Recent data has shown that renting can cost more than owning a home, and with millennials gearing up to the responsibility of owning a home, home builders are shifting their strategy in order to cater to this age group. In the first quarter of 2017, more new US households preferred to purchase a home than rent in the first quarter of 2017– the first time the scale has tipped that way in more than a decade, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Data from the Census Bureau indicated that 854,000 new-owner households were formed in the first quarter of the year, handily beating the 365,000 new-renter households formed in the same quarter.
“They’re crawling out of their parents’ basements, they’re forming households and they’re looking to buy,” Doug Bauer, chief executive of home builder Tri Pointe Group told the Journal. Zelman & Associates, a housing-research firm, said that in Q1 2017, 31% of homes built by major builders were reportedly in the starter-home range (2,250 square feet). Millennials recently eclipsed baby boomers as the nation's largest generation, so it is imperative that they have quality, long-term housing options," Steve Hovland, director of research for HomeUnion, told the Journal.
If you’ve heard that some people might get a boost to their FICO credit scores — without having to do anything — you’re right. According to a new study of 30 million credit files by score developer FICO, many Americans will experience bumps in the coming months, mainly modest increases of less than 20 points. But hundreds of thousands of the increases will be super-sized — in the range of 40 to 60 points and higher. That’s because, as part of an agreement with state attorneys general, in early July the three national credit bureaus will stop collecting public information on virtually all civil judgments and roughly half of all tax liens. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have determined that the accuracy of the public records in these areas does not meet their standards. That means the wrong people too often got tagged with issues that affected their ability to get the terms they deserved.
But unanswered questions remain: How many credit files contain civil judgment or tax liens, erroneous or otherwise? After all, though many consumers’ credit files include bad information, other consumers face legitimate judgments and liens. So, some applicants’ credit scores may be artificially inflated. Examining giant samples of credit files supplied by the credit bureaus, FICO estimated that between 12 million and 14 million Americans have judgments or tax liens listed that could be affected by the changes. When these items are purged, their FICO scores tend to jump. Most of the affected consumers’ files had score increases between 1 and 19 points — not a big deal. But between 1 million and 2 million consumers appear to be in line for score boosts of 20 points to 39 points. At least 300,000 people could see increases of 60 points or higher, simply because negative information will be expunged from their files.
For many years during and after the recession, the monthly jobs report was important to gauge the strength of the recovery. However, during the past two years, the release of the report has taken on a new meaning. Now we are not only measuring the strength of the economy, but also tying that informations directly to actions by the Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee. If we added 250,000 jobs in a particular month five years ago, that was good news. But we did not have to worry about the Fed raising interest rates as a result of that information. Today, a strong report can lead us to direct action by the Fed.
And so it is with the report which came out on Friday. The increase of jobs of 138,000 and the revision of last month's data was seen as weakness. However, the unemployment rate moved to 4.1%, another post-recession low, and monthly wage growth came in at forecast. The question at this point is -- are we approaching full employment, which means we are also experiencing a shortage of labor? This information, taken together with the previous month's report, tells us that there is still a decent chance that the Fed will act when they meet next week, but slightly less of a chance than before the report was released.
The meeting will also be accompanied by the release of economic projections which will give us a gauge of where the Fed thinks that the economy is heading in the next several months. Keep in mind that the Fed will be considering other information which measure the strength of the economy. For example, on Tuesday last week, measures of personal income and spending for April came in with moderate strength following weak readings in March. Until the Fed meets next week, we can't say exactly how they will react, but certainly the data we saw last week give us some important clues.