Capitalist Xmas Tree Story, Rates Flat, Jobless Claims Increase

Wanna understand the economics of Christmas Tree sales? Why not drive to the auction house and buy a truckbed full? Spoiler alert – they didn’t end up making a profit but one of their customers was a composer and made a great carol out of it.

Rates – the price of Mortgage Back Securities (MBS) hasn’t fluctuated recently as the fed purchased $27B worth last week. Consequently rates didn’t see any movement this week, continuting to remain near historic lows – 1.125% lower than this time last year.

Jobs – the number of people filing for unemployent for the first time increased for the second consecutive week and is nearly 5X pre-covid levels. The number of people filing continuing claims increased by 273K to 5.5M and the number of folks filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance also increased nearly 700K.

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New Construction – the Housing Market Index declined minimlally from November’s record highs but numbers are still very strong showing that builders are very confident about new construction moving forward.

Fed- the Fed met this week and reiterated they would keep the Fed Funds Rate, or the overnight rate banks lend eachother money at, at 0 – 0.25% until at least 2023. They also mentioned they would continue to purchase MBS & Treasuries at current levels.

Mortgage Applications – application volume increased last week by 1.1% over the previous week. Refinances are up 105% year over year while purchase volume is up 27% in the same time frame. Currently refinance is making up 72.7% of all loans.

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