Mortgage rates are back down to 6.5 percent (low-fee), taken by sudden understanding that the economy probably passed its high point for the year in June. A huge spike in unemployment claims (to 443,000 last week, 60,000 above recent range) may overstate weakness, and today's announcement of 51,000 jobs lost in July may understate, but weakness is spreading beyond housing, construction and manufacturing. The purchasing managers' July survey came in dead flat, at 50, but with the fewest new orders since October 2001, and tailing strength in exports. Second-quarter GDP arrived plus 1.9 percent, propped by rebate checks and the best export sales ever (a weak dollar has its benefits). However, the Euro economy is now slowing faster than we are, and soon won't be buying much (a stron...
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