Rocket Fuel Newsletter – 11/25/23

close up of male hands with newspaper and coffee

You may have messed up at your job, but has your error ever been visible to the entire planet? Astronauts aboard the International Space Station dropped a toolbox during a spacewalk earlier this month, and it’s so reflective that you can see it with binoculars from Earth. 

In this edition: Turkey Day statistics to gobble down and the everything you need to discuss the likelihood of a December rate hike at the Thanksgiving dinner table. 

Fuel Up! 🚀

Thanksgiving Facts For Any Table 
Many will make their way to Flavortown on Thursday, but how many are going to take the gravy train to their nearest Turkey Town or Cranberry City? 🦃 

Record Low Home Vacancy Rates 
Census Bureau data on homeowner vacancy shows that rates have stayed at all-time lows while rental vacancies have been increasing. Fewer people wanting to rent in a market with record-low housing inventory has undoubtedly contributed to rising home prices nationwide.

Who’s Job Is It Anyway? 
Three CEOs in three days ... everything okay over at OpenAI? 

As of this writing, former CEO Sam Altman, interim CEO Mira Murati, and current holder of the role Emmett Shear have all held the CEO role at one of the world’s premier AI companies between Friday and Monday. Meanwhile, Altman has been hired at Microsoft, and the OpenAI board is considering suing the board over Altman’s firing. 

No word yet if OpenAI will make another change if they find a good Cyber Monday deal on a new or used CEO online. 

Nicole Thornton, Motto Mortgage 321

  • Tell us about the beginning of your career. What got you started? 
    • My background stems from a successful career in banking and finance. As I began to think about the next phase of my career, I wanted more. After careful consideration regarding my next steps and prayer, I decided to become a Realtor. The partnerships with my lenders were great. However, my real estate broker and I noticed our partners did not provide some programs necessary to meet our clients' needs. That's when we decided to open Motto Mortgage 321. It just made sense. 
  • Tell us about some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your tenure. 
    • Balance is critical in life. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Once you understand them, you can manage the proper expectations you set for yourself. 
  • What’s your favorite thing about being in this industry? 
    • As a Mortgage Broker, my team and I are afforded the opportunity to help so many individuals accomplish their goal of becoming a homeowner while building generational wealth. 
  • Why Rocket Pro TPO? 
    • My partnership with [Account Executive] Christie Arenas and Rocket Pro TPO has been a major supporter for us. They are the best. Their programs and efficiency are top notch! 
  • What is your “why”? 
    • My why is centered around two things: First, creating a solid foundation for my daughter. It is important she understands financial independence and how to establish/maintain generational wealth. The second thing is I get enormous joy from helping others accomplish their goal of homeownership.

Indicators of a cooling economy have all but erased concerns for a final Federal Funds Rate hike before the end of the year. 

Most recently, the Consumer Price Index showed the all-items index for the 12 months ending in October rose 3.2%, down from a 3.7% increase for the 12 months ending in September. Last week also brought news that Retail Sales fell 0.1% in October, the first drop since March of this year. 

Fed speakers have been persistent with the message that we should expect the Federal Funds Rate to remain high until we start to see inflation come down. The recent CPI and Retail Sales numbers have helped fuel a recent stock market rally with the S&P 500 Index up 7.6% in November, as investors are eager to capitalize on the potential soft landing – the idea that we could see rates come down without the common side effect of a recession. 

The expectation that the Fed is done raising rates has investors betting on some relief for the housing industry as well. Building permits and housing startsboth rose in October, 1.1% and 1.9% respectively, which could help ease some of the pain of low inventory experienced over the past year. 

While it may be too early to declare victory, the results of the actions taken by the Fed over the past several months are starting to take shape. The Mortgage Bankers Association has seen a 2.8% week-over-week increase in mortgage applications, and a nearly 40% year-over-year increase in applications for new home purchases. 

This influx of data has pushed the CME FedWatch Tool’s likelihood of a rate hike at the December meeting to just 0.2% – impressive confidence with the meeting still more than 3 weeks away.

The Rocket Pro TPO team gathered on Tuesday to celebrate Thanksgiving with a team potluck. A big thank-you to our Rocket Pro TPO team members, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our broker and real estate agent partners!

Players FLEW through last week’s puzzle – 33% of solvers finished in less than a minute, and just under half finished in less than 2 minutes. Chip led all solvers with a lightning-fast 12 seconds. 

This week’s puzzle gets 4 Rockets out of 5. Click here to solve!