Interest rates inched up slightly, to 3.02% on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, but they are essentially at near-record-low levels. The rates may fall a bit over the next few weeks since the 10-year Treasury yields, off of which the government-backed mortgages are priced, retreated ever so slightly over the past four 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 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 are still happening with 1.4 million new filers for unemployment insurance. It is an increase of 110,000 from the prior week as perhaps the re-closing of business activity in some states (such as no indoor dining) is contributing to more layoffs. Cumulatively, from the start of the lockdown in mid-March to the latest week, there have been 52.7 million Americans who have been laid off. However, there were far fewer, 16.2 million, continuing to receive unemployment checks in the latest week, implying even with fresh layoffs there are job creations and people are coming off the unemployment dole on net.



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