[Washington, D.C] Yesterday seemed like any other Friday in September. History does not provide advance warning when it will mark certain things we do as people or identifying key events in the time we live in. It just happens!
Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher had traveled to Washington, D.C. to protest their opposition to the United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Based on the attention the nominee had garnered they knew United States Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) represented a critical vote. As the week was winding down, Flake had indicated he would support him.
Our nation is one of a federal Republic based on democratic ideals. Politicians like Flake are voted to office with the primary mandate to be a voice of the people they represent. Unfortunately, a good many of citizens, who are of voting age miss this simply equation. Many rarely participate in voting, let alone dialogue with politicians. Then again, there are those who accept the apathetic notion that voting does not matter. Then again there are those who will swear voting has nothing to do with their lives!!!! Nothing could be further from the truth, as in this country just about everything we do or how we are impacted is based on a political implication. In common terms; someone (politicians) creates the policies of the way we are governed or how we go about living out our daily lives. Thus, some have mocked the statement but it is true: we have the type of government representation we voted for! Of course, another way to look at it is to encourage people to participate in the voting process so their desires are known. That does not imply voters will get whatever they desire but it does insure their voice will be heard.
Friday, September 28, 2008 will mark a historic date. Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh may very well move through the process and become a member of the Supreme Court. However, two motely citizens who are registered voters summoned the courage to confront Flake to make one last appeal to investigate charges that Dr. Bird had made regarding Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual molestation against her. In the end Flake heard their voice and while he indicated there were other factors, he agreed to support Kavanaugh moving through the committee vote; with the condition that a Federal Bureau of Investigation would occur, and that was the simple appeal heard during the hearing desired by Archila and Gallagher was well as those who opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination.
YouTube video courtesy of Ruptly
The move by Archila and Gallagher was bold. Many people have had confrontations with political leaders appealing for their concerns to be heard. But, it was that place in time, on that elevator on Friday, September 28, 2018 which will go down in history that demonstrated the power of why voting matters. More importantly it showcased how you voice might be that changing moment.
The right to protest
I am sure some may disagree with the assessment we have offered but the intent is not aimed on whether you support Kavanaugh or not but to showcase the power of having politicians listen to your appeal. No doubt, Flake will receive admonition from those who disagree with his actions but the bigger issue is Archila and Gallagher did not set out to do anything historic as their intention was to just do something!
Flake surely would like to be remembered as a compassionate representative but that is simply mystery of how history is created. Just look at Rosa Parks and all of the other people who have used their voice to uplift issues they felt needed attention? Or those who have been vilified and criticized for raising their voice. They understood the power of voting and holding representatives accountable.
Many are talking about Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony on Thursday. Some are very pleased about the way he challenged those in opposition to his nomination. Then again, some have remarked how belligerent and disrespectful he was. Surely his performance will be a hit on this week’s SNL but using one of Samuel Jackson’s iconic character’s it has also become a hit on YT
For those who may have been too busy with the Kavanaugh issue or other issues, or maybe just didn’t care about anything in the news – you may have missed a huge ruling rendered yesterday.
(or enriching his pockets while serving as president)
The U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan found that lawmakers have adequately shown that they’ve suffered harm from the president’s alleged violation of the emoluments clause, which bans benefits from foreign governments unless a majority of both houses of Congress consent.
Above caption. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Holds A News Conference Following Federal Open Market Committee Meeting
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference on September 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The US Federal Reserve raised the short-term interest rates by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday, the third increase of the year, and signaled two more hikes were coming in 2018 and four in 2019. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
[Washington, DC] In a move that was forecast several weeks ago, this afternoon Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve raised the discount rate to 2.250%. This move occurred to the chagrin of his boss and the person who appointed him Donald Trump, as since June of this year he has been quite vocal that Powell should not raise rates.
The Feds are non-partisan and to effectively operate are independent of political interference. As customary, president’s and those in leadership refrain from making comments about monetary policy. That is most, except Trump who once again has demonstrated his lack of understanding regarding political protocol.
