Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Not Far From 2012 Record Lows

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/12/16 1:54 PM

Topics: Economy

Both stocks and mortgage rates remained on a downward trend this week. Due to investors flooding the U.S bond market, current mortgage rates are not far from the record lows seen in 2012.


Image courtesy of Geerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for December was strong as job openings surged to 5.607 million, up from a revised 5.346 million in November. The job openings rate increased by 2 tenths to 3.8 percent. The quits rate rose 1 tenth to 2.1 percent, an indication that workers are confident in moving up and into better job opportunities.

Vehicle sales helped lift retails sales to a respectable 0.2 percent gain in January. The central retail sales reading, which excludes gasoline stations, is up 0.4 percent with a year-over-year gain of 4.5 percent. Good job gains and lower gas prices have contributed to steady growth over the last several months.

Last week in the economy:

  • Mortgage rates (the national average) declined 0.05% (5 basis points).
  • The purchase index of MBA Mortgage Applications continue to trend higher, up 0.2 percent in the February 5 week. The year-over-year rate is plus 25 percent. The refinance index also increased by 9 percent.
  • Initial jobless claims having risen to 6-month highs and raising doubts surrounding the strength of the January labor market fell back again this week by 16,000 to a much lower-than-expected level of 269,000. This is the lowest reading since mid-December.
  • Consumer comfort remains strong despite rattling in the financial markets. Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index increased 3 tenths in the February 7 week to 44.5.
  • While consumer comfort held steady this week, consumer sentiment fell 1.3 points to a lower-than-expected level of 90.7. The level fell due to a decline in the expectations component, down 1.7 points.

What's on the economic calendar for the week of February 15, 2016:

Monday: Markets Closed – Presidents Day

Tuesday: Housing Market Index

Wednesday: Housing Starts, MBA Mortgage Applications, FOMC Minutes

Thursday: Jobless Claims

Friday: Consumer Price Index

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