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Talks continue for another pandemic stimulus package, although it is now questionable if a deal could be pushed into law before the November elections.
Pandemic aside, 6,500 new restaurants opened last month. That's only 100 fewer new restaurant openings nationwide compared to a year earlier, a good sign for the recovery.
Jobless claims declined last week, falling for the third time in four weeks. Continuing claims fell to 8.37 million; however, more people were on extended benefits.

 

Single-family homebuilding surged in September, cementing the housing market's status as the star of the economic recovery. Starts were up 8.5% over last month.
Homebuilder sentiment set another record high in October, despite challenges of shortages in labor, lots, and lumber, as buyer demand remains strong.
Existing home sales jumped 9.5% in September, but sales could be even more robust if more homes were available. Inventory fell 19.2% annually, a 2.7-month supply.


 

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in September, mainly due to a sharp increase in used car prices. Inflation still remains below the Fed's target of 2.0%, which helps rates remain low.

Producer prices also rose in September. The increase was more than expected amid a surge in costs for traveler accommodation services. It was the 1st year-on-year gain since March.

Jobless claims unexpectedly increased last week, coming in at 898,000. The increase could heighten fears that the pandemic is inflicting lasting damage to the labor market.

 

Record high lumber prices are driving up new home prices. Recent spikes in lumber have added more than $16,000 to the typical cost of a new single-family home.

The pandemic is reversing a long-standing preference by renters for urban locations. Instead, rentals are surging in suburban markets, where renters with no commute can afford larger spaces.

Rising home prices translate into higher down payment requirements, making purchases harder on first-time buyers. The median home price is now $350,000, up from $312,000 a year ago.

 
 

 

Minutes released from last month's Fed meeting showed that Fed officials worried a lack of fiscal aid from Congress could threaten the post lockdown economic recovery.

After many false starts, negotiators are making headway on stimulus talks. Stock markets responded favorably to the news.

Jobless claims drifted lower once again last week, after dropping below 1 million in August. The labor market is making headway in getting millions of people back to work.

 

 

COVID-19 has impacted housing markets differently. Some areas are seeing record low inventory, while empty rental apartments in Manhattan have tripled to nearly 16,000.

Framing lumber prices are down from August, but still up 65% year-over-year. Increased lumber costs have impacted budgets for new homes as well as home renovations.

A recent survey by Redfin of more than 1,400 residents who plan to buy or sell a home shows that 22% of buyers and sellers see the presidential election impacting their plans.

 

 


 

 

Consumer confidence rebounded in September by the most in 17 years, reaching a 3-month high, as Americans grew more upbeat about the outlook for the economy and job market.

The GDP fell at a rate of 31.4% in the 2nd quarter, due to the pandemic. However, the economy is poised to swing to a record increase in the quarter that just ended.

Jobless claims dropped more than expected to 837,000, as the slow labor market recovery grinds on. Continuing claims fell to 11.8 million in the week ended Sept. 19.

 
 
 

According to CoreLogic, home prices rose 4.8% annually in July. Rock-bottom mortgage rates and strong buyer demand are fueling price increases.

Pending home sales were up in August, 8.8% higher than July and a staggering 24.2% higher than August 2019. Sales matched a record pace set back in Jan. 2001.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the office sector hard, as employees work from home and vacancies skyrocket. However, Cushman & Wakefield are forecasting a full recovery by 2025.

 
 

 

In testimony to Congress this week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank is committed to helping the economy recover, which should help keep mortgage rates low.

Metrics show consumers pulling back on spending, even as businesses reopen. The decline in consumer spending could be a result of the recent end of stimulus money.

Jobless claims were up slightly this week to 870,000, supporting views that economic recovery could be running out of steam as the labor market struggles to improve.

 
 

According to the FHFA, July's home prices came in 6.55% higher than the previous year. The increase was the biggest annual gain since June 2018 and followed a 5.8% increase in June.

Existing home sales jumped to a 14-year high in August and were 10.5% higher than the previous year. This is the highest sales pace since December 2006.

New home sales also increased for the 4th straight month in August, to the highest level in almost 14 years, as record-low mortgage rates continue to entice buyers.

 

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