Weekly News (June 16, 2021)

This week’s Interest Rate (21st Week)

(By Fairway Home Loan )

   30 yr fx(%)  15 yr fx(%) FHA(%) 10 yr Tr Y (%)
A year ago      3.000       2.625     3.490          0.691
A month ago      2.875       2.250     2.375          1.647
Last week      2.875       2.125     2.490          1.535
This week      2.875       2.125     2.490          1.499


 Prime Rate:3.0% / Ref IR: 0.00- 0.25% 

  • Potential home buyer — Have a pre-approval first before the shop.  Now we have 48hour underwriting turn-around times for regular loans.
  • 2021 Conventional loan limit: Conforming: $548,250/ Conforming high balance: $882,375


New Jersey State might reduce the property tax due to budget surplus

(Korea Daily    6/16)

  • NJ State has about $10B budget surplus this fiscal year. Gov. Murphy will transfer $6.9B to the next fiscal year and still there will be $3.1B surplus and $6.2B which was the Federal Covid-19 support funds. Therefore, the state will have to spend $9.3B this fiscal year.
  • The State is planning to provide additional homestead rebate and senior property tax freeze program to those whose household income is below $75,000 with at least 1 adult with a child or below $150,000 with at least couple with a child.


New York Lifts remaining Covid Restrictions

(WSJ  Korea Daily   6/16 )

  • The NY State has a milestone, as more than 70% of adult residents have had at least one vaccine shot.  The threshold, announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, means that any remaining state-mandated pandemic-related restrictions – including capacity restrictions and social-distancing rules – became optional for vaccinated residents Tuesday. It has been 451 days since Covid restriction has announced first time on March 22nd, 2020.
  • Unvaccinated people, however, must social-distance and wear a face covering, and schools will need to follow guideline from the CDC.
  • To date, more than 2.1M New Yorkers among total population of 19.45M have been diagnosed with Covid-19, according to WSJ’s analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, and more than 53,500 have died while U.S. total positives are 33.47M (19% of total world positives and US death toll is 600,012 (15.7% of total world death toll).  Total US population(329.45M) takes about 4.2% of the world population(7.674B) in 2019.


NYPD reinforced patrol in Manhattan Midtown

(Korea Daily   6/15)

  • Crime rate increased in Midtown between 36 – 46th St and 8 – 9th Ave due to almost no foot traffic during the pandemic.
  • Accordingly, police mobile command post was established on West 38th St and 8th
  • According to NYPD report, the number of felonies increased 230% to 174 compare to a year ago.
  • During the pandemic, the hotels on 8th Ave accommodated 1200 homeless in order to prevent spreading the COVID-19, which might be a cause of increasing crime rate, including illegal narcotic dealings.


Retail rent breaks may last

(WSJ   6/16)

  • During the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, many landlords offered deals where ailing retailers paid a percentage of their monthly sales in rent – rather than a fixed amount – to help them survive.
  • Now, this once temporary way of charging tenants looks poised to outlast the Covid-19 crisis.  More shopping-center owners are signing new leases where rent is tied directly to a portion of sales, at least for a period.  These percentage-rent leases are especially attractive to newer retailers, offering some flexibility so they aren’t saddled with large losses as they are starting out.
  • While most landlords tend to prefer the reliability to a fixed monthly rent payment, the wider use of percentage leases reflects how much retail has become a renter’s market.
  • The potential issue is that tracking sales to determine rent level can be a thorny problem, since tenants are typically reluctant to share their sales data with their landlords, unless they are asking for a rent relief due to falling sales.


LGBTQ buyers purchasing Older, Smaller Homes Than Other Americans

  • According to NAR Report, LGBTQ buyers purchased older and smaller homes than non-LGBTQ buyers and expect to live in their new homes five years less than non-LGBTQ buyers. LGBTQ buyers and sellers were more likely than non-LGBTQ to be single men and unmarried couples and were more likely to identify as male than as female.
  • NAR report says that over the past 5 years, homes bought by LGBTQ buyers were 170 sf smaller and 15 years older, typically, than those purchased by non-LGBTQ buyers.
  • This report details the impact of the housing affordability challenges on LGBTQ buyers who typically had lower household incomes and were more likely to be purchasing more affordable homes.
  • NAR first added a question about sexual orientation to its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers study in 2015.


Lumber prices Sink as Hoarders unload

(WSJ  6/16)

  • Lumber prices are falling back to Earth. Futures for July delivery ended Tuesday at $1,009.90 per thousand board feet, down 41% from the record of $1,711.20 reached in early May.
  • Economists and investors have wondered of sky-high prices for wood products would doom the booming housing market.  The rapid decline suggests a bubble that has burst and the question is how low lumber prices will fall.
  • During the run-up, wood was hoarded by builders, retailers, and others worried about running out of material during a construction season set into overdrive by low mortgage rates and federal stimulus payment.
  • Lumber producers say that prices should remain relatively high as home builders try to ease the country’s deficit of housing.  Freddie Mac estimated in April that the US is about 3.8M houses shy of meeting demand, thanks largely to the lack of construction following the 2009 housing crisis.


Musk’s Bitcoin Plays Create Headaches

(WSJ   6/15)

  • Elon Musk reignited his curious Twitter relationship with bitcoin on Sunday, giving the cryptocurrency a small boost.  Musk is widely blamed by investors for starting the digital currency’s most punishing slide of the year after announcing on Twitter that Tesla would stop accepting bitcoin as payment for its EVs.
  • On Sunday, Mr. Musk said Tesla would resume bitcoin transactions when miners increase use of renewable energy sources. That triggered the price jump about 8% from its Friday 5:00pm ET level to trade at $39,809.27 Monday.
  • Bitcoin’s volatility with this accounting treatment, makes it hard for corporate officers to manage crypto holdings as cash, which makes it less useful as a reserve asset, said Jennifer Stevens, an accounting professor at Ohio Univ.
  • The shares were trading at $135 last August when the company announced its new bitcoin strategy.  They skyrocketed to a record $1,273 by September but have been falling since then, closing Monday at $598.49.

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