Migration Data, Jobs Update, Inflation

This NPR story interviews Marie Patino from Bloomberg City Lab as she wrote an article that interprets the migration data during early Covid-19. Though dated to the beginning of the pandemic, it helps address the anecdotal ‘exodus from large cities’. In the US, Manhattan and San Francisco are experiencing urban flight (homes sales in Manhattan are down 56% year over year) but data shows that people are moving to other large cities like LA or Seattle that have more space. Of movers only 15% relocated due to Covid related reasons.

Rates – stayed put near historic lows over the last couple of weeks with minimal volatility. A slight upward trend developed over last 3 months. Rates are down nearly 1% on a year over year basis.

Jobs – 0.9M people filed for unemployment for the first time last week. This number, while down from pandemic highs, is still 4-5X pre-covid numbers and higher than peaks during the previous recession. The total number of individuals receiving some kind of unemployment benefits at an ongoing basis is at 25.3M (up 24M year over year).

Mortgage Application – volume is down a marginal 0.7% from the previous week. On a year over year basis purchases are up 24% and refinances are up 44%.

Inflation – the Producer price Index report that measures September showed that producer (wholesale) inflation is up 0.4%. Year over year that is an increase of 0.6%. While still a relatively low number the pace is fairly rapid and could foretell a rise in consumer prices which would cause a rise in inflation. As we know inflation is the archnemesis of mortgage rates.

Retail sales increased 1.9% in September (Auto Sales up 3.6%!) suggesting that consumers were able to save some money over the summer.

Forbearance – the number of loans now in forbearance is now at 6.32% as of October 4, 2020. Roughly 3.2M million home owners are in forbearance plans which is down nearly 0.5% from last week.

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