Consumers Don’t Care About Low Mortgage Rates Anymore

Last updated on January 25th, 2018

As you’re probably aware, the latest move to boost the economy was another round of quantitative easing, known as QE3.

This most recent initiative targets mortgage-backed securities specifically, with the Fed pledging to purchase $40 billion per month, on an open-ended basis, until things improve.

Since it was announced, mortgage rates have inched down to new all-time lows, not that they were anywhere close to high to begin with.

In other words, I don’t think anyone was pumping the brakes on buying or refinancing because rates were “too high.”

So now homeowners that may have qualified for a rate of 3.5% on a 30-year fixed can snag a rate of 3.25% instead. Pop the champagne!

On a $200,000 loan amount, we’re talking about nearly $30 a month in savings. And ideally this money is pumped back into the economy to get things chugging along again.

But are low rates the problem here, or simply the easiest out for the Fed?

Mortgage Rates No Longer a Popular Search Term

I decided to do a little test to see if the low mortgage rates were making a difference.

Sure, they made a difference over the past few years after dropping several percentage points, but now that they’ve been so low for so long, I wanted to see if pushing them even lower would make a material difference.

So I turned to Google, and more specifically, their Insights for Search tool. It shows you what people are searching for on Google, which can be a pretty powerful gauge of something’s popularity.

For example, if we look at the term, “NFL,” we can see that it’s very seasonal, and also very predictable.

In August, searches for “NFL” jump, and then remain elevated until January when the Superbowl takes place.

Search volume quickly plummets after the season ends, then rises briefly in April during the NFL draft, and remains low throughout summer.

What about the term “mortgage rates?” Well, if we look at the chart, search volume is now about the same as it was back in 2006, when the housing market was reaching its apex.

But it has fallen by nearly 50% compared to numbers seen in August 2011. And volume is only about a quarter of that seen in December 2008.

Since then, it has steadily fallen, aside from a couple blips in August 2010 and August 2011.

In both of the past two summers, mortgage rates fell rather significantly, which explains the boost in search volume.

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages also fell from 6.09% in November 2008 to 5.29% in December 2008, per Freddie Mac data, which explains the spike in search volume then.

And even though mortgage rates are now about two percentage points lower than that, search volume is nowhere close to what it once was.

Why Did We Switch Off?

So what gives? Did most people refinance already, or do many people perceive the low rates as “old news?” Or is it that most people are aware of them, but realize they don’t qualify for one reason or another?

Whatever it is, it’s pretty clear that there is a lot less interest than there used to be, despite the housing market showing signs of improvement. If anything, volume should be up with home sales. But that’s not the case.

Could it be fatigue, or is it that it’s just boring at this point? How many straight weeks or record low mortgage rates do we need to hear about it on the local news?

Most people I speak to (outside the mortgage world) don’t seem too interested about the rates. They know they’re low, but don’t really care too much.

Even if they didn’t refinance, they’re usually pretty lax about the whole deal, which makes me wonder if pushing rates lower and lower is the solution here.

Perhaps the Fed should focus on getting the economy kickstarted another way, instead of pushing interest rates to zero.

Read more: Are mortgage rates negotiable?

About the Author: Colin Robertson

Before creating this blog, Colin worked as an account executive for a wholesale mortgage lender in Los Angeles. He has been writing passionately about mortgages for 15 years.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Moving Safety Tips (Infographic)

Moving can be strenuous exercise. When you’re not prepared or fail to follow basic moving safety routines, injuries can occur.

Follow these moving safety tips to really take care of yourself on moving day. Hey, you want to still be standing after your move!

moving safety tips infographicmoving safety tips infographic

How to lift heavy objects

Back injuries are some of the most common moving injuries.

It’s important to protect your back (and the rest of your body) on moving day, so make time to take the necessary precautions, no matter how frazzled you are.

1. Stretch it out

woman stretchingwoman stretching

Before you lift even the smallest box, do some basic stretching exercises to prepare your body. All stretches should be held for at least 10 seconds.

