What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 18, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week January 04 2016Last week’s economic news included reports on inflation, retail sales and weekly readings on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims.

Mortgage rates were mixed with average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rising by one basis point to 3.42 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage dropped by two basis points to 2.72 percent, and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose six basis points to 2.76 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15 year fixed rate mortgages. Freddie Mac said that recent patterns in mortgage rates suggested that rates are likely to remain low throughout the summer; last year the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.09 percent.

Inflation Grows at Steady Rate

Inflation grew by 0.20 percent in June according to the Consumer Price Index issued by the government. Rent, gas and pharmaceuticals drove the increase, while grocery prices declined. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, also grew by 0.200 percent; this reflects lower grocery prices and relatively low fuel costs.

Increasing rents could propel more renters into the home buying market, but high home prices and short supplies of available homes continue to limit home buyer choices. Inflation remains below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2.00 percent annually; this indicates that the Fed isn’t likely to raise its target federal fund rates in the near future.

Home and Garden Sales Drive June Retail Sales

Homeowners were busy with home improvements and yard work in June; this boosted retail sales to 0.50 percent against an expected reading of 0.10 percent and May’s reading of 0.20 percent. June retail sales excluding automotive sales rose from May’s reading of 0.40 percent to 0.70 percent; analysts had expected retail sales exclusive of autos to grow by 0.50 percent in June.

New Jobless Claims Hold Steady, Consumer Sentiment Dips

Weekly jobless claims were unchanged at 254,000 new claims filed; analysts had expected new claims to increase to 265,000 new claims. A wave of new claims created by end-of-school-year layoffs caused new claims to jump in recent weeks, but analysts said that layoffs remain low. New jobless claims remained well below the benchmark of 300,000 for the 71st consecutive week. This extended the longest time that new jobless claims were below 300,000 since 1973.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes the NAHB Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, Housing Starts and Building Permits. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week April 27 2015Last week’s economic news included minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) along with several reports on private and public sector employment and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

FOMC Minutes: Committee Closely Monitoring Economic Developments

The minutes of June’s FOMC meeting indicate that Fed policymakers continue to be cautious based on low inflation and close review of domestic and global economic developments. Committee members acknowledged improvements in the housing market, but also noted that annual inflation remains below the Fed’s two percent goal. Low inflation and wage growth presented obstacles to would-be home buyers who continued to face rapidly rising home prices and low inventories of available homes. FOMC members voted not to increase the current target federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

FOMC’s June meeting occurred before Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU, which created volatility in financial markets and caused mortgage rates to drop.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported an across-the-board drop in average mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 3.41 percent and the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.74 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate averaged 2.68 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50, 0.40 and 0.50 percent respectively.

New jobless claims were decreased to a three-month low of 254,000 as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 270,000 new claims. New jobless claims were higher after the end of the school year, when some school workers became eligible for benefits when schools closed for summer break.

Job Creation Jumps After May Lull

Non-farm payrolls expanded significantly in June after May’s sharp drop. 287,000 jobs were created in June as compared to expectations of 173,000 new jobs and May’s dismal reading of 11,000 new jobs. The non-farm payrolls report includes readings for public and private sector jobs. June’s ADP payrolls report measures private-sector jobs; June’s reading surpassed May’s reading of 168,000 jobs with 172,000 new jobs.

In related news, the Commerce Department reported that national unemployment increased from May’s reading of 4.80 to 4.90 percent. Analysts said that this uptick may not be bad news, but instead indicated an expanding workforce. Unemployment readings are based on the number of workers seeking work and don’t include workers who have left the workforce.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include the Consumer Price Index, Core CPI, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 5, 2016

Closing Paperwork: How to Read and Understand the Truth-in-Lending Disclosure StatementLast week’s economic events included S&P Case-Shiller’s Housing Market Indices for April along with reports on Construction Spending and Pending Home Sales. Consumer Confidence was higher in June in spite of low wage growth and inflation well below the Fed’s goal of 2.00 percent annually.

S&P Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Ticks Downward

April home values grew by 5.40 percent in April on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Case Shiller reported a drop in momentum from the March reading of 5.50 percent according to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index. While no city included in the 20-City Index reported lower home values, the rate of growth appears to be slowing. High home prices driven by high demand and slim inventories of available homes may continue to lose steam as high home prices coupled with stricter mortgage requirements sideline first-time and moderate income buyers.

Pending home sales in May saw their first decline since August 2015 According to the National Association of Realtors®, Pending sales dropped from April’s downwardly revised index reading of 115.0 to 110.8. Pending home sales were -3.70 percent lower in May as compared to April’s reading of +3.90 percent. The drop in pending sales, which represents homes under contract that are not yet closed, is largely blamed on markedly low inventories of homes for sale in many areas.

