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By Fred Yancy, Broker | Broker in Woodstock, GA
  • Falling interest rates reflect need for jobs, income growth

    Posted Under: General Area, Home Buying, Home Selling  |  May 31, 2014 6:52 AM  |  3,118 views  |  No comments

    Falling interest rates reflect need for jobs, income growth

    Bond investors are not idiots, so stick with the simplest answer

    Lou Barnes Contributor

    Many threads, much confusion. Most important, a simultaneous event and indicator: the 10-year T-note broke below 2.47 percent, mortgages to low-fours. The chart could not be more dramatic; if not a temporary head-fake, long-term rates can fall a long way.

    We will know next week. Next Thursday the European Central Bank meets, and will announce new stimulus of some kind. Next Friday we’ll get U.S. May payroll data. A big 24 hours.

    Jobs image via Shutterstock.
    Jobs image via Shutterstock.

    Explanations for the drop in long rates are inventive. The favorite of gold bugs, central-bank haters, and inflation bogeymen: Bond investors are idiots.

    A more sensible thought, but likewise mistaken: “Geopolitical risks” have driven rates down. But Ukraine is suddenly off-screen: It has a new and capable president, and Vladimir the Stupid is in rapid retreat, covering failure with a giveaway gas deal with China. Today U.S. authorities confirmed Russian troops are headed back to their barracks.

    Stick with simplicity: Long-term rates follow long-term prospects for economic activity and inflation. They go down, rates go down.

    The U.S. is in the best shape of the four big global economic zones. That’s why our long-term rates are so high. German bunds today trade 1.36 percent, and Japanese government 10-year bonds are 0.575 percent.

    “Best shape” is relative. All here expected first-quarter GDP to be revised down, but negative 1 percent was steep. The usual suspects still say, “Nothing but weather.”
    The Democrats are going to run on inequality and carbon. They're not going to do anything about either, just run on them."

    We’ll see about that. April personal income gained 0.3 percent, a little under forecast, but April spending fell 0.1 percent. If there is a second-quarter snap-back of deferred demand, it’s mighty thin. April orders for durable goods appeared to hold the big March gain, but the April show was puffed by defense, a one-time order for 10 new Virginia class nuclear submarines, $1.7 billion apiece.

    No one knows what the European Central Bank will do next week. Mario Draghi has been in hold-me-back mode for years (Germans happy to comply).

    The euro bond market is shouting: no matter what, too little to late. The very worst financial marker for an economy is falling rates on sovereign debt while rates on private borrowing rise and lending contracts. European bank lending in April shrank for the 24th straight month.

    Japan is a hopeless case, held together only by internal solidarity, the legendary Mrs. Watanabe refusing to leave the yen for a real currency, the yen rising in relative value while China and Europe devalue.

    China’s newest rebalancing road bump: Prices of homes have begun to fall. The rest of the BRICS are too soft to pull anything, Brazil at the edge of recession and social trouble, South Africa in recession, and India embarking on reform unattainable for 55 years.

    Damned glad to be here! And to profiteer on the woes of others, but be suspicious of U.S. log-rolling. One source of optimism is the stock market, but bubbling to new highs despite shaky earnings and the largest fraction of negative-earning IPOs since the last tech collapse has more to do with stock buy-backs than an accelerating economy.

    It’s an election year, and every left-leaner on the econ beat is tub-thumping the economy to help floundering Democrats. The screwball theories of their counterparts on the right have long since drove away everyone but the choir, so mainstream publications are unusually tilted, The New York Times worst-affected. Monday brings a new econ-political circus: The EPA will join the carbon wars, unloading expensive rules on the nation’s utilities.

    The Democrats are going to run on inequality and carbon. They’re not going to do anything about either, just run on them. CO2 could be deadly, but we have no way to know at what pace or extent.

    The price mechanism since the 1970s has produced extraordinary conservation and substitution, and self-calibrated with incomes. Oil is too expensive for generation, so we stopped; renewables are up to 13 percent, gas 27 percent, nuclear 19 percent. Cheap coal is the tough one, still 39 percent, expensive to clean up or to squeeze out.

    Laudable efforts to wean us from carbon have always run the risk of cost beyond ability to pay, trebly so in a weak economy. At this moment this nation needs jobs and rising incomes more than anything, and without them can’t get done anything of importance.


    10-year T-note last two years. It’s a reach to think we can go back to the all-time lows, having been there so recently.


