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

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

Topics: Economy Housing Market Mortgage Rates 2016

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.

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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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