According to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate was up 23 basis points last week, a reminder that recent volatility remains persistent. Although rates continue to fluctuate, recent data suggest that the housing market is stabilizing as it transitions from the surge of activity during the pandemic to a more balanced market. Declines in purchase demand continue to diminish while supply remains fairly tight across most markets. The consequence is that house prices likely will continue to rise, but at a slower pace for the rest of the summer.
Hiring in July was far better than expected, defying signs that the economic recovery is losing steam, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated, after reporting that nonfarm payrolls rose 528,000 for the month. Dow Jones had this number much lower, at around 258,000. Despite these expectations, the July gains were the best since February and well ahead of the 388,000 average job gain over the past four months. So what does this mean for rates? While the jobs report is a good sign for the overall economy, it’s possible the Fed might use it as proof they can keep pushing rates higher to get inflation back in line with their target.
Speaking again of inflation, it appears to be cooling. The Labor Department issued July numbers on Wednesday, which saw core CPI rising 0.3% – about 0.2% below forecasts. The consumer price index increased 8.5% from a year earlier, down from the 9.1% June figure. You may have noticed this at the pump. A decline in gasoline offset increases in food and shelter costs. Markets reacted positively to the report, with futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 400 points and government bond yields down sharply according to CNBC. “Things are moving in the right direction. This is the most encouraging report we’ve had in quite some time,“ said Aneta Markowska, chief economist at Jefferies.
The New York Federal Reserve reported that stress on global supply chains eased in July to the lowest level since January 2021 as port congestion and other snags eased. It was the third straight month of declines. The bank’s index known as the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index, tracks shipping costs, delivery times, backlogs and other statistics into a single measure compared to historical norms. The index is now down more than 50% from last December’s record high.