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At this week's regular meeting, the Fed pledged to keep policy rates near zero until the economy stabilizes. Bond purchases will also continue in support of the markets.

Jobless claims rose for a 2nd week in a row to 1.43 million, after several weeks of improvement. The increase was slight, with only 12,000 more claims than the week before.

Consumer confidence fell more than expected in July, as some businesses had to close again or halt reopenings amid a flare-up in COVID-19 infections across the country.

 

According to Case-Shiller, national home prices rose 4.5% year-over-year in May. Prices continue to get a boost from record low mortgage rates.

Pending home sales surged for the 2nd consecutive month in June, rising 16.6% monthly and up 6.3% from June 2019. The NAR improved their 2020 housing market forecast.

The U.S. homeownership rate surged to 67.9%, its highest point since the Great Recession. The rate increased 3.8% over last year and 2.6% over last quarter.

 


 

With COVID-19 cases on the rise and the extra $600/wk in unemployment assistance set to expire next week, Congress is facing mounting pressure to pass another aid package.

Optimism about a potential vaccine, fiscal stimulus, and economic improvement has helped the benchmark S&P 500 rise 1.4% this year, recouping most of its virus-induced losses.

Jobless claims rose last week for the first time since March, signaling a labor market stall. The increase is likely due to states' reversing course on re-opening businesses.

 

 

Existing home sales surged nearly 21% in June, the highest monthly gain on record. The increase follows 3 months of sharp declines due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Home prices continued to rise through the pandemic, according to the FHFA index. Prices increased 5.5% year-over-year in April and were up 0.2% from March.

Weekly mortgage demand from homebuyers jumped even higher, up 19% annually. Refinance applications increased 5% for the week and 122% over last year.

 

 

 


 

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard says he sees the unemployment rate possibly falling to 7% in 2020. The prediction was part of a generally optimistic view on the economic recovery.

Mortgage rates, as tracked by Freddie Mac, hit a record low for the 6th time since the coronavirus outbreak. Rates are likely to remain low as confirmed cases continue to rise.

Initial jobless claims fell last week, but a record 32.9 million were collecting unemployment checks, as the labor market continued recovery from the COVID-19 slump.

 

 

Construction hiring surged in May, after an accelerated pace of layoffs in March and April. The 9.6% hiring rate was the strongest in the history of the JOLTS data.

After a brief pullback at the end of June, purchase mortgage applications spiked 33% over a year ago and grew 5% over the previous week, as buyers took advantage of low rates.

Fannie Mae reports returning consumer confidence in the housing market. 61% of June's survey respondents said it was a good time to buy, up from 52% in May.

 


 

Consumer confidence jumped more than expected in June, as loosened stay-at-home and quarantine restrictions raised hope for an economic recovery.

The labor market rebound accelerated in June with the gradual re-opening of the economy. Payrolls rose by 4.8 million, and unemployment fell to 11.1% from more than 13% in May.

Fed minutes released from last month's meeting noted a need for "highly accommodative monetary policy for some time," which signals mortgage rates should remain low.

 

According to Case-Shiller, home price gains remained steady in April despite the coronavirus pandemic. The index posted a 4% year-over-year increase, up 3.9% from March.

Pending home sales were up in May, spiking a record 44.3% over April. That beat expectations of a 15% rise, although sales were still 5.1% lower than last year.

Inventory of homes for sale continues to hold back the housing market. The supply of existing homes in May was nearly 19% lower annually according to NAR.

 


 

Mortgage rates continue to hover at record lows, and the FHFA reports April home values up 5.5% over last year. Low rates and strong prices create opportunities for homebuyers and owners.

The International Monetary Fund now expects the U.S. economy to contract by 8% this year, more than the 5% they forecast in April. Negative growth can keep rates low.

Initial jobless claims were 1.48 million last week, lower than the previous week but above expectations. Continuing claims declined more than expected to 19.5 million.

 

 

The NAR expects home sales to climb as in-person showings return. With the nationwide lockdown, May's existing home sales fell 9.7% from April and 26% annually.

Sales of newly built homes jumped far more than expected in May, up nearly 13% annually. After slowing dramatically in March, they posted the strongest May pace since 2007.

However, May's single-family housing starts were nearly 18% lower annually, and building permits, an indicator of future construction, were down about 10%.

 


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