Last Week’s Economic News in Review

January 27, 2021
Existing home sales grew, as did housing starts. Meanwhile, layoffs declined, but remained at extremely high levels. 

Existing Home Sales 

Existing home sales rebounded in December with transactions of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops ticking up 0.7 percent from November to an annual rate of 6.76 million, according to last week’s report from the National Association of Realtors. 

“Home sales rose in December, and for 2020 as a whole, we saw sales perform at their highest levels since 2006, despite the pandemic,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun noted in comments accompanying NAR’s report. “What’s even better is that this momentum is likely to carry into the new year, with more buyers expected to enter the market.” 

Looking at price, December’s median price for all existing homes of all types was $309,800, which marked a 12.9 percent increase over December 2019’s median price of $274,500. This was the 106th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. 

The number of existing homes for sale at the end of December dropped to 1.07 million units, which represented a 1.9-month supply at December’s sales pace. December’s inventory was 16.4 percent below November’s and 23 percent below December 2019’s supply of 1.39 million units.
Housing Starts 

Starts on the construction of private housing in December reached an annual rate of 1.669 million, which was 5.8 percent over November’s rate of 1.578 million, according to last week’s report from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. When compared to the same period a year ago, this was 5.2 percent higher than December 2019’s pace of 1.587 million. 

Most notably, starts on single-family homes shot up to an annual rate of 1.338 million in December, which was 12 percent over November’s pace of 1.195 million. This was the highest increase since 2006 and further proof that while COVID-19 caused pandemonium in other sectors of the U.S. economy, housing remained surprisingly robust. 

“We expect single-family construction to move up 9 percent in 2021 – a much-needed relief valve for homebuyers,” Danielle Hale, chief economist at, remarked to HousingWire. “While buyer demand has slowed since December, it remains notably higher than one year ago, giving builders a strong incentive to keep building.” 

Stars on buildings with five units or more dropped to a rate of 312,000 in December, which was 15.2 percent lower than November’s rate of 368,000.
Initial Jobless Claims 

First-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by recently unemployed Americans during the week ending January 16th declined to 900,000, which was 26,000 claims down from the preceding week’s total of 926,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week. 

The four-week moving average – regarded as a more reliable measure of jobless claims – grew to 848,000 claims, which was 23,500 claims over the previous week’s average of 824,500. 

To give an idea of how bad layoffs continue to be, initial claims for this same period a year ago totaled just 282,000 (consistent weekly claims below 300,000 indicates a growing job market). 

“It’s staggering, and it was worse than I thought,” Diane Swonk, chief economist for accounting firm Grant Thornton, told the New York Times. “This makes stimulus more urgent.”
This week, we can expect::Tuesday – Consumer confidence for January from The Conference Board.Wednesday – Durable goods order for December from the Census Bureaus.Thursday – Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration; new home sales for December from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development; fourth-quarter GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis; leading economic indicators for December from The Conference Board.Friday – Personal incomes and spending for December from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Thank you, Randy Tickle!
Officer, Mortgage Banker
Office: (303) 318-6066

Oh, by the way ®…if you know of someone who would appreciate the level of service I provide, please call me with their name and contact information. I’ll be happy to follow up and take great care of them.

Design Trends to Try in 2021

January 12, 2021


In 2020, people spent on average 10-20% more time at home than in previous years.  As people find themselves at home more, many have invested in home improvement projects, new furnishings, and updated decor. The beginning of 2021 is the perfect time for homeowners to update the interior design of their homes and energize their spaces in preparation for another unprecedented year. From Cottagecore to Industrial Stylings, here are some of our favorite trending design styles to try to make your home more comfortable, stylish, and easy to manage this coming year.

Industrial Style Decor

According to Kobi Karp, principal designer and founder of Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design, industrial style decor is expected to rise in popularity this year. Industrial style decor is defined by a bold contrast between modern luxuries and timeworn, traditional design elements. Inspired by the lofty look of warehouses, industrial design is often marked by exposed stonework, high ceilings, wood and metal furnishings, and the use of salvaged or recycled materials. Minimalist decor and neutral colors seamlessly blend these contrasting elements to make a unique space that inspires creativity. To play into this style, focus on spotlighting exposed piping and brickwork and incorporate wood and metal as primary materials while placing vintage furniture carefully to highlight open spaces.

Cottagecore Style Decor

With the uncertainty that 2020 brought upon us all, many are seeking comfort in the idyllic rural atmosphere of Cottagecore style homes, distinguished by vintage character details that invoke nostalgia for simpler times. Cottagecore usually works best in homes that already have unique features like exposed beams, original floorboards, or paneled walls. These architectural features are combined with a muted pastel palette and carefully curated antiques and vintage items to design a home that celebrates pastoral life. The best place to start when transforming your home into the perfect Cottagecore hideaway is by re-flooring with warm, weathered-looking wood that creates a peaceful ambiance. Choose rustic furniture pieces made of natural materials and antiques to build on this atmosphere. Dried flowers, floral patterns, and soft cotton/wool fabrics tie together the room into a cozy oasis free from the bustle of modern life. 

Multipurpose Spaces

As COVID-19 has significantly increased rates of remote work and virtual learning, makeshift home offices and classrooms have become a necessity in many homes. With limited space, many homeowners have been reinventing rooms to serve more than one purpose. When creating a functional and organized multipurpose room, it’s essential homeowners take advantage of limited space. L-shaped furniture or shelving units are an easy way to store items in previously unused space and open up the rest of the room. Expanding vertically by using walls for storage will also increase the square footage available in a multipurpose room. 

Durable and Easy to Clean Materials

COVID-19 has also emphasized the importance of cleanly and healthy practices in the home to prevent the spread of germs. Designers predict that in 2021 there will be a resurgence of easy-to-clean materials such as glass and metal to make homeowner’s increased cleaning habits less time-consuming. Homeowners are also more likely to invest in antimicrobial materials like linoleum flooring or materials like stainless steel that can be cleaned with just soap and water. Further, kid-friendly and durable materials designed to resist stains are predicted to become even more popular as remote learning causes children to spend more time at home than ever before. As the pandemic continues into 2021, the increased investment in these materials is unlikely to change. 

Natural Materials

Natural materials saw a renewed interest in 2020 which will more than likely continue well into 2021. Designers have predicted that wood will be the most sought after material this coming year. Jute, leather, and ceramic will retain their popularity as well. When choosing what natural materials to use, reflect on your own personal style, and select materials you identify with most. Using wood furniture or wood accents is the easiest way to incorporate natural materials. Choosing marble or stone as primary materials helps to create a more luxurious atmosphere that still highlights the natural beauty of the material. Add depth and texture to any room simply by layering the natural finishes of different materials and adding live plants to bring nature indoors.