Mesquite, Market in a Minute,


For the Week Ending May 29, 2015

Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.

Business spending in April was stronger than economists had forecast following a weak Q1. Continued improvement may lead to higher rates.
While still cautious after a steep April decline, Consumer Confidence rebounded in May. What’s good for the economy can be detrimental to interest rates.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen says that delayed action would risk overheating the economy. Her comments make a policy rate increase more likely to occur in 2015.

The housing market recovery continues to gain traction, as shown by April’s rising new home sales. Housing is being buoyed by a strengthening jobs market.
Home prices across the country rose again in March, 4.1% on a national basis. Lean inventory and limited income growth are contributing to the rising values.
Pending home sales climbed to the highest level in nine years in April. This 4th straight month of improvement evidences a firming demand in the housing market.

Several weeks after a young man had been hired he was called into the personnel director’s office. “What’s the meaning of this?” the director asked. “When you applied for this job, you told us you had five years of experience. We’ve discovered this is the first job you’ve ever held.”

“Well,” the young man replied, “in your ad you said you wanted somebody with imagination.”



Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.


Sun City Mesquite

Sun City Mesquite Sales Stats.                                                                                                                                                    05-01-2015

Sale continue to be steady in Sun City Mesquite. To see all the last three months stats,

Click on the link.


The Markets in a Minute!

For the Week Ending May 15, 2015

Stagnant business inventories point to a contraction in GDP. Rates would normally decline on the news but instead are being driven higher by the global bond sell-off.
*Note: The rate gauge shows weekly movement. Rates have moved up incrementally, so a week’s change does not always register on the gauge.
Bond market sell-offs are pushing yields higher across the globe. Concurrent selling in the mortgage bond market pushes mortgage rates higher too.
The price of goods at the wholesale level fell in April, a sign that inflation is still not a threat. Without inflation, the Fed should be in no rush to tighten monetary policy.

NAR continues to warn Realtors about the upcoming TRID changes. Richard Cordray says that there are no plans to delay the deadline on the new forms.
Foreclosure activity continued to decline in March. Completed foreclosures are now down over 65% from their peak in September 2010.
Access to credit increased in April according to the MBA’s Credit Availability Index. Increased access to credit was led by new VA, FHA 203K, and Jumbo offerings.

Two antennae met on a roof, fell in love, and got married. Their wedding ceremony wasn’t fancy; however, the reception was excellent.



Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.


10 Worst States for Retirement for 2014

10 Worst States for Retirement for 201

March 11, 2014 — Finding the best place to retire in is a little bit like looking for a mate. There are lots of attractive ones out there. But for you – which state has the most appealing features and a minimum of not so desirable attributes. To help weed out the more unattractive ones, we present our 3rd annual (we skipped 2013) list of the worst states for retirement. There is one main point we want to emphasize – everyone’s retirement situation is different, so a one size fits all approach won’t work. If your grandchildren live in one of these states and you want to be near them – that makes it a great retirement state for you. Our goal for this article is to give you the tools to help you figure out what states aren’t a good fit for your retirement. See this article’s counterpoint: “Best States for Retirement – 2014“.

Factors we considered
In this year’s list we have tried to simplify the selection process for what makes a state not so great for retirement. We started by listing, in our opinion, the key attributes that make a state unattractive for retirement. Most of these negatives have to do with money and taxes. But as we always caution, retirement is about your happiness, which is way more important than money.

High Property Taxes. If you own property, you can’t avoid these taxes. No matter how high or how low your income, you will pay taxes based on the value of your home. Since retirees generally don’t have a lot of income, this is our number 1 negative consideration.

Taxation of Social Security & Pension/Retirement Income
Just about everybody in America will receive Social Security in retirement. It’s generally not that much (in 2014 the average couple on SS receives $2,111 a month), so the taxes on that income is usually not a critical factor. However for the fortunate, but shrinking, number of people receiving defined benefit pensions, taxes on those pensions could be a deciding factor on where you decide to retire. The type of pension, and where it comes from, has a big effect on state taxation. For example, is it from in or out of state, or is it a military or other government pension? Even more people are likely to be affected by the taxation of retirement benefits such as the Recommended Mandatory Distributions (RMDs) that you must start taking the year you reach age 70.5. State taxation of pensions and distributions from 401ks, IRAs, etc. is all over the map and difficult to research. On these matters you should use a tax professional to help make sure you get the most accurate information.

Cost of living
The majority of baby boomers won’t have the resources to sustain the lifestyle we had in our working days once we retire. So it makes a great deal of sense to look for a place to live where our scarce dollars go further.

