Archive for November, 2008

MARKET COMMENT

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Market Comment

Mortgage bond prices rose last week pushing mortgage interest rates lower. Trading remained volatile as trading was thin amid the shortened holiday trading sessions. Mortgage bonds rallied nicely following the announcement that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve will spend $800 billion to help the ailing credit markets (details in article below).

For the week, interest rates on government and conventional loans fell by about 1.625 discount points.

The employment report Friday will be the most important data this week. Look for any additional moves by the Fed, the US Treasury, and legislative developments to also result in mortgage interest rate movements.

LOOKING AHEAD

Economic
Indicator

Release
Date & Time

Consensus
Estimate


Analysis

Construction Spending

Monday, Dec. 1,
10:00 am, et

Down 0.9%

Low importance. An indication of economic strength. Weakness may lead to lower rates.

ISM Index

Monday, Dec. 1,
10:00 am, et


38.00

Important. A measure of manufacturer sentiment. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.

ADP Employment

Wednesday, Dec. 3,
8:30 am, et


Jobs -173k

Important. A measure of employment. Weakness in payrolls may bring lower rates.

Revised Q3 Productivity

Wednesday, Dec. 3,
8:30 am, et


up 0.9%

Important. A measure of output per hour. Improvement may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Fed “Beige Book”

Wednesday, Dec. 3,
2:00 pm, et

None

Important. This Fed report details current economic conditions across the US. Signs of weakness may lead to lower rates.

Factory Orders

Thursday, Dec. 4,
10:00 am, et


Down 2.7%

Important. A measure of manufacturing sector strength. Weakness may lead to lower rates.

Employment

Friday, Dec. 5,
8:30 am, et

Jobs -300k
Unemp @ 6.8%

Very important. An increase in unemployment or a large decrease in payrolls may bring lower rates.

Consumer Credit

Friday, Dec. 5,
3:00 pm, et


2.7B

Low importance. A significantly larger than expected increase may lead to lower mortgage interest rates.

$800 Billion

The US Government finally took a needed step to stabilize home prices and help lower mortgage interest rates with the announcement of a new $800 billion spending plan. While rates on Treasury bonds had pushed historically low over the past few weeks, rates on mortgage bonds were way behind. The housing market remains in peril and the demand for mortgage bonds is not as strong as the demand for Treasuries. Fortunately, the Federal Reserve announced it would purchase $500 billion of mortgage-backed securities and another $100 billion of debt from Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. This spending is an effort to improve the credit markets so businesses and consumers can get loans. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said, “This lack of affordable consumer credit undermines consumer spending and, as a result, weakens our economy.” The Fed will also make $200 billion available to help with the consumer debt market. The initial reaction to the plan was very favorable for mortgage interest rates. The financial markets were relieved that something was done to address the housing industry.

Keep in mind that despite the recent improvements the housing sector still remains troubled. It will likely take more efforts to resolve the credit freeze. Expect more market volatility.

 

 

 

FAIRFIELD

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

History of Fairfield – A Summary

Courtesy of The Fairfield Historical Society

Early Fairfield

In the fall of 1639, Roger Ludlow, one of the founders of the colony of Connecticut, led a small group of men and a large herd of cattle to the shore of Long Island Sound. At a place known to the local Indians as Unquowa, they established a settlement that became known as Fairfield, named for the hundreds of acres of salt marsh that bordered the coast. The marsh provided a plentiful supply of feed for the livestock and abandoned Indian fields became the site of the settlers’ first agricultural plots. In the intervening years between those early days of settlement and today, much has occurred to change the face of Fairfield. Yet the town continues to bear the imprint of those who came before us.

