QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been." --Rainer Maria Rilke, German poet

... In the housing market we hope this year will be chock full of new transactions. But some question whether this will happen. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Pending Home Sales index dipped in November, 2.5% below its October reading. This measure of contracts signed on existing homes points to actual sales a few months out. The NAR said higher borrowing costs "somewhat cloud" the housing market outlook for 2017. Yet their chief economist noted that the effect of higher rates will be "partly neutralized" by stronger growth in wages and this year's expected two million net new job additions.

Meanwhile, the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index (HPI) came in with an annual gain of 5.6% in October. This finally put prices past the all-time highs set more than ten years ago--long recovery, hey? However, since the National HPI bottomed out in February 2012, it climbed to a peak yearly rate just shy of 11% before falling to its present 5% range of annual gains. Case-Shiller's managing director noted "the current high consumer confidence numbers and low unemployment rate...do not suggest an immediate reversal in home price trends." But some observers point out that more buyers and sellers might get off the fence given the new market conditions.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK... Take every opportunity to build trust with clients and prospects. Make phone calls and deliver information when you say you will and show up for meetings on time. Trust is the basis of business success.