Low Estate and Inheritance Taxes
Millions of boomers have accumulated substantial estates, thanks to hard work and/or good fortune. Assuming we want to pass much of that on to our heirs, the presence and severity of any estate and inheritance factors should be considered. For example in 2014 the federal estate tax is 40% on anything over $5.340 million (indexed for inflation). But several states are much harsher; 2 of them start taxing estates under $1 million (NJ and RI).

Other considerations
– Warm winter climate
– Good medical care
– Where your children, family, and friends live
– Where you have always wanted to live
– Recreational and cultural opportunities
– Natural beauty
– Transportation
– Crime
– Natural disasters

Our rankings explained
In the spirit of recognizing that what makes a state good or bad for retirement is highly personal, we have refrained from ranking the states on this list. We have simply presented them in the order of property taxes paid as a % of home value. That is our #1 consideration here, but not our only one. Look at the facts and the pluses and minuses we have provided for each – and rank them based on your own situation. For example if you are going to receive a large pension and are very concerned about how it will be taxed, stay away from states that will tax it. See the end of article for links to the sources we used in this study. Here is our list of the worst states for retirement for 2014:

New Jersey
Negatives: Highest property taxes in nation. Taxes pensions. Highest estate taxes in the nation with an exclusion beginning at $675,000. One of the highest marginal tax rates at 8.97% on incomes over $500,000. One of the highest cost of living (46 out of 51).
Pluses: The Garden State has a high exclusion for pension income. Social security benefits are not taxed. Lowest gas tax in the nation (and by law you are not allowed to pump it yourself!). Not to mention some of the world’s great beaches. NJ has a senior tax freeze program but it is hard to determine if that results in meaningful savings.

World famous beaches in New Jersey (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Negatives: Second highest property taxes. Has an estate tax and the 5th highest gas tax.
Pluses: Pensions and social security income are exempt from taxation. Cost of living is about average.

Negatives: The 4th highest property taxes in the US. Retirement income is taxable. Relatively high marginal income tax rate of 7.75 in the highest bracket (over $225,000).
Pluses: No tax on social security benefits. No estate estate tax.

Negatives: The 6th highest property tax as a % of home value. Social security and pension income are taxed. The marginal tax rate is 6.84%, which starts at a very low $29,000. There is an inheritance tax.
Pluses: The 2nd lowest cost of living in the country.

Negatives: High property taxes as a percent of home value (#7). The current exemptions for pension and retirement income will be eliminated for people born after 1952.
Positives: Social security will remain exempt. No estate or inheritance tax. Below average cost of living (#18).

Negatives: High property taxes. Social security and pension income is taxed.There is a high marginal tax rate of 8.95% (on incomes over $405,100). High cost of living (#41)
Pluses: It is a beautiful state with nice people! Its mountains and forests provide outstanding recreation.

Negatives: Some pension/retirement income is taxed. Marginal tax rate is 5.95%.
Pluses: Ohio’s estate state tax has been repealed. SS benefits are not taxed by the state. Cost of living is below average (#15).

Negatives: The 10th highest property taxes (since homes are generally expensive here, that means people pay a lot of tax). The #4 gas tax. The 4th highest estate taxes (16% on anything over a $2 million estate. Top marginal tax rate is 6.7%. Social security and retirement income is taxable for higher income residents. Cost of living is high (48th of 51).
Positives: CT has the highest personal exemptions in the country ($24,000 for a couple), and there are some social security benefit exemptions.

Rhode Island
Negatives: High property taxes (#11). Social security and retirement benefits are taxed. The 2nd highest estate tax (which starts on estates of $965,000). Marginal income tax rate of 5.99% on incomes over $135,500. High cost of living (#44). The state’s finances are under duress from deficits and pension funding.
Positives: So many bays, harbors, and oceanfront property that living near the water is easy.

New York
Negatives: The 13th highest property tax as a % of home value. Some pension income is taxable. New York just improved its estate tax situation with a new law that takes place in April, 2014. In that year the tax exemption for estates is $2.062,500 and increases by just over $1 million each year until 2017 when it will match the federal exemption. Very high cost of living (49 out of 51).
Pluses: No tax on social security income. The governor is trying to reduce some of these taxes, especially the estate tax.

States with high property taxes – but not on our 10 worst list
Notice that we did not include all of the states with the highest property taxes on our “10 worst” list. That is because some of them have some positive factors that trump their high property taxes. They are:
Pennsylvania. Doesn’t tax pensions or social security. Has an inheritance tax. Relatively low income tax rate of 3.07%, although there are no personal exemptions.
Iowa. Social security is not taxable as of 2014. Some pensions are exempt. There is a 15% inheritance tax. Cost of living is well below average.
Kansas. Taxes SS on higher income residents. Pension income is normally taxable. But there is no estate tax, and the cost of living is low.
New Hampshire. The 3rd highest property tax in the nation. Although the cost of living is among the highest of any state, there is no sales tax, and the only income that is taxed is interest and dividends.
Texas. Although it has the 5th highest property tax rates, there is no income or estate tax.
California. Surprisingly enough, the Golden State has below average property taxes as a % of home value (#33). Part of that stems from the very high value of homes there, plus Homestead protections. But the state has other problems for retirees: High cost of living, the highest marginal rate in the country (13.3%), traffic, pollution, fiscal woes, and it does tax pensions. Social security is exempt, and the weather is usually great.

