Video: October 2023 Economic and Housing Market Update – News

October 2023


  • I’m Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at® and here’s what you need to know in October!
  • The economy continues to surprise. September jobs data surged higher as companies added a net 336,000 workers to payrolls. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%, not a record, but still a historically low level. 
  • Job openings in August mirrored the stronger hiring trend with an uptick, but job quits were steady. Jobless claims also declined, suggesting a relatively favorable environment for workers. 
  • After midyear improvement, recent inflation data has been more mixed. The annual headline CPI was steady in September after upticks in July and August, and the monthly rate of change, while improved, is still too high.  Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, improved on an annual basis but moved higher month to month.  While reaching the 2% target seemed just on the horizon in July, the recent pickup means we have further to go to get there. 
  • While the Fed didn’t raise rates in its September meeting, it left another hike this year on the table. The Fed also raised its projection for the policy rate at the end of 2024 by half a percentage point. 
  • Market expectations already lagged the Fed’s, and as the projections were revised higher, the market had quite a gap to close. This has put upward pressure not just on shorter-term rates, but on longer-term rates. 
  • The 10-year treasury yield has neared 5% recently. The upside to higher long-term rates is that this change will cool off economic growth and improve inflation, leaving less work for the Fed to do.
  • The downside to higher long-term rates for homebuyers and sellers is that mortgage rates haven’t been spared, quickly climbing toward 8 percent this fall. This has turned what’s predictably the best time to buy for its seasonal housing market dynamics into a far less buyer-friendly environment. 
  • It’s important to remember that reported indexes are averages, so some shoppers will see higher or lower rates depending on their specific scenario and lender. If you’re shopping, it’s worth talking through options with your lender to get the best rate possible. 
  • But the trend is higher for everyone. In order to see mortgage rates and other long-term rates move down, we need to see consistently low inflation numbers and luke-warm not red hot economic indicators. 
  • In September, list price data compiled by Sabrina Speianu notched a second month of gains after as many months of decline. 
  • The surprising jump in newly listed homes from July to August faded, but their impact on the total number of homes for sale lingers, driving the share of homes with price cuts up from August, in line with trends from a year ago. 
  • Nevertheless, homes that do make it to market are sitting just one day longer than at this time last year and for every five homes that would have been on the market four years ago, today’s shoppers have just three.
  • This lack of options and high costs brought existing home sales to a 13-year low, while construction rose unexpectedly in September for both single- and multi-family homes, even as builder confidence continued to fall. 
  • Research Economist Jiayi Xu found that the typical asking rent in September slipped for a fifth straight month, but the declines have been modest. Nationwide the average rent is down less than 2% from its peak and our August rental report found that renting costs less than buying a starter home in all but 3 major metro areas. 
  • And it’s that time of the quarter when we reveal our list of Emerging Housing Markets in collaboration with the Wall Street Journal. My colleague Hannah Jones and the team at the Journal found a new top market that exemplifies the affordability, small-community feel, and solid economic conditions propelling cities to the top of the list. The number one Fall 2023 Emerging Housing Market is Topeka, Kansas.
  • You’ll find all the details and our housing data for download at  You can also follow us on X (formerly twitter) for real time updates.

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