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Economic & Housing Research

Weekly Commentary and Economic Update

July 30
“Monday’s 8 percent decline in Chinese stock prices triggered similar – though smaller – sell-offs in global equity markets.  The associated flight to quality drove U.S. Treasury yields down nearly 5 basis points. Accordingly, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell 6 basis points to 3.98 percent.  The mortgage rate has bounced between 3.98 and 4.09 percent since the first full week of June, falling a bit when events overseas take a turn for the worse and rising when the clouds appear ready to part.  With no clear direction coming from the Fed this afternoon, we expect more of the same in coming weeks.

Recent housing data exhibited the same good news/bad news pattern as overseas developments.  Coming into this week, existing home sales for June and the latest FHFA house price measures both suggested a stronger tone in the housing market.  However this week brought nothing but bad – or at least weaker-than-expected – news.  New homes sales and pending home sales both weakened and the Case-Shiller house price indices, while positive, fell below the lower end of expectations.  Finally, the inadvertent release of Fed staff projections increased uncertainty over the timing of future Fed rate moves.”

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