What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 7th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 7th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included Labor Department readings on private and public sector jobs, the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released. Monthly reporting on construction spending was delayed due to the government shutdown.

Public and Private-Sector Jobs Growth Exceeds Expectations

ADP reported 271private sector jobs added in December as compared to 157,000 jobs added in November. Analysts expected 182,000 jobs added for December and said that December’s reading was the highest number of jobs added in almost two years. Large companies added 54,000 jobs, medium sized companies added 129,000 jobs and small companies added 89,000 private-sector jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 312,0000 public and private-sector jobs were added in December, which was more than double November’s reading of 176,000 public and private-sector jobs added. Analysts predicted 182,000 new jobs added for December.

In related news, the national unemployment rose to 3.90 percent from November’s level of 3.70 percent. While the unemployment rate was expected to dip to 3.60 percent, it rose due to more workers seeking jobs. Unemployment rates are determined as a percentage of workers actively seeking employment. A larger pool of people seeking work suggested expanding job opportunities.

Mortgage Rates Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as rates for fixed rate mortgage were four basis points lower at 4.51 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.99 percent and rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged two basis points lower at 3.99 percent. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.30 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

In remarks made at the American Economic Association, current Fed Chair Jerome Powell joined former Fed Chairs Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke to comment about the economy in 2018 and emphasized that Fed policy would be adjusted quickly and flexibly” if economic conditions warrant. All three Fed Chairs expected a slowing of economic growth in 2019, but their overall outlook was positive.

First-time jobless claims rose by 10,000 new claims to 231,000 first-time claims filed. Expectations of 218,000 new claims filed were based on the prior weeks reading of 221,000 new claims filed. The increase in new claims filed was caused in part by holiday season fluctuations and more people actively seeking jobs. Unemployed workers must be actively seeking work to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on job openings, minutes of the December meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 10th, 2018

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - December 10th, 2018Last week’s economic reports included readings on construction spending and Labor Department readings on private and public jobs growth. The Consumer Sentiment Index was released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Construction Spending Slows in October

Residential construction slowed in last month as public works projects increased. Private sector construction spending fell by -0.10 percent as compared to expected growth of 0.30 percent and last month’s negative reading of -0.10 percent.

Construction spending for October was $1.309 billion on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to September’s revised reading of $1.311 billion. Overall construction spending was 4.90 percent year-over-year.

Homebuilders continued to be wary of tariffs on building materials and cited high labor costs and a shortage of buildable lots. Winter weather also slows construction in many areas of the U.S.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. Mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by six basis points to 4.75 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages were four basis points lower at 4.21 percent on average.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged five basis points lower at 4.07 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages. 5/1 adjustable rates had average discount points of 0/30 percent.

First-tome jobless claims were lower last week with 231,000 new claims filed as compared to an expected reading of 224,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 236,000 new jobless claims filed.

Labor Department: Slower Jobs Growth in Public, Private Sectors

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported fewer jobs added to Non-Farm Payrolls in November. 155,0000 public and private sector jobs were added as compared to expectations of 190,000 jobs added and October’s reading of 237,000 new jobs added. ADP reported 179,000 private sector jobs added in November as compared to 225,000 jobs added in October. The national unemployment held steady at 3.70 percent.

Consumer sentiment was unchanged in November with an index reading of 97.50 according to the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings on inflation, retail sales and weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 3rd, 2018

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 3rd, 2018Last week’s economic news included readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, sales of new homes and pending home sales. FHFA increased maximum loan limits permitted for mortgages held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Weekly readings for mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller Indicates Slow-Down in Home Price Growth

Home prices slowed their growth in September according to Case-Shiller. David Blitzer, CEO and Chairman of S & P Dow Jones Indices, said “Home prices plus data on house sales and construction confirm the slowdown in housing.

Rapidly rising home prices have sidelined new and moderate-income home buyers; slim inventories of homes for sale and recently rising mortgage rates also squeezed options for home buyers.