“I’m not thrilled,” Trump said in an interview last month
Powell has stood firm and justified the move to control a positive economy. The discount rate is the cost commercial banks pay for funds. Their impact does not immediately affect consumers but they typically result in higher borrower costs.
You can’t have it both ways
In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 2 to 2-1/4 percent. Jerome Powell, Fed Chairman
Ever since the financial meltdown of 2008, systemic changes were adopted to strengthen the economy. In Trump’s case, even though it is very tough for him to admit he inherited an economy that had all the signs of positive growth, as a practical measure it must be properly managed. As the economy moves forward, it is the Fed’s who are in control of monetary policy and to manage interest rates so that inflation of other negative factors are mitigated.
The nine member panel of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee voted unanimously to support the increase.
Real estate is a key component of the U.S. economy. Aside from providing basic shelter, it is a commodity that consumers desire to purchase and a mortgage is used to finance the transaction. Yet, it was the environment in 2008 where an industry as we knew it offered slim prospects of recovery.
Fast forward to 2018, recovery is obvious. home prices continue to climb to record levels leaving many to wonder if they will ever be able to afford a home, let alone experience the “American dream?” At the same time if must not be discounted that millions, for various reasons lost homes. For them, then and now home-ownership represents the biggest transaction they will complete in their lifetime. Likewise, it represents the biggest financial asset.
For some 2008 seemed like a lifetime ago. No doubt it was a scary time especially for those who were part of the economic meltdown. Cash was tight, employment or the ability to earn a living was in great jeopardy, homes which were treasured started disappearing in record numbers – like never seen before. Many were lured into the notion property appreciation was constant and even though they may have bet on risky mortgage products, they felt confident they would be able to refinance out of any calamity. Political leaders labeled the period as one not seen since the great depression of the 1930’s.
The crisis erupted in 2008, however signs were simmering that something might be amiss as early as 2005. Interestingly it was a common refrain for the very political leaders and even industry leaders to target the culprit as subprime lending. The problem with that assessment is it is incorrect, at least from a practical definition.
Prior to subprime coming into the mortgage vernacular in the mid 1990’s, most mortgages were considered prime. You had to fully qualify, including for some with what appeared to be exhaustive documentation. . Your credit was not required to be perfect as long as any blemishes could be documented and explained.
Sub is a suffix and means “less than” or “below.” Unfortunately, some would have you believe it meant bad credit, inferior housing or something that was substandard. No doubt many who obtained mortgages were in that population but there was a good percentage who in fact had good credit as well as good property.
A more reasonable understanding is defining subprime as synonymous with alternative. In other words, subprime mortgages merely meant the borrower could not qualify for a prime mortgage. As stated, there were millions of borrowers whose credit was above average and the alternative mortgages became a solid vehicle for them to obtain affordable mortgages. Why was an alternative mortgage necessary? For some, they could not fully document their income via traditional methods. However, they had just as much money in their bank accounts as normal borrowers and their credit was just as solid. Lenders recognized this challenge thus alternative mortgages were born and the market took off.
As lenders created alternative mortgages they became part of the overall subprime population. However, it did not have the negative connotation subprime became labeled. That is why blaming the crisis on those on the fringes with credit issues appears an easy explanation but that short-changes the reality of the subprime market.
There were many reasons which led to the crisis that erupted in 2008. Experts have suggested factors germinated as early as 2006 and the signs of a downfall was apparent. The only problem was many were in denial and for a good chuck of that population it was simply too late to recover.
“I’ve been in this business a long-time and have trained real estate professionals all over Southern California. I’m telling you, the market is about to crash! The late Jerry Timpone, 2006
In 2008 the average home price in Southern California was $429,000. However, it must be noted that due to the crisis millions of homes were being snapped up for far less (via foreclosure and other issues which left many homeowners fleeing their properties).
Compared to today’s average home price of over $600,000, even $429,000 seems like a steal! 2008 was a turbulent time and compared today, it is a thing of the past. During that ten-year period many who held onto their homes have been able to secure a more fixed payment mortgage, thus the surprises of a fluctuating mortgage which was popular during the early to mid-2000’s has been mitigated.
