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Data: NAR; Chart: Axios Visuals

Momentum in the housing market is slowing, just as consumer confidence is also showing weakness.

Why it matters: Year-end economic data tells a familiar 2020 tale of the haves and the have nots staking out their positions in the final months of the year.

Driving the news: U.S. home sales ended a five-month streak, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Tuesday. Existing homes for sale in November fell 2.5% from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in November.

Yes, but: In spite of the pandemic, total sales skyrocketed 25.8% to 5.32 million when compared to the prior year.

  • Median home prices also increased 14.5% to $310,800 from November 2019.

By the numbers: As coronavirus continues to rage, the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dipped in December to 88.6, versus 92.9 in November. Assessment of current business and labor market conditions also took a dive to 90.3 from 105.9.

What they're saying: "The US economy is showing a bifurcated outcome," says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

"So those who are homeowners and have exposure to the stock market, and office workers who can work from home, are immune to recession. It's all good for half of the country."

What to watch: More data points will be added to the economic picture today, with jobless claims, consumer spending, home sales and manufacturing statistics all on deck for release.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

2020 was the economy's worst year since 1946

Source: FRED; Billions of chained 2012 dollars; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the last major economic report cards of the Trump era lends perspective to the historic damage caused by the pandemic, which continued to weigh on growth in the final quarter of 2020.

By the numbers: The U.S. economy grew at a 4% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, a sharp slowdown in growth compared to the prior quarter. For the full year, the economy shrank by 3.5% — the first annual contraction since the financial crisis and the worst decline since 1946.

Biden headed to the Hill as Democrats struggle to reach deal on spending bills

President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leave a House Democratic Caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday morning will meet with the House Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill to provide an update about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, according to a White House official.

Driving the news: The meeting comes as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on the spending bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Sunday that Democrats were planning to reach an agreement on the infrastructure package this week, before Biden's departure to Europe, which is slated for later on Thursday.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
44 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.