The Fed rate cuts: Good for Mortgages?

If you follow the housing market at all, odds are you have seen that interest rates for buying a home have dropped twice over the last year and are lower than they’ve been in quite some time. So, what does this mean for consumers and therefore, mortgages?

Well, check out the article below from Prescott’s own The Daily Courier to read what they’ve learned from sources such as The Federal Reserve and Freddie Mac:

What Fed’s rate cut means; good for mortgages?

The Federal Reserve has cut its benchmark interest rate again, big news for the U.S. economy but something that will likely have a muted impact on Americans’ personal finances, experts say.

That’s because the reduction doesn’t offset the increases of recent years. And as the key rate creeps closer to zero, financial institutions are less eager to pass borrowing benefits along. Lower rates could also further dampen the perks of savings.

As a reminder, the Fed slashed its benchmark rate — which affects a host of consumer and business loans — to near zero during the recession and kept it there until 2015. Then, as the economy improved, it raised rates several times. Now it has lowered them twice in one year, despite a fairly healthy economy, due to concerns about slowing economic growth and global trade tensions.

The central bank on Sept. 18 reduced its key rate by a quarter-point to a range of 1.75% to 2% and said it’s prepared to do what it deems necessary to sustain the U.S. economic expansion.

Here’s how the latest move may play out for consumers:

MORTGAGES

This is a bright spot for consumers. Mortgage rates remain at near historic lows and, while they do not move in lockstep with the Fed, they are influenced by some of the same factors. As of last week, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.56%. A year ago, it stood at 4.6%, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, said that this full percentage point difference is “the single biggest impact on consumers” in this low rate environment. Low interest rates on mortgages can open the door for homeowners to refinance and save money or for people shopping for a house to secure an attractive rate. Someone with a $200,000 mortgage could potentially save $125 to $150 a month with a reduction of that size, McBride estimates, which is a meaningful increase in a household budget.

Mortgage rates fell sharply over the summer as broader economic concerns caused interest rates on government bonds to tumble. The yields on government bonds, especially the 10-year Treasury note, influence long-term mortgage rates. And while mortgage rates may move up slightly as they have in recent weeks, they remain historically low and no one expects major hikes soon.

BORROWING

The rate for other forms of borrowing — credit cards, home equity loans or personal loans — won’t see much of a change.

“The Fed raised interest rates nine times between 2015 and 2018,” McBride said. “Unwinding a couple of those puts us back to where we were this time last year, and rates are still notably higher than they had been as recently as a couple years ago.”

Lenders are also less likely to pass along decreases to consumers than increases.

Credit cards, for example, track the bank prime rate, which is 3% above the federal funds target rate. The prime rate will move down immediately after the Fed’s decision but many credit card issuers do not automatically adjust rates downwards because they have leeway in their contracts to do so. Some issuers may elect to keep rates unchanged to account for default risk or increase profits, said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree.

The average interest rate on a credit card is 17.61% as of Wednesday, according to Creditcards.com. A year ago it was 16.92%.

Other types of short-term borrowing, such as adjustable rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit, are more directly impacted by changes by the Fed. But Kapfidze said that as rates approach zero, they’ve been less responsive and he expects the latest reduction will see a muted reaction as well.

SAVINGS

Interest rates on savings accounts were already historically quite low and will likely stay that way.

The FDIC reports that the average rate paid on savings accounts in the U.S. is 0.09%. While some lenders have been competing online to offer high yield savings accounts with rates well above 2%, a few banks have already opted to dial back those offers. Marcus, the retail bank arm of Goldman Sachs, and Ally Bank both lowered the rates on their savings accounts this spring, just ahead of the Fed’s prior rate cut in July. There are still some savings accounts well above the national average available but those rates will likely dip after this most recent announcement.

All the same, this shouldn’t discourage people from saving, McBride said.

Consumers who find themselves worried about an economic downturn should still take steps now to shore up their finances, regardless of rates. That includes paying down debt, refinancing at lower rates and boosting emergency savings.

This “will enable households to better weather an economic downturn whenever one should materialize,” he said.

How to Winterize Your Pipes this Fall

As we head into Fall with Winter soon to follow, it’s never too early to think about ways you need to prepare your home for the cold temperatures that are sure to come.

One of the main things every homeowner in Prescott needs to think about when winterizing their home is protecting their pipes. While this could mean your own body’s physical pipes as the chill also brings about cold and flu season, what we’re talking about here is the pipes that make up the various water systems within your home.

