Archive for February, 2011

Valentine’s Day…a Little Something for Everyone

February 11, 2011

Valentine’s Day has long been known as the ‘holiday’ for love and lovers.  Yet this is no Hallmark event despite the history of Saint Valentine, the patron saint for whom the day is named, being a little vague.  There are three primary legends to contend with. 

One legend weaves a tale of a priest who valiantly defied Emperor Claudius II’s decree that young men remained unmarried so that they would be more focused soldiers in his army.  Rumor has it that he continued to perform marriages in secret until he was martyred.  Another story paints Valentine as a rogue agent helping Christians escape the ruthless treatment they faced in Roman prisons.  The third account suggests that the young Valentine was responsible for starting the tradition of valentine cards by writing a letter to his jailor’s daughter whom he had fallen in love with.  Regardless of the story you find most accurate, Saint Valentine was a heroic figure sympathetic to the appeal of romantic love.

Today, nearly 192 million cards are exchanged on Valentine’s Day ranking second only to Christmas cards; and a figure that doesn’t include the cards traded in classrooms around the world.  Interestingly though, despite our desire to tell our loved ones how we feel about them, over half of us procrastinate in finding the perfect card until just before the day.

Don’t forget the flowers though.  Last year an estimated 198 million roses were produced for this single day.  After roses – carnations, tulips, orchids and lilies were other favorites chosen to express affection, desire, admiration and love.

Now if candy, specifically chocolate is more your taste you are not alone with over $1 billion being spent on chocolate confections of all styles, shapes, sizes and combinations for the occasion.  And, while 75% of all chocolate purchases are made by women throughout the year, at Valentine’s 75% of the purchases are made my men.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention one other top gift choice for the holiday – jewelry.  Sales of these sparkling baubles easily approach $3 billion during the month of February.

No matter how you choose the spend Valentine’s Day this year, let the people you love know that you care about them and how much they mean to you.  Your honest and sincere words will have more value than anything else.

Gaining Perspective

February 9, 2011


There are times when you need to view something from a different angle to better understand it.  We tilt our heads when appreciating abstract art.  We walk around a new car to take in all the lines.  We step back when we place an arrangement on the table.  Changing the view gives us new perspective in order to better understand what we are looking at.

 

The same can be said when looking at factors and indicators of the economy, housing sector and interest rates.  We have all heard that interest rates are at historic lows, but just how low is that?  Did you miss out on this recent refinance boom?  Is this refinance boom even over?  Just where are rates right now anyway?

 

Interest rates have been tracked and recorded for the past 39 years.  In that time if there has been one constant, it would be change.  Consider these facts on 30-year fixed rate loans:

 

  • The average interest rate from one month to another has only held unchanged 14 times in 39 years.
  • Interest rates have dropped 2.69 points from 1972 when the average rate was 7.38% to 2010 where rates ended at 4.69% on average.
  • Over the past 39 years interest rates climbed as high as 11.07 points above the yearly average of 1972.
  • Interest rates have dropped as much as 14.22 points since their highest in October of 1981 when that single month boasted rates at 18.45%.
  • The highest yearly average interest rates occurred in 1981 at 16.63%.
  • The lowest rates on record happened last year in 2010 at just 4.69%.
  • Over 39 years the average interest rate was 8.92%, almost double 2010’s yearly average.

So yes, we really are at historically low interest rates!  Yes, this is still a fantastic time to review your current home loan to see if refinancing makes sense for you!  No, you most definitely have not missed out on these low rates!  And yes, it is a fantastic time to buy a home.  Not a bad view from that perspective.  Give us a call to review your current loan or to help you with a pre-approval for your new home.