Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.
It’s finally here. It’s the week of the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which is scheduled to meet Dec. 15 and 16.
The question up for debate: Will the Federal Reserve interest rates?
Here’s what we know.
According to the most recent speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen in a Congressional committee hearing on the U.S. economy, Yellen said the current outlook and the flow of data since the central bank's last meeting in October are "consistent" with the rate hike criteria spelled out by U.S. policymakers.
And back in November, in a speech before the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen formalized the possibility of a rate hike in December, telling the Committee that December’s meeting is a “live possibility” for a rate increase.
The November jobs report appeared to further confirm this, with job creation increasing by 211,000 for the month.
“The November jobs report showed another strong month of job gains, along with upward revisions to prior months,” said National Association of Federal Credit Unions Chief Economist Curt Long. “This should put to bed any doubts about whether the Fed will announce a rate increase later this month.”
Consumer spending echoed this, posting solid growth in November, giving another positive sign to the industry that the Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates.
A new economic report from Goldman Sachs (GS) brought all this together and said, “Next week we expect the FOMC to raise its target range for the federal funds rate to 0.25-0.50%, bringing an end to the seven-year period of near-zero interest rates. With this action essentially priced in, focus will be on the committee’s policy guidance for 2016 and beyond.”
As a result, Goldman Sachs said it expects three main changes:
- First, we expect the committee to upgrade its description of the labor market in light of firmer payroll growth.
- Second, we expect the statement to remove some of its relatively cautious language on inflation, while continuing to emphasize that inflation will remain a key determinant of the policy outlook.
- Third, we look for the statement to show a clear baseline for additional rate hikes—it will not signal “one and done”.
Overall, Goldman Sachs said that chair Yellen’s press conference should offer a cautious message.
“We expect her to underscore that policy is not a preset course, and that the subsequent pace of rate hikes will be highly sensitive to incoming information—including data on activity and inflation, as well as financial conditions,” the Goldman Sachs report stated.
In the holiday spirit, Trulia partnered with celebrity real estate agents James Harris and David Parnes, stars of "Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles," during the month of December (Dec. 1-12).
The task, according to Trulia, was for James and David to help a very unique friend and client find a home – a gingerbread man who is moving from the city to the suburbs as he and his gingerbread wife are expecting a gingerbread baby.
The entire journey was chronicled through Instagram. Here are a couple of quirky, fun shots posted on Instagram.
"This playful campaign is all about underscoring our promise to make it easy and enjoyable to find a home, even during the bustle of the holiday season," said Micky Onvural, Trulia vice president of consumer marketing. "James and David are the ideal real estate experts to guide any home seeker – like our gingerbread family – with insider knowledge about the holiday real estate landscape."
This was a strong quarter for credit unions, with its total base number hitting a record high (103 million people), according to the third quarter credit union snapshot from the California Credit Union League.
In addition, 6,216 credit unions were headquartered in the United States as of Sept. 30, 2015. They were serving 103,429,160 members—a 4.2% year-over-year increase, or 4,200,995 new members.
In the world of mortgages, credit unions reported a 9.8% increase in first mortgages. First mortgages include adjustable-rate and fixed-rate, as well as purchases and refinance.
Other facts on first mortgages include:
- Hit a record amount of $484 billion
- Within first mortgages, a 59.3% increase in fixed-rate originations
- Within first mortgages, a 2% increase in adjustable-rate originations
Hollywood has always struggled to portray the world of finance. And let’s face it, it’s not the easiest world to explain, let alone find humorous.
However, this review from The Economist on the upcoming movie, The Big Short, explains what makes this movie stand out from the rest and why you need to go see it, as if the movie’s four Golden Globe nominations weren’t enough.
From The Economist:
Any director making a movie about modern finance faces two huge difficulties. The first is that there is nothing very dramatic or compelling about someone typing at a computer screen. The second is that the language of finance, full of acronyms and jargon, can be quite impenetrable.
Adam McKay has broken the mold. In adapting “The Big Short”, Michael Lewis’s book about the debt crisis, for the big screen, he has chosen to tackle the problem head-on. When a complex term has to be explained, he brings on Margot Robbie in a bubble bath (for mortgage-backed securities) or Anthony Bourdain, a chef, to describe collateralized debt obligations with the help of fish stew. This is just one of the many stylistic devices he puts to good use; others include aggressive cutting and asides to camera from the actors. On occasion, a character tells the audience that what they have just seen did not actually happen. “I wanted a cinéma verité style because finance films often seem austere, monolithic and cold,” says Mr McKay, who is best known for directing comedies starring Will Ferrell. “And I aimed for an unpredictable, visceral effect.”
No banks were reported closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for the week ending Dec. 11.