Construction spending was higher in May, but remained in negative territory with a reading of -0.80 percent as compared to expectations of +0.50 percent and April’s reading of -2.00 percent. While the overall reading appears unremarkable, residential construction spending was 5.30 percent higher in May.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates in the aftermath of Great Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.48 percent.15-year mortgage rates averaged 2.78 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was 2.70 percent. Discount points were also lower at 0.50, 0.40 and 0.50 percent respectively.

Jobless reports jumped due to the end of the school year; New York State in particular allows some workers to file jobless claims when schools are closed. 268,000 new jobless claims were filed as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 258,000 new claims.

Consumer confidence rose in June, but consumers were surveyed before the Brexit vote. Consumer confidence increased to 98.0 in June as compared to May’s index reading of 92.40.Stronger job markets and stabilized gas prices were seen as contributing factors that boosted consumer confidence.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include several labor-related reports including Non-Farm Payrolls, ADP Payrolls, June’s national unemployment rate and minutes of the Fed’s last FOMC meeting. Freddie Mac’s survey of mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims will also be released.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 27, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week May 18 2015Last week’s economic news was dominated by Great Britain’s vote to withdraw from the European Union. New and Existing Home Sales were released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

“Brexit” Vote Tanks Stocks, Could Cause Lower Mortgage Rates

US stocks plunged in reaction to the news of Britain’s decision to leave the EU and the resignation of its Prime Minister. While investors don’t want to see their 401(k) values crash, mortgage rates may also fall as a result of “Brexit”. Fallout caused by economic uncertainty connected with Great Britain’s move to regain independence is expected to have lingering influence on global financial and economic developments in coming months and years.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee that Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU could have significant consequences. Chair Yellen’s comments were made prior to Friday’s announcement of Great Britain’s decision.

Existing Home Sales Highest Since 2007, Home Prices Continue Rising

According to the National Association of Realtors® May sales of pre-owned homes hit their highest level since February 2007. May’s seasonally-adjusted annual reading of 5.53 million sales fell just shy of analysts ‘expectation of 5.55 million sales, but exceeded April’s reading of 5.43 million sales. May’s reading represented a 1.80 percent increase in sales and a year-over-year increase of 4.50 percent.

Short supplies of available homes continued to drive up home prices according to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, who expressed concerns about affordability as home prices continued to outstrip wages and inflation. The national median home price was $239,700 in May, which was 4.70 percent higher year-over-year. Although first-time buyers typically represent about 40 percent of homebuyers, they currently account for 30 percent of homebuyers.

New Home Sales Fall in May

Sales of new homes slowed in May after jumping in April. According to the Commerce Department, sales of new homes fell by 6.00 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. 551,000 new homes were sold against the expected reading of 560,000 new homes sold and April’s downwardly revised reading of 586,000 new homes sold. New home sales were 8.70 percent higher year-over-year in May.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Last week’s mortgage rates don’t reflect the Brexit decision and rose slightly on Thursday. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was two basis points higher at 3.56 percent; the average rate for a 15.year fixed rate mortgage was also two basis points higher at 2.83 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.74 percent. Discount points rose to 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage but were unchanged at 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s economic events include Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices, Pending Home Sales, Consumer Spending and Construction Spending

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 20, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week January 18 2016Mortgage rates fell after Federal Reserve policymakers decided not to raise the Fed’s target federal funds rate. The Federal Open Market Committee cited ongoing concerns over global financial and economic developments and slow jobs growth as factors in its decision not to raise rates. Fed Chair Janet Yellen emphasized the committee’s decision-making process is not predetermined and said that ongoing review of current and developing news is significant to monetary policy decisions.

Last week’s economic news also included the NAHB Housing Market Index, the monthly inflation rate and retail sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Home Builder Confidence Rises in June

According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Home builder confidence rose one point to a June reading of 60. May’s reading was 58 and analysts expected a reading of 59. June’s reading broke a four-month streak of unchanged readings. Sub-readings used to calculate the Housing Market Index were one point higher at 64 for current market conditions. Builders had higher confidence in market conditions for the next six months. June’s reading was five points higher at 70. June’s reading for buyer traffic remained below the benchmark of 50 at 47. The NAHB gauge of buyer traffic in new homes hasn’t hit 50 since the peak of the housing bubble.

National inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index was lower in May at 0.20 percent as compared to April’s reading of 0.40 percent; analysts expected a reading of 0.30 percent. Core inflation held steady at 0.20 percent; the core reading excludes volatile food and energy sectors, but energy prices, fuel prices and food are major components of household budgets.