Companies/Business were imploding as we Cities
As indicated real estate, specifically the mortgage sector is important to our economy. As the implosion of businesses picked up steam, the residual effect found cities and communities in great peril. They too were dealt blow after blow as neighborhoods became decimated, thus reducing taxes cities need to operate.
While economic challenges are not the main concern as it was in 2008, today the primary concern is having enough income and down payment to snag a property. Of course, even those who may be in a qualifying position are contemplating the definition of a “fixer-upper” or considering moving outside of the metropolitan area, which years ago would have been unthinkable.
So, average prices come and go. Economic conditions are constant but looking back ten years is important to recognize the cyclical nature of real estate and realizing that most things are relative. The take-away is if $429,000 was a jolt, and $600,000 redefines sticker-shock, it is a good bet prices will go higher before they go lower.
As for mortgages and looking back ten years, it is a simple equation; people will always have the need for shelter and a good many will be lucky enough to become homeowners. Mortgage lenders will always look to satisfy those borrowers who are seeking affordable financing because assuming everyone has at least twenty percent as down payment and stellar credit would depress the market to a point that is not reasonable. The trick, like any consumer purchase is to properly assess your situation so that you are not forced into a mortgage or a predicament which has the remnants of the 2008 meltdown.
Single Family Residences a 10-year look-back
Single Family Residences
Single Family Residences
Single Family Residences
Condominiums / Co-Ops
Condominiums / Co-Ops
Condominiums / Co-Ops
Condominiums / Co-Ops
* 2018 Median price is for May 2018
N/A – Data not available from source
Note: Movement in regional sales prices should not be interpreted as measuring changes in the cost of a standard home. Prices are influenced by changes in costs and variations in the characteristics and size of homes actually sold.
The housing crisis was an important historic event. Fred Thomas, III tags himself as a “student” of the mortgage industry and speaks with credibility having been employed at Countrywide Home Loans, IndyMac Bank and Bank of America. He is currently working on a book which takes a look at the rise and fall as well as the importance they played and the development of the industry.
This Friday, September 28th will mark a special day in the international community as Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel will make his first appearance at the United Nations Cuban Mission, in New York.
Prior to his historic appearance at the U.N., on Wednesday, September 26th he is the invited speaker at the iconic Riverside Church. The event is organized by Pastors for Peace.
During his trip it is expected Diaz-Canel will make an appeal for the half-century old embargo against his country imposed by the United States to be lifted. Also, on his schedule are meetings with U.S. business leaders.
Following a successful transition this past April, Diaz-Canel became president. This followed years of leadership by Raul Castro and his older brother Fidel Castro.
As expected this week’s mortgage numbers saw a slight increase of two basis points to come in at 4.54% The increase is predicated on economic data which continues to show improvement. Another key factor to support the notion that rates will continue to climb is the latest jobs report which saw new jobs at 201,000.
While rates have risen, the biggest dilemma for those who desire a new mortgage is finding homes that are within their affordability range. As an example, in a year over year comparison rates have increased nearly seventy-five basis points or three-quarters of a percent. So, while it is great the economy is moving forward, consumers must deal with the reality that cost of goods and services also increase.
The result is affordability remains a solid metric but the key with mortgage rates is timing and being in a position to qualify and take advantage of mortgage rates based on your budget.
Average Mortgage Amount – One Year Analysis
While the mortgage of choice remains a 30-year fixed rate based on its amortization to provide more affordable payment, the average mortgage term is approximately seven years (based on data that consumer needs of refinancing).
As mentioned rates have risen, likewise the economy has also strengthened. For most consumers it’s a dollars and cents evaluation, so in their mind the rise is rates is of concern or something that impacts their buying power. As an example, nationwide the difference of $130 each month translates into $1,560 annually or $10,920 based on a seven-year term. Specifically for those in California the numbers are $155 monthly or $1,860 annually which is $13,020 based on the seven-year term.