Driving along U.S. Route One, the Boston Post Road, we follow the trail of a foot path which once connected the Indian villages along Long Island Sound. For thousands of years native Americans have dwelt in this area, following a seasonal movement from the hillsides in winter in search of game to the seashore in summer to fish and plant their corn. At the time of contact with Europeans in the early seventeenth century, the local Indians were known as the Unquowas, for the area in which they lived, which is thought to mean “the place beyond”. The Unquowas were a small clan of the Paugussett tribe, which was centered in southwestern Connecticut. By the time of Ludlow’s settlement, the population of these Indians had been severely decimated by diseases introduced by the early explorers. They made little resistance to Ludlow’s claim of all the land from the Saugatuck River in the west to the Stratford bounds (now Park Avenue) in the east and a day’s march inland from the Sound – a distance of approximately twelve miles.

The founding of Fairfield was not without conflict, however. Roger Ludlow had first seen this area in 1637 when as one of a band of settler-soldiers, he had pursued a group of Pequot Indians to a swamp in Southport. There, the Pequots made a last stand in a brief but bloody war caused by their resistance to settlers expansion into the Pequot’s territory in eastern Connecticut. The battle is commemorated by a monument on the Post Road in Southport.

Although few seventeenth-century dwellings remain standing in Fairfield, evidence of the early settlement of the town is visible to this day in the form of the town’s road system. Roger Ludlow laid out a grid for his new town; today’s Post Road, Old Post Road, Beach Road, and South Benson Road, centered on the Meeting House Green, now the Town Green. On these streets the settlers built their homesteads and the Meeting House, seat of government and place of worship. Around the village was a cluster of common fields where the early settlers raised their crops, grazed livestock and cut timber. Oldfield Road, Benson Road and Unquowa Road were once farm lanes which gave access to these fields. As the town grew and farmsteads were built outside of the village, more highways radiated from the center to provide access: Pequot Road to Greens Farms, Bronson and Mill Plain Roads to Greenfield, Jennings Road to Holland Hill. By the 1670′s the settlers began to divide the vacant land in the north of the town between themselves. A series of Long Lots were created, one to a family, running from today’s Fairfield Woods Road, Brookside Drive and Hulls Farm Road north to the Danbury bounds. Redding, Weston, and Easton were all once included within the boundaries of Fairfield. Today, if you drive up one of the old “upright highways” – - Sturges Highway, Burr Street, or Morehouse Highway- you are traveling on the access roads to the lands once owned by those families.

Fairfield prospered during its first century. Surplus farm products were traded for imported goods. Black Rock Harbor, now part of the City of Bridgeport, became the town’s leading port. There, ships were laden with wheat, flax, timber and livestock from the farms and sailed to Boston, New York and harbors as far away as the West Indies. They returned with needed goods such as nails to build their houses, textiles for clothing and furnishings, and molasses to be made into rum. The shipyards and wharves provided employment for many, including slaves. During the colonial period, Fairfield had one of the highest populations of blacks in Connecticut, almost all of whom were enslaved. An idea of how a colonial farming family lived can be gained by a visit to Ogden House, a restored “salt box” farmhouse built circa 1750, at 1520 Bronson Road. The house is operated as a museum by the Fairfield Historical Society.

Revolutionary War

When the Revolutionary War began in the 1770s, Fairfielders were caught in the crisis as much as if not more than the rest of their neighbors in Connecticut. In a predominantly Tory section of the state, the people of Fairfield were early supporters of the cause for Independence. Throughout the war, a constant battle was being fought across Long Island Sound as men from British-controlled Long Island raided the coast in whaleboats and privateers. Gold Selleck Silliman, whose home still stands on Jennings Road, was put in charge of the coastal defenses. In the spring of 1779, he was kidnapped from his home by Tory forces in preparation for a British raid on Fairfield County. His wife watched from their home as, on the morning of July 7, 1779, approximately 2,000 enemy troops landed on Fairfield Beach near Pine Creek Point and proceeded to invade the town. When they left the following evening, the entire town lay in ruins, burned to the ground as punishment for Fairfield’s support of the rebel cause. Ten years later, President George Washington noted after traveling through Fairfield, that ” the destructive evidences of British cruelty are yet visible both in Norwalk and Fairfield; as there are the chimneys of many burnt houses standing in them yet.”

