Monday, July 30, 2012

30-year mortgage rate reaches new low!

I saw several articles today related to the record low 30-year mortgage rates, which fell to 3.49 percent - the lowest reported in the last 60 years. According to Freddie Mac, it's the first time that average rates on 30-year mortgages have been below 3.5 percent since the 1950s.

Likewise, the rate for 15-year mortgages dropped to 2.8 percent last week, from the previous record of 2.83 percent, which was reached the prior week. In addition to helping encourage home sales, these record low mortgage rates could also help encourage other spending in the economy if more homeowners decide to refinance.

As the economy has improved, the housing construction industry has picked up in the last year. Analysts say that home prices have reached the bottom are are starting to increase in most markets, and home sales activity will follow suit.

If you are ready to sell your house, please contact me at or 320-894-7528.

Have a great week!
Noah Hultgren

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Current Corn Crop

I just read an interesting article in the St. Cloud Times about the strength of the current corn crop, along with

Here's the article, published in the St. Cloud Times on July 3:

Minnesota corn farmers could see strong crop, good prices

Minnesota farmers are enjoying the nation's best corn crop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday. But that doesn't mean it's worry-free on the farm.

In its weekly update, USDA said 82 percent of Minnesota's corn was rated in good or excellent condition. For the nation as a whole, just 48 percent of the U.S. crop reached that threshold.

In other corn-growing states, a widening drought and scorching heat have stressed the crop, making grain markets nervous. In Chicago, corn futures rose again Monday, with the September contract rising more than 22 cents a bushel, or 3 percent. Grain prices have climbed nearly 30 percent since mid-June.

Minnesota farmers planted record corn acreage this year, so there's at least the possibility of a rare confluence of events: record acreage, a strong price, and a high yield. But this week's arrival of scorching weather, coupled with forecasts of less-than-average rainfall in July, have also brought new worries.

"In southwest Minnesota, we're starting to see the signs of moisture stress," said Liz Stahl, a crops specialist with the University of Minnesota extension in Worthington. "This week's prediction is high temperatures and not much rain in the forecast, so we'll see."

But for now, most of the Minnesota corn looks lush green and unusually tall. The average corn plant in Minnesota is now 49 inches tall, or roughly chest-high -- well beyond the adage that corn needs to be "knee-high by the 4th of July."

Said Stahl, "I was out in a field today and it's over your shoulder, so it's certainly way beyond knee-high."

Dave Nicolai, a corn specialist with the University of Minnesota, said that "the good news right now is that the crop in Minnesota looks very good."

But growers remain nervous about the heat and dry weather, especially in the next couple of weeks when the critical tasseling stage arrives.

"If we get missed by rainfall, things will go from good to stressful in a short amount of time," Nicolai said. "This story could turn around."

Because it should be another good year for crops, this should be another good year for farmland values. If you would like an appraisal or advice on when to sell your farmland, please contact me at 320-894-7528.

Noah Hultgren