Some steps to winterize your home can easily get overlooked in the chaos of the Holiday season, but we can’t stress enough how important this is to prevent serious future damage to your home. This includes your own home as well as any investment properties you may own. Remember, the landlord is responsible for these kinds of fixes should they arise and trust us when we say a burst pipe can become very costly, very quick.

That all being said, right now, the Fall season, is the perfect time to winterize your pipes before the below freezing temps kick in.

Preventative Measures to Keep Your Pipes from Bursting:

Insulate Your Pipes: One of the first things you should do to winterize your home’s plumbing is purchase a thick layer of insulation that you can wrap around your pipes. These insulating tubes are made of fiberglass or polyethylene and can be purchased online or at a hardware store. For extra protection, wrap your home’s pipes in heat-tape before you apply the insulation to give them additional protection from cold temperatures.

Let Your Faucets Drip: Now this is something you’ll want to wait to do until temperatures drop further and are looking like they are going to stay there, but what you do is turn on your faucets. This keeps the water moving through your system and slows down the freezing process. However, there’s no need to waste gallons of water, aiming for about five drips per minute coming out should be sufficient enough.

Open Your Cabinet Doors: When cold weather hits, open any cabinet doors that are covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This will allow for the home’s warmer air to better circulate under the cabinet and around the pipe, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t necessarily help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and potentially limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

Turn water off to pipes you won’t be using: An example of this would be outdoor hose bibs and the like. Turn the water off and possibly use an air compressor to get any excess water out of the pipes.

What to do if Your Pipes are Already Freezing:

Warp them in Warm Towels: Try wrapping them with warm towels, which might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top or use already-wet towels (careful handling the boiling water and hot towels!). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again and save you from a major burst as long as you address the exposed pipes once you’ve thawed them out again.

Pull Out Your Hairdryer: A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice, not your pipes.

Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen: Are your pipes fully and completely frozen? Turn the water off immediately! Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it! You can then try one of the steps above to help thaw the pipes, but if nothing is working, we suggest calling a local plumber to come help you remedy the problem.

Fall Is Here!

And just like THAT… It’s Fall. Yesterday, Monday, September 23rd, was the official last day of Summer.

The warm sunny season couldn’t have ended in a more dramatic and symbolic way with an overcast, stormy day that had us pulling out our jackets. With barely a monsoon and a few wildfires burning around town, most of us were more than happy for the welcome rain, no matter the temperature.

It seems as though we went straight from Winter to Summer and then back to Winter again the way our seasons played out this year (though here’s hoping these cooler fall temperatures stick around before we hit winter temperatures again).

After the snowpocalypse storm back at the end of February, Spring felt like it was a rushed few weeks of nice weather before the heat kicked in. From there, we had some good Monsoon storms throughout the summer, but nothing compared to the entire season of torrential rains we’ve become accustomed to and had been expecting. And now, after that abysmal Monsoon season that left us solely with the Arizona heat and humidity with no rain to show for it, summer is over.

It’s almost October and we find ourselves having moved from temperatures in the 90s just weeks ago, straight down to 70-degree days and 50-degree nights. So, that being said, all we can say is: HELLO FALL!

If we aren’t going to have a monsoon season, then we’re more than happy to say goodbye to the heat and hello to the cooler weather.

Fall kicks off one of our favorite seasons.

Leaves around town begin to change as we are lucky enough to live in a beautiful town with grown trees full of leaves that change from yellow to orange to red, and every other fall color in between.

The air is filled with smells of cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg. We break out the fall decorations of pumpkins and scare crows. The festivities of pumpkin patches, Halloween dress up, and Thanksgiving begin!

What’s not to love?

So, bring on the pumpkin spiced everything, the beautiful outdoor weather for recreational activities and strolling through downtown, and the entire Holiday season to come! We’re ready!

What are some things you most look forward to in the Fall season? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear!

Listing Feature – 1637 Constable Street

It’s no secret how beautiful and spacious this Prescott Lakes home is! Set on a cul-de-sac with views of the golf course, mountains, and the Dells, this live on one level home is truly welcoming with its split bedroom concept and open floor plan. The main level comprises of the fenced courtyard entry into the dramatic foyer, kitchen, dining, great room, master bedroom, 2 guest bedrooms, full bath, office alcove, deck and the two garages currently set-up for 3-cars but can be converted for an additional garage space.

