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Mortgage Rates: We’ve mentioned it before, but the price of mortgage rates continues to increase. In the U.S. It has moved up to 6.70%, its highest level since July 2007. The 3.69% increase over the last year is the largest since 1980-1981. This has slowed the real estate market, along with other contributing factors. Recently, The New York Times ran an article about the missing starter home on the market these days. The disappearance of modest, well-priced homes is central to the current housing crisis. The U.S. has a deepening shortage of housing. More specifically, “there isn’t enough of this housing: small, no-frills homes that would give a family new to the country or a young couple with student debt a foothold to build equity.” The affordable end of the market has been squeezed out by rising land costs, more expensive construction costs, and expensive government fees. Only 8 percent of new single-family homes today are 1,400 square feet or less, compared to the 1940s when that number reached 70 percent. People looking at real estate these days know how difficult this market is. While things like mortgage rates have a greater chance of changing soon-ish, other factors make the housing market difficult.

Thinking Ahead on Your HSA: As we approach the end of the year, one (not-so-fun) task that faces millions of Americans is shopping for and choosing a health insurance plan for the next calendar year. A key feature of many health insurance plans is a Health Savings Account (HSA). There are a lot of benefits that we’d love to discuss with you about investing money into your HSA. One relatively unknown tax benefit is that HSA owners who don’t withdraw (perhaps because of low health costs) get tax breaks better than ones for IRAs and 401(k)s. There is no tax on HSA dollars going in, tax-free growth of account assets, and no tax on withdrawals used on eligible health expenses. Reach out today if you’d like to discuss how to utilize yours best in your overall portfolio.

What You Can Control: We found an interesting graphic this week and thought it was worth passing along:


With economic headlines and future market predictions coming at us all day—most of them not promising a hopeful future—it can be tempting to allow the things we can’t control to consume our minds rather than focusing on what we can control. We can limit our media consumption if it’s tending to rob our peace. We can plan portfolios and strategies. We can save money. While none of these approaches guarantee gains and risk-free living, they ensure that we’re working on the things we can work on. That’s where we love to help. We are available and willing to help strategize, consider risks and plan for your future. So reach out today with your questions.

Business Briefing

  • Russian Sanctions: On Wednesday, the European Union proposed new sanctions against Russia. The measures are intended to punish Moscow for recent actions taken against Ukraine. The latest sanctions include an oil price cap, trade restrictions, and the blacklisting of several people. In order for the sanctions to take effect, all E.U. nations must sign on, and Hungary’s approval is not assured. (The New York Times)
  • iPhone 14: On Monday, Apple announced that it started assembling the latest smartphone, the iPhone 14, in India as it shifts some production away from China. The locally produced phones will be available in India later this year. Apple announced, “The new iPhone 14 lineup introduces groundbreaking new technologies and important safety capabilities.” (Reuters)
  • Florida Insurance: Hurricane Ian’s damage to Florida residences last week is adding tremendous pressure to an already stressed property insurance market. Ian is recorded as the most powerful storm on record to hit the Florida Gulf Coast. Florida’s private insurance market has lost more than $1 billion in each of the last two years, and insurers have dropped or declined to renew coverage for hundreds of thousands of Floridians. (The Associated Press)