The Federal Reserve has set an annual inflation rate of 2.00 percent as a benchmark reading for its consideration or raising the federal funds rate. Readings have remained consistently lower in recent years, which contributed to the Fed’s decision not to raise interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Fall as Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed and adjustable mortgages last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped f six basis points to an average of 3.54 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged

2.81 percent, which was also six basis points lower. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 2.740 percent. Lower mortgage rates are welcomed by first-time and moderate income homebuyers as home prices continue to rise.

New jobless claims rose to 277,000 as compared to an expected reading of 270,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 264,000 new claims. Analysts attributed the jump in new claims to seasonal influences including new claims filed by school workers eligible for benefits when classes aren’t in session.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on new and existing home sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. A monthly reading of consumer sentiment 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 – May 31, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 31, 2016Last week’s economic reports included new home sales, pending home sales along with weekly mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

New Home Sales Surpass Expectations

Sales of new homes surpassed expectations and the prior month’s reading. April’s reading of 619,000 sales exceeded expectations of 523,000 new homes sold and 531,000 new homes sold in March.  New home sales rose by 16.60 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, which was the highest increase in 24 years. 

Analysts said that April’s new home sales indicate that builders are increasing production of new homes to meet high demand for homes. Short inventories of available homes are credited with driving up demand and home prices. Buyers seeking family homes are contending with investor buyers and cash buyers in popular markets.

With affordability becoming limited in many cities, first time and moderate income homebuyers aren’t buying as many homes as they once did. This development contributes to slowing markets, as move-up buyers generally rely on first time buyers to purchase their homes. 

Shortages of available homes has pressured home builders to break ground on new home construction projects, but builders continue to cite labor shortages and a lack of buildable lots as reasons why they aren’t building homes as fast as homes are needed. 

Pending Home Sales Numbers Suggest Peak Buying Season Returns

Pending home sales were also higher than forecast in April with a reading of 5.10 percent as compared to expectations of 0.80 percent for April and the March reading of 1.60 percent. Pending home sales gauge future closings for home sales and reached their highest level in 10 years and posted a year-over-year gain of 4.60 percent. 

Three of four regional readings for pending home sales posted gains, with home sales in the Midwest posting slower growth. On a year-over-year basis, he South posted a gain of 6.80 percent and the Northeast posted a gain of 1.20 percent. The West saw a jump in pending sales with a reading of 11.40 percent after posting a negative reading in March. 

April’s expansion in new and pending sales suggests that the peak home buying season is back.

Mortgage Rates Rise; New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points higher at 3.64 percent; the rate for a 15-year mortgage rose eight basis points to 2.89 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose seven points to 2.87 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all mortgage types. 

New jobless claims dipped last week to 268,000 as compared to an expected reading of 275,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 278,000 new claims. Analysts said that New York school employees that were eligible for benefits boosted jobless claims earlier in May due to a non-typical law that allows some school workers to draw unemployment during school closures such as spring break or labor disputes.

Whats Ahead This Week

This week’s scheduled economic news includes Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, construction spending and reports on inflation, core inflation and consumer sentiment. No reports were scheduled for Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday. 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 23, 2016

You Ask, We Answer: 5 Ways That You Can Proactively Build and Improve Your Credit ScoreLast week’s economic news included the NAHB Housing Market Index, reports on housing starts, building reports and existing home sales. Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last FOMC meeting were also released.

Homebuilder Confidence Unchanged, Housing Starts and Building Permits Increase

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that builder confidence held steady with a reading of 58 in May. Analysts projected a reading of 58 and April’s reading was also 58. Builder confidence in market conditions could be slowing due to concerns over acquiring skilled labor and a shortage of developed lots. Demand for homes remains high, but a slim inventory of available properties and builder emphasis on higher-priced homes contributed to sidelining moderate income and first-time buyers.

Commerce Department reports for April Housing Starts and Building Permits issued suggest that tight housing inventories may receive some relief. April housing starts rose from a revised March reading of 1.099 million to 1.170 million starts. Housing starts increased by 6.60 percent in April. Housing starts have slowed as compared to the year-over-year period from April 2015 to 2016; housing starts increased by 10 percent for the same year-over-year period in 2015. While any increase in home construction is welcome, some analysts said that they did not expect a huge increase in home construction in coming months.

Construction of multifamily housing units rose by 10.70 percent, while single-family home construction increased by 3.30 percent. Rising rents and millennials delaying home purchases were seen as fueling multifamily home construction. As homes become less affordable, would-be buyers are continuing to rent, which places higher demand on rental units.

