Citigroup has settled their toxic mortgage securities case with the Justice Department for $7 billion. This agreement is the latest in the federal governments effort to hold companies accountable that made subprime mortgages, pooled and packaged them into bonds and sold those bonds to investors. These bonds, many of which were rated AAA (the highest rating for the safest securities), turned out to be worthless or close to it. Thus earning then name toxic assets, as those who held them had such loses that many banks, investment companies, investors and even governments became insolvent.
Los Angeles’ best two weeks of the year start today, it’s Dine LA! Hundreds of restaurant across Los Angeles have put together their own prix-fixe menus so that you can get a taste of some of the best things they have to offer at a discounted rate. Most menus include an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Dine LA goes from today, July 14th, through Sunday, July 27th. Here’s a list of some of the best deals around the city! Lawry’s the Prime Rib – A classic Los Angeles staple and some of the best red meat you can get in the country. Their dinner is $45 and comes with their spinning bowl salad, an 8-ounce prime rib or lobster tail, mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding or salmon and a lobster tail with your choice of old-fashioned chocolate pudding, traditional English trifle or creme brulee. Plan Check – One of Jonathan Gold’s favorites. Lunch runs $25 and includes a burger, Frito pie mac and cheese, baked crab dip or veggie chips and one signature doughnut. You also get a complementary drink of either plum iced tea or mint lemonade. Abigaile – A new South Bay favorite. Abigaile is a gastro-pub in Hermosa Beach right up the hill from the pier. The dinner special for Dine LA is five-courses and will run you $45. The dinner includes escargot poppers, baby octopus with Portuguese sausage, a pig “pop tart”, and a cheese pastry. Dessert includes a homemade Snickers and peanut butter creme and milk chocolate ganache. -
This adorable craftsman home, featured on Curbed, was built in 1907 and sits on a lot a little over half an acre (.68). This 2,458 sqft home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. On the property, there is a serene pool and spa. In 1926 the property got an addition of a guest house that has a bedroom and full bathroom.
Although the home is over a century old, it has been updated with electric, plumbing, heat, and air. In the living room there is a stone fireplace and hardwood floors are throughout. The home is located on top of a hill and has amazing mountain and city views. With only three previous owners, the home and grounds have been overly cared for. There are over 30 different types of fruit and specimen trees. The home is listed for $1,395,000 with Bill Parks.
After the DOW closed over 17,000 for the first time ever last week, US stocks fell early Tuesday morning due to a wide selloff. US stocks have been making record numbers recently. The numbers have been doing so well that it is believed the economy has made a recovery from the harsh Winter of Q1. Although there has been improvement in the jobs market and economy, it doesn’t seem to have directly impacted consumer spending.
Professionals agree that S&P 500 companies should be expected to grow in Q2. The DOW currently sits at 19,906.62, down 117.59 points or -0.69%. Tech shares took a hit, Facebook and Netflix both dropped over 3%, and Tripadvisor fell 5.5%. Shares traded reached 6.18 billion in the US which is a big jump from the June average of 5.79 active shares.
The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year-fixed rate fell slightly again, coming in at 4.12% down from 4.14% last week. The 15-year-fixed stayed even at 3.22%. A year ago the 30-year fixed was at 4.29% and the 15-year was at 3.39%. 30-year mortgages rates dropped from 4.14% to 4.12% and 15-year rates are at 3.22%. Rates ended the week higher after the Labor Department released the June jobs report. The 30 year fixed rate is about 4.375% and the 15 year fixed is about 3.375%.
The Labor Department announced that the country added 288,000 new jobs in June. The most optimistic expectations were 215,000! This was a huge number. The nation’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.3% to 6.1% which is the lowest it has been since 2008. Job creation has been over 200,000 jobs for five straight months. The average job creation for the year has been 231,000 jobs each month. This is the highest six month average since 2006.
This jobs report caused the stock markets to surge as it appears that the economy may be growing more robust than previously thought. Unfortunately, good news for stocks is bad news for interest rates! A better economy leads to higher inflation, and allows the fed to raise short term rates. It also allows the stock markets to rise which causes money movement from bonds to stocks, all of which cause mortgage rates to rise.
The 10-year Treasury note yield rate ended the week at 2.65% up from last week’s close at 2.54%. It was 2.52% a year ago.
The Dow closed at 17,068.26 a record high! It was up 1.28% from last week’s close of 16,851.84. The Nasdaq had another strong week, closing at 4408.18 up 0.23% from last week’s close of 4,397.93. The S&P 500 closed at 1960.23, down -0.04% from last week’s 1,960.96.
Pending home resales jumped 6.1% in May, according to NAR! This is largest jump since April 2010 which was spurned by the first time buyer tax credit. The May sales were 5.2% below last May’s sales, but it is still a good sign as economists had predicted sales to be up only 1.5% for the month. One factor in the drop in sales year over year is fewer foreclosures, another is low inventory.
It is an unusual time in the market. On one hand we are seeing price increases begin to stall. In many areas we are seeing homes not selling at or below the price of a previous comparable sale. Certainly this is a sign of prices beginning to flatten. On the other hand we are seeing sales activity increase slightly. There are really no statistics, but I would guess we were writing seven offers for every one accepted due to multiple offers at the beginning of the year and it is more like three written for one accepted now. That is a welcome relief! We are seeing the investors pull back a little as well, so competing with cash offers is not as common as a couple of months ago. It is much easier to be a buyer than it has been the last year or so. Especially one that needs to get a loan, as there are fewer multiple offer situations. For the sellers it is still a great time, but more attention must be paid to pricing. Most sellers are also buyers after they sell. One issue they were facing was trouble finding a home after they had sold their home. They are finding themselves much better off now that the market is stabilizing!
With the Labor Department reporting job growth for June coming in at 288,000 new jobs, unemployment dropped to 6.1%, this is the lowest national average since 2008. This is great news for the future of our economy after Q1’s numbers coming out lower than predicted. Most of jobs created last month were in the services industries. Services industries had 236,000 new jobs created which is the largest gain since October 2012.
Job creation has been over 200,000 jobs for five straight months now; this is the first time numbers have been this high since the late 1990’s, which was caused by the technology boom. The average job creation for the year to date has been 231,000 jobs each month. This is the highest six month average since 2006.
This jobs report has caused the stock markets to surge this morning as it appears that the economy may be growing more robust than previously thought. Unfortunately, good news for stocks is bad news for interest rates! Rates are up today by about 1/8% closing the week closer to 4.5%. They were 4.25% last Friday. A better economy leads to higher inflation, and allows the fed to raise short term rates, it also allows the stock markets to rise which causes money movement from bonds to stocks, all of which cause mortgage rates to rise.
Interest rates rose slightly, and the stock market rallied on expectations of a robust gain in jobs ahead of tomorrow’s jobs report. ADP, the country’s largest payroll service, reported an estimated 281,000 jobs created in June! This is the highest number of jobs created in a month since November of 2012. This number, if it is in line with the jobs report tomorrow, shows that the economy is expanding at an increased rate.
Of the 281,000 new jobs, 117,000 of them were created by companies with fewer than 50 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 115,000 jobs and large companies with over 500 employees only attributed 49,000 new jobs. Mid-size companies haven’t created that many jobs in over 6 years.
The first quarter 2014 jobs and GDP numbers were terrible, but in the second quarter the job numbers were quite good. January to March of this year had a total of 505,000 new jobs compared to 680,000 jobs created from April to June. The second quarter GDP numbers will not be out for a couple of months, but that number is expected to be drastically better than the first quarter as was job gains!