    For clarity, the 10-year in just the last year. Hold below 2.47 percent through next week’s news, and there is no chart support whatever between there and 2.00 percent.

    Fred Yancy, Broker

    Harry Norman Realtors

    (678) 799-4663



  • 10 Body Language Mistakes That Can Sabotage Any Social Interaction

    Posted Under: General Area, Quality of Life, Agent2Agent  |  May 30, 2014 7:33 AM  |  3,213 views  |  3 comments
    10 Body Language Mistakes That Can Sabotage Any Social Interaction
    by Joe Epstein

    The good news: this great breakdown of common body language foibles during job interviews can help get you hired.
    Bad news: there are loads of other important situations your body language may be ruining!

    Whether you're on a date, at a cocktail party, or interacting with someone you're not completely comfortable with yet in any other situation, the physical cues you give off can have big repercussions. Not only can bad body language negatively inform others opinions of you, but research shows that it can even subconsciously effect your view of yourself.

    So sit up straight and check out this list of 10 body language mistakes that can sabotage any social interaction. It's time to make sure your social life goes as smoothly as that interview.

    1. Beware of Blocking
    "Blocking" is the act of placing physical objects between you and the person with whom you're interacting. Even if it's just a pen or a cell phone, the object may as well be an alarm, subconsciously signaling to the other person that you don't quite feel safe or comfortable.

    2. Hold Not Your Drink Over Your Heart
    Perhaps the most common form of blocking at cocktail parties is the clutching of a drink like a shield. Psychologists have gone as far as breaking down personality type by the way subjects held their drinks, but even less extreme analysis generally supports the finding that holding your drink in front of your chest makes you look guarded. Instead, hold your drink down by your side, which also naturally encourages better posture.

    3. Don't Lose Your Head…Awareness
    Holding your head completely level — both vertically and horizontally — can indicate that you're awake, alert, and confident. Cocking it slightly to the side, conversely, can show that you're listening attentively. Be aware of your role in the conversation at any given time, and tilt (or don't!) accordingly.

    4. Avoid Angling Away
    At best, not facing a new acquaintance or conversation partner can convey disinterest, like you're just waiting to bolt. At worst, it communicates uncomfortability or insecurity. So — unless some sort of bar or table set-up prevents it — face your partner straight on. You're in this conversation, so be in it all the way.

    5. Don't be a Personal Space Invaders
    Unlike on an interview, where positions are normally fixed (e.g., by the placement of chairs and the barrier of a desk), you're often stuck without fixed positions during standing interactions. And while standing too far away can indicate the same things as angling away, standing too close can, however inadvertently, signal disrespect. Aim for around 1.5ft from your conversational partner, and pay careful attention to any social cues they may be giving off to readjust.

    6. Heads Up!
    Just like when giving a presentation at work, looking down in a social setting can suck all the power, all the presence, out of whatever it is you're saying. If you're just having a casual conversation, every point you make need not be earth-shatteringly brilliant. But if you're going to say something, believe that what you're saying is worthwhile, and keep your eyes up while speaking to help communicate that belief to others.

    7. Palms Up
    Hand-gestures are a whole field onto themselves. But for one of the less-covered bits of useful advice: gesticulation with palms facing downward can indicate aggression or dominance, so use them sparingly.

    8. Share the Eye Contact
    Be cognizant of the fact that when in conversation with several people, every time you make eye contact with one person, you are depriving someone else of it. While a multi-partner interaction can actually cure the problem of over-staring (maintaining eye contact for too long), it also requires that you parse out your attention to avoid offending any one person.

    9. Beware the Business Gaze
    The so-called "business gaze" refers to the triangle between the eyes and the forehead, and is said to be more powerful and intense than the "social gaze", the triangle between the eyes and the nose or mouth.

    10. Don't Box Out the Room
    As if you didn't have enough to worry about just keeping your movement positive for the group you're engaging… there's also the rest of the room to worry about. But still: when possible, try to not stand with your back to the crowd at a party or bar. Opening up to the room invites others to join the conversation, and even those within your circle may pick up on the cue and think of you as more friendly and engaging.

