“The stock market saw some big swings this week as emphasis shifted away from Bernanke’s remarks regarding the future of interest rates and toward reaction to earnings. Stocks are still up strongly for the year and a little midsummer pause is to be expected. However after starting off Friday in the doldrums, the Dow finished strong at 15558.83 up .17% from last week’s 15,543.74. The NASDAQ also saw an afternoon uptick, ending the week at 3,613.16 up .49% from last week’s 3587.61. After hitting several records recently the S&P 500 dipped on Expedia’s earnings but rallied to close out the week down just .11% on the week ending at 1.691.85 after last week’s 1692.09 close. The 10-year treasury note yield rate this week closed out at 2.58% up from last week’s 2.5% close. Oil ended the week just under $105 a barrel, the first weekly decline since mid-June.
While the national jobless rate also was the same as in May, holding steady at 7.6% , once again California showed continued improvement. The California jobless rate has fallen 2.1 percentage points in a year to 8.5%. California is also second in employment growth year over year, behind only Texas, gaining 253,900 jobs since June 2012 compared with Texas’ 303,000. California was also the leader in job growth adding 30,200 jobs in June.
The NAR reported that existing home sales declined in June but stayed well above year-ago levels. Total existing home sales slipped by 1.2% in June, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in June from a downwardly revised 5.14 million in May, but are 15.2 percent higher than the 4.41 million-unit level in June 2012. Low inventory remains an issue. The NAR indicated that total housing inventory at the end of June rose 1.9 percent to 2.19 million existing homes available for sale, a 5.2-month supply, up from 5 months in May but still 7.6% below last year when there was a 6.4 month supply. The national median existing-home price in June was $214,200, up 13.5% from June 2012, making this the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases, which last occurred from February 2005 to May 2006. Nationwide sales of distressed homes hit their lowest share of the market since monthly tracking began in October 2008; they were 26% in June 2012.
In California, DataQuick reported that new foreclosure filings rose 39% in the second quarter but were still down 53% from the same period a year prior and overall they were held to their second-lowest level in seven years as rising home prices continue to pull more homeowners out from being underwater. Lenders filed 25,747 notices of default during the three-month period that ended June 30. The increase came after notices of default dropped at the start of the year after the “Homeowner Bill of Rights” went into effect, limiting the foreclosure process in California. Notices of default are higher in areas with lower median prices. Statewide, zip codes with a median sales price of below $200,000 had an average of 4.2 notices of default filed for every 1,000 homes compared to an average of 2.8 default notices filed for zip codes with median prices between $200,000 and $800,000 and an average of 1.1 default notices in areas with median prices above $800,000.
This week the Commerce Department announced that sales of new homes rose 8.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 497,000, the highest rate since May 2008. Sales are still lower than the 700,000 number that is seen to be an indicator of healthy markets but sales of new homes have risen 38% in the past 12 months, the biggest annual gain since January 2012. These homes represent just a fraction of the market but this information shows the continued strength of the market.
Interest rates continued their journey downward toward more stabilized numbers. The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed a 30-year fixed rate at 4.31% down from last week’s 4.37% while the 15-year fixed is at 3.39% a slight dip from last week’s 3.41%. This puts them more in range with the start of the month when the 30-year fixed was at 4.29% and the 15-year fixed was at 3.39%. This time last year the survey showed a 30-year fixed rate of 3.49% and a 15-year fixed rate of 2.8%. That being said they were up a little today and yesterday, so next weeks average will likely be higher.
It looks like we are finally starting to see an uptick in inventory levels and possibly some signs of the red hot market beginning to slow a little. While this is being blamed on higher interest rates it is also something that begins to happen historically beginning this time of year. Perhaps we are about to see price increases at a more gradual level. I’d expect to begin seeing rapid increases again beginning next February.”
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