Foreclosure activity declines. Builder confidence remains high. Fed Chair Powell says that U.S. unemployment to decline further.

Foreclosure activity continues to decline and is down significantly from the peak seen in early 2010. ATTOM Data Solutions reports that there were 362,275 properties with foreclosure filings, default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions in the first half of 2018, down 15% from the same period last year. In addition, foreclosure filings are down a whopping 78% from the 1,654,634 filed in the first six months of 2010. The report went on to reveal that properties foreclosed in the second quarter of 2018 took an average of 720 days from the first public foreclosure notice to complete the foreclosure process.

Builder confidence remained elevated in July for newly-built single-family homes, reports the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The NAHB Housing Market Index was unchanged this month at 68 where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good rather than poor. “Consumer demand for single-family homes is holding strong this summer, buoyed by steady job growth, income gains and low unemployment in many parts of the country,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La.

Fed Chair Powell is testifying on the state of the U.S. economy this morning in front of the Senate Banking Committee. Mr. Powell says that that gradual increases to the Fed Funds Rate is necessary while second quarter 2018 economic growth is considerably stronger than the first quarter. Mr. Powell sees solid economic growth abroad and U.S. unemployment declining further. Wage growth has been trending higher, but is not causing high inflation.