December 2020 Market Updates

December 2020 Market Updates Plymouth Title Guaranty Corporation COVID-19 Vaccinations

The world is in a state of change as the most recent reports are released. Though a lot is still uncertain, there were positive signs for job recovery and in the housing market.

Divided Government Means Steadiness in the Mortgage Rates

During a week of election uncertainty, mortgage markets held steady, as investors expect that control of the government will remain divided between the Democrats and the Republicans which is positive for mortgage rates.

Job Recovery Continues

Friday’s anticipated monthly labor market report revealed that the solid rebound from unprecedented job losses caused by the partial shutdown of the economy has continued.

In October, the economy gained 638,000 jobs and overall, nearly half of the 22 million jobs lost have been recovered.

Unemployment Rate Drops 1%

The big surprise was the drop in the unemployment rate. From a level of 7.9% last month, it plunged to 6.9%, which was far below the consensus forecast of 7.7%.

Vaccine Progress’ Effect on Mortgage Rates

On Monday, Pfizer reported extremely positive trial data for a COVID-19 vaccine, which caused investors to anticipate a quicker return to activities which have been restricted by the pandemic.

Looking ahead, investors will continue watching COVID-19 case counts, progress on vaccines, and election results.

Home and Retail Sales Improve

This week’s additional extremely positive news about progress on a COVID-19 vaccine caused investors to be more optimistic about the long-term economic outlook, but rising coronavirus case counts increased their concerns about short-term economic activity.

Retail Sales Fall Short of Expectations

Following sharp declines in March and April due to the partial shutdown of the economy, retail sales have shown six straight months of gains, but the latest report released on Tuesday fell short of expectations.

In October, retail sales increased just 0.3% from September, below the consensus forecast for an increase of 0.5%. Some investors are worried that the pandemic will hold back consumer spending during the important holiday shopping season.

Housing Market Trends

One sector of the economy which has continued to exceed expectations is housing as the spectacular rebound has continued.

In October, existing home sales increased 4% from September and were 27% higher than a year ago, at the best level since 2006.

Inventory levels were down 20% from a year ago and remained the primary obstacle to even stronger sales activity. However, this week’s other housing market reports contained encouraging news as single-family housing starts rose 6%.

New Home Sales and Their Impact on Mortgage Rates

Sales of new homes continued at a blistering pace in October. Following weakness during the spring due to the partial shutdown of the economy, new home sales have maintained an annualized rate of around one million units for four straight months, the best levels since 2006.

For further information on the mortgage rates and real estate, get in touch with one of the title and escrow specialists at Plymouth Title Guaranty Corporation.

Information accredited to MBSQuoteline.

Please note: The safety of our staff and clients is our highest priority.  Effective immediately, Plymouth Title Guaranty Corp. will be taking the following precautions to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus:

All purchase transactions need to take place at a Plymouth Title Guaranty Corp. closing office

  • If a party to the closing is not feeling well, please contact your closer prior to the closing so appropriate precautions can be taken.
  • We ask visitors to utilize the restroom in our building upon arrival to thoroughly wash hands before entering our office.
  • Only individuals required to sign and/or deliver documents at closings will be allowed in our office. Specifically, closings will be limited to borrower(s), seller(s), agents, and lenders.
  • All pens used in the closing will be given to the client after use.
  • All closing rooms will be cleaned and disinfected in-between each closing.
  • Those picking up checks at our office will be instructed to call our main line and request to speak to a staff member who will plan for delivery to the lobby or parking lot of our office.
  • All staff will refrain from shaking hands before or after closings and ask clients do the same.

Please be advised that our staffing may be impacted during this unprecedented event. While we are committed to continuing to provide outstanding service, we ask for your patience in the face of this pandemic.