Monday Morning Cup of Coffee is a quick look at the news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.
The U.S. economy seems to be well positioned as we head into the new year, with factors like the job market playing into what could be the best year yet for the economic recovery. An article in The Wall Street Journal, however, debates whether this is as good as it gets.
The article explains the two sides to the argument:
Pessimists cite mounting risks from overseas, especially deflation threats in many countries. Optimists point to momentum from a healing labor market, one that very likely will see 2014 go down as the best year for job growth in 15 years when the Labor Department releases its December employment report on Friday.
While the economy and consumers are in the best shape since the financial crisis, the article said that there are plenty of reasons to think the U.S. economy won’t break out of a steady but unspectacular growth rate.
First, overseas worries weigh heavily, from the prospect of financial or geopolitical turmoil emanating from Russia to China’s slowdown rocking the rest of the world
Check out the article for the other four reasons that could change the economy.
And the positive news for the economy reaches a lot farther than just to businesses and the financially savvy. An article in The Economist argues that there is mounting evidence that the benefits of the economic recovery — long concentrated among the rich — are spreading to ordinary Americans.
On December 23rd GDP growth for the third quarter was revised up to 5%—its fastest pace since 2003—having grown by a nearly-as-impressive 4.6% in the second quarter (see chart). To be sure, America is making up for ground lost in the first quarter, when GDP actually shrank because the weather was awful and companies cut inventories. For the past 12 months GDP is up 2.7%: respectable but not amazing. Forecasters surveyed by The Economist think America will grow 3% next year.
According to the article, there are two tailwinds that are helping create this progress: the big drop in the price of oil and growing incomes.
The median household’s real income is up 1.2% for the first 11 months of the year, according to Sentier Research, a private firm, a marked acceleration from the previous two years. That barely dents the 8% drop in median incomes between 2008 and 2011, but it does suggest that the expansion is finally reaching ordinary households.
The turn of the year also brings an onslaught of New Year's resolutions, which, for some, is to buy a new home.
An article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel said that the ability to obtain a mortgage depends on the three basics: income, cash and credit, and offers these tips:
- Plan on filing your 2014 federal tax returns early and electronically.
- Hold off on buying that car. Current debts and payments on long term obligations (car payments, student loans, credit card payments, etc.) affect purchasing power.
- If you plan on paying off debt to help qualify for a larger mortgage, do it now, before you start the loan process.
- Know where your money is and how much you will have available.
Inc. published an infographic to help small businesses understand the legal requirements to protect themselves, noting that 50% of confirmed data breaches targeted small business with fewer than 1,000 employees.
Click the link for the graphic to help make your business more secure in 2015.
This week is the first full week in 2015. The Federal Open Market Committee minutes will be released on Wednesday along with the national employment situation report on Friday.
No banks were reported closed the week ending Dec. 26, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.