Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Market Comment - Week of November 15th, 2010

Mortgage bond prices were lower for the week pushing mortgage interest rates higher. The Treasury auctions were mixed with generally decent foreign demand but rather lackluster overall results. The weekly jobless claims data came in lower than expected which was not bond friendly and pushed rates considerably higher Wednesday. The bond market was closed Thursday for the holiday, which likely contributed to the volatility with thin trading conditions surrounding shortened trading week. For the week interest rates finished worse by about 7/8 of a discount point.  Econoc FactorsEconomic Factors
Economic Factors
The retail sales data Monday will set the tone for trading this week. The inflation data on Tuesday and Wednesday have the greatest potential to move the financial markets.

Economic Factorso
As of 11/15/10, Retail Sales Up 0.6%.  A measure of consumer demand.  A smaller than expected increase may lead to lower mortgage rates.

As of 11/15/10, Business Inventories Up 0.6%.  An indication of stored-up capacity.  A significantly larger increase may lead to lower rates.

Release date - 11/16/10, Producer Price Index Up 0.7%.  Core up 0.1% Important. An indication of inflationary pressures at the producer level.  Weaker figures may lead to lower rates.

Release date -11/16/10, Industrial Production Up 0.3% Important.  A measure of manufacturing sector strength. A lower than expected increase may lead to lower rates.

Release date - 11/16/10, Capacity Utilization - 75%.  A figure above 85% is viewed as inflationary. Weakness may lead to lower rates.

Release date - 11/17/10, Consumer Price Index Up 0.3%, Core up 0.1%.  A measure of inflation at the consumer level. Lower than expected increases may lead to lower rates.

Release date - 11/17/10, Housing Starts - 605k.  A measure of housing sector strength. Larger than expected decreases may lead to lower rates.

Release date -11/18/10, Leading Economic Indicators Up 0.5%.  An indication of future economic activity. A smaller increase may lead to lower rates.

Low Rates

Mortgage interest rates remain near historic lows. Borrowers that choose to float in this environment expose themselves to an upside risk in mortgage interest rates. The Fed has specifically stated, "Measures of underlying inflation are currently at levels somewhat below those the Committee judges most consistent, over the longer run, with its mandate to promote maximum employment and price stability." This means the Fed believes inflation levels should increase. Inflation, real or perceived, generally erodes the value of fixed income securities causing prices to fall and rates to rise. If the Fed has its way it is very possible to see mortgage interest rates increase. However, there are no certainties even with the Fed's stated goals. The Fed does not directly dictate mortgage interest rates but its activities have an indirect effect on rates.

Recent history attests to spikes and drops in rates on almost a weekly basis. Last week was a prime example. A cautious approach to interest rate exposure is prudent.

Blankets of Belief

If you haven't heard of Soldier's Angels, now more than ever, they should definitely be on your radar.  This volunteer-led, nonprofit organization works year-round to bringing comfort and support to our service people here and abroad.  From something as simple as matching pen pals to service people to K-9 support team and the Veteran's support assistance, Soldier's Angels doesn't miss a beat.

For the last two holiday seasons, these folks have been collecting homemade blankets (thus the name...) to ship to service people deployed to war zones over the holiday season.  The blankets are all homemade and are usually sewn, quilted, knitted or made from cut and fringed fleece material.  Regardless of the style, they are a welcome and appreciated comfort of home.  The goal for 2010 is to collect 100,000 blankets!  As of today, they have collected almost 22,000 and the number continues to climb.  Such an easy way to make someones day a little brighter and definitely WARMER!

Get creative and involve friends, family, coworkers and neighbors. 

You can even start an angel team and work together:   http://soldiersangels.org/join-or-adopt.html
Before starting, read blanket guidelines:  http://soldiersangels.org/uploads/boh/BlanketsOfBelief-Guidelines.pdf
No time for sewing but feeling appreciative:  http://soldiersangels.org/donate.html
Want to prepare a care package:  http://soldiersangels.org/index.php?page=donating-items

I encourage you to remember the troops today and everyday.  Tis ALWAYS the season.  We have them to thank for our freedom here at home.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lowest mortgage rates in MY lifetime - that's 39 years, folks!