Home prices grew at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.70 percent in September as compared to 5.70 percent during August. September’s reading was the lowest in nearly two years, but remains close to twice the growth rate for wages.

Las Vegas, Nevada held first place for home price growth with a seasonally-adjusted annual growth rate of 13.50 percent. San Francisco, California followed with a year-over-year growth reading of 9.90 percent. Seattle, Washington held third place for home price growth with a year-over-year reading of 8.40 percent.

New and Pending Home Sales Dip in October

The Commerce Department reported fewer sales of newly-built home in October to 544,000 sales as compared to September’s reading of 597,000 sales of new homes. Analysts predicted a reading of 589,000 sales for October. Home sales slow as winter weather and holidays approach, but higher mortgage rates also caused the dip in sales.

Pending home sales are sales where a purchase offer is made, but the sale of a home has not closed. Pending home sales were -2.60 percent lower in October as compared to 0.70 percent growth in September. The National Association of Realtors® reported an October index reading of 102.1 as compared to September’s reading of 104.8 in September, which represented a 2.60 percent decline in contract signings. This was the lowest reading for contract signings since June 2014.

Mortgage Rates, Higher Loan Limits and New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported mixed results for average mortgage rates; Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at an average of 4.81 percent; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged one basis point higher at 4.25 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 4.12 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced higher loan limits for home loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The maximum loan amount for conforming mortgages was raised 6.90 percent to $484,350. The maximum loan amount for mortgages in high priced counties will be based on 150 percent of the $484,300, which is $726,525.00.

New jobless claims were higher last week with 234,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 220,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 224,000 first-time claims filed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news releases include readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on public and private sector job growth. The national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 29th, 2018

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 29th, 2018Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new homes and pending home sales. A reading on consumer sentiment was also released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Sales of New Homes Slide to Near 2 – Year Low

According to Commerce Department readings on new home sales, the pace of sales slipped close to a two-year low in September; new homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 553,000 sales.

September’s reading was 5.50 percent lower than for August and was 13.20 percent lower year-over-year. Analysts expected a reading of 620,000 sales; August’s reading showed an annual pace of 585,000 new homes sold.

Real estate pros reported a 7.10-month supply of available homes, which was a six-year high. A six-month supply of homes for sale is considered a normal inventory in many markets.

Home prices had a median of $320,000 in September, which was 3.50 percent lower year-over-year. Strong demand for homes coupled with limited supplies have caused home prices to rise and buyers to compete with cash-buyers and ever escalating home prices. Rising mortgage rates and few choices of available homes have sidelined moderate and first-time buyers.

Pending Home Sales Rise in September

The National Association of Realtors® reported rising pending home sales, which provided hope for lagging home sales. Pending sales are sales for which a purchase contract is signed but the sale has not yet closed. Pending home sales had an index reading of 104.6 in September as compared to 104.1 in August. No change from August’s reading was expected in September. The pending sales index pending home sales index was one percent lower year-over-year.

Pending sales rose 4.40 percent in the West; The Midwest posted a gain of 1.20 percent and the South posted a negative reading of – 0.40 percent. The South posted a negative reading of -1.40 percent in pending home sales.

Pending home sales are considered a predictor of completed sales and new mortgages.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose one basis point to 4.86 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose three basis points to 4.29 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was four basis points higher at 4.14 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose last week to 215,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected no change from the prior week’s reading of 210,000 new claims filed. The University of Michigan reported a dip in its consumer sentiment index for October. September’s reading was adjusted from and index reading of 99 to 100.1. October’s reading was 99.  Lower consumer sentiment was based on stagnant wage growth according to analysts.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, Labor sector reports on private and public sector employment and the national unemployment rate.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 9th, 2018

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 9th, 2018Last week’s economic releases included monthly readings on construction spending, public and private sector job growth and June’s national unemployment rate. Weekly readings included Freddie Mac mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Construction Spending Rises in May

According to the Commerce, construction spending rose 0.40 percent in May; public sector construction spending rose 0.70 percent and private sector spending rose by 0.30 percent. Residential construction rose by o.80 percent, which analysts regarded as a good sign for the economy. Building more homes has long been identified as the only solution for persistent housing shortages that cause high demand for homes and rapidly rising home prices.

