Mortgage rates continue to hover near record lows as the Federal Reserve holds rates low to spur on not only the housing sector but the overall economy also. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.99% with 0.8 in points and fees. Last year this time the rate was 3.75%. Chief Economist Sam Khater from Freddie Mac said, "Real estate is one of the bright spots in the economy with current purchase demand up 20% from a year ago & modest decline in home prices. Home sales should remain strong into the fall."
Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits remain elevated and rose for the second straight week as the fallout from the pandemic induced shutdown continues to reverberate throughout the labor market. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose by 12,000 for the week ended July 25 to 1.4343 million versus the 1.4 million expected. It marks the 19th straight week of over 1,000,000 weekly claims. Congress is mulling over whether or not to extend the $600 enhanced unemployment benefit, reduce it or discontinue it.
Economy activity fell off a cliff in the second quarter of 2020 as the pandemic induced shutdown devastated the overall U.S. economy. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell a record 32.9% and was the worst number in 70 years of data. GDP is the value of the goods and services produced in the United States. Third-quarter GDP should see a big rebound given the reopening of the economy.