After the torrid run-up in rental prices over the past few years, they are starting to ease a bit. Redfin reports that the national median asking rent rose 14% in June from a year earlier, the smallest annual increase since October. Prices were up 0.7% from May to June, the smallest monthly increase since the beginning of the year. "Rent growth is likely slowing because landlords are seeing demand start to ease as renters get pinched by inflation. With the cost of gas, food and other products soaring, renters have less money to spend on housing," said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather.
Small business optimism continues to decline due in a big way to soaring inflation. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 3.6 points in June to 89.5, the 6th consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. The small business expectations for future conditions hit an all-time low in June. The report went on to reveal that 50% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, down one point from May, but historically very high. NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said, "On top of the immediate challenges facing small business owners including inflation and worker shortages, the outlook for economic policy is not encouraging either as policy talks have shifted to tax increases and more regulations."
The MBA reports that mortgage credit availability fell in June by 0.3% to 119.6, according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting said, 'With higher rates and elevated home prices, more prospective buyers are applying for ARMs, but activity remains below historical averages."