Analysts said that volatility and heavy revisions to government reporting, construction spending readings are subject to significant change. April’s reading of 1.90 percent growth was downwardly revised to 0.90 percent growth.

Mortgage Rates and New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgages were three basis points lower at an average of 4.52 percent. 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.99 percent and were five basis points lower than for the previous week. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.74 percent and were 13 basis points lower than for the prior week.

First-time jobless claims fell last week to 231,000 new claims as compared to 200,000 new claims expected.and 244,000 new claims were filed in the prior week.

Unemployment ticks up as Public and Private Sector Job Growth Slows

ADP payrolls fell to 177,000 private sector jobs were added in June as compared to 189,000 jobs added in May. The Commerce Department reported 213,000 public and private sector jobs added in June, which beat expectations of 200,000 jobs added in June. 244,000 jobs were added in May.

The National unemployment grew to 4.0 percent in June as compared to May’s reading of 3.80 percent. Analysts attributed the rise in the unemployment rate to 600,000 new job seekers entering the market in June.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation, core inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 13, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 13, 2016Last week’s economic news was highlighted by Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in Philadelphia. Although Chair Yellen alluded to future Fed rate hikes, she did not specify when Fed policymakers would next raise the target federal funds rate.

Increases in the fed funds rate typically signal increases in consumer credit and home mortgage rates. Last week’s speech was seen as a precursor to the Federal Open Market Committee statement that will occur at the conclusion of next week’s FOMC meeting.

Chair Yellen is also scheduled to give a press conference after the FOMC statement next Wednesday.

Mortgage rates and new jobless claims also fell last week.

Fed Chair Speech: Fed Rate Increases Likely, but Subject to Economic Developments

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that remarks would be “largely favorable” although economic developments were “mixed.” Chair Yellen cited economic progress toward the Fed’s dual goal of achieving maximum employment and price stability. Labor benchmarks included national unemployment below five percent, rising household income and indications of rising wages were cited as positive signs for economic expansion.

Slowing job growth and inflation staying below the Fed’s goal of 2.00 percent were cited as signs that the U.S. economic recovery is underway, but Chair Yellen also said signs of slower job creation along with uncertainties in global economic conditions and oil prices prevented short-term predictions about how the economy would perform.

Fed Chair Yellen also repeated her usual caution that Fed policy is not set in stone, but instead is subject to FOMC members’ ongoing review of economic developments and related readings.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points lower at 3.60 percent; the rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.87 percent, which was five basis points lower than the previous week. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was six points lower at 2.82 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three loan types tracked by Freddie Mac.

New jobless claims were also lower at 264,000 new claims filed against expectations of 270,000 new claims and 268,000 new claims filed in the prior week.

What’s Ahead This Week

This week’s scheduled economic news includes the Fed’s post-meeting FOMC statement and press conference, reports on the consumer price index and core CPI, housing starts and the NAHB Housing Market Index. Reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released according to their weekly schedule.

Economic indicators such as price inflation, rising mortgage rates and housing data impact housing markets and consumers’ ability or willingness to buy homes.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 6, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 6, 2016Last week’s housing related news was limited to Construction Spending and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey, but labor reports suggested an economic slowdown may be in the works.

Construction Spending Slips in April, Mortgage Rates Mixed

According to the Commerce Department, overall construction spending slipped in April to -1.80 percent as compared to March’s reading of +1.50 percent and May’s expected reading of +0.70 percent. Residential construction spending was 1.50 percent lower, which doesn’t help ongoing shortages of available single-family homes. Builders have repeatedly cited labor shortages and lack of developed lots as obstacles to building more homes. Year-over-year construction spending was 4.50 percent higher.

Freddie Mac reported higher rates for fixed-rate mortgages while the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 1.87 percent. Rates for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage averaged two basis points higher at 3.66 percent; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgages were three basis points higher at 2.92 percent. Average discount points were unchanged for all loan types at 0.50 percent.

