Manufacturing activity rebounded from an 11-yr low in May, the strongest sign yet that the worst of the economic downturn is behind us as businesses reopen.

Construction spending rose year over year in April, despite a dip due to the recent lockdowns. Residential spending was 6.2% higher than in 2019.

Initial jobless claims dropped below 2 million for the first time since mid-March, continuing a pattern of weekly declines.


According to a May survey, 52% of home builders are using incentives to bolster sales. Incentives include paying closing costs/fees, offering free or reduced-cost upgrades, and discounting prices.

Home prices in April saw their biggest gain in 2 years, up 5.4% annually and 4.5% from March. Inventory of entry level homes fell 25% in April from a year earlier.

A recent survey of 1,700 homebuyers suggests they are acclimating to the tight inventory. 41% say they'd be willing to go over budget by an average of $25,000 for the home they want.




Consumer confidence nudged up in May, suggesting a positive turn for the pandemic-driven economic slump as the country starts to reopen.

U.S. retail traffic jumped over Memorial Day weekend, according to cell phone data. Unacast reported national traffic to retail sites was about 25% of 2019 numbers.

Last week's continuing unemployment claims fell for the first time during the pandemic. Initial claims came in at 2.12 million, for a 4-week total of more than 40 million.


Home prices continued to grow in March. The FHFA's House Price Index showed 1st quarter gains over 2019, and Case-Shiller posted larger annual increases in March than in February.

Purchase mortgage apps rose for the 6th straight week, jumping 9 percent over the previous week and surging 54 percent over early April's activity.

New home sales increased in April, defying expectations of a huge drop. Builders have been reporting stronger demand, and builder sentiment rose in May.


Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.



Mortgage rates continue to hit record lows, and mortgage applications point to a remarkable recovery in homebuying. Purchase apps rose 6% last week, only 1.5% lower than a year ago.

More than 8% of U.S. mortgages are now in forbearance, equating to roughly 4.1 million borrowers. However, the number of people needing such help is slowing.

Initial jobless claims remained high last week as backlogs are being cleared, but they continued their week-too-week decline. More layoffs are expected.


Homebuilder confidence showed signs of bouncing back in May, after a record plunge in April. Although still in negative territory, the NAHB Housing Market Index was up 7 points.

April existing home sales dropped 17.8% month-to-month and were 17.2% lower than April 2019. That puts the annualized pace at 4.33 million units, the slowest since September 2011.

The drop in available home inventory pushed home prices to a new record high. The median price of an existing home sold in April rose 7.4% annually to $286,800.


Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.


Consumer prices saw their largest drop ever in April, as the economy reeled from restrictions imposed to control the coronavirus. The CPI excluding food and energy fell 0.4%.

Producer prices also tumbled in April, the largest annual decline since 2015. The data could bolster some economists' predictions for a brief period of deflation to come.

Initial jobless claims came in last week at 2.981 million. The number is down from 3.176 million the week before, the 6th straight weekly drop.


The number of loans in forbearance has continued to grow, reaching more than 4 million between the GSEs and FHA/VA/USDA. This doesn't include jumbo or other privately held loan types.

Homebuilders are offering more discounts and free upgrades to attract buyers. Builders are hoping to move more inventory by sweetening the pot.

Despite the COVID pandemic and huge unemployment numbers, tenants are keeping up with their rent. More than 80% of renters nationally made a full or partial payment for the month of April.


Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.


The U.S. services sector contracted for the first time in about a decade last month, as the coronavirus pandemic brought economic activity to a screeching halt.

Household debt increased to a total of $14.3 trillion last quarter, the 23rd straight quarterly increase. Mortgage borrowing rose by $156 billion to $9.71 trillion.

Jobless claims came in at 3.17 million last week, bringing the 7-week total to 33.5 million. Despite huge numbers, the weekly decline in initial claims is a positive sign.

Over 3.8 million homeowners are in forbearance plans, representing 7.54% of all mortgages. The good news is that forbearance requests are now coming in more slowly.

A new study by ATTOM Data Solutions shows that May and June are the best months to sell a home, based on a study of 33 million single-family home sales from 2011-2019.

New-home transactions have reportedly doubled in the last two weeks as millennials from 31 to 40 years old show an increasing desire to buy.



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