Several key economic reports were released, plus the Fed met. Read on to learn more.

Table Source: Mortgage Success Source

In the housing sector, the Case Shiller 20-city index rose to 12.8 percent in August on a year-over-year basis. From July to August there was a 1.3 percent increase. Overall, this was a solid report, but note that double digit gains are not expected to continue as the uptick in rates have slowed price appreciation in many parts of the country. In addition, pending home sales declined by more than expected in September. The drop was due in part to declining affordability, higher home loan rates, and consumer uncertainty surrounding the government shutdown.

Also impacted by the shutdown, Consumer Confidence in October came in below expectations and well below the September reading. The Retail Sales Report for September showed that the shutdown also impacted consumer spending habits.
What does this mean for home loan rates? Remember that the Fed has been purchasing $85 billion in bonds and Treasuries each month to stimulate the economy and housing market via its Quantitative Easing program. The Fed has said that the continuation of these purchases remains dependent on economic data. Recent data shows that the housing sector recovery has slowed in recent months, plus Gross Domestic Product (the broadest measure of economic activity) and employment figures remain weak.

In its Policy Statement after last week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed said it has “decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases.” This should help keep home loan rates attractive through the remainder of 2013.

Home loan rates remain attractive compared to historical levels and now remains a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance.

Forecast for the week

The week features several key reports that have the potential to move the markets.

  • Economic data began early in the week with the ISM Services Index, which measures the service sector of the U.S. economy.  
  • As usual, Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released on Thursday and have been stubbornly hanging around the 340,000 range.  
  • Also on Thursday, we’ll see the second read on 3rd Quarter Gross Domestic Product.
  • Friday brings a full slate of reports, beginning with the much-anticipated Jobs Report for October, which includes the closely watched Non-Farm Payrolls and the Unemployment Rate
  • Also releasing on Friday are the Consumer Sentiment IndexPersonal IncomePersonal Spending and the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, Personal Consumption Expenditures.

As you can see in the chart below, ADP reported that private employers added 130,000 workers in October. While this was above expectations, it was the slowest private job growth in six months. The upcoming government Jobs Report for October could have a big impact on the markets.

Chart: ADP National Employment Report

Table Source: Mortgage Success Source

5 Ways to Use LinkedIn Polls for Bigger Business

According to LinkedIn, the polling feature within Groups allows you to ask other members a question and then list up to five multiple-choice answers on which they can vote. If you’ve never heard of this incredibly useful LinkedIn feature, or ever wondered how you might use it to generate more engagement and thereby, more business, you can start today.

Here are five types of LinkedIn polls and how to use them:

Use results for marketing content. Articles, blogs, even other social media platforms have one thing in common; the need for new material. And people like research. Share poll results, along with your takeaways, with your clients and followers.

Tweet for new followers. If you manage a Group and want it to grow quickly, then Tweet, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest your poll findings, along with an invitation to subscribe to your Group for even more great information.

Do research. Perform more targeted research with polls. Rather than get second hand generalized facts from the internet, you can get answers from Groups, in real time, leveraging its power.

Make an offer they can’t refuse. If you’re stuck for a marketing offer and want to know exactly what customers will really go for, ask an appropriate LinkedIn Group first.

Get feedback. Want to roll out something new? Want to find out what people think about your big ideas? Poll your Group and get the information you’re looking for.

Here’s how to create your own poll in four easy steps:

1. From the group's Discussions tab click the Poll icon (it looks like 3 horizontal lines) to the right of the “Start a discussion...” box.
2. Type your question in the Ask a question box.
3. Specify up to five answer choices, starting with the first answer in the first box. Additional boxes will appear after you enter your first choice.
4. Click Share.

In the news this week (November 4 - 8, 2013)

Table Source: Mortgage Success Source