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

 

The Fed met this week, leaving policy rates unchanged as expected. The Fed committed to continue buying bonds, which should help keep rates low.

The 1st qtr GDP declined more than expected, down 4.8% versus estimates of 3.5%. This was the first negative reading since 2014, though not as bad as the worst of the financial crisis.

Jobless claims remain elevated as another 3.8 million people filed for unemployment last week. That brings the total to more than 30 million filings in the last 6 weeks.

 

According to Case-Shiller, home prices gained 4.2% in February, reflecting the strength of the housing market before the economy shut down to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Pending home sales were down 21% in March. The NAR says this is a temporary issue due to the coronavirus induced shutdown, while most of the country shelters at home.

Homeownership reached an 8-year high before the coronavirus. More than 65% of Americans owned a home in the 1st qtr of this year. Homeownership has been on an upswing since 2016.

 
 

 


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

 

A recent Reuters poll shows a majority of economists believe we will see a "U-shaped" economic recovery, in which the economy will stabilize a while before climbing to previous levels.

After the first round of paycheck protection funding disappeared quickly, Congress approved a new $484 billion relief package. It includes $310 billion for small businesses.

4.4 million workers joined the ranks of the unemployed last week, bringing total new jobless claims to 26.5 million in the last 5 weeks.

 

 

According to the FHFA, house price growth continued to accelerate through February, with the Housing Price Index posting a gain of 0.7%, which is a 5.7% increase year over year.

Existing home sales dropped 8.5% in March as sellers took properties off the market. Expectations for upcoming months' sales will be dictated by overall economic conditions.

New home sales also fell in March, as the coronavirus outbreak battered the economy. The 15.4% drop was the largest in more than 6 years.

 

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

 

 

  • The economic fallout from the now pandemic COVID-19 coronavirus continues to grow. Stocks have plummeted globally and have now entered a bear market. 
  • Mortgage rates have recently spiked higher, despite stocks' losing ground. The media will be late reporting this, as most won't see it until next week's Freddie Mac rate survey.
  • Central banks around the world are announcing stimulus plans to combat the global economic slowdown from the virus. The Fed meets next week and is likely to announce something.

 

 

  • The FHFA reminded mortgage servicers this week that borrowers who are unable to make their monthly mortgage payments due to COVID-19 should be offered forbearance options.
  • Due to the coronavirus, NAR has suspended all non-essential travel for staff and volunteers through April 11th or until further notice as it monitors the situation.
  • NAR has issued guidance to Realtors as they serve clients amid COVID-19 concerns. Tips include fair housing reminders related to showing homes and open houses.

 


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

 

 

  • Panic surrounding spread of the coronavirus and the global economic fallout have stocks plummeting. Investors seeking safe havens have turned to bonds, improving mortgage rates.
  • The 10yr Treasury yield has reached record lows, falling below 1.0% for the first time in history. Markets are now extremely volatile, whipsawing between huge losses and gains.
  • The Fed made an emergency policy rate cut of 0.5% this week. This cut to the Fed funds rate does not bring mortgage rates lower but is supposed to stimulate the economy.

 

 

  • Construction spending rose 1.8% in January, the biggest monthly gain in 2 years. Spending on home construction climbed 2.1%, reflecting the largest increase since August.
  • Mortgage applications rose 15.1% from a week earlier. As a result of historically low rates, refinance applications were up an astounding 224% from a year ago.
  • Home buyers are having a tough time finding a home they want, and it will likely get worse. Freddie Mac puts the housing shortage at a 3.3-million-unit deficit nationwide.

 


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

 

 

  • Investors are increasingly worried about the spread of the coronavirus outside China. Concerns over the economic impact of the virus are helping rates remain low.
  • Producer prices increased by the most in more than a year in January, but most of the uptick appeared to reflect temporary price swings instead of an underlying increase in inflation.
  • Jobless claims rose modestly last week, suggesting sustained labor market strength that could help support the economy amid risks from the coronavirus.

 

 

  • Builder confidence in the housing market remained strong in February, despite a shortage of workers and a dearth of lots. Rising wages and low rates are fueling demand.
  • New housing starts fell in January, although less than expected. Permits for new construction surged to a 13-year high, pointing to more building to come this year.
  • Mortgage applications were down 6.4% last week, mainly due to a drop in refinance activity. Purchase applications fell 3% but were 10% higher than a year ago.

 


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