  • Biceps: Put your arms straight out in front of you. Then, put them behind your back as far as your natural flexibility will allow. If possible, clasp your hands. Hold the stretch, relax, then repeat a few times.
  • Triceps: Hold one arm straight up in the air. Bend at the elbow, then use your other arm to pull the elbow toward your head. Hold, then release and do the other arm. Repeat on both sides.
  • Calves: Stand in front of a wall. Put one foot in front of the other, with the front knee bent. Keeping the back leg totally straight, put your heel on the ground. Lean toward the wall with hands on the wall, and hold the stretch. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Hamstrings: Sit down on the floor. With one leg extended to the side, bend the other leg toward you. Grabbing the ankle or foot of the extended leg, reach your hands as far forward toward the foot as you can. Alternate sides, repeat.
  • Thighs: Holding onto a wall if you need to, stand with both feet together. Then bend the knee of one leg up toward your bottom and grab your ankle. Pull it up carefully as far as you can. Hold the stretch, alternate sides and repeat.
  • Bonus stretch: if you have the time, do some yoga the morning of your move. This will help to strengthen your core and get you in the right frame of mind to tackle a potentially stressful and exhausting day.

2. Lift with your legs

lift with legslift with legs

Never rush lifting anything. Take your time to establish a perfect form to avoid injury. The No. 1 rule of lifting is to always lift with your legs, not your back. Minor injuries like sprains, strains and muscle soreness in the lower back may occur if you’re not using the proper posture to lift heavy items.

There’s also the potential for more severe back injuries like a herniated (also called “slipped”) disc, a spinal injury caused by muscle overuse and inflexibility. While you likely won’t suffer a severe injury by lifting a single heavy object, the risk may be higher the more you lift on moving day.

The proper way to lift with your legs

To lift an item correctly, bend your knees. Squat down to the load, hold it close and then straighten your legs to accomplish the lift. Never lift by bending forward!

Other no-no’s to avoid: Do not lift anything heavy over shoulder level, and also refrain from twisting your body while holding or lifting anything heavy. Instead, use your feet to change direction.

When you put the item down, do it the same way, but backward. Be sure to bend at the knees. Keep your head and chest up high, core muscles clenched. Hold the item as close as you can to your body, and do not release the load until you know that it is secure.

3. Be aware of your entire body

carrying lots of boxescarrying lots of boxes

When moving heavy objects, broken bones are not an uncommon injury. Watch your fingers, in particular, as it’s easy to get your digits wedged in between walls, doors and other heavy objects. No one wants to end a day of moving with a trip to the ER!

4. Hydrate

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Dehydrated muscles will cramp up more easily, leaving you at greater risk for muscle pulls and strains.

Aim to drink at least half your body weight in water in ounces every day (so, if you weigh 200 pounds, you need 100 ounces of water every day). Immediately take a break and rehydrate if you experience any of the warning signs of dehydration, like bad breath, decreased urination, fatigue and dry mouth.

Serious dehydration symptoms, which require immediate medical attention include dizziness, fainting, heart palpitations and confusion.

Moving safety tools

One of the best ways you can help lessen the strain on your body is to keep these moving tools on hand to make the job easier and safer:

  • Gloves to help pad your fingers, avoid splinters and aid grip as you lift heavy or slippery objects
  • Hand trucks or dollies to lessen the physical strain of lifting oversized objects
  • Furniture sliders to help you move large pieces like sofas and armoires across a room, lessening the amount of time you have to use your physical strength to hold them
  • Forearm forklift devices to help facilitate moving awkward-sized objects like mattresses
  • Good sneakers that support your feet, as well as provide grip

Though these moving safety tools are an expense, don’t underestimate how valuable they’ll be. Not only will they help you avoid injury, they’ll also make moving easier and faster.

General moving safety rules

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind that will help make your move safer:

  • Avoid wearing long or loose clothing that might get stuck or twisted while you move
  • Load and unload boxes in the early morning hours when everyone’s energized — especially in summer when days get hotter by the hour
  • Anticipate weather conditions. Be prepared with towels and mops when it’s raining or snowing.
  • Keep kids and pets safely out of harm’s way

Protect yourself and others with these moving safety tips

Moving should be a positive experience, so keep it that way by being smart about your form, technique and safety measures. It’s important to know your physical limits and take precautions to help your body make it safely through moving day. With just a little extra attention to safety, you can pull off the moving day without putting anyone at risk!

