The economy is improving.
57 straight months of private job growth, the longest consecutive stretch in recorded history
10.6 million private jobs have been created, more than were lost during the Great Recession
At 5.8%, the unemployment rate is at a six-year low
The unemployment rate in the triangle is 4.8%. This is down from 6.3% in October 2013.
Recent GDP growth has been consistent between 2% and 3%
Manufacturing is making a comeback, generating well-paying jobs
Industrial production has fully recovered
Consumer confidence is up
Small businesses are more confident than they’ve been in more than six years
Specifically, the labor market has made dramatic strides toward recovery.
The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8%, the lowest level since July 2008
Initial weekly unemployment insurance claims are at their lowest levels in 14 years
Private job growth has averaged almost 270,000 new payrolls per month
Labor market turnover is increasing, opening up opportunities for newcomers
Corporations are performing astonishingly well.
57% of companies reporting have exceeded Wall Street expectations
There is a vast amount of CASH residing on strong balance sheets
Consumer spending is rising, critical for an economy driven by discretionary spending
Business of all sizes in nearly all sectors are hiring
Our nation’s fiscal health is on much better footing.
Deficit spending has decreased by more than 66% since 2008
Five straight years of deficit shrinkage puts it at 2.8 percent of GDP and below the 40-year average
The national debt-to-GDP ratio has declined, which is a good thing
Wage growth is finally picking up.
Hourly wages rose 0.4% in November 2014, the largest monthly gain since June 2013
Employees are working more hours and earning more per hour worked, both positive developments
Wage growth is likely to increase more notably in 2015, given the strong job growth in 2014
Inflation is nowhere to be seen.
Inflation has been below the Fed’s target of 2.0% annually
Most increases in consumer costs are due to drought or other factors
Gas prices are down dramatically, which should boost retail shopping and travel
Home prices have been rising.
Home prices have turned around and are now rising in most local and regional markets
National data from Case-Shiller and local MLS data confirm this trend
About 80% of the local markets 10K covers showed a year-over-year median price gain in October
Interest rates are still low and should remain attractive into 2015.
Mortgage rates on a 30-year fixed loan wavered between 4.0% and 4.5% for most of 2014
Rates should remain below 4.5% in the first half of 2015, but may approach 5.0% later
Affordability levels remain well above long-term averages
Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures are a lesser factor.
The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process was 2.4% in Q3-2014, also lowest since Q4-2007
The foreclosure rate has fallen dramatically in both judicial and non-judicial foreclosure states
Mortgage credit liquidity is a mixed bag.
Credit availability is still a drag on housing recovery
Refinance activity was declining then picked up again
Credit-worthy buyers should have an easier time securing FINANCING in 2015 than in 2014
We predict more of the same in 2015.
New listings should increase moderately (up 7 to 12%)
Closed sales should increase modestly (up 4 to 7%)
Prices should continue to rise but at a tempered pace more in line with historical norms (up 4 to 7%)
Inventory should rise fairly significantly, driven by seller activity and new construction (up 10 to 15%)
Days on market until sale may go up due to rising inventory and fewer bidding wars (up 2 to 5%)
The percent of original list price received at sale may decline with an easing seller’s market (down 1 to 2%)
Foreclosures and short sales should continue to slow with improving household FINANCES and employment
New construction is likely to rise in most metropolitan areas, alleviating supply shortages
* on one- to four-unit residential properties; seasonally adjusted rate