Economic update for the week ending January 21, 2017

Stocks up on Inauguration Day – Stocks rose Friday after dropping steadily during the week. Even with Friday’s gains, stock markets ended the week lower. The DOW Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 19,827.25, down from last week’s close of 19,885.73. The S&P 500 ended the week at 2,271.32, unchanged from its close of 2,274.64 last week. The NASDAQ closed the week at 5,555.33, down from last week’s close of 5,574.12.

U.S. Treasury Bond yields – Treasury bond yields rose this week. The 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond closed the week yielding 2.48%, up from 2.40% last Friday. The 30-year Treasury Bond yield closed the week at 3.05%, up from 2.99% last week. Mortgage rates follow bond yields, so we watch treasury bonds closely.

Mortgage rates – The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on January 19, 2017 revealed that average mortgage rates from lenders surveyed for the most popular mortgage products were as follows: The 30-year fixed rate average was 4.09%. The 15-year fixed average rate was 3.34%. The 5/1 ARM average rate was 3.21%. Rates rose near the end of the week. They should be about 1/8% higher in next week’s survey.

California home sales and prices up in December – The California Association of Realtors reported that December’s statewide median price was $509,960, up 3.9% from last December’s median of $489,770. For the year, the median price was $502,250, up 5.4% from 2015’s median price. For 2016, preliminary figures had 416,250 existing homes sold, up 1.7% from 2015’s 409,410 existing homes sold. Existing home sales include all attached and detached re-sale single family homes reported as closed escrow to MLS systems throughout California. Very concerning was the unsold inventory index. It showed that there is only a 2.6 month supply of homes on the market. A normal market has a 6 to 7 month supply.

California unemployment rate drops to 5.2% – The California Employment Development Department reported that California employers added 3,700 net new jobs in December. It was a solid year with the state adding 383,900 new jobs in 2016. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.2%, down from 5.9% last December. Los Angeles County had even stronger results. The county’s employers added 58,600 net new jobs in 2016. The L.A. County unemployment rate ended the year at 5%, down from 6% at the end of 2015.

Have a great weekend!