Interest rates dipped 11 basis points to 2.88% on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, continuing to hover at record-low levels. The rates may fall further over the next few weeks since the 10-year Treasury yields, off of which the government-backed mortgages are priced, retreated ever so slightly in past weeks. Jumbo mortgages, which cannot be sold to Fannie and Freddie and hence do not carry a government guarantee, are more difficult to obtain, requiring very high down payments and a pristine credit history. The housing market is hot because of the lower mortgage rates, but the luxury market may remain soft due to jumbo loan issues.
Separately on the jobs front, layoffs fell to 1.2 million last week. This is a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level while hiring is picking up. That’s the lowest level of layoffs since the pandemic started. Cumulatively, from the start of the lockdown in mid-March to the latest week, there have been 55.3 million Americans who have been laid off. However, there were far fewer, 16 million, continuing to receive unemployment checks in the latest week, implying that even with new layoffs there are job creations and people are coming off the unemployment dole on net.