm causing the heart to be where it was. The reduction decision was hard but she still remains confident that was the best thing for mommy and baby.

Now she’s home owner and mommy to be.


Molly had a nice chunk of time to start nesting before baby Indy would announce his sweet self into the world.

She spent time creating a beautiful nursery in charcoal, black, and white. As soon as the crib and chair were set in place, everything started to feel real for her.

“I have my own home. And a baby boy on the way.”

While setting up his closet with his tiny shoes, clothes and placing all of the hangers just so, she began to feel this soft and warm feeling come over her. She sat in the chair next to the crib and realized all of this was like a dream come true.

“Pinch me!”


Halloween 2017

3am. After 5 hours of what she thought was just a stomach ache, her water broke and her parents rushed her to the hospital. Labor started pretty quickly after the epidural. She thought it was going to be hours and hours but that just wasn’t so.

Enter baby boy, Indy on a spooky night last year at 8:32am right on time.

Molly was probably expecting some random complication based on how her whole crazy life and body had been up to this moment, but she was graciously surprised with a birth that changed her from her soul on out.

Indy’s name is not without purpose in its meaning—it means origin. The origin of her new life independent of norms and marriage clichés. Independent Molly.

After a few days in the hospital, it was time to bring little Indy home. She was over-the-top nervous for the first time bringing him home. What would this be like all alone in this big place with just Molly and Indy?

As the front door of her new home opened and she walked through the door, the goosebumps rose all over her body.

“It was like I was fully adulting! It sealed the deal on real.”


Adulting at Its Best

The clients that Molly has have been incredibly supportive while she took a much needed break with Indy. Some have come up to her home, brought her gifts, and enjoyed time in the nursery with her as well. The support system that surrounds her with love and has embraced her choice is next to none. And for that she is over the moon—grateful.

But at some point, returning to work was going to have to occur. Molly was a huge workaholic and she figured initially that she would be back to work after two weeks or so. It had been over 2 months before she was back at it. And she enjoyed every second of that irretrievable time.

But now the vacation was over and it was the worst feeling in the world for her.

“It was like someone was tearing off my arm every time I had to hand him over to someone else to take care of him instead of me.”

There are fears in adulting. One of which under Molly’s circumstances is that she fears she will miss monumental moments in his life that could never be returned to her. Days where bringing him to the park or music classes would not be possible was just going to be part of the mommy card. That’s what loving someone unconditionally and forever feels like.

Now back at the boutique full-time, she has learned to appreciate every moment and every second she gets to spend with Indy. But taking care of herself, her home, and her son is top priority!


Outdoors with Indy

For those first 2 months, they were attached at the hip. Never quite being a home body, she likes to keep busy and not stay cooped up. Something that she has already added to her son’s framework. Her son.

Their new neighborhood is quiet and peaceful, which is wonderful for a new mom. The two of them walk around the neighborhood together everyday—he in his stroller, her in her yoga pants exploring where they live and getting to know the story and characters in her new life and her new neighborhood.

The community she chose to raise her little family in is on the road to big growth with greenbelts, parks, pools, community centers and more. She is looking forward to seeing him grow up and make friends, all while pinching herself over and over again for the blessings she has been given.

From Indy’s nursery there is a beautiful view of the mountains and the trees that they both get absorbed in. He’s not quite ready to be in the nursery by himself yet, or is it Molly that isn’t ready for him to leave? I mean he’s her little buddy!

Inside of the master bathroom, there is a gorgeous bathtub that is perfect for the two of them to giggle and take a bubble bath together; listening to music and singing to him while he splashes around.

There is definitely some baby proofing to do as he grows into his life and their home, but for now it’s tummy time.

“I never thought I was going to be able to live back here in the Palisades where I grew up. And here I am and can’t believe that I was able to accomplish this dream!”

