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David Garofalo | The Property Network | Stamford CT Real Estate | Stamford Short Sales | Norwalk Homes for Sale | Greenwich Luxury Homes and Beyond! - Part 2

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Economic Update – April 12, 2010

Monday, April 12th, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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The Institute for Supply Management reported the monthly index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 55.4 in March from 53 in February. A reading above 50 signals expansion. Economists had anticipated a reading of 53.3. The reading was the highest since May 2006.

The National Association of Realtors reported that its pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, rose 8.2% in February after a revised 7.8% decrease in January. The February reading was the largest gain since October 2001.

According to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit debt fell in February by $11.5 billion, an annual rate of 5.6%. Economists had forecast that consumer debt would rise by $500 million. Consumer credit rose in January by $10.6 billion, ending a record 11 consecutive months of decline.

Sales at U.S. retail chains rose 9.1% in March. It was the largest monthly jump since recordkeeping began in 2000. Economists had anticipated a 6.3% increase.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose by 18,000 to 460,000 in the week ending April 3. Continuing claims for the week ending March 27 fell by 131,000 to 4.55 million.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ending April 2 fell 11%. Purchase volume increased 0.2%. Refinancing applications fell 16.9%.

The Commerce Department said wholesalers increased their inventories by 0.6% in February following a revised 0.1% rise in January. Sales at the wholesale level rose 0.8% in February, marking the 11th straight monthly gain.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on retail sales on April 14, the housing market index on April 15 and housing starts on April 16.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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Economic Update – April 5, 2010

Monday, April 5th, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose $34.7 billion or 0.3% in February, matching what economists had anticipated. Personal income increased $1.2 billion or less than 0.1%.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in January. It was the eighth consecutive monthly gain and follows a 0.3% increase in December.

The consumer confidence index rose to 52.5 in March from a slightly revised 46.4 in February. Economists had anticipated a reading of 50. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.

Factory orders rose 0.6% in February, slightly above the 0.5% increase economists had anticipated. It was the sixth straight gain and follows an upwardly revised 2.5% increase in January.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly index of manufacturing activity was 59.6 in March after reaching 56.5 in February. It was the eighth straight month of expansion and the best reading since July 2004. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

Total construction spending fell 1.3% to $846.23 billion in February. It was the lowest spending level since November 2002 and followed a 1.4% drop in January.

The unemployment rate held at 9.7% in March. However, employers added 162,000 jobs last month, the most since March 2007. For the week ending March 27, initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 439,000. Continuing claims for the week ending March 20 fell by 6,000 to 4.6 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on pending home sales on April 5, consumer credit on April 7 and wholesale trade on April 9.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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Homebuyer Tax Credits to Expire – ACT NOW!!!

Friday, April 2nd, 2010




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The Homebuyer Tax Credits Expire Soon

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The homebuyer tax credits will expire soon. If you want to take advantage of these tax credits, you must act now. The tax credits are available to buyers who sign purchase agreements on a new or existing primary residence between December 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010. Buyers have until June 30 to close on their new home.

In addition to offering the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, the new law also allows a $6,500 credit for repeat or move-up homebuyers who have lived in their primary residence for five years or more.

There is an $800,000 price limit on all homes eligible for the credit. The income limits for all buyers are $125,000 per year for individuals and $225,000 for married couples. The first-time homebuyer credit is available to those who have not owned a home in the previous three years. The credit does not have to be repaid unless the home is sold or ceases to be the primary residence within three years.

I’m committed to meeting your home-financing needs. Call me if you have any questions, or if you would like to get started on a loan application today!

The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a tax advisor. We are not a law firm, nor a CPA firm.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px Homebuyer Tax Credits to Expire   ACT NOW!!! | CT Real Estate
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Economic Update – March 29, 2010

Monday, March 29th, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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Existing home sales fell 0.6% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.02 million units from 5.05 million units in January. The inventory of unsold homes on the market rose 9.5% to 3.59 million, an 8.6-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 7.8-month supply in January.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — rose 0.5% in February after a revised 3.9% increase in January. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly increase of 0.9%.

New home sales fell 2.2% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 308,000 units from an upwardly revised rate of 315,000 units in January. Economists had expected a pace of 320,000 units. It was the fourth straight monthly decline and the lowest pace since recordkeeping began in 1963.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 14,000 to 442,000 in the week ending March 20. Continuing claims for the week ending March 13 fell by 54,000 to 4.648 million, the lowest level since December 20, 2008.

The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March’s final reading was 73.6, matching February’s final reading. The index is 28% higher than it was one year ago. During the economic expansion that ended in December 2007, the index averaged 88.9.

In its third and final report, the Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 5.6% in the fourth quarter of 2009, rather than the 5.7% increase initially reported. For all of 2009, the economy contracted 2.4%.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on March 30, factory orders on March 31 and construction spending on April 1.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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Economic Update – March 22, 2010

Monday, March 22nd, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 0.1% in February, following a 0.9% gain in January. It was the eighth consecutive monthly increase. The overall factory-operating rate rose to 72.7% of capacity in February from 72.6% in January.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index fell two points in March to 15. Economists had anticipated a reading of 17. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The last time the index was above 50 was in April 2006.