The immaculate kitchen is complete with a large fridge, gas stove top, built in ovens, spacious island with bar seating, granite counter tops, hickory cabinets, plenty of overhead lighting, and a walk-in pantry.

With an open concept, you can move easily from the kitchen to the great room as well as be a part of any entertaining you’re doing while preparing food and beverage. Natural and overhead lighting also help the space feel open, making it an area you can truly kick up your feet and relax.

A large open room with access to the deck and a spacious bathroom complete with walk-in closets, separate toilet room, dual vanity, and large walk-in closet, the master suite is everything you need!

The lower level walk-out has the same high-amenity status as the main level and offers a family room, 2 more guest rooms, a full bath, and storage.

One highlight of this property is the incredible views and the wraparound deck with 3 access points on the main level including a 4-panel multi-slide door from the great room. The lower level has access to the backyard covered and open paver patios complete with mature trees and wrought-iron fence.

The features of this home are way too numerous! More highlights include  luxury wood-look laminate floors, stone fireplace, hickory cabinets and granite counters throughout, paver driveway, cement tile roof and 3-zoned heating and cooling. Enjoy the Prescott Lakes lifestyle in this attractive home with relaxed floor plan and grand views! This is the one for you! The attached garage from the laundry room is currently set-up as an oversized 2-car garage with a separate storage room. The walls for the storage room can be removed to turn it into a 3-car tandem garage which allows for a total of a 3-car garage and a separate 1-car garage with its own outside entrance.

Interested in this gorgeous home? Call for your showing appointment today! 928-771-1111.

Market Statistics for August 2019

As we transition from our busy summer Real Estate season and into our slower winter season, we will start to see a decline in home sales through the next months.

Tom Ruff from ARMLS (Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service) says, “This is the time of year sales slow. It’s simply the seasonality of our market… Demand almost always subsides every year between July and January… When judging your bushels of apples, you want to view the year-over-year trend. Sales in August were 8.6% higher than a year ago, which understates the real year-over-year improvement. There was one more business day last year, which brings our real improvement closer to 13%. This August accounted for the third highest sales volume in ARMLS reporting history, surpassed only by 2004 and 2005, with only 266 fewer sales than ‘04. With 690 more sales this year than last, 2019 sales year-to-date have now surpassed 2018. Looking ahead to how the year might end, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say the prognosticators were wrong back in January (I may or may not have been one of them). 2019 sales will surpass 2018 in both sales volume and price.”

Therefore, even though the graphs below show a slowing market, it isn’t cause for concern. Not only is this normal for this time of year, as stated above, but we are still doing better than proceeding years.

Prescott Named Best Value Town in the SW by Sunset Magazine

Living in Prescott, Arizona, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t absolutely love our small town.

With the amazing outdoor living, four mild seasons of weather, beautiful nature scenery and downtown, and so much more, it’s not surprising that Prescott has been recognized on multiple occasions by numerous printing presses around the nation. From Arizona magazines to national magazines such as Times, Prescott has had more than its fair share of the spotlight.

This time, Prescott has been named the best Value town in the whole Southwest by Sunset Magazine, beating out Scottsdale, Silver City, New Mexico, and Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The article talked about Prescott’s quality of life, emphasizing outdoor recreation such as our amazing trails and lakes. With our dramatic boulder landscapes to our towering pines, there are plenty of scenic places and vistas to awe and inspire. The article also touched on our Old West heritage, mentioning the Palace and Whiskey Row.

Precott E-News said that City Manager Michael Lamar, is pleased that Prescott is earning positive recognition.  “It’s easy to see why Prescott is being recognized in so many ways,” he said. “There is so much opportunity including heritage, arts, culture, outdoor recreation, and a variety of educational opportunities.  We believe that Prescott is on the rise, and recognition like this confirms it.”

To read everything Sunset Magazine had to say, you can click here to read the article.

A growing population of over 40,000 people, homes prices and sales on the rise, and continual recognition in the press, whether we like it or not, the word is out about how great our little town is, and people want in!

Are you or someone you know looking to move to Prescott? We’d love to help you in your buying and selling needs! Give us a call at 928-771-1111, or e-mails us at info@kathleeny.com.

 

9/11

September 11th is tomorrow. It’s been eighteen years since one of the most memorable days in the history of the United States when more than 3,000 people were killed in multiple terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

When looking for the right things  to say to convey the gravity and magnitude of this horrid day, there were/are no words to encapsulate it.

