Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hong Kong Bubble?: Hong Kong Residential Property Prices July 2012

Recently, the University of Hong Kong released their Hong Kong Residential Real Estate Series (HKU-REIS) indicating that, in July, the price of residential properties increased 0.19% since June and climbed 7.54% above the level seen in July 2011.

The HKU-REIS is a set of property price indices constructed monthly using a “modified” repeat-sale methodology similar to that of the S&P/Case-Shiller indices yet suited to the Hong Kong property market.

Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – October 31 2012

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) increased 1 basis point to 3.53% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 1% and the refinance application volume declined 6% over the same period.

Clearly, the Federal Reserve's QE3 announcement and implementation has had a notable effect on mortgage rates in recent weeks continuing to lift refinance application activity and possibly helping to establish a base of sorts to purchase applications.

The question is though, if the Fed is stimulating this activity by forcing artificially low rates, what would these trends look like if prevailing rates were based on a more fundamental market function?

The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006 as well as the purchase, refinance and composite loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).

S&P/Case-Shiller: August 2012

The latest release of the S&P/Case-Shiller (CSI) home price indices for August reported that the non-seasonally adjusted Composite-10 price index increased 0.87% since August while the Composite-20 index increased 0.88% over the same period.

The latest CSI data clearly indicates that the price trends continued to experience a lift through the typically more active spring-summer season and as I recently pointed out, the more timely and less distorted Radar Logic RPX data while continuing to capture rising prices, is starting to see a leveling off of the trend as the data moves through the summer transactions and heads for the typical declines seen in late-summer and fall.

The 10-city composite index increased 1.35% as compared to August 2011 while the 20-city composite increased 2.03% over the same period.

Both of the broad composite indices show significant peak declines slumping -29.90% for the 10-city national index and -29.37% for the 20-city national index on a peak comparison basis.

To better visualize today’s results use to view the full release.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Occasional Update (October 17th - 24th)

I don't want to be cavalier about it, but between selling and showing things, closing others and this storm that never materialized in Skaneateles, it's been a long week.  I also held an open house at 5731 Sandbank Road in Elbridge and came away with a deeper appreciation for the property.  It's an amazing house, as everyone agreed who came through the open a couple days ago.  Add the property - 1.5 acres of truly a park-like setting - and it is much more than it appears from the outside.  Also, it demonstrates what you need to do prior to listing, if you look at the landscaping.  Fall is a great time to put a home on the market for this reason - all those colors!  You can see the full listing at or  ML#S280235. (Sorry - I tried to upload a photo but blogger was having none of it today...could it be the storm?)

During this week, there were 104 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service.  Of these, 31 were in the Village and 28 were waterfront.  There were (despite my suggestion above) no new listings.

In the under contract category there continues to be a fairly high number of single family homes waiting to close, 37 to be exact.  Four are newly placed there - two in the Town and two in the Village.  Hopefully they will be able to close before the end of the year.

I firmly believe, though, that we will have no problem getting to 100 closings this year.  We have three new ones to report, all in the area surrounding Skaneateles.  Two of them are on the higher end - we are getting back to the prices that dominated the market a few years ago, as well as the volume.  All good news.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pinterest Monday Link Up & Pretty Little Liars Special Surprise!

Hello Monday!
It is winter outside and I am not happy about it :(
Ok let's dive right in shall we? 
I've made a mistake ha. 

 I made an error in my previous post about the PLL Halloween Special that aired last Tuesday ... that didn't mean the season was actually starting back :( sigh!!! It was just the Halloween Special. 
I am so sorry for all of you who's hopes I got up! 
I was just as upset as you ha, I was SO ready for it to be back every Tuesday!

The REAL 3rd season won't start until January 8, 2013 to be exact ;)
I am now counting down the days let me tell you!

How crazy was that Halloween episode??
I mean I literally screamed outloud twice and Chris was making so much fun of me and my "Nancy Drew" show, which is what he calls it haha.
(However, somehow he always ends up watching it with me and then will ask me a question from a part he didn't understand ha!) Love it! 

Soooo.... to make up for my mishap on the season start date ... I am giving you a gift!
That's right!
It's a good one too... straight from the BIGGEST PLL fan that I think exists ... my friend, and PLL expert,
Lexy Morgan --- click to follow on Pinterest, it's amaze!

For some secret inside scoop on the upcoming season!
Straight from the mouth of the show's executive producer! 

Ok now for some Pinterest.... :) 
I have decided to start linking up to my Pinterest Mondays!! I'm super excited about this ... if you want to follow the categories I do then that's awesome, if not and you want to do your own thing, then that's awesome too!! 

Grab the Button At the End Below... 
This is my first time doing this, I am not an HTML expert so hopefully it will work, it took me 30 min to figure out how to put text in a scrolling box haha :( 

Pinterest Time!
First, a little inspirationals and LOL's that are my faves lately... 


