Showing a drop to the lowest levels in more than nine years, home sales are finally starting to rise above record lows. Home prices have also risen by the smallest amount seen in about eight years. The cause continues to be coronavirus, which still has people largely unwilling to get out and look at homes to buy. Some areas are still under partial lockdown. Sales in May were down by 18.8% from this time last year.
The greatest demand for homes recently has been in the suburbs, which may be caused by many companies permitting their employees to work from home. The demand for multi-family homes dropped considerably more than the demand for single-family homes.
Interest rates for mortgages have fallen even lower, possibly making this an ideal time to refinance or buy a home. Fannie Mae predicts that mortgage rates will drop to around 3% and even lower by the end of the year. Since the Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has promised to keep interest rates near zero, it could be the right time for you to consider a new home loan.
The numbers behind the unemployment statistics in May had officially dropped from 14.7% in April to 13.3%. This number, however, may be higher than April’s because many cases may have been underreported. Once July is over, which is when the extra $600 per month extra unemployment money stops, it is not certain what will happen.
The extra money per month may be keeping people out of the workforce because it enables many people to make more than they get while employed. Congress is considering extending these benefits – possibly to the end of the year. If that happens, many people receiving those benefits may just choose to stay home.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to rise, particularly in Arizona, Florida, and Texas. On Sunday, the World Health Organization reported that there were more cases worldwide of COVID-19 than had been seen at any time previously, with 183,000 new cases. In the U.S., 12 states continue to have an increasing number of new cases. In preparation for the resurgence of coronavirus in the fall, the government says that it is rebuilding its stock of supplies.
New York City is easing restrictions as of Monday, moving to Phase II, which lets people eat at outdoor tables at restaurants, get haircuts, and go shopping. California, however, demanded today that people start wearing masks when out in public.
The drug remdesivir, by Gilead, is now being tested on humans through the use of an inhaler. It is hoped that this will enable people to have access to the drug so that they will not need to be hospitalized.
Oil prices today ended at or above the desired minimum of $40. WTI Crude gained 2.14% and closed at $40.60 per barrel and Brent Crude ended at $43.07 with a gain of 2.09%. This is the first time since March that prices have risen above the $40 mark.
The Stock Market
All three major stock markets ended with a gain. Dow ended above 26,000 again, and NASDAQ stayed above 10,000. The S&P 500 also saw gains that were largely the result of gains in Microsoft, Apple, and Nike.