Fairfield recovered slowly from the burning, but soon after the end of the war its houses and public buildings had all been rebuilt. Today’s Old Town Hall was erected as the Fairfield County Court House in 1794. A second landmark from this area is the Fairfield Academy, built as a private school in 1804 and operated today as a museum by the Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Also on the Town Green sits the Sun Tavern, rebuilt by its owner, Samuel Penfield, after the burning and now owned by the Town of Fairfield. In the Stratfield section of the town is another landmark of the Federal era, the Stratfield Baptist Church, built in l8l3, the oldest house of worship standing in town.

Greenfield Hill

Greenfield Hill, famous today for its beautiful homes and for the Dogwood Festival held each May, came into its own in the Federal period. In 1783 Timothy Dwight was called to be the pastor of the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. A man of many talents, Dwight ministered to his flock, wrote poetry, and opened an academy of higher learning for young men and women. He was so successful at this last job that he was asked to become president of Yale College in New Haven. Around the church and green are beautiful examples of homes built by merchants and prosperous farmers during this period. South of the green stands the restored Bronson Windmill, erected in the late nineteenth century to provide water for the Bronson family’s estate. The Bronsons are credited with initiating the massive plantings of dogwoods which line the roads of Greenfield Hill.

 

Southport

In the 1700s, Mill River village was a small hamlet of a few houses and a wharf at the mouth of Fairfield’s Mill River. By 1831 the village had changed its name to Southport and was a bustling commercial area with warehouses, churches, schools, stores and elegant houses. Southport became a leading coastal port on Long Island Sound, its ships carrying produce and goods back and forth to New York City. A measure of its success is the fact that throughout the 1800s it possessed the only two banks in town. However, competition from steamboats and the railroad took its toll on prosperity. Resourceful shippers teamed with local farmers and businessmen to keep the port going; the Southport onion, a high quality onion was developed and grown on Fairfield’s hills and shipped in Southport market boats, keeping the harbor profitable until the end of the century. Today, much of the old village area is part of an historic district, where buildings from three centuries are protected for future generations.

1800′s

The urban development that changed the nature of many of Fairfield’s neighbors to the east and west passed the town by in the 1800s. For the most part, Fairfield remained a quiet agricultural town. This unspoiled quality attracted many city dwellers who came to Fairfield starting in the 1840s with the opening of the railroad. They built summer cottages overlooking the Sound and along the main street, now Old Post Road. Many of these elegant dwellings still stand; two of the most spectacular, ‘Hearthstone Hall” and “Mailands” are now part of Fairfield University.

World War I and After

World War I brought Fairfield out of its agrarian past by triggering an unprecedented economic boom in Bridgeport, the center of a large munitions industry. The prosperity created a housing shortage in the city, and many of the workers looked to Fairfield to build their homes. The trolley and later the automobile made the countryside accessible to these newly rich members of the middle class, who brought with them new habits, new attitudes, and new modes of dress. The prosperity lasted through the twenties. By the time of the stock market crash in l929, the population had increased to 17,000 from the 6,000 it had been just before the war. Even during the Depression, the town kept growing. The opening of the Connecticut Turnpike in the 1950s brought another onslaught of development  to Fairfield’and by the l960s the town’s residential, suburban character was firmly established.

Today

Today, Fairfield is a thriving community of over 53,000 residents. Its population is extremely diverse, reflecting the different geographic and ethnic backgrounds of its people. Yet, despite the many changes of the last few years, it is possible today to still examine the history of the people who have lived within Fairfield’s bounds during the last 400 years. Through the objects and records they have left behind, we can begin to understand how Fairfield was transformed into the town we know and love today.

