TOGETHER WITH

Spiro

Happy Carnaval. I mean happy Monday. Half the world is off today dancing in the streets for Carnaval. The other half is working today just like us.

Sad. Venice, Italy just canceled Carnaval and fashion week because of coronavirus.

Did you see this? Costco might keep non-members from buying $1.50 hotdogs from the food court. I didn’t realize this was a thing but apparently the unwashed masses can just waltz in and buy a cheap chicken bake and giant soda without a Costco card. Starting next month you’ll need a membership card. Sorry freeloaders.

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • Coronavirus is scaring us and we don’t scare easy
  • Italy’s housing market sizzle
  • Housing sales drop, sort of

INTEREST RATES


CONFIRMING LOAN
Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 4.08% 0.11% 4.15% 0.11%
15 year 3.56% 0.21% 3.70% 0.21%

The Lead

credit: powerofflowers

Vírus Out Of The Bottle

The World Health Organization is worried the Coronavirus genie is out of the bottle. The virus is spreading from China to Italy to Iran and just about every place in between. Health officials are warning the public to prepare for a potential global pandemic.

China reported more than 76,000 cases with an additional 109 deaths this weekend. President Trump was furious that multiple infected passengers were able to board and travel to the U.S. Italy shut down public squares announcing its outbreak had worsened to 100 cases. South Korea reported two people died, with cases rising to 346. Japan is postponing the training sessions for the 2020 Summer Olympic.

The most trouble case came from a Canadian woman who recently visited Iran. Officials see Iran as another potential hot spot like China.

Longterm Trouble

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says, “It’s hard to say.” Speaking at the G-20 summit, Mnuchin said it was difficult to make firm predictions about the economic impact and that we’ll need to wait at least “three or four weeks” before we can measure the fallout.

Early numbers shave 0.1 percentage points off global growth in 2020. China is on pace to drop a whopping 5.6%. France and other European countries are reporting massive tourism declines. Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, says the country has seen a drop between 30% to 40%.

Home Sales Drop

credit: getty

Be care of headlines masquerading as bad news. Existing-home sales dropped 1.3% in January but that’s still above 2019’s level. So that’s still pretty darn good.

According to the National Association of Realtors total existing-home sales dropped a tad in January but sales are up 9.6% compared to last January. This marks the 95th straight month of gains.

Hottest Markets

  • The Northeast grew 7.4% with median home prices at $312,100.
  • The Midwest jumped 2.4% which is up a whopping 8.4% from last year at this time. The median home prices increased over 5% to $200,000.
  • The South hit a small growth spurt of 0.4% with median prices of $229,900.
  • The Wild West decreased by 9.4%, but it’s still showed an 8% improvement over last year. The priciest market in the country jumped 5% with median prices at $393,800.

Surprise

First-time homebuyers surprised by stepping back into the market. The under 35 crowd shopping for homes increased by 3%.

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Music Break

credit:giphy

If you’re a child of the 80’s like me you’ll celebrate this moment. The band A-ha just hit one billion views of their classic pencil sketch video “Take On Me”. The song was released by the Norwegian pop trio in 1985, and was added to YouTube in January 2010. This year the video has been averaging about 480,000 views a day.

Sure go ahead and watch the classic video. But then follow it up with their MTV Unplugged version without the 80’s keyboards.


Where In The World

4778d3fb-17ce-486f-82d2-a0c4f1d34127.jpg credit: xantana

Here’s another major-European-city-real-estate-market-is-booming story. Last week it was London. This week it is Milan, the Italian finance and fashion hub. Real estate in the city grew by nearly 2% in the last year alone!

This is notable since real estate in other major Italian cities are not growing at anywhere near this same clip. In fact, in Rome, Naples, and Palermo, home prices are stagnant or declining.

Swanky apartments can be purchased for upwards of $4 million and pull in rents of over $8,000 per month in some cases.

Milan used to have a reputation for being colorless and perhaps a little lifeless. That was my impression of the city when I traveled there in 2006 anyway. But locals say that the Expo 2015 world’s fair market gave the city a boost of life that it so needed and the revitalization is attracting families that will pay dearly to be there. But with rents like that, who can afford all that high fashion to boot? Get it? Boot? Italy! I’ll be here all week.

News By The Numbers

89. That’s Clint Eastwood’s age. The ‘Dirty Harry’ star tells the WSJ that he’s throwing his support behind Mayor Bloomberg. The Hollywood legend calls himself a libertarian.

$3.8 million. That’s what Mayor Bloomberg spent on a highrise condo in New York City in 2000. That condo is in a Trump owned building.

$399. That’s how much it’ll cost you for Apple’s new over-the-ear Airpods headphones. That’s if rumors are true. Target employees noticed new inventory sku’s showing new Airpods, Apple TV’s, and iPod Touch’s. This has happened before and the products were real. Will there be an Apple event in March to announce new products? Survey says… likely.

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