New Home Sales slid 1.7% in July to a 627,000 yearly rate, off for the second straight month. But the housing recovery holds: sales for the first seven months of 2018 are up a healthy 7% over 2017.

Existing Home Sales slipped 0.7% in July to 5.34 million units annually, off now four straight months. But the decline in inventories reversed, coming in unchanged versus a year ago for the first time in 37 months!

Buyers may also be encouraged by the fact that although home prices rose in Q2, they did so at the slowest pace in four years for purchases financed with conventional (FHFA) mortgages.


NEW HEIGHTS... The Dow gained a decent 0.5%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit new highs, as trade and politics took a back seat to Fed Chairman Powell's comments, economic data and strong corporate earnings.

At the Fed's symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell said "the current path of gradually raising interest rates" would keep the economy growing without overheating and prevent inflation from overshooting its target range.

One more measure of the strengthening economy is Durable Goods Orders, up 9.2% overall from a year ago. Gains were widespread, though the volatile transportation sector pulled down July's overall read.

The week ended with the Dow UP 0.5%, to 25790; the S&P 500 UP 0.9%, to 2875, and the Nasdaq UP 1.7%, to 7946.

Bonds fell as investors flocked to stocks, but the Fed chair's speech brought prices back up on Friday. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond ended up .15, to $101.98. In Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell for the third week in a row. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.