A Healthy and Opportunistic Spring Market
According to data released by the Mortgage Banker’s Association This Week in Real Estate, purchase applications reached their highest level since April 2010, further suggesting a healthy and opportunistic spring market. Below are a few highlights from the third week of April that influence our business:
Builder Confidence Edges Higher in April. Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose one point to 63 in April, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Sentiment levels have held in the low 60s for the past three months. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions increased one point to 69, and the component measuring the traffic of prospective buyers rose three points to 47. The measure charting sales expectations in the next six months fell one point to 71. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast posted a three-point gain to 51, the Midwest increased two points to 53, and the South was up one point to 67. The West remained unchanged at 69.
Weekly Mortgage Applications For Homebuyers Hit Highest Level in 9 Years. Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 1% last week from the previous week and were 7% higher than a year ago. Purchase applications reached their highest level since April 2010. Volume was 14% higher than a year ago. Applications to refinance a home loan brought the total down, falling 8% for the week but still rising 26% from a year ago, when interest rates were higher.
U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Lowest Since 1969. The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to more than a 49-1/2-year low last week, pointing to sustained strength in the economy. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 192,000 for the week ended April 13, the lowest level since September 1969, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims have now declined for five straight weeks. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 6,000 to 201,250 last week, the lowest reading since November 1969. Though the trend in hiring has slowed, job gains remain above the roughly 100,000 needed per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. The unemployment rate is at 3.8 percent, near the 3.7 percent Federal Reserve officials project it will be by the end of the year.