Washington Weekly Update - March 13, 2017
March 13, 2017
Week Ahead: Green with Envy
It’s all about Green in the week ahead. The Fed expected to raise the cost of Green (money) on Wednesday by a quarter point and on Friday the wearing of the Green for St. Patrick’s Day.
Here’s the way the week shapes up:
- Fed Meeting Begins
- NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
- Fed Meeting Announcement 2:00 PM ET
- Fed Forecasts 2:00 PM ET
- Fed Chair Janet Yellen News Conference 2:30 PM ET
- Housing Starts 8:30 AM ET
- Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Daylight Saving Time begins 2am Sunday — spring ahead to 3am!
Consumer confidence in housing hits all-time high according to Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). The HPSI increased by 5.6 percentage points in February to 88.3. The net share of Americans who reported that now is a good time to buy rose 11 percentage points, while the net share who believe that now is a good time to sell rose 7 percentage points. Consumers also demonstrated greater confidence about not losing their jobs, with the net share rising 9 percentage points.
Results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) show mortgage rates hit their highest mark of 2017. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.21 percent for the week ending March 9th. This time last year, the FRM averaged 3.68 percent. The 15-year FRM averaged 3.42 percent for the week. Year-over-year, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.96 percent.
Mortgage applications increased during the week ending March 3rd, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey saw a 3.3 percent increase in total mortgage applications. The Refinance Index increased 5 percent and the unadjusted Purchase Index increased 15 percent. The refinance share of total mortgage applications increased to 45.4 percent last week.
Mortgage Credit Availability increased in February according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) released by the MBA. The MCAI increased 0.4 percent to 177.8 in February. Of the four component indices, the Government MCAI saw the greatest increase in availability over the month (up 0.1 percent).
The US Department of Labor announced last week that initial unemployment insurance claims increased from the previous week ending March 4, 2016. The four-week moving average was 243,000 an increase from last week’s average. The insured unemployment rate was 1.5 percent for the week ending February 25, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its Employment Situation Summary for the month of February. Highlights from the summary showed that non-farm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February. The unemployment rate saw was little changed at 4.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 1.8 million. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 358,000 over the last 12 months.
The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine decreased in February. Online demand decreased 360,200 in February. The January Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.56 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 2.7 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies.
Home prices increased according to CoreLogic’s Home Price Insights report. Thirteen states and DC reached new home price highs in January 2017. Year-over-year, home prices have increased 6.9 percent. The one-year home price forecast expectation is that home prices will continue to rise, increasing 4.8 percent by January 2018.
CoreLogic released the Homeowner Equity Report last week. According to the report, Q4 saw 62,000 properties regain equity. The aggregate value of homes in negative equity was $283B in Q4. Over 6 percent of mortgaged homes were reported to have negative equity in Q4.