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Market Minute - February 10, 2020

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Housing/Real Estate Market 

U.S. construction spending dropped 0.2% in December: While residential construction spending climbed 1.4% as lower rates have given a boost to home sales and home builders, the growth in residential spending was offset by a decline in office buildings and other commercial projects as well as public construction projects which dropped 0.4%.

Housing sentiment ticked up for 3rd consecutive month: Fannie Mae’s HPSI rose 1.3 points in January to 93.0 nearing the survey high of 93.8 set last year. Results showed that more consumers expect mortgage rates to remain favorable and thus feel optimistic about it being both a good time to buy and sell a home.

Macro Economy

Unemployment perked up, but U.S. labor market still strong: The rate of unemployment ticked up slightly from its 50-year low of 3.5% to 3.6%, but the U.S. added a 225,000 new jobs to the labor market and the pace of hiring remains steady. Indeed, New jobless claims fell back closer to 50-year low.

U.S. manufacturers grew in January: For the first time in six months, the ISM manufacturing index rose above 50, indicating that American manufacturing grew in January. U.S. factory orders picked up in December as well.

ISM nonmanufacturing index climbed to 55.5 in January: The services sector, which employs most Americans, grew at the fastest pace since last summer. This represents a 6-month high and suggests more near-term growth in the economy.

U.S trade deficit fell in 2019 for first time in 6 years: While the trade deficit surged in the final month of 2019 following an interim deal to ease trade tension between the U.S. and China, the overall flow of imports from China have decreased as a results of tariffs.

U.S. productivity increased in 2019: The productivity of American workers increased 1.7% last year which is the fastest pace recorded in 9 years. Productivity rebounded in Q4 with a 1.4% increase after a small decline in the fall.

Consumer credit jumps in December: Consumer borrowing surged at the end of last year, as consumers used credit cards to make holiday purchases – the highest rate of credit card use since 1998. Total consumer credit jumped at an annual growth rate of 6.3% or $22.1 billion, up from a 3.4% rate the month prior. Nevertheless, household debt to GDP remains low and has been coming down since the financial crisis.
 

Real Estate Finance

Mortgage rates dropped for 3rd consecutive week: The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) declined from 3.51% the week prior to 3.45%. The FRM is almost at a full percentage point lower than the average of 4.41% recorded a year ago.                        

Mortgage applications increased: Mortgage applications increased 5.0% from a week earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis. The refinance index increased 15% from the previous week – the highest level since June 2013 – and is now 183% higher than the same week a year ago. New purchase applications decreased 10% from the week prior on a seasonally adjusted basis but were 11% higher than the same week of last year.

Past Market Minutes
February 3, 2020 - New-home sales fell in December, U.S. economy grew at 2.1%
January 27, 2020 - Home sales ticked up, resilient U.S. economy, mortgage rates lowest in 3 months
January 13, 2020 - Favorable rates, unemployment steady, mortgage applications decreased
January 6, 2020 - CA real estate market continues uptrend, national existing home sales fell

For previous weeks visit our archive folder.


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