Money Talk Podcast, Friday Sept. 24, 2021
Landaas & Company newsletter September edition now available.
Advisors on This Week’s Show
with Max Hoelzl, engineered by Jason Scuglik
Week in Review (Sept. 20-24, 2021)
SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC INDICATORS & REPORTS
No major announcements
The U.S. housing industry picked up pace in August. Both housing starts and building permits accelerated, though both remained below recent 15-year highs. The annual rate of housing starts was up nearly 4%, but initiations of critical single-family houses declined almost 3% from July, the third drop in a row. Permits rose 6% from their pace in July to the highest rate in four months. Single-family permits were little changed after four monthly declines, according to Commerce Department data. However, completions of single-family houses rose for the second month in a row, hovering around levels last seen in 2007.
The annual rate of existing home sales fell 2% to 5.9 million in August, the second decline in three months and 1.5% below the year-ago pace. The National Association of Realtors said an ongoing lack of inventory continued to raise prices, causing an unbalanced market. The number of houses for sale dropped 1.5% in August to a 2.6-month supply, less than half of what economists have considered as sustainable. The median sales price of $356,700 was up 14.9% from August 2020, marking the 114th consecutive year-to-year increase in prices.
Labor market conditions continued improving as the four-week moving average for initial unemployment claims declined for the sixth week in a row, reaching 10% below the all-time average. Data from the Labor Department showed the moving average of 335,7000 new applications was still 60% above where it was just before the pandemic but down from a record 5.3 million in April 2020. In the latest week, 11.2 million Americans were receiving jobless benefits from one program or another, down 7% from the week before. About 75% of the claims were through expiring pandemic relief programs.
The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators rose 0.9% in August, advancing from gains of 0.8% in July and 0.6% in June. The business research group said the delta variant of COVID-19 as well as inflation concerns could lower the economy’s “rapidly rising trajectory” in coming months, but it continued to project robust growth rates of 6% in 2021 and 4% in 2022.
The Commerce Department said the annual pace of new home sales rose 1.5% in August, the second consecutive gain, though still down 24.3% from the brisk rate of August 2020. Regional differences in sales ranged from up 26% in the Northeast to down 31% in the Midwest. The supply of new houses on the market remained around six months’ worth. The median price rose 17% from the year before to $380,900. Only 30% of the houses sold for less than $300,000, vs. 43% in August 2020.
MARKET CLOSINGS FOR THE WEEK
- Nasdaq – 15048, up 4 points or 0.0%
- Standard & Poor’s 500 – 4456, up 23 points or 0.5%
- Dow Jones Industrial – 34798, up 213 points or 0.6%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 1.46%, up 0.09 point
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