Researching 9/11 for content for this blog, we came upon this video from history.com. Striking awe and unspeakable sadness in us with a small glimpse reminding us of how awful this day truly was, this video is better than anything we could say. September 11, 2001. We will never forget.

September 11th Facts from CNN.com:
  • Nineteen men hijacked four fuel-loaded US commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations. In the attacks, people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The attack was orchestrated by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
  • At the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers, or as a result of the crashes.
  • Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority. The victims ranged in age from two to 85 years. Approximately 75-80% of the victims were men.
  • At the Pentagon in Washington, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
  • Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died when the plane crashed into a field. It is believed that the hijackers crashed the plane in that location, rather than their unknown target, after the passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the flight deck.
  • As of July 2019, 1,644 (60%) of 2,753 WTC victims’ remains have been positively identified, according to the medical examiner’s office.

9/11 Remembrance in Prescott, Arizona:

If you’re looking for a way to further remember this day, don’t forget about Healing Fields going on at the Prescott Valley Civic Center Lawn this week. Stop by to see each life lost on 9/11 represented by an American flag, including a short bio of their life. For more information about this week long event, check out our blog about it here.

 

Healing Fields 2019!

Tomorrow, Friday, September 6th, is the beginning of Patriot Week. From September sixth at 10AM to September thirteenth at the Prescott Valley Civic Center Theater on the Green, there will be the 9th annual Healing Fields event.

Healing fields is special and awing event held every year over Patriots Week to remember the event of 9/11, and the lives lost that day.

Healingfield.org says:

“Commemorating the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, Prescott Valley will continue its proud 8-year tradition as Northern Arizona residents come together to experience this awe-inspiring display of the Stars and Stripes. 3,000 U.S. flags flying at the Civic Center will again create an unforgettable panorama of optimism and healing. Area residents may visit the display at the Prescott Valley Town Center from Friday, September 6th through Friday, September 13th of 2019. The Prescott Valley Healing Field display is a gift to the community made possible through donations, sponsorships and the efforts of many dedicated volunteers. You can show your support and gratitude by sponsoring a flag or making a donation. We invite all to visit the Prescott Valley’s display and walk with us among the posted flags. The display is open to all without charge. The North Arizona Healing Field is a not to be missed event.”

The 3,000 flags are for those who lost their lives on 9/11 and each flag represents a person who perished on that day and is accompanied by a short bio and display set up on the flag.

Along with the display of flags, there will also be various events going on throughout the week to participate in and bring your friends and family to:

September 6 – September 13th: Healing Field flags on display around the clock.

Saturday, September 7th at 7AM: 2019 Patriot Run

Saturday, September 7th at 9:30AM: Blessing of the Fields

Saturday, September 7th at 6PM: Patriotic Youth Concert

Tuesday, September 10th at 6PM: FREE Community Concert High Desert Brass

Wednesday, September 11th, at 6PM: Ceremony honoring those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001.

*All concerts and programs are at Theater on the Green at the Prescott Valley Civic Center.

Proceeds from these events go to benefit the Central Arizona Honor Guard travel fund to pay respects to fallen firefighters.

If you’d like to be involved in this beautiful event, you can still sign up to volunteer by contacting Molly at healingfieldpv@gmail.com. Volunteers are needed to help set up flags, work the information booth, and assist in taking down flags after the display is over.

 

The History of Labor Day!

Today is Labor Day and, ironically, we celebrate it by not laboring. That’s right, for the majority of American’s today, we celebrate Labor Day by getting an extended three-day weekend to vacation, relax, or do whatever else our hearts desire.

In case you didn’t know, this year is the 125th anniversary of Labor Day being celebrated as a national holiday and what it is, is the celebration of the American worker. The U.S. Department of Labor defines Labor Day as this: “Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

The first time the government recognized Labor Day was when municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these ordinances, a movement was developed to secure state legislation. After this, the first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but it was actually Oregon who became the first to pass it into law on February 21, 1887. More states followed suite in the years to come, but it wasn’t until June 28, 1894 that Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

It wasn’t an easy fight though to get this holiday passed, which came about by those fighting to start getting more fair working conditions and wages in this time. According to history.com, Labor Day “…originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks. As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay.”

There is far more to this historical time than can fit into one small blog, but read the history channels full article here to get all the details.

This Labor Day, while we’re grilling, relaxing, and spending time with our loved ones, let’s try to remember those who’ve gone before us to fight for many of the freedoms and rights we have today within in the workplace. AND, thanks to them, we get a long holiday weekend!