Market News 03-01-19
Mortgage Market Update
Economic growth in the 4th quarter was better than anticipated. Gross domestic product increased 2.6%, much higher than the 2.2% expectation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave semi-annual testimony to Congress this week. He said the economy was healthy but cautioned about conflicting signals. Jobless claims rose last week more than expected. The 225,000 claims reached a 10-month high, suggesting some slowing in the labor market.
According to Case-Shiller, annual home price gains moderated in December to a 4.7% pace. This is still near the long-term historical average of about 5.5%.Pending home sales rebounded 4.6% in January over December. It’s likely that a return to lower rates has already helped and will continue to support increases. Housing starts fell to a 2-year low in December, as construction of both single- and multi-family housing declined. However, permits point to a coming rebound.