Economic update for the week ending November 18, 2017

Crude Oil  $56.68  -    Gold  $1,294.40 -    Silver  $17.31   -    EUR/USD  $1.18

Stocks end week lower on tax reform uncertainty and falling oil prices -  Stocks fell for the second straight week. There was unusual volatility this week. The Dow dropped 168 points in the first three days of the week as it looked like tax reform was losing some support in congress. On Thursday the house passed their version and the Dow gained almost 200 points. On Friday a few Republican Senators said they may not support the senate version and The Dow dropped 100 points to end the week down for the second straight week. Meanwhile both the senate and the house removed changes to how they would be taxing stock options for tech firms, after industry leaders argued that higher taxes on options would limit their ability to attract talent. This helped the tech heavy NASDAQ which closed up for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week at 23,358.24, down from 23,422.22 last week. It's up 18.2% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,578.85, down slightly from its close last week of 2,582.30. The S&P is up 15.2% YTD. The NASDAQ closed the week at 6,782.79, up from its last week's close of 6,750.94. It's up 26% year to date.

Bond yields drop this week -  The 10-year Treasury bond closed the week at 2.35%, down from 2.40% last week. The 30-year treasury yield ended the week at 2.78%, down from 2.88% last week. Mortgage rates follow Treasury bond yields so we watch bond yields carefully.

Mortgage Rates up slightly this week -  The November 16, 2017 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.95%, up from 3.90% last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.31%, up from 3.24% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.21%, almost unchanged from 3.22% last week.

California jobless rate falls to 4.9% -  California posted strong job gains in October adding 31,700 net new non-farm jobs. That brought the state's unemployment rate down from 5.1% in September to 4.9% in October. Wage growth slowed as hourly wages were 3.2% higher in October from one year earlier, down from September's wage growth of 3.8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. California is outpacing the U.S. as the national rate of wage growth was 2.4% in October.

New housing starts rebounds in October -  The Commerce Department reported that new housing starts jumped 13.7% in October. That was the highest level since October 2016. September's new home starts pace was down considerably because of a very steep drop in new construction in hurricane damaged areas. Because September's figures were depressed a 13.7% month over month increase is not as exciting as it sounds. Yet it was the highest number of permits pulled for new home construction since October 2016.

4 Smart reasons to buy a home during the holidays -  Yes friends, the holidays are here again, and it's the perfect time for house hunting. OK, we know you're busy enough planning family feasts and much-needed vacations, but hear me out. While it might seem counterintuitive to put a big ticket item like a home on your holiday shopping list, it really does make sense. Don't believe me? Check out these surprisingly smart reasons to make the purchase of a lifetime, a new house to ring in the New Year.

Just moved? 7 Tips for making your new community feel like home -  Moving into a new house involves more than arranging furniture and getting your kids acclimated to a different school. To feel truly comfortable and settled in another city or state, you'll want to make connections with neighbors and community members. Sure, it can feel awkward extending a hand to introduce yourself. But if you dive right in, you'll soon get beyond the "new guy" label and feel welcome. Here are seven ways to settle in after a move and make your new community feel like you've been there for years.

  1. Network before you move -  Reach out to your network of friends to see if anyone knows someone in your new city, and then reach out via email and maybe meet up for coffee once you're there. If you hit it off, great. But if you don't, at least you've met someone who can possibly steer you toward fun things to do in the area, where you can meet your new people.
  2. Host an open house after you move in -  Throwing a party for a bunch of strangers may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it's a great way to meet a ton of new people in one shot. Plus, your neighbors are probably dying to see the inside of the place you just bought. Your new neighbors will have a chance to meet you, and you'll get to hear some news about the community.
  3. Venture outside -  Do a little gardening such as potting hardy mums, raking leaves, or planting bulbs. Time these tasks for when people are picking up kids at the bus stop, and you'll create an easy meet-and-greet opportunity.
  4. Hit the local shops -  Sure, you'll shop at Target and the other big-box stores for new throw pillows, but make an effort to patronize the smaller shops in town, too. And do the same at restaurants, because who wants to cook after days of unpacking?
  5. Grab the dog's leash -  Your pup might be able to run out the back door to exercise, but you can also use it to your advantage when it comes to meeting new people. Dogs allow you to make quick and smooth introductions to other pet owners. Plus you'll meet more community members if you hang out at the local dog run.
  6. Join a group -  Love to cook? Or is pottery your jam? Indulging in a hobby might not be top of mind right after a big move, but now's the time to make yourself have a little fun. Try a site such as to find folks with similar interests. Hiking is really popular in LA and there are hundreds of Meetups on the trails for singles, seniors, and beginners.
  7. Stuff some mailboxes -  Put together a fun letter or postcard. Write a little bit about your family in the note and then leave it in your new neighbors' mailboxes. You'll spread the news of your arrival and inform people of your contact info.

Quote of the week


While I breathe, I hope