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Money Matters Blog

Monday, November 24, 2014

Be Thankful, and Opportunistic, With Your Finances this Holiday Season

This holiday season, Michigan households have many things to be thankful for when it comes to their finances.

“Despite some volatility on Wall Street and uncertain global economic outlook, there’s a lot of freedom for consumers to take advantage of financial opportunities now available to them,” Community Financial Credit Union’s Vice President of Mortgage Services Eric Esser said.

Interest rates remain low despite long-term talk by industry experts of rates rising over time. In fact, mortgage rates for many terms are actually lower than they were at this time in 2013.

Meanwhile, most homeowners have earned more equity in their homes than they have at any time over the past 10-15 years. Housing values have risen by an average of 15-40 percent in almost all Michigan markets since 2010, giving homeowners the opportunity to consider upgrades and renovations.

Finally, the stock market is remaining strong even with the recent volatility. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 all have more than doubled since the apex of the economic crisis in 2009, and were at or near their all-time highs in late October. Corporate profits in the U.S. remain historically strong, and the outlook for long-term growth appears strong.

“2015 will be a year of opportunity for our members because the fundamentals in the market remain strong,” Esser said. “However we don’t know when interest rates will rise and we have been saying that for a few years, but at some point they will go up. Now may be a time to fund that house project, or to consider selling your existing home and start shopping for your dream home.”

“Community Financial has seen an influx of inquiries from its members in recent months related to mortgages and home equity loans given the relative health of the market,” Esser said. “And the recent pull-back in the stock market should encourage investors with a long-term view to consider retirement planning or college funding for young children or grandchildren.”

“No one has a crystal ball, but now appears to be a good time for residents of Michigan to consider where they want to live in the future. It is a less expensive time to borrow money,” Esser added.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, there are many things that Michigan residents can be thankful for. Unemployment in Michigan continues to fall and borrowing is easier now than it has been at any point in the last five years.

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