Just passing along an article a friend emailed me.  It's too good not to share:

Mortgage rates fall to fresh lows this week
NEW YORK, Thu Nov 11, 10:20 AM

Rates on fixed mortgages dropped to their lowest levels in decades this week after the Federal Reserve unveiled a massive bond-buying program to help spur economic growth.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Tuesday the average rate for 30-year fixed loans fell to 4.17 percent from 4.24 percent last week. That's the lowest on records dating back to 1971.
The average rate on 15-year fixed loans fell to 3.57 percent from 3.63 percent. That's the lowest since the survey began in 1991.

The Fed detailed plans last week to buy $600 billion in Treasury bonds. On Wednesday, the central bank gave more details, saying it plans to purchase $105 billion in Treasurys over the next month. The extra demand means Treasurys will produce lower yields for investors. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields.

Mortgage rates have been at or near historic lows since April as investors, concerned about the health of the global economy, shift their money into Treasurys, pushing down rates on the bonds and consumer and business loans.

While more borrowers have refinanced their home loans, low rates have done little to boost the beleaguered housing market. Would-be buyers remain on the sidelines, too worried about their jobs or unable to qualify for a loan because of tighter credit standards. Others can't sell their own homes before buying another.

Home sales were the worst in decades this summer, and home prices fell in half of U.S. cities in the third quarter, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.

Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to their lowest level in at least five years. They averaged 3.25 percent, down from 3.39 percent a week earlier. It is the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.

Rates on one-year adjustable-rate home loans were unchanged at 3.26.

The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

The average fee for 30-year and 15-year fixed loans in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.8 point. It was 0.7 point for 1-year and five-year mortgages.

source:  http://www.optimum.net/News

Good stuff!  On the fence about purchasing?  NOW is the time!  If you're shopping, selling or just like to keep tabs on things, here's MY favorite resource:  http://www.bankrate.com/

For more info, visit my website:  Jinny@JinnyCobb.com

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Looking for his forever home...

Meet Beethoven!  Just one of the MANY fellows at the Atlanta Humane Society looking for his forever home.  Although pitched as a "Retriever / St. Bernard mix", there's no telling what this guy's exact lineage is...

Whether you're looking for your first dog or to add to the pack, Atlanta Humane should be your first stop.  If you're thinking, like I was, that it's nothing but pit bulls and Rottweilers, guess again!  They have an impressive assortment of small dogs, purebreds, puppies, adults, you name it!  Oh, and did I mention - their huge inventory of cats?  Atlanta Humane Society is a no-kill shelter offering low adoption fees, they spays/neuters all adopted pets and brings animals current with shots before they go home.  It's a win-win!

Check out the other adoptables here:  http://www.atlantahumane.org/adoption/atlanta-pet-adoptions.php

I once heard that something like 75% of the dogs in metro Atlanta shelters are purebred!  Bypass pricey breeders and give a shelter dog a second chance.   I have (3 times) and there's nothing more rewarding!

Here are some other local rescue groups I like:


Meeting my Sam at Atlanta Humane (Feb 2007)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Toys for Tots and then some!

Sorry for the late notice but I just found out about this.
Wonderful cause, great incentive!

Come play Santa and a round of golf at the third annual Toys for Tots tournament, hosted by the Greater Norcross Golfer's Association.  Helping out a worthy cause has never been so FUN!
You've got to be in it, to win it!  And, what better cause than TFT!  $5,000 Hole in One ($2,500 to the player/$2,500 to our Marines' "Toys for Tots")

Where:  Berkeley Hills Country Club
When:  Monday, November 15, 2010
(sign up through 11/10/10 - that's TODAY!!!)
For more info:  tmcdermott@eglholdings.com // 404-915-8142

With the holiday season upon us, don't forget the kids!  Cash, gifts, your time  - it ALL helps make a child's holiday more bright!

