Mortgage applications drop; Triangle unemployment increases
Posted March 21, 2012
Tuesday we had housing starts data for February which was down unexpectedly by 1.1 percent, but permits for new homes jumped considerably gaining 5.1 percent in month-over-month data, and moved 34 percent higher than a year ago, giving further indication that housing is rebounding.
Wednesday we received existing homes sales data which showed a decline in February of 0.9 percent, but even with the decline, the February sales data is the strongest February data in five years.
Not surprisingly, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Applications were down given the rapid increase in mortgage rates that we experienced last week. We saw a 7.4 percent decline for the week ending March 16th. Overall refinance share continues to drop as well, now accounting for just over 73 percent of total mortgage activity. Purchases fell 1 percent for the week, while refinances fell 9.4 percent for the week.
Triangle unemployment increased to 8.5 percent in January according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The 8.5 percent reading is a half percent increase over the December figure. We’ll have to look to future readings to see if this was simply a seasonal anomaly, or if this becomes a trend.
Mortgage rates have been trending down Wednesday, with the 10-year yield dropping below 2.30 for the first time in a few trading sessions.