February 21, 2020
Mortgage Rates Dip slightly
- 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.