Everything just fell into place and now she gets to share it with her little guy and raise a strong and good man for this world—in her pad in the Palisades.
To learn more about Molly’s personal journey of becoming a single mother by choice, follow her blog “Molly’s Choice” at:

Or go visit her at the boutique Elyse Walker in Pacific Palisades:

Written by Lyndsay Johnson
Bound-by Marketing

The Tax Reform You Need To Know About!

Tax Reform and Real Estate

In December, the Senate and House reconciled their respective versions of tax reform bills, and the resolution was then signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017.  The version of the bill that was signed into law includes provisions that will affect all areas of the industry from individuals, to partnerships and corporations.  Below we have listed out the key areas impacting Real Estate in our opinion.

 Capital Gains Exemption is NOT Changed

While there were many aspects of this bill up for debate, on area that both the House and Senate bills called for was changing the residency requirement. The discussion was centered around changing the qualifications to for a capital gains exemption from two out of five years’ residency to five of the last eight. Had this passed, it his would mean that any homeowner selling their residence before owning for at least five years would pay capital gains tax on any appreciation. However, in the latest version the requirement is left where it currently is, allowing a homeowner to still qualify for the exemption after spending two years living in the house.

Mortgage Interest Deduction: $750,000 Cap

The Senate bill left the cap on total mortgage debt for which interest is deductible at $1 million, while the House bill reduced it to $500,000. The latest bill splits the difference between the two, capping the deduction at a $750,000 debt. As expected, the deduction available on $100,000 of Home Equity debt has been removed entirely.

Property Tax Deduction

Until now, all state, local, and property taxes have been 100% deductible. 2018 Tax laws instituted a cap on the deductions at $10,000. This change, in some states, also affects the number of properties they are able to report for deduction.

These Interest Rates May Affect You: Here’s What You Need To Know

Welcome back to the Mortgage Rundown brought to you by New American Funding and the Beny team!

Today we are going to talk about what is happening with interest rates.

As you’ve probably seen, longer term interest rates and more specifically mortgage rates have been steadily climbing in the new year.

In fact long term treasury rates have been climbing since the beginning of September with the 10yr moving from 2.04% all the way up to almost 2.6% this week.

Now you may be asking yourself why are longer term rates moving up so rapidly?  There are a few things that should be noted.

The first and foremost is the Federal Reserve who raised interest rates three times in 2017 which pushed up short term rates.  Long term rates did not move higher as it was generally believed there would be no acceleration in growth or inflation in 2018.   However if inflation materializes then that changes the outlook on long term rates.

Secondly we are starting to see a small uptick in Core PCE, that is to say the Fed’s preferred inflation measurement.  It’s only been for two months and is still quite low, it has moved higher.  Another gauge of inflation is oil prices which are at the highest levels since 2014 and have been steadily rising for months.

Next we saw tax reform which is generally through to be somewhat inflationary.  And last but not least, all of this has caused hesitation among Chinese investors who are said to be wary of longer term US debt in the face of inflation.

When you combine all of this together with the expectation that the Federal Reserve will probably raise rates 2-3 times this year; it has put a lot of pressure on the 10yr which is up against this 2.6% level of resistance.  If the 10yr goes above and stays above 2.6% then it’s very possible it could move as high as 3% this year.

In the coming weeks you should keep an eye on the following items:

  1. The 2.60% key resistance level on the 10yr
  2. More inflation data which either confirms it is accelerating or is it purely temporary
  3. And last but certainly not least, the demand for long term treasuries, which is the real driver or interest rates.

Have a hankering to watch the full lowdown about the rundown? Of course you do!

Why Your Credit Score Will Be Even More Important in 2018

If you aren’t accustomed to keeping tabs of your personal and business credit scores, you may want to resolve to check it often in the new year. With increasing interest rates, your credit scores are going to be that much more important to your finances in 2018 and beyond.

To start with, your credit score is one of the most important factors when it comes to borrowing money, determining the rates you’ll pay on everything from a Small Business Association loan to a business credit card and basically any other kind of business financing options. So how can you tell if your credit score is “good?”