Labor Reports Indicate Slowing Jobs Market And Economy

According to the Non-farm Payrolls report for May, U.S. jobs increased at their lowest rate in five years with 38,000 new private and public sector jobs added. Temporary hiring also hit its lowest reading in seven years, which was seen as a negative as temporary jobs often transition to permanent positions.

Analysts said that May’s extremely low reading for jobs created indicates that a revision is likely. This inconsistency was supported by the national unemployment rate of 4.70 percent, but the lower jobless rate was attributed to workers leaving the labor force.

ADP’s May reading for private sector jobs rose to 173,000 jobs against expectations of 165,000 jobs and April’s reading of 268,000. This reading was further evidence that the Non-farm Payrolls report was likely inaccurate.

Last week’s new jobless claims fell to a five-week low of 267,000 as compared to expectations of 279,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 268,000 new claims.

What’s Ahead This Week

Economic news scheduled for this week include a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday; this speech could foreshadow the Fed’s decision to raise or not raise the Fed’s target federal funds rate during its FOMC meeting later this month.

Readings on job openings and consumer sentiment will be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 11, 2016

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 11, 2016Last week’s economic news included minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

FOMC Minutes Indicate Fed Not Pressing Rate Increases

Minutes of the FOMC meeting held March 15 and 16 suggest that FOMC members are easing their enthusiasm for raising the target federal funds rate. In recent months, the committee has indicated that it was leaning toward raising rates on a slow but steady pace. Ongoing concerns over changing global economic and financial conditions contributed to FOMC’s decision not to raise the key federal funds rate. Low energy prices continue to cause U.S. inflation to stay below the Fed’s goal of two percent, which suggests that the economy is not recovering as fast as originally expected.

Labor markets continued to improve as the national unemployment rate held steady at 4.90 percent in February. FOMC noted that the labor force participation rate and employment to population ratio increased. The four-week moving average of new jobless claims fell in March after increasing in February. These readings support continued expansion of labor markets.

Housing markets and household spending improved. Committee members characterized developments in labor and housing markets as “broadly consistent” with earlier expectations. Some housing markets connected with energy production weakened. FOMC members elected to maintain the target federal funds rate at a range of 0.25 to 0.50 percent. Global financial and economic developments were cited as contributing to the Committee’s decision not to raise its target rate.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Lower

Mortgage rates fell across the board last week. According to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates, the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped to 3.59 percent from the previous week’s reading of 3.71 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage dropped 10 basis points to 2.88 percent; the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped to 2.82 percent from 2.90 percent. Average discount points held steady at 0.50, 0.40 and 0.50 percent respectively. Last week’s mortgage rates were the lowest in 14 months.

Analysts said this news was positive in the sense that lower rates make mortgages more affordable, but more home buyers entering the market would further increase demand for homes. Low inventories of homes and high demand have fueled higher home prices in many areas.

Weekly jobless claims fell to 267,000 new claims against expectations of 268,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 276,000 new jobless claims. New jobless claims remained below the benchmark of 300,000 new claims for the 57th consecutive week.

What’s Ahead This Week

This week’s scheduled economic news releases include retail sales, the Fed’s Beige Book report, the consumer price index and core consumer price index. Weekly jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates report will be released as usual on Thursday.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 4, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 4, 2016Last week’s economic calendar was full of new releases including pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and construction spending. Labor related reports including ADP payrolls, federal Non-farm payrolls, and the national unemployment rate were also released along with reports on consumer confidence and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.

Case-Shiller: January Home Prices Up 5.7% Year-Over-Year

According to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for January, home prices increased by 5.70 percent year-over-year. The West led price increases with double-digit price gains posted for San Francisco, California, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Denver, Colorado also posted a double-digit gain, but dropped its recent lead for metro areas tracked by the 20-City Index.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported better than expected growth in February pending home sales. Low mortgage rates pushed pending home sales to their highest rate in seven months. Pending home sales rose 3.50 percent in February, which exceeded the expected reading of 1.80 percent and January’s reading of 03.00 percent. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that February’s reading indicated that housing markets may be recovering after choppy winter sales. Mr. Yun also noted a “slight uptick in inventory,” which is good news for housing markets currently experiencing low inventories of homes for several months or more.

