Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.
- Rates, including those for mortgage loans, hovered near historic lows in 2019 and helped propel the stock market to record highs. Stocks in 2019 gained almost 29%, the most since 2013.
- Confidence among consumers climbed to the highest level in 5 months in December, as Americans grew more optimistic about the economy and their personal finances.
- Jobless claims dropped to a 4-week low at the end of last year, the latest signs that the labor market remains robust. This was the 3rd straight drop in unemployment filings.
- The Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rose 3.3% year-over-year in October, rising from September's pace. Prices are 15% higher than the last peak in July 2006.
- The Federal Housing Finance Agency also released data supporting higher home prices, with a 0.2% increase month-over-month in October and a 5% increase year-over-year.
- Estimated October construction spending of $1.29 billion was 1.1% higher than the previous year. Single-family housing starts were up 2% over September.