Market Commentary 06/07/2024, Market Commentary 06/07/2024

Market Commentary 06/07/2024

Stronger Than Expected May Jobs Data Pressures Bonds

We were initially encouraged by the JOLTS report which showed signs of a cooling economy as interest rates trended lower, earlier this week. However, Friday’s much better-than-expected May jobs report exceeded expectations for job creation and wage growth, reversing this trend. As a result, interest rates surged, and the likelihood of a Fed rate cut has been pushed to September. Those hoping for rate cuts are focusing on the rise in the unemployment rate to 4% as a sign of a subtly eroding economy.

While there are early signs of consumer stress, such as rising credit card balances and commercial real estate defaults, it is difficult to justify a near-term rate cut after today’s employment report. Cumulative inflation has been a significant drag on our most vulnerable citizens. However, the consumer remains in good shape overall. The stock market is at record highs, with a resurgence of FOMO, reminiscent of the Gamestock mania. We will listen closely to Chairman Powell’s insights on the economy and the direction of rates. The anticipated pain that Powell suggested would be needed to bring inflation down never fully materialized. With the upper 30% of the US population enjoying strong home price appreciation, stock market wealth, and rising wages, the loosening of financial conditions may stoke further inflation.

Trending In Real Estate Finance

Smaller banks and creative lenders are making exceptions on home loans that make sense. We are seeing some banks begin to waive income requirements for very liquid borrowers, increase debt-to-income ratio limits to 60% for the right profiles, and accept a credit blemish or two with a good explanation. Given the slowing existing home sale market, lenders who can lend are doing what they can to approve loans. This is significantly helping good borrowers secure home loans that they would have easily qualified for just a few years ago. Notably, interest rates remain range-bound, and lenders remain eager for business, with our best-priced lenders offering rates under 6% for well-heeled applicants.

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These are the opinions of the author. For financial advice, please talk to your CPA or financial professional.