Economic update for the week ending November 26, 2016

DOW, S&P, and NASDAQ all ended the week at record highs – Markets are up 4-6% since the election. Investors have been bullish on prospects of higher corporate profits in the future based on hopes that Trump will deliver on promises of tax cuts, loosening of regulation, and higher infrastructure spending. The DOW Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 19,152.14, up from 18,867.93 last Friday. The DOW is up 9.9% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,213.35, up from 2,181.90 last week. The S&P is up 8.3% year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 5,398.92, up from last week’s close of 5,321.51. The NASDAQ is up 7.8% year to date. 

U.S. Treasury Bond yields unchanged this week after rising about 1/2% in two weeks – Bond yields which shot up after the election on expectations of higher U.S. deficits held steady this week. Hopefully, mortgage rates, which move closely with treasury rates, will flatten out as well. The 10 year U.S. Treasury Bond yield closed the week at 2.36%, up from 2.34% last Friday. The 30-year U.S. Treasury Bond closed at 3.01%, unchanged from 3.01% last week. Mortgage rates follow bond yields so we watch bond yields closely.

Mortgage rates continued to rise last week – The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey, which was released on November 23, 2016, showed that average mortgage rates from lenders surveyed for the most popular mortgage products were as follows: The 30-year fixed rate average was 4.03%. The 15-year fixed average rate was 3.25%. The 5/1 ARM average rate was 3.12%. Rates have increased further since the survey so next week’s rates will be higher. Currently, the 30-year fixed rate is around 4.25%.

U.S. existing home sales hit the highest level since February 2007 – The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes increased 2% in October to an annual rate of 5.6 million homes, the highest level since February 2007. Existing home sales are closed re-sales of single family detached homes, town homes, condominiums, and co-ops. Year over year the number of sales are up 5.9% from last October’s levels. Prices were also up nationwide as the median price this October was 6% higher than October 2015. 

California pending home sales increase in October – The number of new home contracts on re-sale homes in California increased 1.5% in October from last October’s numbers, according to data released by The California Association of Realtors. On a monthly basis, pending contracts were down 6.7% from September. The Southern California region fared even better with October sales up 6.8% from last October and up 2.4% from September. The association uses year over year rather then month over comparisons to account for seasonal changes in sales numbers. Typically sales begin to slow heading into the holidays which makes comparing same month figures more accurate. Pending home sales figures are useful because they give an indication of what closed sales figures will be in 30 to 60 days when those sales close escrow. 

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying a nice holiday weekend!