Home borrowing costs were essentially unchanged this week and remain just above historic lows. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is at 2.86% with 0.7 in points and fees. The record low was 2.65% on January 7 of this year. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist said, “It’s Groundhog Day for mortgage rates, as they have remained virtually flat for over two months. The holding pattern in rates reflects the markets’ view that the prospects for the economy have dimmed somewhat"
First-time unemployment claims rose the latest week as the sector continues to get back to full strength. At present, there are 11 million jobs available across the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims were up 20,000 to 332,000 for the week ended September 11, 2021. To put it into perspective, the week of April 4, 2020 claims were over 6 million as the shutdowns took hold. Continuing claims, or those receiving benefits for at least two weeks straight, fell to a post-shutdown low of 2.665 million from 2.852 million. Many unemployed Americans should be able to go back to work as the enhanced unemployment benefits have expired in most states.
Strong economic data hit the wires this morning which is weighing on bond prices. Retail Sales for August jumped 0.7% versus the loss of 0.7% expected while x-autos surged 1.8%, well above the decline of 0.2% estimated. Sales were up 15.1% from a year ago. The September Philly Fed jumped to 30.7 from 19.4 in August and follows yesterday's strong showing from the Empire Index.