Some markets were closed last Monday in observance of the Columbus Day holiday. Mortgage rates did not move significantly, trending downward according to some sources. New purchase application mortgage submissions declined, but refinance mortgage application submissions are up. Retail sales declined, driven by slower vehicle sales activity and lower gas prices. Homebuilder sentiment hit the highest level in almost two years. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book was downbeat. Initial jobless claims increased but continuing jobless claims declined. Housing starts and building permits each fell.
|MORTGAGE RATES CURRENTLY TRENDING LOWER
|THIS WEEK'S POTENTIAL VOLATILITY
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The MBA weekly mortgage application survey was divided for the week ending 10/11. New purchase applications declined 4.0% and refinance applications increased by 4.0% for a composite increase of 0.5%.
Retail sales slipped 0.3% month-over-month in September, after an exceptionally strong summer. Excluding vehicle sales, the report was down 0.1% month-over-month and excluding gas and autos, the report was unchanged.
The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index reached a 20-month high in October, driven by the activity surrounding lower mortgage rates. The composite index improved to a level of 71. Current sales conditions climbed to a level of 78, sales expectations for the next six months jumped to a level of 76, and buyer foot traffic increased to a level of 54.
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book has released about two weeks ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) semiannual monetary policy meetings. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book was slightly more downbeat when assessing economic circumstances. Global trade tensions, specifically the US-China trade dispute has dampened economic outlook. The Fed has already cut rates twice this year and economists are divided on whether or not further rate cuts are necessary.
For the week ending 10/12, initial jobless claims increased slightly to a level of 214,000. Continuing claims declined to a level of 1.68 million.
Housing starts declined 9.4%from August to September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.256 million units. Year-over-year, however, housing starts are up 1.6%. Building permits also fell, down 2.7% month-over-month in September. Permits to build single-family homes specifically increased by 0.8% month-over-month, the highest level since February 2018.
This week's important economic reports include:
- Existing home sales
- MBA applications
- FHFA house price index
- Weekly jobless claims
- New home sales
- Consumer sentiment index
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