Standard Mortgage’s Baudier: Housing And Labor Finished 2015 Strong

METAIRIE, LA – Loan officer Julie Baudier, with Standard Mortgage Corp. in Metairie, LA, said while we’re experiencing some ups and downs in 2016, last year ended on a high note.

         “December existing home sales surged nearly 15 percent from November,” Baudier said. “New home sales were also strong in December, rising 14.5 percent for all of 2015. Also, December marked the ninth straight month that housing starts (measured by the start of excavating a home's foundation) were above 1 million units, the longest stretch since 2007. Overall, housing starts were up nearly 11 percent for the year.”

         Baudier said home prices also increased an average of 6 percent.

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         “For homebuyers looking to get affordable housing options, home loan rates helped temper home prices,” she said. “In fact, home loan rates ended 2015 near historically low levels.”

         Baudier also said the end of 2015 marked the fifth straight year in which employment grew by 2 million, with solid job creation in October, November and December.

         “Wage growth was up,” she said, “and the unemployment rate remained at a seven-year low. All of this means more hard-working people are employed and seeing their household incomes increase.”

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         Despite the good economic indicators, she said stock prices were down due to plunging oil prices, stagnant manufacturing data, lower-than-expected wholesale inflation and China's faltering economy.

         “When stocks plunge, however, mortgage backed securities (MBS) and other bonds usually improve,” Baudier said. “Because home loan rates are directly tied to MBS, home loan rates can improve in the process.”

         “The fact is, right now home loan rates remain near historic lows, which is good news for homebuyers and homeowners considering a refinance,” Baudier said.

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