Economic update for the week ending June 17, 2017

Stocks mixed for the week – As expected, The Federal Reserve increased its Federal Funds and Discount Rate by another .25%. It’s 3rd increase in 6 months. The rate is still at a historically low level of just 1%. The raise shows that The Fed feels the economy is strong. At the same time, a key Fed inflation report showed that inflation was just 1.5%. That was well below the 2% target level set by the Fed. Another report showed retail sales were slowing. Oil also dropped this week. Despite the stagnation in inflation and wage growth, the Fed cited that being near full unemployment a rate increase was warranted. This caused interest rates paid on savings accounts to rise, the prime rate to rise, and short term adjustable rate mortgages to rise. The low inflation report, slowing retail sales, and falling oil prices caused long term mortgage rates and treasury yields to drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week at 21,384.28 l, up from 21,271.97 last week. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,433.15, just above its close last week of 2,431.77. The NASDAQ closed the week at 6,151.76, down from last week’s close of 6,207.93.

Bond yields drop as Fed raises overnight rates – Even though the Fed increased overnight rates for the third time since December, long term rates have dropped to the lowest level in 7 months. Since the Fed’s first increase in December 2015 the Fed’s overnight rates have gone from 0% to 1%, yet the 10-year treasury bond is .15% lower than it was before that first increase. That is because inflation is so tame. The 10-year Treasury bond closed the week at 2.16%, down from 2.21%, last week. The 30-year treasury yield ended the week at 2.78%, down from 2.86% last week. Mortgage rates follow treasury bond yields so we watch bond yields carefully.

Mortgage Rates down this week – The June 15, 2017 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.91%, almost unchanged from 3.89% last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.18%, almost unchanged from 3.16% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.15%, up slightly from 3.11% last week. Long term fixed rates dropped after The Federal Reserve raised overnight rates on Wednesday so next week’s rates should be a little lower.

California jobless rate lowest since 2000 – The Employment Development Department reported that the unemployment rate in California has dropped to 4.7% in May. Los Angeles County fared even better. The unemployment rate in the county fell to 4.4%.

The California Association of Realtors and National Association of Realtors have not released May sales data yet. Those will be out and included in my report next week.

Have a great weekend!