Market Update as of September 19, 2018

Mortgage Apps Bump
Mortgage applications climbed 1.6% from last week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 14, 2018. Applications steadily declined through August, by way of comparison. On an unadjusted basis, the Mortgage Composite Index surged 12% from the previous week. The Refinance Index rose 4% from the previous week , the unadjusted Purchase Index increased 9% from last week but is still 4% higher than the same week in 2017, and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index inched forward 0.3% from one week prior. The refinance share of mortgage activity in- creased from last week’s 37.8% to 39% of total applications, and the adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity grew to 6.5% of total applications. The Federal Housing Administration share of mortgage apps climbed from last week’s 10.4% to 10.6%, and the Veterans Affairs' share of applications fell to 10% from 10.5% the previous week.

Housing Starts Jump
U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in August, a positive sign for the housing market which has underperformed the broader economy amid rising interest rates for home loans. Housing starts rose 9.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.282 million units in August, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Analysts polled by Reuters has expected an annual rate of 1.235 million units. The Commerce Department raised its estimate for starts in July to a 1.174 million-unit rate. U.S. housing starts data can be volatile and subject to large revisions. Much of August's gain was in the particularly volatile multi-family component, with starts on buildings with two or more units rising 29.3 percent to an annual rate of 406,000 units.

Jobless Claims Drop to 49 Year Low
The number of Ameri- cans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting its lowest level in nearly 49 years and pointing to robust labor market conditions. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 204,000 for the week ended Sept. 8, the lowest level since December 1969, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was revised to show 2,000 more ap- plications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 210,000 in the latest week. The claims data covered last Monday's Labor Day holiday. Claims tend to be volatile around public holidays. The Labor Department said only claims for Maine were estimated last week. 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 2,000 last week to 208,000, also the lowest level since December 1969.

US Takes The Black Gold Crown


Courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty's in-house Lender Simon Atik, 310.880.8414,, Vice President of Mortgage Lending, Guaranteed Rate Affinity.

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