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March home sales down

Posted by sarahebordelon on April 27, 2020
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Photo by Tung Lam on Pexels.com


Existing Home Sales dipped 8.5% in March, but the 5.270 million annual rate was still 0.8% ahead of a year ago. Tight inventories

kept demand high, as 52% of the homes sold were less than a month on the market.

New Home Sales fared even worse, down 15.4% for the month, the 627,000 annual rate off 9.5% from a year ago. This largest monthly drop since 2013 was put to the effects of COVID-19 social distancing and business shutdowns.

In a new Gallup survey, only 21% of Americans think stocks or mutual funds are the best long-term investments; real estate came in as the most favored long-term investment, a position it’s held since 2013.



AN OILY SLIDE… Progress in fighting the pandemic (some states reported weekly drops in new cases, and four began to reopen) raised Wall Street’s hopes. But  stocks slid, as plummeting crude oil prices drove investors to sell.

The price for a barrel of crude temporarily went negative, with demand from motorists and airlines off severely. (Orders evaporate when storage facilities haven’t depleted capacity enough to accommodate new deliveries.)

Weekly jobless claims declined, as measures to support employer payrolls start to have impact. Plus, the President signed another COVID-19 relief bill providing more funds for small businesses, hospitals, and testing. 

The week ended with the Dow down 1.9%, to 23,775; the S&P 500 down 1.3%, to 2,837; and the Nasdaq down 0.2%, to 8,635.

Some bonds ended up a bit, others were off a little, as prices stabilized. The UMBS 4.0% ended down 0.20, to $106.44. In Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate headed up slightly. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.

DID YOU KNOW?… A national online listing site reports traffic plunged in the first weeks of the coronavirus shutdown, but has since bounced back, indicating more home buyers and sellers might be ready to enter the market.



SHUTDOWN DATA GALORE, PLUS THE FED!… We’ll see a ton of reports, all expected to be negatively impacted by the shutdown: March Pending Home Sales: negative; Q1 GDP: contracting; ISM Manufacturing, Consumer Confidence, Personal Income and Spending: all down. There’ll be another FOMC Rate Decision, but no Fed hike in sight.

NOTE: Weaker economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and higher loan rates.



Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… O.K., nothing’s changed. No Fed rate hike this week, and none for a while. Note: In the lower chart, a 0% probability of change is a 100% certainty the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%-0.25%

Apr 29 0.00%-0.25%
Jun 10 0.00%-0.25%
Jul 29 0.00%-0.25%


Probability of change from current policy:

Apr 29     0%
Jun 10     0%
Jul 29     0%

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