Market Recap: Job Openings Down, Refinancing Boom, Consumer Price Index Higher

Blog posted On February 14, 2020

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Average mortgage rates are hovering the lowest levels in the past 12 months.  Refinance mortgage application submissions ticked up as a result.  There were fewer job openings in December, as the labor market continues to edge closer to full employment.  The consumer price index increased, by overall inflation is still slow. 

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed fewer job openings in December, down to a level of 6.42 million openings.  In the past year, job openings have fallen by 1 million.  The quits rate declined slightly to a level of 2.5%.  Hiring has also slowed.  Since the data lags by one month, the figure may be reversed next month, after a robust jobs report at the end of January. 

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey was mixed for the week ending 2/7.  New purchase mortgage application submissions fell 6.0% and refinance application submissions jumped 5.0% for a composite increase of 1.1%.  MBA economist Joel Kan, commented, “the mortgage market continues to be active in early 2020, as applications increased for the third straight week.”

The consumer price index rose 0.1% month-over-month in January.  The increase was impacted by rising rents, expensive medical care, and higher food costs.  Year-over-year the index increased 2.5%.  The core CPI that excludes food and energy was up 0.2%.  The Federal Reserve uses the consumer price index to gauge inflation trends and make interest rate decisions. 

Many housing professionals believe the Spring home buying season has started early due to historically low mortgage rates.  Even homeowners that bought a home within the past few years, may be able to get a lower mortgage rate with a mortgage refinance.  If you’re thinking about buying a new home or interested in refinancing your current home loan, let us know. 


Sources: CNBC, Econoday, MarketWatch, MarketWatch, MarketWatch, Mortgage News Daily