I have thought this several times, how many boyfriends has she had? Geez. Ha. 


Very true. 

TOTALLY agree with this ... I have taken wayyy too many classes on sales and goal planning to know if you don't write them down, they are hopeless. Write down  your goals!! Then watch them be obtained!

I love this ... so true... we all need to check our bad attitudes sometimes.

Just love this one period ha. 

Love this one too. 

Great motivation to be a strong woman! 

This is a great one too! I need to put this on my bathroom mirror ha! 

My favorite :) 

Ok now for a few Halloween things  ... 

I'm doing this tomorrow .... if it's cute I will post ha! 

Put one of these is Jake's lunch a few days ago ... so simple ... would be great if any kids have class parties on Halloween!! :) 

Really want to do this tomorrow too ... spiders in ice cube tray ... fill with water ... freeze and let the spiders melt into your drink!! So fun! 

Ok this is serious .... 
Has anyone seen this on Pinterest?? 

You send in a picture of your dog and then they send you a stuffed animal that looks just like him! 
I am really wanting to try this haha ... I already told Chris this might be what I want for my birthday hahaha. 
But seriously, that looks pretty real to me ... ? 
What do you think? 

That's all for today :) 
Grab the button and link up! 
Can't wait to see everyone else's Pinterest loves! 


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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pinterest Link Up, Best Chili Recipe & Sunday Funday!

What a weekend... and boy did I need it! I actaully got to get some things done and rest  :) 
I got my nails done ... 

OPI "Pink Friday" 

I played with my babies while taking pics to list their momma & daddy's house this week sometime, anyone looking for a ranch in Hamburg? ha. :)  

We fed the baby and observed the usual "milk coma" that he falls into as soon as he eats ha
Then we had York Peppermint Patties and got them all stuck in our teeth (well Connor did at least ha!) 

My Orange Leaf obsession is still reallllly bad. 
Strawberry White Chocolate is the BEST flavor there is. Period. 
Reese Cups and Marshmellows totally seal the deal too. 

I enjoyed a nice Saturday ...
around the house, cleaning, doing laundry, grocery, Chris built a fire, I bought the new The Knot in hopes of skimming through the 850 wedding dresses to find one that I like because I STILL have not found a dress :( Then I bought a bag of my favorite Halloween/Fall candy ... Caramel Apple Pops! Love them. 

Check out my ad in the newspaper ... 

Keller Williams did an awesome ad in the paper to welcome me to the company :) 
I thought it turned out pretty nice! 

Someone got their Halloween Costume ... 
First of all, I let Chris go to Target with me today to get a few things ... BIG mistake people. 
Guys are not allowed to be at Target, this should be located on the door when you walk in. 
I like to take my time at Target, go in needing two things, leave with an entire buggy of stuff and have no clue what I bought ha. This does not work when your significant other is with you, let me tell you. 
We had to hurry through the isles, look at DVD's for far too long, and everything I wanted to buy we didn't "need" haha :(
(which by the way means nothing to me, it all went in the buggy anyway lol) 
BUT the worst part is, because he was there, present at Target, he had a say in my baby's Halloween costume this year ... POOR FRANKIE ....

Yes that is Frankie, my sweet little angel, in a SKUNK outfit. Ha. Poor thing :( 

That has "My dad picked out this costume and I hate it" written all over it! 

I mean he probably is the cutest skunk you have ever seen, lets be honest, but because I felt bad for him ... he also got a pumpkin cookie from The Barkery ;) 

Such a little stinker!
 no pun intended ha. ;)

I made the best chili evvveerrr...
(All credit has to go to Chris's mom, this is her chili recipe and its freaking awesome. I could make 5 different chili recipes and Chris and the kids would be able to pick out "Mimi's chili" in two seconds. They absolutely love it, now I am hooked too!)

Here's What You Need:
- 1 lb ground hamburger meet
- 1 packet of Chili-O seasoning 
- 2 cans of Bush's Chili Beans in Mild/Medium
- 2 cans of Kidney Beans
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes 
- Spaghetti noodles
- Fritos and/or mexican shredded cheese (This is optional but makes it really good!)

What To Do:
Cook hamburger meat until it is done or browned, drain the grease, then mix 1 cup of water and the chilio packet with the meat and let is simmer until the water is all soaked up.

Mix the beans and tomatoes (do not drain!) together in a pot and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, pour in the hamburger meat and turn down to low heat and the longer you can let it sit the better, I usually try for 2 hours (per Cathi's directions ha) ... but you HAVE to stir every 10-15 minutes so the bottom doesn't burn, but if you just set your timer you'll be fine!