The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in February fell 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 575,000 units. The decrease was largely blamed on winter blizzards in the Northeast and South. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 1.6% to 612,000 units.

Import prices fell 0.3% in February following a 1.3% increase in January. The drop was driven by 2.2% decline in petroleum prices. On a year-over-year basis, import prices are up 2.1%. According to the report, export prices fell 0.5% in February.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, fell 0.6% in February, following a 1.4% increase in January. Economists had expected a decrease of 0.3%.

Consumer prices were flat last month following a 0.2% gain in January. A rise in food prices in February was offset by a decline in gasoline and other energy costs.

The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose 0.1% in February after a 0.3% gain in January. It was the 11th straight monthly increase and the longest series of gains since 2003.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on existing home sales on March 23, new home sales on March 24 and consumer sentiment on March 26.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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why mortgage rates change

Thursday, March 18th, 2010




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David Garofalo
Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #122111
Direct: 203-910-1845
Fax: 877-298-3986
Email Me!
100 Technology Dr., Ste. 203
Trumbull, CT 06611

Learning Center
Why Rates Change
We are committed to keeping clients informed about timely topics and trends in the mortgage industry. One common mortgage industry misconception is the correlation between the Federal Reserve Board’s announcements to raise or lower interest rates and the direct effect on fixed mortgage rates. While the two are connected, they don’t always go hand-in-hand.

Kinds of Rates

To better understand why mortgage rates change, we must first look at why interest rates change. First, it is important to realize that there is not just one interest rate, but many:

Prime Rate: The rate offered to a bank’s best customers and subject to change monthly.

Treasury Bill Rates: Treasury Bills are short-term debt instruments used by the U.S. Government to finance their debt. Commonly know as T-Bills, they come in denominations of 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. Each Treasury bill has a corresponding interest rate (i.e. 3-month T-bill rate, 1-year T-bill rate).

Treasury Notes: Intermediate-term debt instruments used by the U.S. Government to finance their debt. They come in denominations of 2 years, 5 years and 10 years.

Treasury Bonds: Long-debt instruments used by the U.S. Government to finance its debt.

Federal Funds Rate: Rates that banks charge each other for overnight loans.

Federal Discount Rate: Rate that the Federal Reserve charges to member banks.

LIBOR: London Interbank Offered Rates. Average London Eurodollar rates.

6-month CD Rate: The average rate that you get when you invest in a 6-month Certificate of Deposit.

11th District Cost of Funds: Rate determined by averaging a composite of depository rates at Savings & Loan institutions in the Western United States.

Fannie Mae-Backed Security Rates: Fannie Mae pools large quantities of mortgages, creates securities with them, and sells them as Fannie Mae-backed securities. The rates on these securities strongly influence mortgage rates.

Ginnie Mae-Backed Security Rates: Ginnie Mae pools large quantities of mortgages, secures them and sells them as Ginnie Mae-backed securities. The rates on these securities influence mortgage rates on FHA and VA loans.

Mortgage Rates Refresher

Fixed interest-rate fluctuations are based on the concept of supply and demand. If demand for credit (loans) increases, so do interest rates. More buyers mean sellers can command a better price (i.e., higher rates). If demand for credit reduces, then so do interest rates. This is because there are more sellers, so buyers can command a lower better price (i.e., lower rates). When the economy expands, there is higher demand for credit, so rates increase. When the economy slows, the demand for credit decreases and so do rates.

Effects of Inflation

A major factor driving interest rates is inflation. Higher inflation is associated with a growing economy. When the economy grows too strongly, the Federal Reserve increases interest rates to slow the economy down and reduce inflationary risk. Inflation results from prices of goods and services increasing. When the economy is strong, there is more demand for goods and services, so the producers of those goods and services can increase prices. A strong economy therefore results in higher mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates vs. Interest Rates

Fixed mortgage rates tend to move in the same direction as interest rates. However, actual mortgage rates are also based on supply and demand for mortgages. The supply/demand equation for mortgage rates may be different from the supply/demand equation for interest rates. This may result in mortgage rates moving somewhat differently from other rates.

Significance of Bond Prices

There is an inverse relationship between bond prices and bond yields. This can be confusing. When bond prices move up, interest rates move down and vice versa. This is because bonds tend to have a fixed price at maturity–typically $1000. If the price of the bond is currently $900 with 10 years left until maturity, and interest rates start moving higher, the price of the bond starts dropping. The higher interest rates accumulate over the next five years, meaning that a lower price (e.g. $880) will result in the same maturity price, i.e. $1000.



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Economis Update – March 15, 2010

Monday, March 15th, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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According to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index, retail sales rose 2.9% for the week ending March 6. It was the biggest weekly gain in nine years. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 3.4%, the best showing in two-and-a-half years.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 5 rose 0.5%. Purchase volume increased 5.7%. Refinancing applications fell 1.5%.

The Commerce Department said wholesalers cut their inventories by 0.2% in January following a downward revised 1% drop in December. Meanwhile, sales at the wholesale level rose 1.3% in January, marking the 10th straight monthly gain.

