Unemployment Experiment, Jobs Report, Home Appreciation

Jobless Benefits – about half of the States have ended unemployment benefits early, while the other half are set to expire at the end of the Summer. Many employers believe that it is unfair to compete with the federal benefits and many employees feel the wage they were being paid wasn’t a living wage. While gig job & hospitality jobs are back, there are plenty of jobs that haven’t come back yet. It will be interesting to see the difference between states over the next couple of months!

Rates – improved slightly this week as the prices of mortgage backed securities improved – establishing a 3 week upward trend (good for rates). Rates are down 1/8% from this time last year.

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Jobs – even though 850,000 jobs were created last month, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1%. This is because the number of people entering the labor force and the number of unemployed folks increased. Neither hourly or weekly earnings increased significantly over the last month. Year over year hourly earnings are up 3.6% while weekly earnings are up 4%. Leisure and hospitality wages increased by 1% month over month – many employers are trying to incentivize their old employees to come back. 20M jobs were lost during the pandemic. 13M have been recovered & 9.3M job openings remain unclaimed.

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Home Appreciation – the Federal Housing Finance Agency released their House Price Index for April which shows appreciation on single family homes with conforming loan amounts (typically the lower priced homes where demand is strongest). Nationwide the number is nearly 16% which is even larger than the Case Shiller Index – considered the gold standard – which came in at 14.6%. The Pacific region is seeing 17.6% appreciation.

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Sales – home sales remain strong. The number of signed contracts for home sales were up 8% in the month of May and are up 13.1% year over year.

Mortgage Applications – applications for purchases are down 5% week over week, and 17% year over year. Refinances are down 8% from the previous week and 15% from the previous year.

Forbearance – the share of mortgage loans in forbearance is approximately 3.91% with an estimate of 2M homeowners in forbearance plans. Of these homeowners 24% in forbearance plans have continued to make their payments. Of different loan types, folks with conventional loans have the lowest rate of forbearance at 2%.

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