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Traders sought the safety of bonds this week after concerns rose over North Korea’s nuclear ability. The bond rally helped keep mortgage rates low. Hurricane Harvey has caused jobless claims this week to rise to a 2-year high. The weekly increase of 62,000 was the largest since November 2012. Fed officials have come out this week saying that lack of inflation is a problem. Without inflation, it is unlikely that the Fed will raise policy rates again this year.
After a brief improvement in June, pending home sales fell slightly in July. Sales aren’t expected to improve much without an increase in inventory. Hurricane Harvey is expected to cause rents in Houston to increase as much as 10%. Home prices are also expected to jump due to even lower inventory. NAR is urging Congress to continue the National Flood Insurance Program, set to expire Sept. 30. Without it, 40k home sales per month could be disrupted.