Market News 02-22-19
Mortgage Market Update
The unsecured personal loan market hit an all-time high last year, reaching $138 billion. A rise in lending from fintech firms is helping to fuel the borrowing frenzy. Minutes released from last month’s FOMC meeting show the Fed is likely to hold off on policy rate increases in 2019 and may slow balance sheet reductions too. Jobless claims fell last week, down 23,000 to 216,000. But the 4-week average rose to a 1-year high, suggesting the labor market may be slowing down slightly.
Homebuilder sentiment rose in February after falling at the end of 2018. Lower mortgage rates and continued job market strength have boosted optimism. January’s existing home sales were at their lowest level in 3+ years. Sales were down 8.5% from a year ago, continuing a loss of momentum in the market. January’s median price for all housing types was up 2.8% over a year ago, at $247,500. At January’s pace, inventory will be exhausted in 3.9 months.