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

 

  • Stocks across the globe are taking a hit this week as investors react to mounting concerns about a deadly virus in China and its effect on travel and spending.
  • President Trump is threatening more tariffs on European auto imports if the bloc doesn't agree to a trade deal. Trump has delayed imposing these tariffs a number of times.
  • Jobless claims rose slightly last week to 211,000 but were still lower than expected. The labor market continues to tighten, even as job growth is slowing.

 

 

  • New home builders can't keep up with demand. Even with an above average pace of construction, it would take 4-5 years to get back to a balanced market.
  • Existing home inventory is just as bad, as supply in December hit the lowest level since tracking began in 1982. Current supply would sell out in just 3 months.
  • The huge imbalance between supply and demand contributed to a jump in prices. The median home price in December was up 7.8%, the biggest annual increase in almost 4 years.

 

 


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

 

  • This week the U.S. and China signed the 'phase one' trade deal, an event that helped drive global stocks to record highs. Talks will now begin on a 'phase two' deal.

 

  • Consumer prices rose slightly in December, but underlying inflation pressures retreated. Weak inflation supports the Fed's desire to keep policy rates unchanged.

 

  • Producer prices edged up in December as a rise in the cost of goods was offset by weakness in services. This reading was another indication of tame inflation.

 

  • Homebuyers were active to begin the year. Mortgage application volume was up 30.2% last week. Purchase applications were up 16% for the week and 8% year-over-year.

 

  • The Purchase Index, which includes all mortgage applications for the purchase of a single-family home, is now at its highest level since October 2009.

 

  • The Veterans Administration has eliminated loan limits on VA loans, starting January 1, 2020. However, there is also an increase on many associated fees.

 

 

 


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

 

 

  • Activity in the services sector rose slightly in December, climbing to 55 from 53.9 in November, as businesses felt relieved by a partial trade agreement with China.
  • The U.S. trade deficit fell more than expected in November, hitting the lowest level since President Trump took office. A reduced deficit could help employment and improve currency value.
  • Stocks rallied this week as tensions eased between the U.S. and Iran. A flight to safety had helped mortgage rates late last week, seeing rates hit the best levels in a month.

 

 

  • Housing inventory recently hit a 2-yr low, falling by 12% year-over-year in December. The median home list price was $299,950.
  • Freddie Mac has announced a new online homebuyer course, called CreditSmart Homebuyer U. Completing the course satisfies Freddie Mac's homeownership education requirements.
  • Statistics show that new home sales are stronger in growing cities. A recent study by CoreLogic shows states with the largest population growth have the most sales.

 


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.

 


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

 

 

  • Orders for durable goods (products designed to last at least 3 years) fell 2% in November from October. This is the biggest month-over-month decline since May.
  • Stock indexes ticked higher in holiday-thinned trading as investors looked ahead to a promised trade breakthrough between the world’s biggest economies in January.
  • Jobless claims fell last week in a sign of ongoing labor market strength. Claims have been volatile in recent weeks around the holiday season and end of the year.

 

 

  • New home sales rebounded in November, suggesting low mortgage rates continued to support the housing market. Sales activity in the prior month was weaker than reported.
  • According to the credit reporting agency Experian, the average American credit score surged to an 8-year high of 682 in 2019, hitting its highest level since 2011.
  • Housing affordability fell slightly in October compared to September, but affordability conditions improved year-over-year. The overall median sales price was $273,600.

 


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