There are a lot of different credit scores, and lenders use any number of them in determining whether you qualify for financing. In general, though, credit scores tend to fall within a fairly similar range.

Most, in fact, are based on a scale between 300 and 850, with the highest score being the best possible credit. Your FICO score, for example, will be based upon the following:

  • Excellent Credit: 750+
  • Good Credit: 700-749
  • Fair Credit: 650-699
  • Poor Credit: 600-649
  • Bad Credit: below 600

Still, whether you’ll qualify for a particular loan or credit card has more to do with the lender than it does your credit score. So, it is possible to qualify for a business credit card for bad credit from a bank that is extending credit to such borrowers. But here’s where your credit scores become really important. Sure, you’ll qualify with that particular lender, but they’ll likely charge higher interest rates because you are considered a riskier borrower. With the Federal Reserve having already increased interest rates three times in 2017, that means the cost for borrowing has also increased. Your bad credit could make growing your business or getting some gap financing that much more expensive.

Why Knowing Your Score Is Important

Just because you’ve always paid your bills on time doesn’t necessarily mean you have good credit. There could be errors on your credit reports that are dragging down your score, or you could unknowingly have been the victim of fraud. The only way to know whether you have a good credit score is to check, and do so regularly. You can check your credit scores for free on Nav.com.

Why Good Credit Matters

A good credit score typically means you’ll get lower interest rates when you borrow, which means you’ll spend less money on interest over time. For example, the difference between financing a $50,000 loan over five years at 6.75% interest with good credit or 9.25% with OK credit is roughly $8,698 versus $12,639 in interest respectively. It’s easy to see how your good credit can end up saving you a lot of money over time.

How to Get a Good Credit Score

To start with, it’s a good idea to check your credit reports annually so you can see exactly what is affecting your scores. Next, it’s important to monitor your credit by checking your credit scores regularly. This not only allows you to spot errors or fraud quickly, but it allows you to monitor your credit improvement over time.

As you do this, it’s also a good idea to monitor any risk factors that may be noted in your credit reports. For example, if your debt ratio is too high, it could be weighing on your scores and you’ll want to focus on paying that down. There are five key categories in your credit reports where these risk factors may take place. They include:

  • Payment History (35% of most scores)
  • Credit Utilization (30% of most scores)
  • Length of Credit History (15% of most scores)
  • Mix of Accounts (10% of most scores)
  • New Credit Inquiries (10% of most scores)

Obviously, you can’t just focus on paying your bills on time in order to build or maintain your good credit. You’ll want to also keep your debt low, keep your accounts open, particularly those you’ve had longest, and be sure to have a good mix of account types, such as installment loans and revolving accounts. Likewise, limiting the frequency with which you apply for new credit will be helpful in keeping your scores higher.

Original article reference: https://www.nav.com/blog/your-credit-score-even-more-important-in-2018-25848/

Mortgage Rundown: FOMC Meeting

Welcome back to the Mortgage Rundown brought to you by New American Funding and the Beny team!

Today, we are going to talk about last week’s FOMC meeting.

Most likely by now you’ve heard that the Federal Reserve raised interest rates last week by 25bps to the range of 1.25 to 1.50%. This is the third interest rate increase of 2017 in their final meeting of the year. This will also raise the PRIME index rate to 4.5% which most home equity loans are tied to.

One of the interesting results of the Fed decision last week was that there were two dissents; that is two FOMC members voted against the interest rate increase. Both Charles Evans and Neel Kashkari have been rather vocal recently that the Fed should wait longer to raise rates until there is clearer evidence of inflation.

The Fed’s forecast suggests they plan to raise rates three times in 2018 even though their inflation forecast remains below 2%. This contradiction means there will be controversy next year if the Fed continues to raise rates when the economy is still showing no signs of accelerating inflation.

