September 24, 2021
- To keep up with the rapid changes COVID-19 is causing in the economy and housing market, the economics team at realtor.com® provides a weekly blog and video update on relevant real estate and economic information you need to know. to navigate the housing market. in these difficult times.
- This week, Economic Research Director George Ratiu talks about the latest economic and housing indicators, starting with the FOMC’s announcement that the Federal Reserve intends to begin tapering monetary stimulus in the near future. He mentions rising mortgage rates, and continues with the latest Fed report showing that household wealth is at an all-time high. The data is tempered by the increase in unemployment insurance claims.
- George covers real estate market indicators that show movement toward normalization, starting with weekly numbers from Realtor.com (released by Chief Economist Danielle Hale), and continuing with existing and new home sales. He talks about the need for additional new homes to balance high prices and highlights the lagging of new single-family construction as homebuilder sentiment improves.
- George also highlights two new reports from Realtor.com highlighting homeowners’ burden of mortgage payments (by Jiayi Xu, Danielle Hale and Sabrina Speianu) and their willingness to creatively leverage their homes to generate income. .
- For more real-time updates, follow the realtor.com® economics team on Twitter: @rdc_economics.
- I’m George Ratiu, Head of Economic Research at Realtor.com®.
- It’s officially fall, enjoying cooler temperatures and changing foliage colors, along with hints of pumpkin pie and brightly colored costumes. Financial markets have provided a scary ride this week, with a sharp decline on Monday followed by a choppy rebound.
- For the economy, the Federal Reserve’s early FOMC announcement underscored that the central bank views activity with cautious optimism and is preparing to withdraw monetary stimulus by reducing its asset purchases. As a major buyer of mortgage-backed securities, Fed actions will drive mortgage rates higher.
- In fact, following the Fed’s announcement, mortgage rates rebounded this week as bond markets began to price in expectations of central bank MBS withdrawals.
- The Fed also released an update to total household net worth and found Americans’ wealth jumped in late June to a new record high.
- On the jobs front, the recovery continues to be a bit choppy, with the number of Americans filing for unemployment rising again for the second week in a row. Unemployment claims are near pandemic lows, but not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.
- Real estate markets remained stable on a normalizing trajectory reflecting more typical seasonal patterns. Weekly data from Realtor.com shows housing markets are at a turning point this fall. As supply pours in, activity is stabilizing after last year’s pandemic rush and home sales appear to be plateauing.
- Echoing our data, sales of existing homes declined in August as many buyers faced double-digit home prices across the country.
- New home sales rose again, but are below year-ago levels for the third month in a row. With prices 20% higher than last year and a majority of new homes still under construction, buyers have fewer options.
- Housing clearly needs more new homes. This week’s new construction numbers reflect homebuilders’ shifts to higher-margin projects amid fluctuating costs, with single-family starts lagging multi-family projects.
- Meanwhile, after tumbling in August, homebuilder confidence picked up in September as construction companies expect higher buyer traffic over the next six months and lower prices. wood.
- The good news is that, even with record prices, for many homeowners this year’s markets have kept mortgage payment burdens below levels seen at previous peaks. However, with mortgage rates expected to rise, affordability will remain at the heart of housing activity.
- Rounding out this week’s update, we just released the results of a nationwide survey of homeowners and found that almost half are willing to leverage their homes creatively to generate income, whether it’s an extra bedroom, separate accommodation, a garage or even a swimming pool.
- As the fall days get shorter, take advantage of the changing trees, stay well, and listen to next week’s update from Realtor.com.
- Find your market trends and download the data at realtor.com/research or follow us on Twitter for real-time updates.
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