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    January Update – Interest Rate Forecast

    Welcome to my January newsletter featuring personal insights, advice on mortgage rates, and economic news affecting our local housing market.

    Interest Rates

    This week was slightly negative for economic data and the stock market — jobs report numbers were unexpectedly robust, but closely watched service manufacturing data showed some weakness. The data mix points exactly where the Fed and economists, like U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, hope for — a soft economic landing. The next Fed interest rate decision is at the end of this month, but I don’t anticipate any rate move. It is widely expected that we will see a rate cut in March.


    Mortgage Rates

    Mortgage rates have slowly drifted down over the last 30 days because 10-year bond yields have, by and large, remained under 4%. However, rates moved up about an eighth of a point this week which is normal given the size and magnitude of the rates going down recently.

    Here are some key loan products and rates I have available:

    • 5.75% for 10YR jumbo ARMs up to $5M with income documentation, banking relationship required
    • 6% on a 30YR fixed rate loan up to $5M with income documentation, banking relationship required
    • Rates for bank statement loans, depending on loan-to-value, are in the 7.5% range, with a strong credit score and a lower loan-to-value
    • With a strong depository private banking relationship rates are in the mid 5% range


    Economic Reports Impacting Our Housing Market

    Employment Reports

    On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Summary reported a surprising addition of 216,000 jobs, and the national unemployment rate and wage growth remained unchanged at 3.7% and 0.4%, respectively. That said, job numbers have been revised down post-report for the last two months, which nets an overall decline year-over-year in job additions during the fourth quarter. So, while we still have a very healthy job market, it is undoubtedly cooling off.

    The Jobs Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reported a decrease in the number of job openings in the U.S. Today, there are 8.8M open positions, the lowest level since 2021 but still above pre-pandemic numbers. This strongly indicates that the market is not overheating, which is precisely what the Fed is looking for.

    Local Activity & Recent Transactions

    I see a decent start to the year, but buyers are still trying to get their bearings on where the market is going.

    Recent Closed Loans:

    New Home Purchase | Santa Monica | $2.995M
    80% LTV Financing
    30-YR Fixed
    Interest Rate 5.875% | 6.02% APR

    New Home Purchase | Manhattan Beach | $2.75M
    70% LTV Financing
    10-YR ARM
    Interest Rate 5.75% | 5.87% APR

    Bridge Loan | Bel Air | $11.65M
    Second commercial TD to finish a house
    Closed in 3 weeks

    Bridge Loan | Hollywood Hills | $1.995M
    80% LTV Financing
    2-week escrow

    Key Economic Reports to watch for this month:

    January 11 – Core Consumer Price Index (CPI)

    January 18 – Building Permits, Housing Starts

    January 19 – Existing Home Sales

    January 25 – New Home Sales

    January 26 – Pending Home Sales

    January 31 – Fed Interest Rate Decision
    I am thoroughly convinced we will see lower rates — by as much as a point during the course of 2024. The rate relief will provide new opportunities for buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals to achieve their goals, and I look forward to being part of the process. Contact me to learn how I can create a loan solution that meets the needs of almost any situation.

    Mark Cohen

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