Most of the reasons why states made our 10 worst list have to do with money and taxes. There are more important considerations to think about, however. Use this list as a guide, but pick a place to retire based on the whole picture.

ParaLong Drive gears up

ParaLong Drive gears up

The ParaLong Drive Local Organizing Committee (LOC) is gearing up for the ParaLong Drive Worlds 2015 competition this fall, said Dean Jarvis, co-founder of the event.

Mesquite is hosting 65 of the top disabled ParaLong drivers from various countries including Australia, Canada, England, Israel, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, Wales and other countries, but more athletes could possibly compete, Jarvis said.

Jarvis and Bryan Dangerfield, local director of the LOC, are recruiting disabled golfers everyday, Jarvis said. But they also have been gaining help from Josh Williams and 3-year-old, one-armed golfing prodigy and YouTube sensation, Tommy Morrissey.

Williams, a professional long driver, and Morrissey have attended golf opens around the world and helped spread the word about what the ParaLong Drive Worlds is and what it means to them, Jarvis said.

“They’re great ambassadors for the ParaLong Drive,” Jarvis said. “Williams recently competed at the NedBank South African Disabled Golf Open and people there were talking about the ParaLong Drive.”

Morrissey made a special appearance at the Mesquite Sports and Event Complex at last year’s event where he hit golf balls about 100 yards into the distance alongside his father, Joe.

“He’s an icon,” Dangerfield said. “We’ve been in contact with his parents and as long as they’re available during the long drive then we’re going to definitely try and get them to come back.”

The competition will also feature a brand new category, TBI, for individuals that have suffered from post-traumatic disorders, Dangerfield said.

The ParaLong Drive is produced by the LOC in cooperation with the City of Mesquite Department of Athletics and Leisure Services and the Amputee Long Drive Championship LLC of Maryville, Tennessee. The LOC is comprised of an executive committee and 50 volunteers, some of who have 20 years of Long Drive event experience.

Currently, the LOC and LLC is also accepting sponsors for the event, Jarvis said. As a ParaLong Drive partner, you can help with the costs of producing the 2015 Worlds event and your company can benefit by the media exposure from partnering with the growing event.

“To get involved, you choose a funding level and sports marketing inventory you feel comfortable with,” Dangerfield said. “And we’ll ensure you get the benefits package included with your ParaLong Drive package.”

Not only did the Golf Channel cover the 2014 Worlds event, but there were feature stories of the athletes were shown in their hometown cities like Miami, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Canada and Australia.

In 2014, there were more than 200 stories in major news outlets on TV, radio, newspaper and websites, Jarvis said.

The ParaLong Drive Worlds 2015 event is scheduled from Nov. 8-10.

“This was the first event of its kind in the world,” Jarvis said. “The ParaLong Drive movement is about the Golf and ParaLong Drive becoming Paralympic Sports.”

For more information visit



National Summary (U.S.)
Pending Home Sales Rise in January to Highest Level in 18 Months

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2015) — Improved buyer demand at the beginning of 2015 pushed pending home sales in January to their highest level since August 2013, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw gains in activity in January.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, climbed 1.7 percent to 104.2 in January from an upwardly revised 102.5 in December and is now 8.4 percent above January 2014 (96.1). This marks the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year gains with each month accelerating the previous month’s gain.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says for the most part buyers in January were able to overcome tight supply to sign contracts at a pace that highlights the underlying demand that exists in today’s market. “Contract activity is convincingly up compared to a year ago despite comparable inventory levels,” he said. “The difference this year is the positive factors supporting stronger sales, such as slightly improving credit conditions, more jobs and slower price growth.”

Yun also points to more favorable conditions for traditional buyers entering the market. All-cash sales and sales to investors are both down from a year ago1, creating less competition and some relief for buyers who still face the challenge of limited homes available for sale.

“All indications point to modest sales gains as we head into the spring buying season,” says Yun. “However, the pace will greatly depend on how much upward pressure the impact of low inventory will have on home prices. Appreciation anywhere near double-digits isn’t healthy or sustainable in the current economic environment.”

The PHSI in the Northeast inched 0.1 percent to 84.9 in January, and is now 6.9 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index decreased 0.7 percent to 99.3 in January, but is 4.2 percent above January 2014.

