Inflation as measured by the CPI was up 0.3% in April, up 2% for the year. Most of this was from rising food and energy costs which does not help economic growth.
Housing starts moved up to 1,702,000 units per year on expectations of 980,000 and was mostly from multi-family housing; single family housing starts barely moved. This surge is likely from a return to building after the Winter and given other statistics on housing such as mortgage applications for purchase, there is not much to be very optimistic about here.
New Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Head Eases Mortgage Rules. The new FHFA head Mel Watt outlined his view that FNMA (Fannie Mae) and FHLMC (Freddie Mac) should encourage lending to less-qualified borrowers by easing recently tightened lending restrictions. Watt wants them to accept lower down payment loans and take other measures aimed at making it easier for people to borrow money to buy homes as if this strategy worked out well the first time. Sure, why not make it easier for less qualified buyers to purchase a home AFTER the market has rebounded over the last few years! This is not going to end well...
Household debt climbs to $125 billion in Q1 of 2014. Mortgages accounted for $116 billion, auto loans $8.2 billion, and student debt increased $31 billion while credit card debt declined. The increase in mortgage debt reflects less foreclosures rather than new mortgages and we all know that student debt is exploding having doubled since 2007. The decline in credit card debt reflects consumers reluctance to spend which will keep economic growth stymied.
I am planning to host a FREE Educational Seminar about Social Security benefits and Advanced Claiming Strategies in the coming weeks. Topics would likely include:
- The Role of Social Security in your Retirement Plan
- How Social Security Works
- Boosting Benefits
- When to Apply: Strategies for Maximizing Lifetime Benefits
- Coordinating Spousal Benefits
- Women & Social Security
- Taxes on Social Security Benefits
- Other Social Security Programs (Dependents' Benefits, Maximum Family Benefits, Disability Benefits)
- How Medicare & Long-Term Care integrates with Social Security
- How and When to Apply for Benefits
- History and Financing of The Social Security System
Please help me by taking the following anonymous survey so that I can plan a great event for you: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/H7BYLVH