Market Update: Stimulus Packages, Mortgage Rates, and Unemployment Reports
With constant change and uncertainty surrounding much of 2021 from the ongoing pandemic, potential COVID stimulus, and volatile mortgage rates, the latest reports share their positives and negatives.
Update on Mortgage Rates and the Housing Market
The Democratic sweep in the Georgia Senate runoff election was viewed as unfavorable for mortgage rates. As a result, rates have risen a little in the last month but remain near record low levels and are roughly a full point lower than a year ago.
Housing Market Rebound
The spectacular rebound in the housing sector from weakness during the spring due to the partial shutdown of the economy has continued. In December, Existing Home Sales unexpectedly increased from November and were 22% higher than a year ago. Looking at the full year, 2020 saw the strongest sales pace since 2006.
Single-family housing starts unexpectedly rose 12% in December and were 28% higher than a year ago.
Biden’s Stimulus Package’s Impact on the Economy
President Biden released the details of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package intended to assist households and businesses during the pandemic. The proposal includes additional direct payments to most Americans, unemployment benefits, higher minimum wage, and extending eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.
If passed, additional bonds will need to be issued to fund the spending, so news of this stimulus plan was negative for mortgage rates.
Job Loss Returns in New Report
Friday’s key Employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics contained news that the economy had lost 140,000 jobs in December, below the consensus forecast for an increase of 75,000, and the first monthly decline since the partial shutdown of the economy. Other areas of the report contained optimistic news about the unemployment rate which stayed flat at 6.7% and average hourly earnings rose 0.8%.
The Fed Speaks Out On Inflation and Economic Progress
In December, retail sales dropped much worse than expected and rising COVID case counts has caused three straight months of decline in this area.
The reduced economic activity resulting from the pandemic has caused a decline in inflation, and the latest report confirmed that current levels remain low. Fed officials plan to keep an accommodative
Investors are now concerned that the trend may have reversed, and inflation may be heading higher due to the core PCE price index being 1.5% higher than one year ago.
As expected, the Fed made no changes in the federal funds rate or in its massive bond purchase program, and the meeting statement was remarkably like the prior one.
For further information on the mortgage rates 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 before the closing so appropriate precautions can be taken.
- We ask visitors to utilize the restroom in our building upon arrival to thoroughly wash their 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 to 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.