 

The Fairfield Historical Society, 636 Old Post Road, Fairfield, CT 06430, Phone 203-259-1598

STIMULUS PACKAGE FROM FEDERAL GOVT’S

Thursday, November 13th, 2008
As you all know, the Federal Govt’s. Stimulus Package for 2008 included raising the conforming loan limits from $417,000 to $708,750 for Fairfield County. Now that
2008 is coming to an end, we have been anxiously waiting for news on a 2009 Stimulus Package that might continue(for another year) the higher conforming loan limits. Well, we finally got the news we’ve been waiting for………….the national conforming loan limits will revert back to $417K for 2009 EXCEPT in a few “high cost area’s” across the country.  Fairfield County happens to be one of those area’s and the new conforming loan limit for 2009 will be $511,750!!
The new mortgage loan limit will be a significant drop from the current $708,750 limit($197,000 less) which we’ve enjoyed in 2008 but better than the $417,000 limit most of the country will have to adhere to. This “interim” loan amount has been known by mortgage professionals as the “Conforming/Jumbo” and/or “Agency Jumbo” limit.

HOME WARRANTY

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
 The Coldwell Banker Home Protection Plan is a risk reduction plan for both the buyer and seller. Both buyers and sellers reduce their financial risk on costly repairs as they move into or out of their home.
The Coldwell Banker Home Protection Plan gives home buyers peace of mind about their purchase, knowing that covered systems and appliances are protected against the high cost of potential repairs. This confidence in the home can translate into a better chance of selling, selling faster, and selling closer to the asking price.
As an added benefit, coverage for repairs and replacement is available on covered systems and appliances for the seller. Seller coverage is effective during the listing period.* So, while your home is on the market, you are covered until the day of sale.

No one can predict the life expectancy of a furnace, air conditioner, water heater or even an appliance. As a full service company, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has you covered. Please ask your Coldwell Banker Real Estate Sales Associate for an application brochure.

For further information on the Coldwell Banker Home Protection Plan, please contact Concierge Services in one of the following areas:

877-251-9716    Connecticut and New York (Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties)
877-293-7855    Long Island and Queens, New York
800-353-9949    New Jersey and New York (Rockland & Orange Counties)

or e-mail carla@carlarealty.com
    
*See plan terms and conditions for complete details, exclusions, and limitations. Program based on location. Please ask your Sales Associate for further details.

 

 

 

MARKET COMMENT

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Current Rates:

30 yr fixed conventional               6.125 0 points

5/1 ARM Jumbo                              6.125% ½ point (up to $1,000,000)

30 year fixed FHA                           6.125% 0 points

 

Market Comment

Mortgage bond prices rose last week pushing mortgage interest rates lower. Trading the beginning of the week focused on the election and we saw equities rally in anticipation of the result. The latter portion of the week resumed focus on economic turmoil tied to rising unemployment, tight credit markets, continued housing market concerns, and global economic uncertainty. Trading was choppy with almost a full discount point up and down swing on Thursday alone. For the week, interest rates on government and conventional loans fell by about 3/4 of a discount point.

The retail sales data Friday will be the most important event this week. The additional debt supply that continues to hit the market along with the shortened trading week may also lead to mortgage interest rate volatility.

LOOKING AHEAD

Economic
Indicator

Release
Date & Time

Consensus
Estimate


Analysis

3-year Treasury Note Auction

Monday, Nov. 10,
1:30 pm, et

None

Important. Notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Veterans Day

Tuesday, Nov 11

 

Important. Shortened trading week may lead to thin trading conditions and market volatility.

10-year Treasury Note Auction

Wednesday, Nov. 12,
1:30 pm, et

None

Important. Notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Trade Data

Thursday, Nov. 13,
8:30 am, et

$56.8 billion deficit

Important. Affects the value of the dollar. A falling deficit may strengthen the dollar and lead to lower rates.

30-year Treasury Bond Auction

Thursday, Nov. 13,
1:30 pm, et

None

Important. Bonds will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Retail Sales

Friday, Nov. 14,
8:30 am, et

Down 1.2%

Important. A measure of consumer demand. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Business Inventories

Friday, Nov. 14,
10:00 am, et

Up 0.2%

Low importance. An indication of stored-up capacity. A significantly larger increase may lead to lower rates.

