Market Update for the Week of February 25, 2019


There’s no way to sugar coat the data. Existing Home Sales fell in January for the third straight month, down 1.2%, to a just under 5 million unit yearly rate. But the big sales problem, lack of supply, has finally turned the corner.

Year-over-year inventories are now up six months in a row. This should ultimately boost sales and slow price growth, which is already down to just 2.8% annually, as of January.

Also encouraging, wages are rising faster than home prices for the first time since 2012, boosting affordability. And homebuilders pushed the NAHB Housing Market Index to 62 in February, up from its December three-year low.


STREAKING… The Dow ended ahead now nine weeks in a row, its longest streak since 1995, the Nasdaq was also up nine straight weeks, its best streak since 2009, while the S&P 500’s streak hit four weeks.

Investor optimism continues to be fueled by positive signs of a trade deal with China; the Fed‘s rate hike pause and willingness to be “patient” about future “adjustments”; and way better than feared Q4 corporate earnings.

Wall Street liked Durable Goods Orders up 3.5% the past year, more signs of a strong labor market, and the economy on track to the fastest yearly growth in more than a decade. Yet some pundits fear recession–though others disagree.

The week ended with the Dow UP 0.6%, to 26032; the S&P 500 UP 0.6%, at 2793; and the Nasdaq UP 0.7%, to 7528.

Bonds closed the week with gains, despite rising stocks. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond ended UP.12, to $102.14. The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell for the third straight week in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 52,000 construction jobs were added in January, up from 38,000 in December. Home building should rise accordingly.


HOME BUILDING, PENDING SALES, GDP OFF A TAD, INFLATION MILD, FACTORIES HUM… Housing Starts, Building Permits and Pending Home Sales are all forecast down a bit for the month. The Q4 GDP-Advanced read is predicted to be lower than Q3, but still solidly above 2%, while Core PCE Prices should show inflation remains at bay. Factory activity is expected to keep expanding according to the ISM and Chicago PMI reports.

NOTE: Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and higher loan rates.


Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… Few Wall Streeters think the Fed will touch rates during the next three meetings. Note: In the lower chart, a 5% probability of change is a 95% probability the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 2.25%-2.50%

Mar  20 2.25%-2.50%
May   1 2.25%-2.50%
Jun  19 2.25%-2.50%


Probability of change from current policy:

Mar  20     5%
May   1     9%
Jun  19     14%
The Jim Passi Team at Citywide Home Loans proudly serves Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia and Flordia. If you are looking to buy a home or refinance, we have you covered. Apply Now to get started.
Jim Passi - Citiwide Home Loans

Jim Passi
Regional Manager
NMLS# 158000

1300 East Woodfield Road, Suite 302
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Mobile: 847-899-1813

I’m not even sure where

I’m not even sure where to begin, so I will start with fantastic!! Jim was VERY open about the process. I had some “difficulties” during the whole process and Jim seemed to handle them seemlessly. We were in contact several times a week throughout everything. He made me feel like I was his only client. Once we found a house, Jim worked quickly and efficiently.. When I refinance my house, there is no one I would rather work with, it’s a no brainer on who I am going to use. With other home purchases, I have never had anyone from the finance company show up at the closing, but Jim did!!! He took a bad situation and walked me through everything from beginning to end!! I will never use anyone else, Jim is true to his word!!

Brian H