Market News 12-21-18
Mortgage Market Update
The Fed raised policy rates this week, but lowered the number of expected rate increases for 2019. Mortgage rates were basically unaffected by this rate hike. Stocks have been routed and fears over a slowing economy have taken over. As investors seek safety in bonds, this has helped mortgage rates improve. The labor market remains strong though, as jobless claims were only up slightly from the previous week’s near 49-year low. Claims were at 214,000 for last week.
Home builder confidence was down slightly in December from November. But indications are still that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. New home starts rebounded in November, driven by a surge in multi-family housing. However, single-family housing starts were down to a 1-1/2 year low. Existing home sales rose unexpectedly in November. Although sales are down 2.3% in the first 11 months over last year, they’ve increased for 2 months in a row.