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ARMLS STAT & Mortgage News 12.15.14

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Blog by Doug Ingersoll | December 15th, 2014

The latest issue of STAT from the fine folks at Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service can be found HERE. The summary is positively uplifting.  
From Stuart Crawford at V.I.P. Mortgage:

"The primary influence on mortgage rates last week was a reduction in the outlook for global economic growth, mainly due to a policy change in China.  However, stronger than expected U.S. Retail Sales data offset some of the improvement.  Mortgage rates ended the week lower, near the best levels of the year. 

**Now is a great time to have your mortgage reviewed for a potential refinance.**
On Monday, Chinese officials unexpectedly announced a ban on a type of risky lending.  This will make financial markets in China safer, but it also is expected to slow their economy.  Slower growth in China reduces expectations for future inflation globally, which is positive for our mortgage rates.

Consumers have received a welcome gift this year in the form of lower gas prices.  With extra money in their pockets, people increased spending during November by far more than expected.  The November Retail Sales report released last week showed a big rise in nearly every area.  Retail Sales account for nearly 70% of our economic activity, and this surprising data caused economists to raise their forecasts for fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Oil prices are now more than 40% below the levels seen in June.  For mortgage rates, it's hard to determine whether this will be a net positive or a net negative.  One effect of lower oil prices is to increase economic activity, as seen in the Retail Sales report, and this leads to higher inflation.  On the other hand, the price of gas and many other products will be lower.  The net effect on inflation of these two offsetting influences will determine the impact lower oil prices will have on mortgage rates.

This week the big story will be Wednesday's Fed meeting.  Investors will be looking for hints about the timing of the first fed funds rate hike (which everyone speculates is coming in 2015)."

Stuart can be reached at 602.710.8975