Follow this link for details:  http://atlantatoysfortots.com/

Another EASY way to give, http://www.acfb.org/

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


9:00 am to 1:00 pm

For more information, call 770-528-1135

Two convenient locations:

Jim Miller Park
2245 Callaway Road
Marietta, GA  30008


Piedmont Church
570 Piedmont Road
Marietta, GA 30066-3644


The following items ARE being accepted:
  • Televisions ($10 fee per TV)
  • Computer Monitors
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Computer Cpu’s
  • Stereos
  • Laptops
  • Copiers
  • Printers
  • Video Machines
  • Alarmclocks
  • Disk Drives/CD Roms
  • VCRs
  • Floppy Drives
  • Camcorders
  • Telephones/Cell Phones
  • Testing & Networking Equipment
  • Digital Cameras
  • CB Radios
  • Modems
  • Record Players
  • Cd Players
  • Curcuit Boards
  • Speakers
  • Portable Radios
  • Electrical Panels
  • Typewriters
  • UPS Battery Back-Up
  • Fax Machines
  • Cables
  • Projectors
  • Keyboards
  • Mouse
  • Scanners
  • 8-Tracks (Reel To Reel Tape)
Items NOT Accepted:
  • Refrigerators
  • Washers/Dryers
  • Ovens/Freezers
  • Humidifiers/De-Humidifiers
  • Power Equipment
  • Tires
  • Household Trash
  • Non-Electronic Equipment

Because EVERYONE has old electronics lying around...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Market Comment - Week of November 8th, 2010

Mortgage bond prices were slightly positive for the week amid very choppy trading conditions. We started on a positive note for bonds with lower than expected PCE inflation data. Unfortunately a steep sell off emerged Monday afternoon as we headed into the elections and the Fed meeting. The Fed kept rates in check Wednesday as expected and announced continued quantitative easing. Unfortunately the payrolls figure of the employment report was stronger than expected Friday morning, which erased a lot of the gains seen earlier in the week. For the week interest rates finished better by about 1/8 to 1/4.

The Treasury will auction $72 billion of securities this week. Strong foreign demand remains necessary for interest rates to stay low. The Veterans holiday Thursday splits the trading week.


Economic Factors

Economic Indicator Release Date Time Consensus Estimate Analysis

As of  11/8/10, 3-year Treasury Note Auction, $32 billion of notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

As of 11/9/10, 10-year Treasury Note Auction,  $24 billion of notes will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

As of 11/10/10, weekly jobless claims Wednesday, an indication of unemployment. Higher figure may lead to lower mortgage rates.

As of 11/10/10, Trade Data Wednesday, deficit Important. Affects the value of the dollar. A falling deficit may strengthen the dollar and lead to lower rates.

As of 11/10/10, 30-year Treasury Bond Auction, $16 billion of bonds will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

As of 11/12/10, U of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Friday, an indication of consumers' willingness to spend. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Trading This Week

Market conditions that often lead to mortgage interest rate volatility are thin trading and shortened trading weeks. If very few market participants are buying and selling bonds, the potential for short-term volatility is escalated. A large buyer or seller can execute trading orders that, without additional traders to buffer out the extreme buying or selling, can lead to swift market movements. In addition, shortened trading weeks have the potential to compress a week's worth of trading into fewer days. Bond traders often take defensive positions ahead of weekends and holidays to guard against unforeseen events that could possibly jeopardize their investments. This positioning can be beneficial or detrimental to mortgage interest rates. If investors sell stocks and buy mortgage-backed securities, mortgage interest rates will improve. However, if investors sell mortgage-backed securities and hold cash positions, mortgage interest rates will rise.

Holidays can often result in volatility as trading resumes following the extended close. The Fed continues to state the goal of low interest rates for some time. It is hard to argue they have not been effective with that goal. That doesn't mean we haven't and won't see any interest rate volatility. The Fed also noted recently that inflation is below their preferred levels. Recent history attests to spikes and drops in rates throughout the year.

