Economic update for the week ending May 26, 2018:
Stocks higher this week - Stocks soared on Monday after an announcement that The U.S. and China would hold off on imposing any new tariffs. It was first reported that China had agreed to encourage purchases of U.S. goods in order to reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries. Throughout the week it became apparent that there was no actual deal in place and stocks gave up much of their gains from the beginning of the week. Interest rates dropped after minutes were released from the May Federal Reserve meeting in which they made statements reiterating that interest rate rises will remain gradual. This year a new Fed Chairman was appointment and almost half of the voting members have been replaced. Investors speculated that the new makeup of the Fed leaned towards more aggressive increases. The minutes from the May meeting calmed investors and bond and mortgage rates dropped. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,753.08, up from last week’s close of 24,715.09. It is up 0.1% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,721.23, up from 2,712.97 last week. It's up 1.8% year to date. The NASDAQ closed at 7,433.85, up from 7,354.34 last week. It is up 7.7% year to date.
Treasury Bond yields drop this week - The 10 year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.93%, down from 3.06% last week.The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.09%, down from 3.20% last week.
Mortgage Rates higher this week - The May 24, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.66%, up from last week’s 4.61% The 15 year fixed was 4.15%, up from 4.08% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.87% up from 3.82% last week.Rates dropped Thursday and Friday so next week’s rates will be lower.
U.S. existing home sales pace slows and prices increase in April - The National Association of Realtors announced that the number of sales of existing homes nationwide dropped 1.6% on a year over year basis in April. It should be noted that U.S. existing home sales were at record levels in 2017, so even with a slight drop, although not optimal, sales numbers are still at a robust level. Prices continued to increase. The median price paid for a home nationally was up 5.3% from last April, the 74th straight month of year over year increases. The number of existing homes for sale were 6.3% lower than last April. The unsold inventory index nationwide had a 4 month supplyof housing available for sale, down from a 4.2 month supply last April. That was the 42nd straight month of year over year inventory level declines. The western region of the U.S. showed even better results. Sales for the western region were down just 0.8% year over year and the median price was 6.8% higher than last April.
California added 39,300 jobs in April and unemployment dropped to a record low - The Employment Development Department reported that 39,300 new jobs were created in April. The statewide unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%.
Housing Affordability index rises in first quarter of 2018 - The California Association of Realtors reported that 31% of home buyers could afford to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home in California in first-quarter of 2018. That was up from 29% in the fourth quarter of 2017. Year over year affordability was down slightly. The index stood at 32% in the first quarter of 2017.