Economic update for the week ending August 22, 2020

Stocks had another strong week – This week the S&P 500 reached a record high. The NASDAQ is also at a record high. Markets have seen a tremendous recovery from their low levels in March. Real estate sales in July showed their highest month-over-month increase in history, and corporations are reporting strong results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 27,930.33, unchanged from 27,931.02 last week. It’s down 2.1% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 3,397.16, up 0.7% from 3,372.85 last week. It’s up 5.1% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 11,311.81, up 2.7% from 11,017.12 last week. It’s up 26.1% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.64%, down from 0.71% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.35%, down from 1.45% last week.

Mortgage rates – The August 20, 2020 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 2.99%almost unchanged from 2.96% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.54%, up from 2.48% last week. The 5-year ARM was 2.91%, unchanged from 2.90% last week.

California existing-housing sales recorded record results in July! – The California Association of Realtors announced that existing, single-family home sales in July totaled 437,890 on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. That marked a staggering month-over-month increase of 28.8% from the number of sales in June. Year-over-year sales were up 6.6% from July 2019. July 2019 had a pretty healthy sales rate, so a 6.6% increase is remarkable considering that we are in the middle of a pandemic. Existing-home sales are recorded sales. These represent homes that went under contract mostly in May and June. The state-wide median price also hit a record high. It was $666,320. That marked a 6.4% increase month-over-month from June, and a 9.6% increase year-over-year from July 2019. The median price is the point at which one half the homes sell for more and one half sell for less. Historic low-interest rates with 30-year fixed at or under 3% combined with tight inventory levels have pushed prices up. The unsold inventory index in July dropped to a 2.1-month supply of housing from a 3.2-month supply one year ago. The index indicates the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales. The graph below indicates the number of sales and median prices for counties in Southern California.