Weekly Economic Review: Purchase & Refinance Applications Climb Alongside Mortgage Rates

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/21/18 10:58 AM

Topics: Economy

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate climbed past 4 percent for the first time in 26 weeks, housing starts ended the year with a steep drop, and home builders continue to express confidence in the market as homebuyer traffic builds.

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Housing Starts

December’s housing starts saw a sharp drop, falling 8.2 percent to a 1.192 million annualized rate. In the single-family sector, starts were down 11.8 percent, which offset the 1.4 percent gain in multi-family homes.

On the other hand, permits were strong in the month, holding steady at a 1.302 million annualized rate. Permits were up 1.8 percent for single-family homes. Completions jumped 4.3 percent, adding new supply to December’s market.

Housing Market Index                         

Though the index dropped 2 points to a level of 72 in January, sentiment remains strong amongst home builders. A key positive of the report was the traffic component which stood at 54 after reaching a 13-year high of 58 in December.

This week in the economy:

  • As of January 18th, the 30-year average fixed rate jumped to 4.04 percent with 0.6 points, according to Freddie Mac.
  • In the week of January 17th, purchase applications rose a seasonally adjusted 3 percent and refinance applications rose 4 percent.
  • In the week of December 13th, initial jobless claims saw a steep decline of 41,000 to 220,000, the lowest reading in 45 years. Six states and two territories were estimated, and the 4-week average was much less unpredictable with just a 6,250 drop to 244,500.
  • The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index jumped 0.3 points to a new 17-year high of 53.8.

The economic calendar for the week of January 22nd, 2018:

  • Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications, FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales
  • Thursday – Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, New Home Sales
  • Friday – GDP

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