Market Update Jan. 18, 2024 - Meg Tierney
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Market Update Jan. 18, 2024

January 19, 2024

Mortgage rates decreased this week, reaching their lowest level since May of 2023. This is an encouraging development for the housing market and in particular first-time homebuyers who are sensitive to changes in housing affordability. However, as purchase demand continues to thaw, it will put more pressure on already depleted inventory for sale.” Freddie Mac, 1/18/24

Generally speaking, weekly average rates have been flat for the last 4-5 weeks, after their dramatic decline in late 2023. Recent comments by Fed Board members have slightly dampened expectations for benchmark-rate declines in coming months. Trying to constantly read the tea leaves of Fed comments is an iffy basis for confident forecasts.

Daily average rates have been climbing over the last couple days (though few days data is not particularly significant).

Jumbo rates are running over 7%.

Consumer Confidence/Sentiment is soaring: “Over the last two months, [consumer] sentiment has climbed a cumulative 29%, the largest two-month increase since 1991…For the second straight month, all five index components rose…a broad consensus of improved sentiment across age, income, education, and geography…and is likely to provide some positive momentum for the economy…Year-ahead inflation expectations softened to 2.9%.” Univ. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, Director Joanne Hsu, 1/19/24

Stock markets are climbing rapidly again. The S&P 500 Index hit a new all-time high today. Though the Nasdaq has increased much more over the past 13 months on a percentage basis, it remains slightly below its late-2021 peak. Stock markets are a major factor in household wealth, and especially important in more affluent housing markets.