U of Michigan Consumer Sentiment

Friday, Nov. 14,
10:00 am, et

57.0

Important. An indication of consumers’ willingness to spend. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Auctions

US Treasury bonds do not directly dictate fixed mortgage interest rate pricing however they do have an indirect impact. Both Treasuries and mortgage bonds often track in the same direction but this is not always the case. There are many times that Treasuries and mortgage bonds move inversely.
 
 
 

 

Despite the overwhelming size of the US economy, foreign investors can still have an effect on moving the financial markets. When foreign economies struggle foreign investors often purchase US based investments including mortgage bonds. This demand usually causes mortgage bond prices to rise and interest rates to fall. This flight to quality buying was one of the factors that helped mortgage interest rates to remain historically low in years past.

There is a real threat that continued global economic turmoil may keep foreign investors from purchasing mortgage bonds in the future. The Treasury auctions this week will be important in determining the current appetite of foreign investors for dollar denominated securities. If this week’s auctions are poorly bid mortgage bond prices could fall pressuring mortgage interest rates higher.

 

 

Jennifer L. Newsom

Vice President/Sr. Loan Officer

51-53 Kenosia Avenue

Danbury, CT 06813

Check out our on-line Application

www.NEMmortgage.com/jennifernewsom

NE Moves Mortgage, LLC

 

860-916-8845 (c)

781-663-6736 (fax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARKET COMMENT

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Market Comment

Mortgage bond prices fell last week unfortunately pushing mortgage interest rates higher. Trading really focused on equities as stocks generally rallied. Most of the losses came as a result of an 889-point surge in the DOW on Tuesday. Traders sold bonds to buy stocks, which caused mortgage bond prices to fall, and mortgage interest rates to rise. Mortgage bonds recovered some of the earlier losses Wednesday morning but it wasn’t enough to keep rates from rising considerably. For the week, interest rates on government and conventional loans rose by a full point and 5/8 of a discount point.

The employment report Friday will be the most important event this week. The gross domestic product and employment cost index data will also be very important. Expect extreme market volatility again this week. 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Economic
Indicator

Release
Date & Time

Consensus
Estimate


Analysis

ISM Index

Monday, Nov. 3,
10:00 am, et

42.0

Important. A measure of manufacturer sentiment. A large decline may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Factory Orders

Tuesday, Nov. 4,
10:00 am, et

Down 1.5%

Important. A measure of manufacturing sector strength. A larger decrease may lead to lower rates.

ADP Employment

Wednesday, Nov. 5,
8:30 am, et

Down 80,000

Important. A measure of employment. A larger decrease in payrolls may bring lower rates.

Preliminary Q3 Productivity

Thursday, Nov. 6,
8:30 am, et

Up 1.0%

Important. A measure of output per hour. Improvement may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Employment

Friday, Nov. 7,
8:30 am, et

6.2%
-115k jobs

Very important. An increase in unemployment or weakness in payrolls may bring lower rates.

Oil Provides Reprieve

Fed officials have been given a huge reprieve from the inflation concerns tied to rising energy prices as oil prices have dropped relative to the record high level of $147 per barrel seen in July of this year. The Fed is continually concerned with inflation as they lower rates amid the current credit crisis. Lower energy prices generally help to alleviate inflation fears.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently cut production as the price of oil fell precipitously. These production cuts have had little effect on falling oil prices so far. The markets seemed convinced that the demand for oil will continue to decrease as economies struggle across the globe. However, these predictions are not a given. OPEC is debating additional production cuts while many analysts are warning OPEC against such moves. OPEC’s position is that the price of oil is undervalued and a production cut would increase prices. The counter argument is that the world economies are already struggling and a spike in energy prices would lead to more severe economic turmoil further decreasing demand which would eventually result in not only additional price decreases but a global economic catastrophe. Remember that the future is uncertain. Just a few months ago the majority of analysts were predicting continued high energy prices. Fortunately, they were wrong. But that doesn’t mean conditions can’t change quickly. Keep in mind that rates remain historically very favorable. It is possible for rates to head lower with falling inflation fears. However, now is a great time to avoid the uncertainty surrounding continued market volatility.