    Fred Yancy, Broker
    Harry Norman Realtors
    (678) 799-4663

  • Top Projects That You Can Do For The Summer Season

    Posted Under: General Area, Curb Appeal  |  April 6, 2014 4:15 AM  |  11,507 views  |  No comments

    Top Projects That You Can Do For The Summer Season  

    By Steve Dicenzo

    Now that the summer season is fast approaching, many homeowners  pre planning to do some home improvement projects because of the wonderful weather. The temperate outside during the summer is ideal for doing some outdoor and even indoor home improvement projects. You could even get the entire family to help you out with some easy projects. But since it is the summer, you might want to focus on home improvements outdoor so that you could have those ventures done before the cold weather kicks in again. Here are some top projects that you can do for the upcoming summer season:

    Plan your family's outdoor pool

    Summer is the ultimate best season to work on major outdoor improvements. If you have a big backyard and have kids that absolutely love swimming, then planning to build a pool could be your next big project. You could find several designs when it comes to outdoor pools and you could ask your kids to help you design it, which will be quite an exciting family project. Of course planning would be your major role in building a pool, the rest you should leave to the professional contractors.

    Create shade around your outdoor family areas

    Since it is summer and your family and neighbors will be coming over for some barbeques and parties, it is best to think of ways to create shade around your patio and barbeque area. The weather will give you some time to plant new trees all around so that you could also get in some natural shade.
    Try installing big umbrellas, roof covers for your porch and even pergolas.
    There are many designs to choose from so that you could stay away from the blazing summer heat in style.

    Install new windows

    Summer time is the best season to install in some new windows to get ready for the winter days. As much as possible, you should try to install new windows before the cold days hit so that when winter comes along; your windows are equipped to handle the chilly breeze.


    If you have noticed that your driveway is looking a bit thin, summer is definitely the best season to do some repaving projects. Doing repaving will allow the concrete to adhere in comparison to doing this project during the cold months. Remember not to repave when it is raining or snowing because you will just waste your time.

    Focus on outdoor surfaces that need refinishing

    Adding a striking gloss to your wooden deck will add protection to it during weather changes and will make it look brand new. Summer is the best time to refinish your deck, re-oil wood, scrape off the old paint and repaint it.

    Winter season preparation

    Like mentioned up top, the summer season is the ultimate best time of the year to work on large-scale construction projects. Imagine doing major construction work in the heavy winter slush and mud? Not at all fun, that is for sure. Working on projects during the summer will not create such a big hassle when it comes to installing in new insulation, taking down a wall and other projects that will be essential once winter hits.

    Keep in mind that home improvement calls for time, effort and a work-friendly weather. That is why the summer season is the best time to start new projects and repair the things around the house that needs attention.

    Fred Yancy, Broker

    Harry Norman Realtors

    (678) 799-4663


  • Woodstock is Georgia’s 4th top city for homeownership

    Posted Under: General Area in Woodstock, Home Buying in Woodstock, Home Selling in Woodstock  |  March 31, 2014 1:04 PM  |  12,650 views  |  1 comment

    Woodstock is Georgia’s 4th top city for homeownership

    Cherokee Tribune
    Joshua Sharpe

    The city of Woodstock grabbed a top spot in a recent homeownership study of the best Georgia cities with more than 15,000 residents.

    Woodstock came in No. 4 on the list compiled by financial data and advice website NerdWallet.com for its high rate of homeownership and competitive costs for those who own homes.

    According to the website, Woodstock has a 71.5 percent rate of homeownership, with residents spending a monthly average of 27.4 percent of their income on homeowner costs.

    The study also notes Woodstock’s “quaint downtown shopping area,” the historic Dixie Speedway and the proximity to Lake Allatoona and Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville, which are “big perks for outdoor enthusiasts.”

    The city of Canton made it to the No. 16 spot on the website’s list, with a homeownership rate of 58.6 percent, and the city’s homeowners spending about 37.9 percent of their income on home costs.

    For the study, NerdWallet examined 68 Georgia cities with more than 15,000 residents and focused on their rate of homeownership, median home value and population increase from 2010 to 2012. Census data and population estimates were used, the website said.

    According to the study, Woodstock has a median home value of $188,200 and grew 8.3 percent in population between 2010 and 2012.

    Woodstock Economic Development Director Brian Stockton attributed the city’s success to a number of factors, including the variety of types of homes available, the local school system and recreation options.

    The city’s booming commercial developments don’t hurt either, he said.

    “People want to live where you can eat, shop,” Stockton said. “It’s not like you’re driving a long way to get to places (here).”

    For Lisa Morton, lead listing specialist for Keller Williams real estate team the Premier Group, it’s clear that people flock to Woodstock more than other nearby areas.

