Mortgage rates show no sign of let-up – Keep rising


Employee Rhonda Lawson works in the customer call center area at Freddie Mac headquarters in McLean, Virginia, U.S., Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

[McLean, VA]  For the eighth consecutive week mortgage rates have continued their climb.  Now at 4.40% which is just two basis points in week- over-week reporting, it represents the highest mark of 2018.  The increase did not catch anybody off guard as the 10-year Treasury climbed over 2.90%.   The 10-year Treasury is known as the long-term index which affects mortgage rates.

 

Going forward, rates are projected to keep climbing.   Also, based on economic movement experts have suggested the Fed is positioned for three and perhaps four discount rate hikes for 2018.  This is designed to counter inflationary worries and keep the economy in check.

 

Consumers haven’t pushed the panic button as when evaluating year over year data, mortgage rates have only increased fourteen basis points.  That difference is well within the range of mortgage rate movement as they are very cyclical.

Rate recap for the week:

February 22, 2018

30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 4.40% 3.85% 3.65%
Fees & Points 0.5 0.5 0.4
Margin N/A N/A 2.75

Freddie Mac known technically as Federal National Home Loan Corporation purchases mortgages from it approved mortgage originators.  The primary market rate survey is the industry standard published weekly and is used by consumers and industry experts to gauge rate movement.

 

Cuba:  The Forgotten Revolution – My Review


[Westchester, CA ]    When most people think about the Cuban Revolution, whether you love him or hate him it is recognized Fidel Castro was the leader.

This past weekend Loyola Marymount University hosted “A Celebration of Cuban Arts and Culture.”  Among several activities, Professor Glenn Gebhard, noted film director and professor in the LMU School of Film and Television screened his Emmy award doc, “Cuba – The Forgotten Revolution.”   The film came out in 2015.

The piece is not just another bio-pic about Cuba.  What it does is update the historical record and highlights how Fidel rose to the ultimate leadership position.

I decided to make the film with the understanding that some would hate it and try to dismiss it, and others would love it!!  Professor Glenn Gebhard

 

Prior to the noted take-over in 1959, escalating in the 1950’s there were several opposition forces to the Bautista regime.   The film highlights leaders who at the time were more powerful than Fidel.  Two which deservingly captured the research of Gebhard was Jose Antonio Echeverria and Frank Pais.  Many young people across the island formed their activism while attending the University of Havana.    Jose Antonio Echeverria was student body president and developed quite a following which bled out of the University to the western part of the country.   Frank Pais (Pie-Es) was at the southeastern portion of the island in the Santiago region and also had assembled an impressive opposition group.

Fidel’s martyrdom is well documented.  Unfortunately,  Echeverria nor Pais lived to see the victory of the revolution.  Echeverria was killed at 25 years old in 1957.   Several months later in July País who was just 22 years old was also killed.

Even though previous historical accounts skip over their place in the revolution (highlighting Fidel as the primary leader), Gebhard’s film gives you a much better perspective how their actions fueled the revolution and successfully forced Bautista out.   After all, following the July 26, 1953 ill-fated battle at Moncada prison, where Fidel suffered a defeat and subsequently was captured and imprisoned, Echeverria and País had forces much larger than his.

 

In completing the film, Gebhard compiled a fledging team who were able to cull together solid documentation.  However, it was through his connection with Steve Krahnke and his team at PBS that finally made the film a reality.


The thing about a documentary is facts are pulled together from the perspective of the producers.  Some may dismiss their facts but just as Gebhard presented information to update the record, until others provide refuttable facts, the presentation becomes the current account.

My score, a 10 based on content.

**screening dates of the film are pending, however it is available on Netflix**

Mortgage rates keep climbing


This has been a tough week for the stock market.  One that many say is a long-overdue correction.  On the mortgage front rates continue to climb as this week they jumped 10 more basis points and now sit at 4.32%

  Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Most consumers understand rates are cyclical and are not stagnant so it is not uncommon for them to move up and down.  What is alarming may be ever since the tax cut was announced as well as the subsequent news major employers would be granting bonuses, they have climbed nearly ½ point.  The number may appear insignificant but with all of the hoopla of the benefits of the tax break to “regular” people it is worth noting the increase in rates have translated into higher cost or more payments.  Specifically, with mortgages, the impact is approximately $44 more each month.  The soundbite that you will see more money in your paycheck starting around February may be true but the reality is if you are in the market for a mortgage, you will need it!

