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December Journal

This month, we're combining all our monthly bogs into one! Read more for the latest economic and market news: 

Planning to Move in 2021?

The U.S. economy is fighting back from a second blow from the pandemic. The latest data suggests its recent progress is poised to continue. Real estate demand, homebuilding activity, and historically low mortgage rates point to continued, strong housing market activity. If you are looking at moving in 2021, it's a good time to start researching areas you'd like to live. With home prices up significantly, buyers often need to choose between factors like price, location, home size, and school district. If you know what's important for your family, you have a better chance of finding a home that checks most of your boxes, especially with the help of a realtor. A starting place when it comes to school districts, for example, would be to dig into cheaper districts' offerings to determine if they have the education quality and services you want. Talking to parents at a school is a great way to get an inside scoop on student experience beyond what rankings and data can show.1


Elections and Wriggling Rates

Mortgage rates typically move up and down in the weeks preceding and following presidential elections. Three of the last five presidential elections saw mortgage rates move more than half a percentage point afterward, with 30-year-fixed mortgage rates hitting a historic low of 2.78% on November 5 following the 2020 election.2


Falling Unemployment Signals Hope

In April, unemployment hit an astounding 14.7% as many businesses closed temporarily to help stop the spread of COVID-19. With commerce back up and running, that rate has mercifully been cut in half-down to 6.9% in October. While this positive economic news has economists feeling cautiously optimistic, they warn the pace of improvement is decelerating, signaling a possible slow down to the recovery.3

Market Recap

+30% October increase in mortgage apps over September4

-21% Decline in forbearances from June to October5

$313k New record for median home price set this year6

7 in 10 The ratio of homes that sell in less than a month6


Zillow projects seasonally adjusted home values will increase 7% between September 2020 and September 2021.7


Maximize Your Money

The end of the year is a great time to review how you use your money and look for ways to make it work harder for you. Review your financial portfolio with a professional at least once annually to assess your allocations and adjust based on market conditions. Another smart move is to set up your retirement contributions to the maximum amount in 2021 to lower your taxable income. Also, check the terms of any rewards-earning credit cards to determine if you need to redeem points before they expire at year's end.8


Sources: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;
7; 8; 

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