    One of the driving factors for that seems to be downtown, where Morton’s company chose to locate because of the “vibrancy” there. Morton said Woodstock’s center has been seeing success for years, even during the Great Recession, when other downtowns in north Georgia were struggling.

    The Towne Lake area is also a “very desirable place to live for all kinds of reasons, the amenities that are there,” she added. 

    Morton said part of Woodstock’s success for homeownership could also be driven by the city’s collaborative work with private businesses that come into the city and spur growth. 

    “I don’t see that these results are being replicated (elsewhere),” she said.

    Fred Yancy, Broker

    Harry Norman Realtors

    (678) 799-4663


  • Are you looking for an inexpensive way to promote your business and help the community at the same time?

    Posted Under: General Area in Woodstock, Schools in Woodstock, In My Neighborhood in Woodstock  |  March 28, 2014 4:57 AM  |  13,238 views  |  No comments

    Are you looking for an inexpensive way to promote your business and help the community at the same time?

    Little River Elementary PTA is looking for local companies to donate items for their upcoming Teacher Appreciation Week Teacher Raffle Gifts. Promote your business and do something awesome for a teacher! What a great opportunity! Contact Brenda Page at lrepta.brendapage@yahoo.com to donate or for more information!

  • Survey: Construction industry optimism hits all-time high

    Posted Under: General Area, Home Buying  |  March 26, 2014 6:45 AM  |  13,332 views  |  No comments

    Survey: Construction industry optimism hits all-time high

    Despite a slight dip in 2013, construction optimism has been growing exponentially since it hit an all-time low in 2009.

    Wells Fargo's 2014 Construction Industry Forecast saw the Optimism Quotient rise to an all-time high of 124 after a survey that was performed in January.

    Wells Fargo National Sales Manager John Crum said this week that a number of factors are causing confidence to rise, including more capital available from banks, more public jobs and state and local governments being able to shore up their money supplies.

    “We do know things are improving,” Crum said. “[Firms] know this, but they seem to be tempered by the fear of another recession.”

    Of the risks to the construction industry, 81.8 percent of those surveyed said “economic uncertainty” was the largest, with 67.6 percent naming “political uncertainty” as the second largest threat. Rising interest rates and regulatory uncertainty are believed to pose possible risks for the industry this year.

    On the other hand, participants tabbed an “improving economic situation” as the industry's biggest opportunity, ahead of “increased consumer confidence” and “improving political climate.”

    Most in the industry predict there will be neither a significant expansion nor a significant contraction of the nation's construction industry.

    “Very few people saw significant contraction,” Crum said.

    Fred Yancy, Broker

    Harry Norman Realtors

    (678) 799-4663

  • Honda 'house of the near future' unveiled at UC Davis

    Posted Under: General Area, Home Buying  |  March 26, 2014 6:41 AM  |  13,338 views  |  No comments

    Honda 'house of the near future' unveiled at UC Davis

    Ben van der Meer

    A 9.5kW solar photovoltaic system mounted on the roof of the Honda Smart Home at the University of California Davis will generate more energy than the home and a Honda Fit EV consume on an annual basis, due in large part to the efficient design of the home.

    A future home concept unveiled Tuesday at the University of California Davis doesn't need a garage for flying cars, according to the people who designed and built it.

    “The house is the house of the near future,” said Michael Koenig, project leader for the Honda Smart Home on the Davis campus. “Ninety percent of it is off the shelf and you could do it right now.”

    But even so, the smart house is quite a bit different from most homes out there. Solar panels on the roof combine with design and internal features to eliminate any carbon energy demand, and can power a Honda Fit electric vehicle with juice to spare.

    Among the features that help the home hit that standard is a Honda-developed home energy management system that uses geothermal energy in addition to solar, lighting tied to circadian rhythms to match what people’s bodies expect, and water systems that take advantage of wasted energy to help cool and heat the house as necessary.

    Overall, Koenig and UC Davis experts said Tuesday, the features make the house five times as efficient as a normal one for heating and air conditioning, and uses a third less water.

    For the next three years, someone will be living in the smart house, and university scientists, along with Honda representatives, will study how efficient the home actually is in practice.

    Eventually, Koenig said, Honda plans to release the collected data and research, along with drawings and specifications of how the house was built.

    “The explicit purpose is to create value to society,” he said.

    Fred Yancy, Broker

    Harry Norman Realtors

    (678) 799-4663

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