Market News 10-18-19
Mortgage Market Update
Retail sales declined unexpectedly in September, the first time in 7 months. The report could signal the economy is softening, possibly helping keep rates low. A Phase I trade deal with China was agreed upon, though not yet signed. A finalized deal would eliminate some of the economic uncertainty that has contributed to lower rates. Jobless claims rose marginally last week, suggesting the labor market remains strong despite an overall slowdown in hiring and prospects of a weaker economy.
Home builder confidence surged to the highest level in nearly 2 years in October, attributed mainly to lower mortgage rates bringing in buyers and boosting sales. Although housing starts fell 9% in Sept., a surge in permits suggests the decline is just a brief pause. Single-family construction rose for the 4th straight month. The housing market was the bright spot in the Fed’s monthly economic snapshot. The Fed also noted that tight inventory is placing a strain on home sales.