Pre-owned Home Sales Rise in April

Sales of previously owned homes rose by 1.70 percent in April to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million sales. Sales increased by 12.10 percent in the Midwest, where homes are most affordable, and fell by 1.70 percent in the West, where homes are most costly. This development suggests that rapidly rising home prices have or will soon reach maximum levels in high-cost areas. Home prices in many areas rose rapidly in preceding months as short inventory and high demand created bidding wars and keen competition for available homes. A lack of affordable single family homes has caused some buyers to buy condos while others have put buying on hold.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates rose for 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 3.58 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.82 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by two basis points to 2.80 percent. Discount points were 0.60, 0.50 and 0.50 percent respectively. Analysts are watching the Fed closely for any indication that it will raise the target federal funds rate in June, although concerns over the possibility of Great Britain leaving the European Union could cause the Fed to hold off on raising the rate. If the Fed raises the target federal funds rate, loan rates for credit cards and mortgages would also increase.

New jobless claims fell last week to 278,000 new claims against expectations of 279,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 294,000 new claims. Analysts said that a telecommunications strike caused the prior week’s raise in claims as striking workers who are replaced during a strike are eligible for jobless benefits.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include new and pending home sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Holds Steady in May

Closing Paperwork: How to Read and Understand the Truth-in-Lending Disclosure StatementThe National Association of Home Builders reported that home builder confidence in the U.S. housing market conditions held steady for the fourth consecutive month in May. Builder confidence stayed at a reading of 58, which was the number expected by analysts and was also the reading for April. Analysts said that the consistency in readings signified expansion in housing markets. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders than not are confident about market conditions.

Components of the NAHB Housing Market Index include readings on builder confidence in current market conditions which held steady at 63 and builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months, which gained three points to a reading of 54. Builder confidence in foot traffic for new home developments was unchanged at a reading of 44.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said that the higher reading for future sales indicates growing builder confidence in housing market conditions. In recent months, housing markets have been fueled by low mortgage rates and high demand, but supplies of available homes are dwindling. Housing industry analysts have identified building new homes as a major solution for the shortage of homes for sale.

Analysts note that while new homes represent a small part of the residential real estate market, each new home constructed contributes an average of three jobs for a year and yields an average of $90,000 in tax revenue for each home built. Builders repeatedly cite a lack of workers and buildable lots as a concern for building more homes. An NAHB analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report on Job Openings and Labor Turnover indicated that there were 210,000 unfilled construction jobs in March, which was the highest reading since May 2007.

Regional surveys of home builder sentiment were mixed. The reading for the Northeast fell by 3 points to 41 while readings for the Midwest and South rose by one point each with readings of 58 and 59 respectively. The reading for the West was unchanged at 67.

Low Mortgage Rates: Will the Fed Raise Rates in June?

In other housing related news, analysts’ predictions are mixed regarding whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise its target funds rate next month when the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets. Uncertainties over the United Kingdom’s upcoming vote about leaving the European Union and mixed economic data appear likely to nix a rate increase, but improving labor markets could be a plus for a fed rate increase. Raising the federal funds rate would cause mortgage rates to rise and is considered a further concern for the gap between growing wages and rapidly rising home prices. 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 16, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week December 21 2015Last week’s economic news included reports on retail sales and consumer sentiment along with weekly releases on new jobless claims and mortgage rates.

Retail sales jumped 1.30 percent in April as compared to the March reading of 0.30 percent. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector rose from 0.40 percent growth in March to 0.80 percent growth in April. Both retail sales reports exceeded expectations. Growth in consumer spending suggests higher confidence in economic conditions and may lead potential homebuyers to consider buying rather than renting their homes.

Consumer sentiment jumped in May to a reading of 95.8 as compared to an expected reading of 89.5 and April’s reading of 89.0. This reading further supports easing of consumer concerns over current economic conditions and could bode well for housing markets as the peak sales season continues. May’s reading was the highest in nearly a year according to the University of Michigan, which conducts the Consumer Sentiment Survey.

Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims Rise

Housing markets received a boost as average mortgage rates reported by Freddie Mac fell. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by four basis points to 3.57 percent; the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was five points lower at 2.81 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was two basis points lower at 2.78 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three types of mortgages.

In spite of good economic news, lower mortgage rates and higher consumer sentiment, new jobless claims jumped to a 14-month high of 294,000 new claims from the prior week’s reading of 274,000 new claims and expectations of 270,000 new claims. Analysts said this increase could indicate softening of labor markets. Putting last week’s urge in claims in perspective, new claims remained below the benchmark reading of 300,000 new claims for 62 consecutive weeks, which is the longest period since 1973.

Labor laws in New York State likely influenced the jump in claims as certain school workers are allowed to file for unemployment benefits during spring break. A strike by some telecommunications workers likely contributed to the abrupt rise in new jobless claims. Analysts noted that New York allows striking employees replaced by their employers while on strike to collect unemployment benefits, and that new claims were near historically low levels in all other states.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Monthly reports on inflation are also expected.The National Association of Realtors® will release its report on existing home sales. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates will also be released.