NATIONAL MARKET UPDATE
The fourth month in a row of increases sent New Home Sales in August up past one million units a year for the first time since 2006. Sales are now up 30.6% from pre-pandemic January and 43.2% ahead of a year ago.
Likewise setting a record, Existing Home Sales passed the 6 million a year mark in August, also for the first time since 2006. After three straight months of gains, they’re now 4.2% above their February high, up 10.5% from a year ago.
First American’s chief economist sees growth “for the next couple of years,” from “Millennial first-time homebuyer demand…millions upon millions of households,” as mortgage rates “probably remain at historically low levels.”
REVIEW OF LAST WEEK
THE WAITING GAME… Waiting for the rest of the economy to recover as strongly as the housing market, investors sent mixed signals. The Dow and S&P 500 dipped down for the week, the tech-y Nasdaq decisively darted up.
Wall Street also waits for Washington to agree on a new economic stimulus bill. This may be even further in the future, as the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg created a new political wrangle, over her replacement.
But encouraging economic news continued. Durable goods orders kept climbing (to a smidge below the pre-pandemic high), continuing jobless claims fell, and though the road to recovery will be long, we’ve clearly begun the journey.
The week ended with the Dow down 1.7%, at 27,174; the S&P 500 down 0.6%, to 3,298; but the Nasdaq UP 1.1%, to 10,914.
Bonds overall finished a little lower, the UMBS 3.0% off just .03, at $104.69. The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate edged up, yet stayed near record lows, in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.
THIS WEEK’S FORECAST
PENDING HOME SALES, PLUS A PILE OF OTHER DATA… Analysts expect Pending Home Sales and Consumer Confidence to keep growing in August. They also forecast a dip in Personal Income (as more lower-paying jobs return), a gain in Personal Spending, and mild PCE inflation. August Nonfarm Payrolls should grow by just under a million new jobs, driving down the Unemployment Rate.
NOTE: Weaker economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and higher loan rates.
FEDERAL RESERVE WATCH
Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months. Some economists speak confidently about rates staying super low until 2023, but it’s impossible to be certain about such things, so we keep an eye on the Fed Funds Futures market. Note: In the lower chart, a 0% probability of change is a 100% certainty the rate will stay the same.
Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%-0.25%
AFTER FOMC MEETING ON: CONSENSUS
Nov 5 0.00%-0.25%
Dec 16 0.00%-0.25%
Jan 27 0.00%-0.25%
Probability of change from current policy:
AFTER FOMC MEETING ON: CONSENSUS
Nov 5 0%
Dec 16 0%
Jan 27 0%
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