Economic update for the week ending April 21, 2018

Stock markets up for second straight week – Stocks ended the week higher again as first quarter corporate profits began to be reported. Profits were stronger than expected and stocks rose. Profit season was a welcome relief to investors as it seems to distract from almost two months of uncertainty caused by trade and tariff fears, and political turmoil. While fears of a trade way still remain, as well as the prospects of higher interest rates, investors remain bullish. They feel that the tax cuts and increased spending will keep the economy strong through 2018 and 2019. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,462.91, up from last week’s close of 24,306.14. It is down 1% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,670.14, up from 2,656.39 last week. It’s down 0.1% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed at 7,146.13, up from 7,106.55 last week. It is up 3.5% year-to-date.

Treasury Bond yields sharply higher this week – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.96%, up from 2.82% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.14%, up from 3.03% last week.

Mortgage Rates higher this week – The April 19, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.47%, slightly above last week’s 4.44%. The 15-year fixed was 3.94%, up from 3.87% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.67%, up from 3.61% last week. Rates were higher at the end of the week, so next week’s rates will be higher. 

California home sales up slightly – Home prices show year-over-year double digit increases in Los Angeles – The California Association of Realtors reported that existing, single-family home sales totaled 423,990 in March on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. That represented a 1.6% increase from last March’s sales pace.

The median price of a home in March in California was $565,830, up 8.9% from March 2017. The median price in Los Angeles County rose 13.6% year-over-year from last March. It was the fourth straight month of double digit year-over-year increases. Ventura County showed the smallest year-over-year increase in the state with the median price growing just 1.8%. Inventory levels statewide remained at historic lows. The unsold inventory index dropped to a 2.9 month supply in March, down from a 3-month supply in March 2017. This historic low inventory is pushing prices higher.

Have a great weekend!