Pending Home Sales Index: Pending home sales were down 2.5% in January to a level of 106.0. In a more positive note, December numbers were revised upward to 0.9% growth from 0.1%. Sales went down in three of the nation’s four regions. Pending home sales are only up 1.4% annually.
ISM Manufacturing Index: The manufacturing sector is still in contraction, but it’s in much better shape after the month of February. The index is up 1.3 points to 49.5. For context, 50 is breaking even. New orders were unchanged this month at 51.5. There was also a slowing in contraction for backlog orders. However, the market for new export orders shrunk a little more, coming in at 46.5 in February. In another positive, employment was up 2.6 points to 48.5, matching the rise in production which came in at 52.8.
MBA Mortgage Applications: Mortgage applications were down by 4.8% as purchases fell 1.0% and refinances were down 7.0% week over week. Despite this, applications are up 27% over this time last year. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was down two basis points to 3.83%.
Jobless Claims: Initial claims were up 6,000 this week to 278,000. However, the four-week average is down 1,750 to come in at 270,250. Meanwhile, continuing claims rose just 3,000. The four-week average is unchanged at 2.257 million.
Employment Situation: Nonfarm payrolls were up 242,000 jobs in February, well above consensus estimates. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9%. Of those jobs, 230,000 were added from the private sector. Retail was up by 55,000. Trading transportation followed with 53,000 jobs added, while professional and business services kicked in 23,000 jobs. Government added 12,000 jobs and construction, no doubt buoyed by mild weather, added 19,000 jobs. Mining and manufacturing shrank, down 19,000 and 16,000. The labor force participation rate was also up two tenths of a point to 62.9%. It wasn’t all rosy. The average work week went down 12 minutes to 34.4 hours and wages fell by 0.1%.
International Trade: The trade gap between the United States and the rest of the world increased by $1 billion in January, with the deficit coming in at $45.7 billion. On the export side, we were down 2.1%. Exports of capital goods were down quite a bit, a sign of busyness investment problems across the globe. Exports of consumer goods and food products were also down. Turning to imports, these were down 1.3%. The U.S. imported less industrial supplies and consumer goods also fell, despite the fact that automotive imports remain strong.
Mortgage rates were slightly higher across the board last week.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 3.64% with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 3, 2016, up from last week when they averaged 3.62%. A year ago at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 3.75%.
15-year FRMs this week averaged 2.94% with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.93%. A year ago at this time, 15-year FRMs averaged 3.03%.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.84% this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when they averaged 2.79%. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.96%.
Stocks ended Friday higher as oil prices rise and the jobs report came in strong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 62.87 points to 17,006.77. It was up 2.2% for the week. The S&P 500 index was up 6.59 points to 1,999.99 for a weekly gain of 2.67%. The NASDAQ was up 9.60 points to finish at 4,717.02. It was up 2.76% on the week.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, March 8
Quicken Loans Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) (10:00 a.m. ET) – Quicken Loans, the nation’s second-largest retail mortgage lender, releases data every month that compares what people think their homes are worth with the opinions of appraisers. Closer homeowner perceptions often make for smoother purchase and refinance transactions.
Quicken Loans Home Value Index (HVI) (10:00 a.m. ET) – Quicken Loans also releases data on home values, both on the national and regional level. Homeowners can gain a perception of whether values are increasing or decreasing and get a better idea of where they stand in terms of equity.
Wednesday, March 9
MBA Mortgage Applications (7:00 a.m. ET) – The mortgage applications index measures applications to mortgage lenders. This is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction.
Thursday, March 10
Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) – New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing trend suggests a deteriorating labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.
It’s really a pretty light week in terms of economic news coming up, but thankfully we’re more than just a one trick pony. In addition to the economy and mortgage, we pride ourselves on giving great tips for your home, money and life. Subscribe to the Zing Blog below to get all this goodness delivered directly to your inbox.
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