Once you feel like it's almost ready...
 (or you're so hungry you can't wait any longer, which is usually my case) 
then boil up a small pot of spaghetti noodles and put a little in your chili bowl, sprinkle with cheese and fritos if you fancy :) 

It's done! 

And awesome! Hope you love it!!

Lastly ... a super fun link up!
I am a couple of days late on this ... but I was so excited when I saw this new link up on Katie and Steph's blogs!! I know we allll love Pinterest, my obsession for it grows daily, ha especially planning a wedding (not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing yet?!)


I have done several things so it was really hard for me to choose one for this ... but I think my favorites so far were the little things I made for my matron of honor and then for the kids ... 
I originally saw these on Pinterest ... 

I knew instantly I wanted to do this for Chrissy, my Matron of Honor, and then do the ring pops for the kids ... so I set out on a project to do them! 

I dug through a ton of old pictures of Chrissy and I :) That was the fun part ha seeing what we looked like so long ago (we've been friends for 17 years, wow that sounds old ha!) ... then I found the pink paper at hobby lobby ... the white pen is AMAZING and was sent to me as a gift from this sweet lady over at in My Life I Love You More .. check out her blog if you haven't already ... she's pretty awesome ;) I also picked up a couple of the stickers from Hobby Lobby too. Oh wait, and also the white boxes for the ring pops, and the shredded paper thingys that went in the boxes :) Hobby Lobby is pretty much the best place to go if you need something crafty ha! Love it! 

Here is how my Pinterest festivities turned out ... :) 

 What do you think? 
(I kind of think they turned out cuter than the original pins ... not to toot my own horn or anything!)

I have so many other "Pinterest Activities Come to Life" but I will save those for the next link ups! 
Hop (ok I guess click is the more appropriate word ;) on over to Katie or Stephanie's blog and link up!

I love this link up! It is so much fun! :) 
Great idea ladies!!

PS. Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest by clicking the link on the right sidebar :) I am pinning away from Holiday stuff to wedding stuff galoreee!!


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Friday, October 26, 2012

Bull Trip!: GDP Report Q3 2012 (First Estimate)

Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their first "estimate" of the Q3 2012 GDP report showing that the economy continued to expand with real GDP increasing at a tepid annualized rate of 2.0% from Q2 2012.

On a year-over-year basis real GDP increased 2.32% while the quarter-to-quarter non-annualized percent change was 0.50%.

The latest quarterly results indicate that the most notable source of weakness in the economy came from declining exports of goods and services, a notable decline private farm inventories and weakness in non-residential structures.

Government spending worked to buoy GDP with a 13% quarter-on-quarter increase in non-defense spending while a decline in imports of goods also added positively (declining imports contribute positively to the final GDP aggregate).

Other categories such as residential structures also saw notable slowing from the prior quarter registering a still respectable rate of 8.5% while non-residential fixed structures expand by just 0.6%. 

Keep in mind that these results are likely very poorly estimated and are sure to be revised notably in following quarters and even years to come.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pending Home Sales: September 2012

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for September showing that pending home sales improved slightly with the seasonally adjusted national index climbing 0.3% since August while increasing 14.5% above the level seen in September 2011.

Meanwhile, the NARs chief economist Lawrence Yun suggests that while recent pending sales activity has been bouncing around the old familiar "narrow range", 2013 should bring a continuation to the overall uptrend:

"Home contract activity remains at an elevated level in contrast with recent years, but currently appears to be bouncing around in a narrow range, ... This means only minor movement is likely in near-term existing-home sales, but with positive underlying market fundamentals they should continue on an uptrend in 2013."

The following chart shows the seasonally adjusted national pending home sales index along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005 (click for larger version).

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index: September 2012

The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) showed an improvement of the national economy with the index climbing from the prior month to stand at a very weak 0.00 while the three month moving average remained very near contraction territory at -0.37.

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity collected into four overall categories of “production and income”, “employment, unemployment and income”, “personal consumption and housing” and “sales, orders and inventories”.

The Chicago Fed regards a value of zero for the total index as indicating that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate while a negative value indicates below average growth.

A value at or below -0.70 for the three month moving average of the national activity index (CFNAI-MA3) indicates that the national economy has either just entered or continues in recession.

Extended Unemployment: Initial, Continued and Extended Unemployment Claims October 25 2012

Today’s jobless claims report indicated a decline in initial jobless claims while continued unemployment claims remained flat as seasonally adjusted initial claims trended just below the closely watched 400K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims declined by a notable 23,000 to 369,000 claims from a revised 392,000 claims for the prior week while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims dropped to 3.254 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.5%.

Since the middle of 2008 though, two federal government sponsored “extended” unemployment benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation) have been picking up claimants that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls.

Currently there are some 2.08 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 2.74 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 4.83 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.