Market News 8-22-19
Mortgage Market Update
The Fed released the minutes from July’s FOMC meeting, where it cut policy rates by 0.25%. The minutes showed support for future rate cuts only if necessary. Stocks climbed on strong earnings reports from retailers this week. Gains in earnings highlight consumer confidence and ease fears of a slowing economy. Jobless claims fell sharply last week, suggesting the labor market is holding firm despite a manufacturing slowdown and concerns about a possible recession.
Housing starts dropped for the 3rd straight month in July to 1.191 million units, but a steep decline in construction of multi-family housing units was to blame. Single-family homebuilding actually increased 1.3% to the highest level in 6 months. Permits surged 8.4% in July, the largest gain since June 2017. Existing home sales rose 2.5% in July, more than expected. Despite a global economic slowdown, the housing market appears to be strengthening.