Home borrowing costs continued to rise this week but remain at historically low levels. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.05% from 3.02% with 0.6 in points and fees. A year ago at this time, the rate was not much higher at 3.36%. It is up from 2.65% on January 7 of this year. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist said, "Homebuyer demand is strong and, for homeowners who have not refinanced but are looking to do so, they have not yet lost the opportunity.
First-time unemployment claims remain stubbornly high but fell in the latest week while millions of Americans are still without a job. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell to 712,000 from 754,0000 for the week ended March 6, 2021. Continuing claims, or those receiving benefits for at least two weeks straight, fell to 4,144,000 from 4,337,000. With more and more states reopening their economies, many unemployed Americans should be able to go back to work.
The $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill passed through the House yesterday and now heads to the White House to be signed by President Biden. The bill will send $1,400 direct checks to those Americans who qualify, unemployment assistance, small business aid, vaccination funds, state and local government aid, funds for arts and humanities, COVID funds along with aid to Amtrak. This being the fifth relief package since March 2020 and has lifted the U.S. national debt to nearly $30 trillion.