This week could result in market swings that are favorable or negative in nature. A cautious approach to interest rate exposure is prudent considering the heightened possibility for mortgage interest rate volatility.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

We've had a couple chilly evenings lately here in Georgia.  My husband and I have not had to use the heat yet but it won't be long.  In the meantime, we (read: HE) have remembered to reverse our ceiling fans which seems to have made a difference.

Like every year, I either forget or cannot remember which setting does what.  To recap for the 25th time:  Spinning Counter-Clockwise: Makes a room cooler by blowing the air downward.  Spinning Clockwise: Makes a room warmer by creating subtle updraft which pushes the warm air near the ceiling down along the walls and into the room.   Remember to turn fan off (wait for it to stop spinning) before flipping the switch.  While it's off, take the opportunity to dust/clean.  You'll be surprised what collected up there!

Stay warm!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dogs are people too

Something fun for our four-legged friends

Being the proud parents of two (yes, TWO) rescued Beagles, we're constantly sniffing out dog friendly spots around town.  Having visited a handfull of dog parks in metro Atlanta, our number one choice is still Brook Run - f/k/a the Henry Jones Dog Park.  Close to home and tucked away in the far end of the Liane Levetan Park at Brook Run, this is a 4 acre slice of heaven!  It is smoke-free (huge for people and dogs alike) and meticulously maintained by the tireless JAWITP volunteers.  If you enjoy the park and would like to lend a hand, clean up day is the LAST Saturday of each month.

Hope to see you there!

  The Liane Levetan Park at Brook Run
4770 North Peachtree Road
Hours:  sunrise to sunset

Sam (tricolor),
Allie (b&w) 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let them eat cake! Or soup.

Looking to do something GOOD for someone else?

St. Martin’s Episcopal School is collecting UPC labels from Campbell's, Pepperidge Farm & Swanson products. They're also collecting caps from V8 juice bottles. And who doesn't love V8 Splash?!

In 2009, the labels/caps redeemed earned $500 for SMES!  Our pantries are already stocked with a lot of these products.  And, since the empy containers are landfill bound, why not take a minute to clip the UPC label off?
There is no easier, less expensive (read: FREE) way to give!

If you don't live in Metro Atlanta OR have another school in mind, perhaps they're already enrolled in the program.  There are a handfull in MY community so why not check yours:

Atlanta friends, I'm happy to turn in your labels/caps if you'd like.  Email me and we can make arrangements:

For more information regarding SMES, please follow this link to their website:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Proper American Flag Disposal - a little tidbit for my fellow flag flyers

Several weeks ago, while cleaning up our garage, I discovered not one but FOUR unserviceable flags that needed to be disposed of.

To clarify, the term "unserviceable flag" refers to a flag frayed around the edges, soiled, torn or faded.  When the flag becomes unserviceable it is customary to destroy it by burning it in a dignified manner.  
 (Dignified manner = The flag should first be folded into a triangle shape and placed on a fire that is large enough to fully consume it, leaving behind only ashes. The ashes should then be buried. )

But where?
Typically, your town or county provides a drop-off point.
Or, like me, you can take them to an American Legion Post.
On a scale of one to ten, I give the American Legion an 11.  Friendly volunteers and a very convenient location.  Oh, and FREE PENS!  Perfection!  But seriously, these people should be applauded for their hardwork and service to the community.  In many cases, they are retired seniors.  Seniors who could be relaxing in Boca or playing 18 holes but instead are devoting their free time making the world a better place.

See what else they're up to:   http://www.legion.org/volunteers

Anyway,  if you have some old tattered flags lying around, now you know what to do with them!

For my Atlanta friends, here is the American Legion I visited:

American Legion, Post #1
2800 B Shallowford Rd. NE
Atlanta , GA 30341

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Welcome to my blog about North Atlanta Real Estate.