In terms of inflation, the two most popular measures of inflation, CPI and the Fed’s preferred measurement are running well below the 2% line and have moved lower over the past year.
Further evidence of the Fed’s controversial interest rate increases is the yield curve. It’s important to note that even though the Fed has raised short-term rates 100bps in the past 12 months, the 10yr Treasury is down 10bps over the same time period and the spread between the 2yr and 10yr Treasury is down 65bps. This tells us that the market is not concerned about inflation, nor rapid growth and more likely than not the Fed is raising rates to position themselves in case of a future recession.

In the coming weeks you should keep an eye on the following items:

  1. Tax reform is still the top thing to keep an eye on with both the House and Senate working on a combined bill.
  2. The shape of the yield, which is the difference between short-term and long-term rates. The Fed is raising short-term rates but will long term rates follow?
  3. And lastly, the tax bill. This could have huge implications to businesses, individuals and the economy. How will it impact interest rates?

Be sure to keep an eye out for our updates in the New Year!

Have a hankering to watch the full lowdown about the rundown? Of course you do!

Meet Max And Meet His Dream House.

We find ourselves at an amazing piece of property at 12314 Rochedale Lane, Brentwood, CA—the address of Max Nelson’s new dream house. Max has an intense and creative passion for architecture and history, so when looking for a home it took him a while to find the dream home that he could reconstruct from an architectural perspective, yet keep the integrity of the history and the roots of home.

After years of hunting for a mid-century modern, he found a 2,400 square-foot gem on the west side of Los Angeles in Brentwood for $1.877M.

Being in the real estate business as Director of the Residential Division for THE Agency, Max certainly was familiar with the amount of work it takes to not only find the home of your dreams but also how intense the finance process can be.

Enter Beny. Max met Beny 10 years ago through Beny’s now wife. Over the years Max has continued to refer clients to Beny and Beny to Max. Beny was the logical call for the financial component of Max’s purchase.

“He and his team totally delivered on time, every time. No hiccups. Beny’s operation runs like a Swiss watch. He was the obvious choice for me,” said Max.

Max restored this home that had tremendous amounts of deferred maintenance with all his heart and soul. The community that the home is in is architecturally controlled and was developed in the 50s. Of the original 286 homes that were built in this community, half of them are architecturally significant and interesting.

Each house in the community having a story to be told, Max chose to let his house tell its story the way it wanted to be as he approached the remodel as a hybrid restoration. Max kept true to the period of the home most definitely with his use of materials.

In fact, Max’s fanaticism with architecture and history led him to hire a historian to dig up the history of the house. You can read the full 20-page history here if your heart desires!

The home was designed by Carlton Winslow Jr. whose father was significant in the Spanish colonial movement in the 20s. At the time it cost $20,000 to build! Hard to believe. The house passed through many owners over the years with many stories, but the most prominent was the director of the movie Saturday Night Fever. I think if anyone could get those walls to speak, it certainly would be Max.

“This is my dream home. I can tell you that definitively,” Max stated.

Take a look at the beautiful before and after pictures of Max’s dream home and of our dream client.




For more information on Max Nelson and THE AGENCY:
Director, Residential Division

Market Rundown: MUST READ!

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Mortgage Rundown! And this is an important one!

Today we are going to talk about loan limits, new Fed chair Jerome Powell, the yield curve, and tax reform.

First and foremost was the announcement on Tuesday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are raising their loan limits. The standard limit is moving up from $424k to $453k while the high balance limit is going from $636k to $679k. What that will mean is likely lower rates for borrowers in those buckets who will now have more options for their lending needs.

Next is the topic of the new Fed chair and the nomination of Jerome Powell. He is likely to be confirmed and it’s expected he will keep the FOMC on the same path. As it stands today there is a 96% chance the Fed raises rates in December and more likely than not that they raise rates twice next year.