The trade deficit unexpectedly fell 6.6% to $37.3 billion in January from a revised $39.9 billion gap in December. Economists had expected the trade deficit to widen to $41 billion. Exports slipped 0.3% to $142.7 billion. Imports fell 1.7% to $180 billion.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 462,000 in the week ending March 6. Continuing claims for the week ending February 27 rose by 37,000 to 4.558 million.

Retail sales rose 0.3% in February, following a revised 0.1% increase in January. Economists had anticipated retail sales to decline 0.2% in February. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales increased 3.9%.

The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March’s preliminary reading fell to 72.5 from February’s final reading of 73.6. One year ago, the mid-March reading was 57.3. During the economic expansion that ended in December 2007, the index averaged 88.9.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on March 15, housing starts on March 16 and the index of leading economic indicators on March 18.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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Economic Update – March 8, 2010

Monday, March 8th, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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Consumer spending rose 0.5% to $52.4 billion in January, slightly more than economists had anticipated. Personal income increased 0.1% to $11.4 billion.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly index of manufacturing activity was 56.5 in February after reaching 58.4 in January. Nevertheless, it was the seventh straight month of expansion. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

The Commerce Department reported that total construction spending fell 0.6% in January after falling 1.2% in December. Economists had expected a decrease of 0.7%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ending February 26 rose 14.6% to 629.9. Purchase volume increased 9% to 214.5. Refinancing applications jumped 17.2% to 3,054.3.

The monthly index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 53 in February from 50.5 in January. A reading above 50 signals expansion. Economists had anticipated a reading of 51. The reading was the highest since October 2007.

The National Association of Realtors reported that its pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, fell 7.6% in January after a revised 0.8% increase in December.

The Labor Department reported productivity rose at an annual rate of 6.9% in the fourth quarter. Labor costs fell at an annual rate of 5.9%.

Factory orders rose 1.7% in January, slightly below the 1.8% increase economists had anticipated. It was the fifth straight gain and follows a 1% increase in December.

The unemployment rate held at 9.7% in February. Employers cut 36,000 jobs in February, far fewer than expected. The four-week average for continuing jobless claims fell 134,000 to 4.5 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on wholesale trade on March 10, international trade on March 11 and retail sales on March 12.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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Economic Update – Feb 22, 2010

Monday, February 22nd, 2010




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Last Week in the News


The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index rose two points in February to 17. It was the first gain in five months. Economists had anticipated a dip to 14. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in January rose 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 units. However, applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 4.9% to 621,000 units.

Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 0.9% in January, following an upwardly revised 0.7% gain in December. It was the seventh consecutive monthly increase. The overall factory-operating rate rose to 72.6% of capacity in January from 71.9% in December.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, rose 1.4% in January, following an upwardly revised 0.4% increase in December. Economists had expected a gain of 0.8%. The gains were largely due to higher energy costs.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 31,000 to 473,000 in the week ending February 13. Continuing claims for the week ending February 6 held steady at 4.538 million. Experts believe snowstorms in early February may have cost the economy as many as 100,000 jobs.

The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose a smaller-than-expected 0.3% in January after a revised 1.2% gain in December. It was the 10th straight monthly increase and the longest series of gains since 2004.

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in January. Excluding energy and food, the so-called core index unexpectedly slipped 0.1%, the first monthly decline since December 1982.

The Federal Reserve Board raised the discount rate charged to banks by a quarter-point to 0.75%.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on February 23, new home sales on February 24, and existing home sales on February 26.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com


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Home Improvement Tax Benefits for 2010

Friday, February 19th, 2010




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David Garofalo

Senior Loan Officer
Prospect Mortgage
NMLS# 122111
100 Technology Dr., Suite 203
Trumbull, CT 06611
Office: (203) 910-1845
Fax: (877) 298-3986
David.Garofalo@prospectmtg.com
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Home Improvement Tax
Benefits for 2010


For your clients, going green pays and saves. According to a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, for every dollar decrease in annual home energy expenditures, house values increase between $11.63 and $20.73.

Also, going green can lower the tax bill. New federal tax credits are now available for green home improvements on a principal residence. Qualifying modifications must meet a certain energy efficiency level to be eligible for the credit.

The credits are available for improvements purchased and in service from January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010. The amount of the credit is deducted from any income taxes the homeowner may owe. The credit is nonrefundable, allowing taxpayers to lower their tax liability to zero, but not below zero.

Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 through December 31, 2010 (for existing homes only) for:

  • Windows and Doors
  • Insulation
  • Roofs (Metal and Asphalt)
  • Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Water Heaters (non-solar)
  • Biomass Stoves

Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through December 31, 2016 (for existing homes and new construction) for:

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Solar Panels
  • Solar Water Heaters
  • Small Wind Energy Systems
  • Fuel Cells

Make sure your clients purchase products that come with a Manufacturer Certification Statement — a statement from the manufacturer that indicates the product qualifies for the tax credit. For record keeping, experts advise that homeowners retain all receipts.

Additional details can be found at www.energystar.gov/taxcreditsand www.homedepot.com/taxcredit

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com


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