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The latest weekly market update has arrived. Will we see an interest rate cut?

 

Housing Starts Surge

It was a quiet week for mortgage rates. There were no significant new developments with China or Iran, and the reaction to the economic data was small. As a result, rates ended the week nearly unchanged.

A lack of inventory has been holding back home sales in many regions, so Friday’s report on home construction was very encouraging. In December, housing starts rocketed 17% from November, which completely blew away the consensus forecast, and were at the best level since 2006. They were a massive 41% higher than a year ago. The strength was seen across the board in both single-family and multi-family units.

Since consumer spending accounts for about 70% of all economic activity in the US, the monthly retail sales data is a key indicator of growth. The latest report revealed that consumer spending remained solid during the important holiday shopping season. In December, retail sales rose 0.3% from November and were up an impressive 5.8% from one year ago. Once again, the greatest improvement was seen in online sales.

As expected, inflation held steady in December. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a widely followed monthly inflation report that looks at the price change for goods and services, core inflation was 2.3% higher than a year ago. This was the same annual rate of increase as last month.

Looking ahead, it will be a very light week for economic data. Of note, Existing Home Sales will be released on Wednesday. Beyond that, the next European Central Bank meeting will take place on Thursday. In addition, news about Iran or the trade negotiations with China could have an influence.

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The Top 5 Ways to Effectively Stage Your Home in Winter

Depending on where you live, winter can give your home a dreary effect, especially when trying to sell. Instead, aim to wow potential buyers as they peruse through your home with staging tips that will take your space from drab to fab.

Set the scene. While the warmer months may be more ideal for the overall home selling process, winter doesn’t have to be a dead end. Just like every other season, there are pros and cons—and it’s important to play to what everyone loves about the season. Add more pillows and throws to the living room to create a cozy ambiance, frame winter wonderland-esque pictures, and make use of warm-toned colors as much as possible.

Start from the outside. Sprucing up the exterior of your home may be easier when it’s sunny, the garden is prospering, and flowers are in bloom, but curb appeal in winter exists too. If snow is on the ground, make sure to shovel and salt your driveway and walkways. Add some winter porch decor—like a doormat, a lantern, or a pinecone wreath for the full winter effect. Don’t forget about the less glamorous work, like cleaning out the gutters and trimming the bushes and trees.

Light it up. We all dread the loss of natural light as we head further into winter, but don’t let that affect how your home looks. Open your curtains, blinds, and turn on the main lights in your house. The right lighting makes all the difference—and not just on Instagram.

Make the fireplace the focal point. If you have a working fireplace, play it up by decorating the mantle with pictures of winter scenes, and even light the fire to top off the cozy feeling of your interior. Place candles on top of the mantle as well, but don’t light them if they’re scented, as that may deter people from appreciating the ambiance.

Store away winter gear. No one wants to see dripping wet snow boots in the entryway, or hats and gloves lying around. Decluttering is important all year round, but in the winter, these items can be especially unsightly. Make sure to sweep up any debris that gets dragged in from outside. Don’t underestimate the power of a Swiffer®!


Staging your home in winter is just as important as staging in sunnier months. Make a positive impact with these tips!