 

While the increase in rates was projected, it shows why you need to be laser focused on the details especially if you are in the market to obtain a new mortgage or refinance your existing one.  If that is you, positioning continues to be the name of the game as the slightest hesitation can be costly.  Perhaps that explains why mortgage applications are also rising because with normal closing times projected from 45 to 60 days, you don’t wait for rates to rise through the roof before you finally decide to start the application process.

 

While the drop in the market has some concerned, the bigger issue is whether the Feds will increase the discount rate to tamp down on inflationary concerns?

 

Here is a recap of this week rate survey

30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 4.32% 3.77% 3.57%
Fees & Points 0.6 0.5 0.4
Margin N/A N/A 2.75

 

 

Freddie Mac produces the weekly rate survey.  Data is comprised from a pool of its lenders and the information is used to gauge movement and provide a target of interest rate movement.

Pan African Film Festival kicks off tonight


[Baldwin Hills, CA]   Celebrating its twenty-sixth year as one of the prominent platforms for independent film producers to showcase their work, the Pan African Film Festival commonly known as PAFF kicks off tonight.

Those who are regulars to PAFF already know about it’s magic.  Unfortunately, some are culturally conditioned and marginalize the event as just a “black event” or worse, “south of the 10 freeway.”  In reality, PAFF proudly boast an event featuring films and arts and crafts from the diaspora (African-Americans as well as those with African ancestry who are all over the world).  Organizers go to great lengths to make sure the venue and activities are enjoyable so that all who attend feel comfortable and safe while appreciating the cultural content that is provided.

 

 

 

“Love Jacked” opens the festival with the red carpet starting at 5:30pm and screening at 7:00pm.  The twelve-day festival will feature approximately 175 screenings, arts and crafts, seminars and many activities for all ages.  The venue will once again be at the Baldwin-Hills Crenshaw mall, which includes the Rave Theater.


“Babu” takes time to pose with Judith & Fred Thomas

PAFF was the brainchild of Ayuko Babu and through the years his commitment to keep the festival in the Baldwin Hills community has paid off.  Artist come from various countries and cities within the United States to take part of the festival.   Also, there is great support from the community as most screenings get sold out or near capacity.

 

“We started with just a concept and over the years many venues to the north and west of Baldwin Hills have pleaded for us to move, but this is our treasure and for those who really like what we have to offer they are more than welcome to make the trek and discover what most of us already know. ”  Babu

 

For more information on screening times please check HERE

Yellen gives up gavel, mortgage rates continue to climb


Yesterday Dr. Janet Yellen chaired her last fed meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.  The committee is part of the Federal Reserve leadership and they chose to keep rates unchanged.  Dr. Yellen passed the gavel to Trump nominee and incoming chair, Mr. Jerome Powell.  Yellen is an Obama appointee and since 2014 has served as chair.  The move was expected and even though the discount rate did not change there is speculation for increases as we move into the year.  The economy continues to move in a positive direction and it is the Fed’s mandate to manage monetary policy.

Mortgage

On the mortgage side of consumer finances, the benchmark 30-year fixed rate mortgage continued to rise.  In week over week reporting from the Freddie Mac primary market rate survey rates moved up seven basis points to 4.22%.  The increase in rates was expected based on economic conditions.  While consumer confidence also continues to improve the jump in rates affects affordability, especially for those on the margins where qualifying for a mortgage could be trickier.

 

Seven basis points represents almost 1/8th of a percent and while the movement is up there is no need for alarm as movement is based on a normal cyclical flow.  As a comparison in year over year reporting, this year’s rate of 4.22% is just three basis points from last year which was 4.19%


Snapshot of popular programs

February 1, 2018

30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 4.22% 3.68% 3.53%
Fees & Points 0.5 0.5 0.4
Margin N/A N/A 2.75