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Practice Self-Care on a Budget + Printables

Over the last few years, we’ve heard more and more about the practice and importance of self-care. Psychologists, motivational speakers, and employers all have encouraged people to step away from the chaos of everyday stress to focus on emotional and physical wellbeing. But some common self-care practices that we are encouraged to indulge in often come with a hefty price tag — think lavish spa days, relaxing massages, and pampering at salons. These activities can be great for a “treat yourself” day, but there are many other ways you can practice self-care while sticking to a budget

10 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care on a Budget 

Self-care doesn’t just have to mean treating yourself to expensive things. These are some of the best activities to practice self-care on a budget. 

Go for a Walk 

While walks are good for your physical health, they can also be beneficial to your mental health. Any form of exercise — including a brisk walk — can help boost your endorphin levels, leaving you feeling less stressed. Try leaving your phone behind and connecting with nature! 

Write in a Journal 

Journaling is a simple way to relieve yourself of stress and anxiety. Consider documenting good memories or milestones; you can reflect on them later when you need a positivity boost. You can also write down goals and a plan to accomplish them to keep you on track and focused.

Read a Book for Fun

Many of us turn to our phones or TVs for entertainment, and waste hours scrolling through social media or binge watching shows. Research shows that excessive screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, and poor sleep. Take a break from your screens and opt for a book instead

Clean Your Home

A tidy home can lead to a relaxed mind. According to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people with cluttered homes had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Take an hour to clean your space and you might find yourself in a state of zen. 

Take a Nap 

Sometimes you just need to recharge a bit. The National Sleep Foundation encourages those who are experiencing a mid-day slump to take a short nap of 20 to 30 minutes. It will improve your alertness and energy without leaving you feeling groggy. 

Drink More Water

This is one of the simplest ways you can take care of your body. While staying hydrated is important for our physical health, drinking water can increase energy and reduce fatigue, assist with weight loss, reduce headaches, and even improve your complexion. 

Shut Off Your Phone

Our phones are a constant source of distraction and can prevent us from accomplishing important tasks at hand. Challenge yourself to take an hour every day to put your phone down and be present with the people around you. 

Learn to Say No 

Saying no can be difficult, and a sense of obligation may set in when people ask for our time or energy. But if you’re already feeling burnt out or stressed, saying no can help you prioritize what is already on your plate and even help you feel empowered. 

Coloring Books 

Not only is coloring a relaxing and fun activity, but it also has emotional health benefits. Similar to meditation, coloring encourages mindfulness and can help you quiet your busy mind. It has also been shown to calm the part of the brain associated with the fear and stress response. 

Practice Yoga

A membership to your local studio might be a bit pricey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t center yourself with some yoga for self-care. Whether it’s a few minutes of meditative breathing at the beginning of the day, or doing some simple moves at home, yoga can help you relax and stress less.

Self-Care Journal

With all the chaos and activity of our everyday lives, it can be a challenge to prioritize self-care. Much like how you use a planner to schedule your appointments, dates, and holidays, you can also use a planner to ensure you take time to self-care. We’ve created a printable weekly self-care planner where you can jot down your goals, your energy level when you wake up, moods, and what self-care activity you plan to do for yourself.

Part of self-care is taking care of both our physical and mental health, and drinking water is a crucial part in this. This weekly journal give you a space to mark down how much water you’ve drank that day — it’s recommended to have about 8 cups a day. 

Another great way to practice self-care is through intentional gratitude. Print out our daily gratitude chart, and write down one thing you feel grateful for each day. It can be something simple like a job that gives you the ability to provide for yourself and others, or maybe it’s something more personal like a memory. 

While the perception of self-care is to overindulge and splurge, self-care is not a luxury that is only for those with extra money to spend. It is a vital part of our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing that doesn’t take a lot of money to do. Whatever your budget allows, there are ways to practice self-care that doesn’t break the bank. Not only do these affordable self-care ideas help you feel better emotionally, you can feel good about making decisions that are beneficial for your financial wellbeing. 

Sources 

Balanced Life Leslie | The Mighty | Law of Attraction | VeryWell Mind | Shari’s Berries | Scripps

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