It’s holiday week, which is usually pretty quiet.  But while you have a few extra days off work, take some time to read Syd Leibovitch’s market update on all things real estate and economics.

Stocks rise in quiet abbreviated trading week – A rise in oil prices pushed stocks higher this week. For the week oil prices were up 10% after plummeting in December to lows not seen in years.  The  Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 17,552.17,  up from last week’s close of 17,128.55.  The S&P 500 closed the week at  2,060.99, up from last Friday’s close of 2,005.55.  The NASDAQ closed the week at 5,048.49, up from last week’s close of 4,923.08.

Treasury bonds yields unchanged for the week – The 10 year treasury bond yield closed the week at 2.24%, unchanged from 2.21% last Friday.  The 30 year treasury bond yield closed Friday at 2.96%, almost unchanged from last week’s close of 2.92%.

Mortgage rates   – The 30 year fixed rates are around 4.00% for loans up to $417,000, and around 4.25% for loans over $417,000.  The 15 year fixed rate loans are about 3.375% for loans up to $417,000, higher 15 year term loan amounts have rates that are around 3.50%. 3-Year ARM and 5 -Year ARM rates are both around 3%.  

U.S. Existing home sales lowest in 19 months in November – New disclosure regulations cause delays – The National Association of Realtors reported that the number of existing homes sold in November dropped 10.5% from October. This marked the lowest number of homes sold in 19 months. These figures represent closed transactions reported to local Realtor associations.  Much of the drop in closings occurred due to the new “know before you owe” TRID disclosure regulations that apply to all loans applications taken after October 3, 2015, which has delayed closings nation wide. This new disclosure process which was intended to make loan programs and the costs involved in real estate transactions easier to understand, has done exactly the opposite. Not even the lenders know how to fill out these disclosures! Over time it’s gone from confusing to pretty much indecipherable as new regulations have been implemented. That being said, once the lenders figure out how they want to fill out these forms we should get back to closings as usual. Unfortunately, borrowers will be forced to sign something that nobody can clearly explain in order to get a loan.

I hope you are having  a fantastic holiday season!
Syd Leibovitch

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