Take the Sting out of Summer with These Pest Prevention Tips

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If you’re like many people, the warm months of summer are when you are most active outdoors. You’re not alone. The same is also true for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. New findings show these pests are more than just an annoyance, they can pose a health risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illnesses caused by these pests are on the rise, and in recent years, nine new germs spread by ticks and mosquitoes have been identified or introduced into the U.S.

Now more than ever, it’s important to be proactive by putting a plan in place to protect your home and outdoor space from these pests, and any of the other 200 insect types that could inhabit your lawn and enter your home. Start with these five tips:

• Narrow down your summer guest list. Different pests are drawn to different things. Mosquitoes can breed and thrive in even the smallest amount of water, and yellow jackets enjoy spending time around trash. Many stinging insects are also drawn to the bright bulbs of certain flowers. Remove these appealing targets from your space to keep these unwanted guests away from your family.

• Protect your home inside and out. When creating your indoor and outdoor pest control strategy, a few preventative measures go a long way. Apply Ortho(R) Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter early in the season to protect your home from ants, roaches and spiders and create a long-lasting barrier around your home to keep bugs out. To protect your yard and keep pests at a minimum, apply Ortho(R) Home Defense Insect Killer for Lawns Granules to your grass. A 10-pound bag treats up to 10,000 square feet and provides three-month protection against listed insects before they can ruin your fun. As always, follow the label directions for any products you apply.

• Keep your yard clean. Insects love dark, moist areas, many of which can be found in your yard if you don’t keep it tidy. Mow the grass at least once a week so insects have less room to hide and remove debris or clutter as soon as it accumulates, particularly in areas like your wood pile. If you put off these tasks, unwanted visitors may have already moved in.

• Check your screens. With the windows shut all winter, it’s easy to forget about the condition of your screens when you open them once again. However, even the smallest hole in one of your screens can be all an insect needs to get inside. Check each of your screens – no matter how high the window is off the ground – to be sure it still works, and don’t delay if a replacement must be made.

• Be proactive about infestation. When you’re outside, take a moment to look for signs of insect infestation on your property. For example, wasps tend to build their nests in the crooks of your roof and carpenter ants will set up shop in old wood if left to their own devices. Clear these infestations yourself or contact a pest control expert to prevent the problem from growing worse. Don’t assume they’ll go away on their own, or you’ll be dealing with these pests all season long.

The summer months can be some of the best times of the year, and you should be able to enjoy your summer on your terms. Apply the tips above and you and your family will have a home and yard to enjoy all season.

Forecast for the Week: Housing news highlights the economic calendar

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This week’s calendar is dominated by housing data.

• Look for the NAHB Housing Market Index Monday, Housing Starts and Building Permits Tuesday, and Existing Home Sales Wednesday.
• On Thursday, weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released along with regional manufacturing news from the Philadelphia Fed Index.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red “candle” means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green “candle” means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds improved in the second half of the week. Home loan rates remain historically attractive.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jun 15, 2018)

Last Week in Review: Retail Sales were on the rise while inflation showed some warming signs

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The Commerce Department reported that Retail Sales jumped 0.8 percent from April to May, well above the 0.4 percent expected. From May 2017 to May 2018, Retail Sales were up 5.9 percent. When stripping out autos, Retail Sales jumped 0.9 percent. If consumer spending continues in a similar fashion, the U.S. economy will continue to grow at a solid pace in the months ahead.

As expected, the Fed raised the benchmark Federal Funds Rate by 0.25 percent, bringing the new target range to 1.75 to 2 percent. The Fed Funds Rate is the short-term rate at which banks lend money to each other overnight. It is not directly tied to long-term rates on consumer products like purchase or refinance home loans. The Fed noted that the economy is doing well and that investors should look for four increases to the Fed Funds Rate this year, up from the three previously mentioned.

The Fed also raised the inflation forecasts for 2018 and 2019. The May Producer Price Index, which measures wholesale inflation, rose 3.1 percent on an annual basis, the largest increase since January 2012.

The more closely watched Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.8 percent annually. Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 2.2 percent annually. However, the monthly CPI reading was a bit muted, showing inflation rose 0.2 percent from April to May, below expectations.

The key takeaway is that inflation reduces the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds. Since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, rising inflation could lead to an uptick in rates, which is why inflation data is always important to monitor.

For now, home loan rates remain near historic lows.

If you or someone you know has any questions about home loan rates, please give us a call. We’d be happy to help.

Forecast for the Week: The economic calendar heats up with news on inflation and retail sales

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Inflation news and the Fed meeting will be front and center.

• Look for a double dose of inflation news with the Consumer Price Index on Tuesday and the Producer Price Index Wednesday.
• The Fed’s Monetary Policy Statement will be released Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET.
• On Thursday, weekly Initial Jobless Claims and Retail Sales will be reported.
• Manufacturing news ends the week on Friday with the release of the Empire State Index.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further, a red “candle” means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green “candle” means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds have edged lower as uncertainty has eased. Home loan rates remain near historic lows.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jun 08, 2018)

Last Week in Review: Home prices continue to rise while geopolitical and trade war uncertainty eased

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Research firm CoreLogic reported that home prices, including distressed sales, rose 6.9 percent from April 2017 to April 2018, while there was a 1.2 percent gain from March to April of this year. Looking ahead, CoreLogic forecasts a 5.3 percent increase in home prices from April 2018 to April 2019.

CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft noted that “new construction has failed to keep up with and meet new housing growth or replace existing inventory.”

Also of note, there was good news from the labor sector, as weekly Initial Jobless Claims continue to hover near lows seen in the early 1970s.

Headlines from across the globe had an impact on the markets in recent days. However, the smoothing of the political turmoil in the Eurozone and easing trade issue woes lifted some of the uncertainty that had driven investors into the safer haven of the Bond market. Mortgage Bonds have been edging lower as a result. Investors may also be awaiting the upcoming Fed meeting June 12-13, as it has the potential to move the markets.

At this time, home loan rates remain historically attractive.

If you or someone you know has any questions about home loan rates or products, please reach out. We’d be happy to help.