The jobs report shows an increase in job openings for the end of 2014, which went from 4.847 million in in November to 5.028 million in December. Similarly, the number of hires in December totaled 5.148 million, up from 5.054 million in November, and the highest number of hires since November 2007. The rise in job openings and hires portrays a slowly improving job market in the U.S.
Retail sales in January fell more than expected, down 0.8%, after declining 0.9% in December. Analysts had previously predicted a fall of only 0.5%. Retail sales are continuing to be impacted by lower gas prices, as well as consumer hesitation to put higher discretionary income into spending.
Consumer sentiment in the U.S. declined in February for the first time in 7 months. According to the University of Michigan, the final sentiment reading for January was 98.1, the highest in nearly 11 years, but that number decreased to 93.6 in February. One explanation for the curbed consumer optimism is the fact that gas prices began to rise this month from a 6-year low. The concern about job losses among energy workers may have also impacted consumer sentiment.
Coastal Real Estate
Have you ever wondered how real estate on the Central Coast compares to other coastal areas in California? We have compared the 2014 real estate data for the North Coast, the Bay Area, the Central Coast, and the South Coast.
The Bay Area contains the four most expensive coastal counties, making it the most expensive region by an average of $353,000. The Central Coast ranks #3 out of 4 for the highest median home price, putting it comfortably in the middle of the spectrum.
Within each region, home values can differ drastically from city to city. Below we have chosen three coastal cities from each region and compared their median home values.
When comparing the cities of the Central Coast to the other three regions, home values appear to be moderate—not the highest, not the lowest.
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This week brought a bump up in rates for some of the loan programs, while others remained unchanged. Despite the slight rise, rates continue at low levels.
The programs whose rates increased rose 1/8-points; the 30-year fixed rose from 3.625% (3.663% APR) to 3.750 (3.788% APR), and the FHA 203k, high balance, manufactured conventional, and manufactured FHA programs followed a similar suit. We saw little to no movement this week from the 15-year fixed, FHA, VA and USDA loan programs, and the 30-year jumbo displayed a slight decrease compared to the previous week.
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