Weekly Economic Update 10/22/2018 HOMES MOVE AT THE SLOWEST PACE IN 3 YEARS Existing home sales slumped 3.4% in September as the annualized sales rate decelerated to a degree unseen since November 2015. In reporting this, the National Association of Realtors cited the usual factors: climbing mortgage rates, tight inventory, and ascending prices (the median sale price in September was $258,100, up 4.2% in 12 months). The NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, now projects a 1.6% reduction in resales for 2018; economists at Fannie Mae are forecasting a 2.0% retreat. In other real estate news, the Census Bureau said that

FEDERAL RESERVE MAKES ITS THIRD RATE HIKE OF 2018 The central bank set the target range for the federal funds rate at 2.00-2.25% last week, in a move that economists and investors widely expected. One development was unexpected: the Fed removed the word “accommodative” from its latest policy statement, a hint that it may be on the verge of altering its monetary policy outlook. The Fed dot-plot still shows one more interest rate hike for 2018 and three hikes in 2019.1 HOUSEHOLDS SEE A VERY STRONG ECONOMY Both marquee U.S. consumer confidence indices finished September in good shape. The Conference

Weekly Economic Update 9/24/2018 BLUE CHIPS HIT A 2018 HIGH On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its best close since January. Friday took the index even higher, to another record settlement of 26,743.50. That capped a 2.25% weekly advance. The Dow was not the only major benchmark shattering records last week. The S&P 500 also settled at a historic peak Thursday before drifting slightly lower to 2,929.67 a day later; in five days, it rose 0.85%. For the Nasdaq Composite, the story was different: it declined 0.29% last week to 7,986.96.1,2 AUGUST WAS A FLAT MONTH FOR HOME

Weekly Economic Update 8/27/2018 BULL MARKET MAKES HISTORY At the close on August 22, the current bull marked its 3,453th day, a record by S&P Dow Jones standards. Between March 9, 2009 and last Wednesday, the S&P 500 advanced 323%, with an annualized return of about 19%. Besides optimism, four other factors drove the market higher in the last nine-and-a-half years: easing by the Federal Reserve, earnings growth (corporate profits have improved in 30 of the past 35 quarters, with the only slump happening in 2015-16), share repurchases, and dip-buying on the assumption that stocks would recover from declines.1 HOME

Weekly Economic Update 8/20/2018 MID-SUMMER MEANT BUYING FOR CONSUMERS According to new Census Bureau data, retail sales were 0.5% improved in July. Core retail sales (all categories except car and truck buying) rose 0.6% last month. The only sour note was the revision the Bureau made to June’s headline and core retail sales advances. The overall June retail sales gain was reduced to 0.2% from 0.5%; the core gain, to 0.2% from 0.4%.1,2 HOUSEHOLD SENTIMENT GAUGE DISAPPOINTS In its initial August edition, the University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment fell 2.6 points to 95.3. That was a miss: analysts

Weekly Economic Update 7/30/2018 In this week’s recap: an impressive Q2 GDP reading, a consumer sentiment dip, a falloff in home buying, and the end of a long stock market correction. Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn Email Print Pinterest First estimate of Q2 GDP: 4.1% Not since the third quarter of 2014 has the economy grown at such a pace. In its report released Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis noted 4.0% growth in consumer outlays during the quarter, a 7.3% improvement in business spending, and 3.5% more federal government spending. The BEA also revised the first-quarter GDP number up 0.2%

TARIFF TALK INTENSIFIES Major economic powers proposed additional import taxes last week, as investors wondered if a global trade war was now underway. Monday evening, President Trump stated that he had instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify another $200 billion of Chinese products to subject to a new 10% import duty. Shortly before the trading week began, the European Union proclaimed it would place import taxes on $3.3 billion of U.S. products, in retaliation to recently imposed metals tariffs. Friday, President Trump mulled imposing a 20% tax on autos arriving from the E.U. unless it lifts such import

From one perspective, the answer is yes; from another, no. When you buy a home, are you investing? If you buy it to flip it or buy it as a rental property, the answer is yes. If you buy a home simply to live in it, the answer may be no. Your home is an expression of your lifestyle, a wonderful setting for your life, and a place you can enjoy in privacy and comfort. As an investment, though, it is essentially illiquid, and its rate of return is no sure thing.     Home values do not automatically increase with time.

Rental Property

The basics on capital gains & deductions. Buying or selling income property has definite tax consequences. A taxpayer should clearly understand them, whether he or she intends to acquire a property or put one on the market.  A sale of income property incurs either a capital gain or loss. If you profit from the sale of income property, that profit is considered fully taxable by the Internal Revenue Service. Fortunately, if you have owned that property for at least a year, you will pay only capital gains tax on those profits rather than income tax.1 Your capital gain is determined