And with the Fed moving rates next month, it’s a good time to take a look at the yield curve.  The graph on your screen shows the 10yr Treasury in Orange (which for the past 4.5yrs has come down slightly) while the Blue Line is the 2yr Treasury which has been rising steady.  As the Fed raises rates the Blue line will continue to rise. The Grey line is the spread between the two, often referred to as the shape of the yield curve and as you can see it has continued to flatten. When those lines intersect and short-term rates are higher than long term rates it’s generally an indication of an upcoming recession, so something to monitor closely.

And our last topic is tax reform. Even though there is still a ways to go on tax reform to determine what the plan will be and if it can be passed, the implications of tax reform however, will reach far and wide. It could very well shape Fed policy for 2018 and beyond and all of that will depend on how much the tax bill affects GDP, wages and the national debt.

In the coming weeks you should keep an eye on the following items:

  1. Tax reform is the number one thing to watch. In its current form it appears to be more focused on businesses so that might drive equities higher and have a lesser impact on bonds.
  2. The confirmation of Jerome Powell seems very likely but still nonetheless something to watch
  3. And lastly, keep an eye on the shape of the yield curve. Yes, the Fed is likely to raise rates in December but it appears long term rates are holding strong and the market is starting to show signs of a lack of confidence in long term US growth.

Have a hankering to watch the full lowdown about the rundown? Sure you do. Check it.

Market Update: Time to Push Debt Out

Without a doubt debt has been very cheap for the past several years. Not to mention record low interest rates and fiscal stimulus have pushed up asset prices following the financial crisis. The stock market has pushed higher and higher as have real estate prices. But so has the debt load of the US Government, the US homeowner as well as college students around the nation. In fact the total US Household Debt has reached $13 trillion, $280 billion higher than in 2008 as the financial crisis unfolded.  We’ve been told that the loans made today are of much higher quality than loans made before the financial crisis. That’s certainly true with mortgages but what about other types of debt? Subprime auto is experiencing heavy losses nearing pre-crisis levels, student loan debt has reached $1.4 trillion with a 11.2% 90-day delinquency rate and credit card balances continued to riseMortgages have become the safe form of debt but other forms are becoming very risky. What’s the solution?

As it stands today tax reform likely won’t be passed in its current form. Certainly any type of stimulation to the economy could cure the current debt problems (and potential crisis for students). If nothing is done it’s going to be very difficult to continue to borrow our way into prosperity. And that’s where rates come into play…

If you’ve been watching the market you’ve seen short term rates via the Federal Reserve continue to rise while long term rates have remained relatively flat. See the chart below that represents the spread between the 2yr and 10yr Treasuries. As you can see over the last 8+ years the spread has nearly collapsed, meaning it’s becoming cheaper to borrow over the long term relative to the short term. This is often referred to as a flattening of the yield curve. It’s generally a result of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and a low growth and inflation outlook for the longer term. Yes there are some supply and demand effects as well. So why care?

As a mortgage banker it certainly is an encouraging sign on the likely long term path of lower interest rates. It also serves as economic encouragement for borrowers to take debt over longer periods of time. If it costs the same to borrow for thirty years versus two years, why not borrow for thirty? And given the equity that has built up over the last several years in real estate, most homeowners have a very effective method to borrow debt versus other forms, especially considering the tax advantage of a home mortgage.

The 10yr is currently at 2.32% versus the average for all of 2017 at 2.32%. The entire range for 2017 has been very tight with it trading between 2.04% and 2.62%. 2018 however could be a very different year with a new Fed Chair (yes Janet Yellen is being replaced by President Trump). We will also see how inflation plays out now that the FOMC has raised twice in 2017 and possibly a third time will come in December. The current odds of a December hike are 92% and a 50% chance of two hikes in 2018. I’m going to call 2018 as a make or break year for the Federal Reserve. They are raising rates, so let’s sit back and see how this plays out. Not to mention a flattening yield curve. If it goes negative (2yr yield is higher than the 10yr yield) then hang onto your hat.*

Push Out Debt Graph

Want to watch the full market update? We thought you would.

Check it out!

*Content provided by Jason Obradovich