S&P Index Committee Chair David M Blitzer echoed Mr. Yun’s remarks about the impact of low inventories of homes for sale. While higher home prices driven by low inventories benefit home sellers, there comes a point where potential buyers cannot find and / or afford available homes. Constructing new homes is the only immediate solution to increasingly limited supplies of homes for sale.

Construction spending slipped in February from January’s upwardly revised $1.150 trillion on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. February’s reading was $1.144 trillion. Construction spending fell 0.50 percent as compared to analysts’ expectations of 0.20 percent. Year-over-year, construction spending was 10.30 percent higher in February.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rates survey reported mixed results last week. The average rate for a 30-yar fixed rate mortgage held steady at 3.71 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.98 percent and the rate for 5/1 adjustable rate rose by one basis point to 2.90 percent. Average discount points were unchanged across the board at 0.50, 0.40 percent and 0.50 percent respectively.

New unemployment claims rose to 276,000 against an expected reading of 270,000 new claims and 265,000 new claims the prior week.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported fewer jobs created in March than for February. 215,000 jobs were added in March as compared to the expected reading of 203,000 new jobs and February’s reading 245,000 new jobs. ADP reported a lower reading of 200,000 private sector jobs added as compared to expectations of 205,000 jobs added and February’s reading of 205,000 private sector jobs added. The national unemployment rate ticked up to 5.0 percent over February’s reading of 4.90 percent.

Consumer confidence rose over two percent in March with a reading of 96.20 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 94.20 based on February’s reading of 94.00.

What’s Ahead This Week

Economic reports scheduled this week include job openings and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 28, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 28, 2016Increasing Home Prices Good For Sellers

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported lower sales of pre-owned homes in February. Would-be buyers were discouraged by rapidly rising home prices. Short supplies of available homes sidelined potential buyers as higher home prices and cash buyers squeeze out buyers who need mortgages to buy homes. Multiple offers resulting in bidding wars have also deterred buyers in high demand markets. According to NAR’s February report, sales of existing homes fell 7.10 percent to their lowest level since November.

NAR has predicted that rapidly rising home prices would eventually damage housing markets. While analysts weren’t certain whether February’s report indicated a temporary lull due to weather and anomalies related to new closing regulations and seasonal influences, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “The main issue continues to be a supply and affordability problem. Finding the right property at an affordable price is burdening many potential buyers.”

During the housing bubble, buyers jumped into the market as speculators or to buy before home prices increased beyond their reach. NAR surveyed renters last week and found that the percentage of renters who believed that it’s currently a good time to buy a home decreased.

Respondents to Fannie Mae’s February Home Purchase Sentiment Index forecasted a 1.70 percent increase in home prices year-over-year. One year ago, respondents expected home prices to increase by 2.50 percent year-over-year. This may suggest that home prices are cooling. This can be expected as the number of buyers declined as home prices become increasingly unaffordable.

New Home Sales Up in February

New home rose in February according to the Commerce Department. Based on a revised reading of 502,000 new home sales in January, February’s reading was 2.00 percent higher than January’s reading but was 6.10 percent lower than for February 2015.

Builders have held back on increasing construction due to concerns about ups and downs in the economic recovery. Short supplies of labor and available land have also kept home builders from meeting current demand.

Mortgage Rates Trend Lower

According to Freddie Mac, average mortgage rates fell across the board last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 3.71 percent; the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell three basis points to 2.96 percent and the rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell four basis points to 2.89 percent.

New jobless claims rose to 265,000 from the prior week’s reading of 259,000 new claims. Last week’s reading matched analyst expectations.

Whats Ahead This Week

This week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on inflation, pending home sales, Case-Shiller’s Home Price Index reports and government and private sector employment data. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims are also scheduled.

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