|Very Good News for the Home Buyers and Those Refinancing|
|As many of you have heard Mortgage rates took a sharp drop. |
The $800 billion infusion of federal funds into credit markets had an immediate impact on mortgage rates.
Mortgage rates fell sharply last Tuesday after the administration announced that it will pump another $800 billion into credit markets to free up frozen consumer and mortgage lending.
That number dwarfed previous government actions aimed at bolstering the mortgage lending market.
"The feds agreed to spend a half a trillion dollars to buy up mortgage backed securities and another $100 billion to fund lending for Fannie and Freddie; we're not talking chump change anymore," said Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a publisher of mortgage information.
Rates averaged 5.77% for the day on a 30-year, fixed rate loan, down from 6.06% Monday, according to Gumbinger. They fell as far as 0.75 percentage points during the day, according to Orawin Velz, Associate Vice President for Economic Forecasting at the Mortgage Bankers Association.
That could save a typical homebuyer more than $90 a month on a $200,000 mortgage.
"The government action was geared to bringing mortgage rates down," said Velz, "and it did."
The drop was the largest since early September, when the administration announced that it was taking control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500), and stemmed from similar market sentiment.
|Early data shows strong Black Friday|
|Preliminary sales figures show stronger-than-expected Black Friday; sales up 3 percent.|
The nation's retailers got a much-needed sales boost during Black Friday's traditional shopathon as consumers spent more money than they did last year. According to preliminary data released Saturday, sales on the day after Thanksgiving rose to $10.61 billion.
That's up almost 3 percent from last year's sales of $10.3 billion.
The preliminary figures are from ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a Chicago-based research firm that tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets.
While it isn't a predictor of overall holiday season sales, the day after Thanksgiving has become an important barometer of people's willingness to spend during the holidays.
Last year, the so-called Black Friday was the biggest generator of the season.
|Holiday Home Safety|
Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don't give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits. Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child's exploring hands.
Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separate, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots.
Keep a laminated list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222.
Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child's stress levels. Trying to stick to your child's usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.
Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.