Pending home sales experienced the largest increase in the South, up 3.2 percent to an index of 121.9 in January (highest since April 2010) and are 9.7 percent above last January. The index in the West rose 2.2 percent in January to 96.4 and is 11.4 percent above a year ago.

Total existing-homes sales in 2015 are forecast to be around 5.26 million, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2014. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase near 5 percent. In 2014, existing-home sales declined 2.9 percent and prices rose 5.7 percent.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.



I consider myself happy. In most ways I fit the profile of happy people — I’m married, I’m employed and in good health, I live in a detached home and I was born in Canada. Fortunately I’m past the mid-life crisis stage of some people in their 40s and early 50s who go through a bout of unhappiness, according to studies.

However, a recent Statistics Canada report suggests that if I lived in Saguenay, Que. or Sudbury, Ont. or St. John’s, Nfld., I might be happier than I am here in Toronto. At least I don’t live in Vancouver, tagged as Canada’s unhappiest city in the report.

This is not to say that people who live in Vancouver and Toronto are all miserable — the fact that so many people want to live there has driven the average house prices in those cities to more than $1 million. But the report says other studies agree that life satisfaction and happiness is higher in smaller communities than in the big city. Victoria, Edmonton and Winnipeg are all close to the bottom of the happiness scale, while Trois Rivieres, Que., Thunder Bay, Ont. and Moncton, N.B. are near the top.

John Helliwell, a co-author of the report and life satisfaction researcher at the University of British Columbia, wrote in another study last year that “people are far happier to live in a city or neighbourhood where their lost wallet would be returned. Unfortunately, as in the case of crime, people are too pessimistic about the kindness of others and are needlessly unhappy as a result.”

Helliwell says that Torontonians think the likelihood of their lost wallet being returned is less than 25 per cent. “Yet when 20 wallets were experimentally dropped in urban locations in Toronto, 16 were returned,” he says.

“Thus, we have strong evidence that neighbourhoods are safer and more benevolent places than people believe. Unjustified lack of trust reduces happiness.”

A 2012 study by the Vancouver Foundation says, “Trust is a key factor…When strangers living in close proximity become trusting neighbours, then trust can ‘jump the fence’ and spread to the larger community. Our survey shows that trust is higher when people socialize in one another’s homes. But even smaller interactions have a significant impact on trust. Just talking to neighbours on a regular basis makes a big difference.”

The Vancouver Foundation study found that only about a quarter of Vancouver residents surveyed had a neighbour over to their house or apartment in the last 12 months, or was invited to a neighbour’s home.

Other studies back up the foundation’s findings: “When neighbours know and trust each other, streets are safer, people are healthier and happier, our children do better in school, there is less bullying and less discrimination. We are simply better off in many of the ways that matter.”

“Patterns of neighbourhood connections are pretty much set after a few years,” says the report. “People who have lived in their neighbourhood for 20 years are no more likely to socialize with neighbours than those living in the neighbourhood for three years.”

Getting back to the lost wallet question, the Vancouver study found that 68 per cent of those living in single detached homes thought their wallet would be returned, but only 55 per cent of those living in high-rise buildings (five storeys or more) thought they would get it back.

More than 40 per cent of the North American population lives in high-rises, but the survey says living in a high-rise can diminish neighbourliness, lower trust, make it harder to make new friends and increase isolation.

Although Vancouver residents are among the most connected social media users in the country, they are also among the loneliest in the country, according to a 2010 Angus-Reid poll. “In the end, nothing beats face-to-face relationships,” says the Vancouver Foundation study.

Real estate has a role in reducing happiness in Vancouver. The survey found that 54 per cent of residents felt that the city is “becoming a resort town for the wealthy” and 52 per cent said “there is too much foreign ownership of real estate here.” Residents between the ages of 25 and 34 were most likely to hold these views, perhaps because of the challenges first-time buyers face in affording a home.

Another reason why city dwellers may be less happy than others is because the more time you spend getting to and from work, the less likely you are to be satisfied with life, says a University of Waterloo study. It says long commute times are related to an increased sense of time pressure.

“Some people may enjoy a commute, but overall, longer travel time is linked to feelings of time crunch, which can increase stress levels,” says Margo Hilbrecht, a faculty member at the university and associate director of research for the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

“We learned that commuters who had time for physical leisure had higher life satisfaction,” she says. “Physical activity can mitigate commuting-related stress if workers can include it in their daily routines, but the obvious constraint is time scarcity. Longer commutes mean less time for other activities, which leads to lower life satisfaction.”

Helliwell says one way city people can feel better is by volunteering, since studies show that people are happier when they give rather than receive.

“Despite the wealth of findings that people who do things for others gain a bigger happiness boost than do the recipients of generosity, people still tend to underestimate the happiness gains from unselfish acts,” he says.

Written by Jim Adair on Monday, 04 May 2015 12:49 pm