February 20, 2020 | Market Update

Market News 2-20-2020

Mortgage Market Update

Investors are increasingly worried about the spread of the coronavirus outside China. Concerns over the economic impact of the virus are helping rates remain low. Producer prices increased by the most in more than a year in January, but most of the uptick appeared to reflect temporary price swings instead of an underlying increase in inflation. Jobless claims rose modestly last week, suggesting sustained labor market strength that could help support the economy amid risks from the coronavirus.

Builder confidence in the housing market remained strong in February, despite a shortage of workers and a dearth of lots. Rising wages and low rates are fueling demand. New housing starts fell in January, although less than expected. Permits for new construction surged to a 13-year high, pointing to more building to come this year. Mortgage applications were down 6.4% last week, mainly due to a drop in refinance activity. Purchase applications fell 3% but were 10% higher than a year ago.