Market Update for the Week of February 25, 2019


There’s no way to sugar coat the data. Existing Home Sales fell in January for the third straight month, down 1.2%, to a just under 5 million unit yearly rate. But the big sales problem, lack of supply, has finally turned the corner.

Year-over-year inventories are now up six months in a row. This should ultimately boost sales and slow price growth, which is already down to just 2.8% annually, as of January.

Also encouraging, wages are rising faster than home prices for the first time since 2012, boosting affordability. And homebuilders pushed the NAHB Housing Market Index to 62 in February, up from its December three-year low.


STREAKING… The Dow ended ahead now nine weeks in a row, its longest streak since 1995, the Nasdaq was also up nine straight weeks, its best streak since 2009, while the S&P 500’s streak hit four weeks.

Investor optimism continues to be fueled by positive signs of a trade deal with China; the Fed‘s rate hike pause and willingness to be “patient” about future “adjustments”; and way better than feared Q4 corporate earnings.

Wall Street liked Durable Goods Orders up 3.5% the past year, more signs of a strong labor market, and the economy on track to the fastest yearly growth in more than a decade. Yet some pundits fear recession–though others disagree.

The week ended with the Dow UP 0.6%, to 26032; the S&P 500 UP 0.6%, at 2793; and the Nasdaq UP 0.7%, to 7528.

Bonds closed the week with gains, despite rising stocks. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond ended UP.12, to $102.14. The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell for the third straight week in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 52,000 construction jobs were added in January, up from 38,000 in December. Home building should rise accordingly.


HOME BUILDING, PENDING SALES, GDP OFF A TAD, INFLATION MILD, FACTORIES HUM… Housing Starts, Building Permits and Pending Home Sales are all forecast down a bit for the month. The Q4 GDP-Advanced read is predicted to be lower than Q3, but still solidly above 2%, while Core PCE Prices should show inflation remains at bay. Factory activity is expected to keep expanding according to the ISM and Chicago PMI reports.

NOTE: Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and higher loan rates.


Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… Few Wall Streeters think the Fed will touch rates during the next three meetings. Note: In the lower chart, a 5% probability of change is a 95% probability the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 2.25%-2.50%

Mar  20 2.25%-2.50%
May   1 2.25%-2.50%
Jun  19 2.25%-2.50%


Probability of change from current policy:

Mar  20     5%
May   1     9%
Jun  19     14%
The Jim Passi Team at Citywide Home Loans proudly serves Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia and Flordia. If you are looking to buy a home or refinance, we have you covered. Apply Now to get started.
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Jim Passi
Regional Manager
NMLS# 158000

1284 West Northwest Hwy.
Palatine, IL 60067
Mobile: 847-899-1813

Jim Passi provides it ALL!

Jim Passi provides it ALL! It took me over a year to find a property that ideally met all of the needs of my family. In that time, I did extensive research and worked with several lenders. I was very surprised – and equally disappointed, that it was just as difficult to find a knowledgeable, professional, responsive and conscientious lender as it was to find our dream home! Jim is a rare gem! In an age where even satisfactory Customer Service seems harder to come by, Jim takes pride in taking “outstanding” to an unbelievable level! The property I purchased was a modest short sale (under $150K), – and nothing about that process is short! From the beginning – to EVEN AFTER THE CLOSING, Jim treated me like I was a million-dollar client 🙂 He’s the epitome of having an entire support team wrapped up in one person and I honestly don’t know how he squeezes everything into a day! He was genuinely enthusiastic in offering valuable advice, based on both his experience and expertise, which gave me solid direction to reducing my debt and increasing my assets to qualify me for the best programs and rates. He THOROUGHLY explained all of my options, consistently and expeditiously updated me throughout the process, AND was inhumanly patient with every question, every time. On top of it all, he is analytically brilliant with a head for numbers that is nothing short of amazing! Not only would I use Jim Passi for future refinancing and purchases, I refer him every chance I get!

THANK YOU for all of your dedication and concern, Jim!!

Lisa B.