Weekly Economic and Housing Market Update

June 18, 2021

  • To keep up with the rapid changes COVID-19 is causing in the economy and housing market, the realtor.com® economics team provides a weekly blog and video update on the relevant real estate and economic information you need to know to navigate the housing market in these challenging times.
  • This week, Senior Economist George Ratiu talks about increased volatility in activity and data as we move toward a new normal. He covers the drop in May retail sales, which was led by fewer sales of new cars and trucks. He also discusses the rise in wholesale prices which is translating into higher inflation.
  • George also talks about the rebound in industrial production and the surprising increase in unemployment insurance claims. With rising prices and strong inflation weighing on consumers and financial markets, George mentions the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it will likely speed up its rate increase schedule.
  • George covers the latest trends in real estate markets, including the mixed new construction numbers and the slide in home builder sentiment. On a hopeful note, realtor.com weekly data (published by Chief Economist Danielle Hale) show more sellers are bringing homes to market, helping moderate the frenzied price growth of the past year. George highlights that mortgage rates saw another decline, keeping financing affordable.
  • George also mentions the newest rental report from realtor.com (authored by Economic Research Analyst Nicolas Bedo) which highlights that rents are rising and have reached the highest level in two years. He concludes by talking about realtor.com’s latest insights into what 2021 buyer are looking for in their next homes.
  • For more real-time updates, follow the realtor.com® economics team on twitter: @rdc_economics.


  • I’m George Ratiu, Senior Economist with realtor.com®.
  • We are embracing summer, with a busy week in the economy & real estate markets. As we transition toward a new normal, we’re seeing increased volatility in activity and data.
  • Retail sales dropped in May, as the pandemic fiscal boost faded. Sales of new cars and trucks led the decline, but as travel reopened, consumers spent more on flights, vacations, family visits, and entertainment, and less on goods.
  • Rising prices are beginning to weigh on consumer wallets, and data on wholesale prices jumped in May, adding to inflation. Producer prices increased at the fastest pace since 2009. Higher prices for corn and farm goods will keep upward pressure on grocery bills this summer.
  • Industrial production rebounded in May, as an improvement in the chip shortage boosted automotive factory activity, driving manufacturing gains. Output at utility and mining companies also rose.
  • Jobless claims saw a surprising increase this week, as the labor market continues to…

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