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Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images

Given the latest reports on existing and new home sales and mortgage applications, "housing is the strongest major sector of the economy," says Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The state of play: Friday's report showed new home sales jumped to the highest level in nearly 13 years.

Why you'll hear about this again: The impact of falling mortgage rates, which have fallen 80 basis points this year, "is more than offsetting the wave of Covid-induced job losses, which seem to be hitting younger renters rather than would-be homebuyers," Shepherdson writes in a note to clients.

  • He notes that sales rose across the country in June, despite the resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

By the numbers: Applications for mortgages to purchase a house dropped sharply after the pandemic outbreak, "but all the lost ground has been recovered and the trend is now running some 17% higher than a year ago," Shepherdson says.

  • "That points to a modest further [increase] in sales, and with inventory very low — just 4.7 months in June, compared to 5.5 months in June last year — prices are likely to rise at a solid rate."
  • "The median price data are wildly erratic in the short term but it’s pretty clear that developers cut prices at the height of the Covid crisis and are now pushing them back up."

Go deeper

The sluggish rebound for services

Data: U.S. Department of Commerce; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus recession is technically over, but the GDP report makes clear the most important part of the U.S. economy — the services sector — is still mired in a severe downturn.

Why it matters: It makes up a whopping 70% of the U.S. economy. The services sector is also comprised of what has become undesirable in the wake of the pandemic, including eating in restaurants and traveling.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.