SLOW DOWN... YOU MOVE TOO FAST." Maybe the economic recovery is taking acue from these 1960's lyrics by Simon and Garfunkel, as the economic recovery seems to be in a sluggish state at the moment. And while it doesn't leave too many Americans "feelin' groovy," there are some amazing opportunities at hand in housing. Here's what you need to know about the economy and housing industry - along with one sure thing about the current situation.
Volatility was extremely high last week - not just in the financial markets, but also in the economic reports and economic outlook. The big news of the week was the official Jobs Report, which came in well below expectations. In fact, in the private sector alone, the report indicated that only 83,000 jobs were created in May - and that number was almost 100,000 less than expected!
Although the Hourly Earnings component of the report came in a little better than expected, the overall report was just plain bad. Even for a market hungry for good news, there was no way to spin this report. Now the markets will have to wait and see if this was a one-off bad report and just a bump in the road to recovery... or if things have indeed slowed down once again.
New data on the manufacturing sector of the economy also indicated a possible slowdown, as the Chicago PMI and the ISM Index - which both measure manufacturing - came in below expectations.
Rumors of a bailout lower the US Dollar.
In news across the pond, reports came out last week that Germany is putting together a plan to bailout Greece. The plan would "kick the can down the road" a little longer for Greece, allowing them more time to figure out a strategy to get their debt in order. As a result of these bailout hopes, the Euro was strengthened and the US Dollar dipped lower. Remember, a softer US Dollar helps US Stocks, as US companies benefit from stronger exports with a weakening Dollar. But a lower Dollar isn't so good for Bonds, so this news stalled the rise of Bonds early last week.
Home prices still very affordable.
Moving from Europe back home to the US, we also received new data last week on home prices across the country. According to the 20-city Case-Shiller Home Price Index, prices were down 0.8% in March. Overall, foreclosures and bank-owned sales continue to weigh on housing - and are expected to do so for a couple more quarters. That said, the housing market is very localized, so only a local real estate professional can help you understand where home prices are at in your community.
One thing's for sure...
If you or someone you know is considering purchasing a home or refinancing, this is an ideal time to see how you can benefit from the current market conditions. Home prices are extremely affordable right now and home loan rates are near historic lows.