The question remains; can your budget handle the increase? does the touted tax-cut provide enough money back into your budget to mitigate the increase?
A snapshot of this week’s mortgage rates (popular programs)
cover photo courtesy of Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
[Washington, DC] Federal District Judith Randolph D. Moss admonished George Papadopoulos for lying to the F.B.I. in his sentence hearing this afternoon. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had suggested a sentence of up to six months. Some thought a thirty-day sentence was more likely but Moss spared Papadopoulos with his 14-day sentence. He also made the point in his sentencing that “the gravity of the investigation and the need to send a message to the public as the reason for the imprisonment.”
The March 31st Apprentice Try-Out
Papadopoulos may very well have been remorseful but it was his antics as he admitted of “trying to impress Donald Trump” which led to today’s decision. In was that March 31st meeting that had the trappings of an Apprentice try-out that Papadopoulos has come to regret.
Papadopoulos has already served what could be defined as house-arrest or supervision for the past year as he awaited the decision from the Mueller team to move the case to the sentencing phase. In addition to 14 days, Papadopoulos was fined $9.500, ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and one-year probation, following serving his sentence.
George was loyal to the Trump campaign and his political candidate which is the reason we are here today, Thomas Breen, Attorney for George Papadopoulos
Papadopoulos claims Session was not truthful
After the hearing Papadopoulos and his wife hurried away in a black SUV. His attorney, Thomas Breen took time to take questions. One comment that caught some by surprise was the intimation that Papadopoulos was confident Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not truthful regarding Russian contacts in his testimony during his confirmation hearings.
President Trump has done more to impede the Russian investigation than my client George Papadopoulos. If he doesn’t know it by now, there should be no mystery that Russia interfered in our 2016 elections, Thomas Breen, Attorney for George Papadopoulos.
Approximately ten years ago we were able to adjust our schedule to allow for a trek to D.C. We picked the last week in August to commemorate and pay homage to the March on Washington. Each trek allows us to visit usual sites and reconnect with friends and over the years we seek out new venues to add to our journey. During our 2018 five-day stay here are several of the sites we visited.
March on Washington Commemoration
Even though the original event was held at the Lincoln Memorial, ever since the MLK memorial was erected activities have shifted there.
Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture
The NMAAHC continues to be a jewel at the national mall. This year our focus was visiting the new Oprah Winfrey exhibit as well as witness the musical rendition commemorating the murder of Emmett Till.
We added to new venue to this year’s trek; seeing the portraits of President Obama and First Lady Michelle at the National Portrait Gallery
The Obama’s left the White House in January 2017, so this year we added a visit to see their new residence. Due to high security you will not be able to walk down the street but it is located in the Northwest section of the District. The street on Belmont Road is one way and barricaded. If you are familiar with the Dupont Circle neighborhood, it is northwest (lots of embassies and larger properties). Of course, there is secret service on watch to ensure privacy
Anacostia is located in what is known as Southeast. The Anacostia river separates the main part of the District and this area. Many who visit the District miss visiting this community for various reasons. No doubt, it has been stigmatized due to poverty and other elements which foster negativity. But, for those who truly seek hidden jewels, even that will not stop them for trekking through the community.
The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum has an outstanding exhibit to help you better understand how communities all over the District were transformed following de-segregation.
Barry Farms is a historic part of Anacostia where African-Americans took up residence. Although much of the community has fallen on hard times and you can see some tough images or extreme poverty, there are still many historic sites you can see. Similar to many communities scattered throughout the United States the community is made up of regular hard-working, law abiding folk. The biggest issue is feeling safe as you venture throughout the community, so while people are people it is not the type of place you just wander about without precautions or maintaining common-sense.
Inside the Barry Farms community is the legendary Goodman leagues outdoor basketball complex. It is world-renowned for its fierce competition featuring some of the best hoop action in the region. Many professional basketball players (those currently playing or those retired or no longer playing) make this a regular stop to mix-it up with regular neighborhood stars. The complex is a testament of how committed people focus on positive attributes to create sacred zones that many communities would love to have.