The labor market is in a tricky place right now – millions of job openings and – millions of people unemployed not taking jobs. The number of open jobs is 50% higher than it was before the pandemic. Companies are also more favorable to remote work which opens opportunities. On the flip side, business are having a difficult time finding and retaining workers which causes shortages and halts expansion.
Rates increased slightly this week as Mortgaged Backed Securities continued their downward trend. Rates are up about 0.25% from this time last year.
Home Sales – are up 7% from the previous report but are down 2.3% year over year. Single family homes are down 7.7% year over year. Inventory is down 13% year over year and the median home price is up 13.3% year over year to $352,800. First Time Home Buyers made up 28% of sales, cash buyers 23% and investors purchased 13% of homes.
GDP – the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, a real-time weekly index, measured a 0.5% GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the third quarter of 2021. This is down 1.2% from the previous reading. Looks like the stimulus high is wearing off a bit. Remember that two quarters of negative GDP is the textbook definition of recession.
Jobs – the number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time dropped under 300K this week (pre-covid this was sub 200K). There are now approximately 3.28M people receiving some sort of benefits, which is significantly lower, (12M at its peak) but the workforce isn’t increasing rapidly.
New Construction – builder confidence rose 4 points in October, the largest increase since November of last year. Current and expected sales remain at very strong levels and a reading above 50 signals expansion.
Applications – to purchase homes are down 5% from last week. Year over year purchases are down 12% (low supply and more cash buyers). Refinance application are down 7% week over week and 22% year over year.