Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation and the University of Michigan’s preliminary February reporting on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
Inflation Rises as Fed Considers Raising Key Rate
The government’s Consumer Price Index for January reported that month-to-month inflation rose by 0.60 percent as compared to an expected increase of 0.40 percent which was based on December’s month-to-month increase of 0.50 percent. Year-over-year inflation rose to a rate of 7.50 percent, which was the highest inflation rate in 40 years. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, also rose 0.60 percent in January from December’s reading of 5.50 percent.
Analysts said that the Federal Reserve will likely raise its key federal funds rate range to help slow inflation, but drastic dips in the inflation rate aren’t expected. While the Fed predicted inflation to ease in a statement made last December, inflation has only increased. The Fed’s strategy of raising interest rates would ease high consumer demand and help slow rapidly rising prices for housing, goods, and services.
Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims and Consumer Sentiment Fall
Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 14 basis points to 3.69 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 16 basis points to 2.93 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.80 percent and nine basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.
223,000 new jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 239,000 first-time claims filed. No information for continuing jobless claims was released last week.
The University of Michigan reported a preliminary index reading of 61.7 for January’s Consumer Sentiment Index. This was the lowest consumer sentiment reading in ten years and was attributed to consumer concerns over rising inflation.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, Commerce Department readings on building permits issued, and housing starts. Data on sales of pre-owned homes will be released along with weekly reporting on mortgage rates and jobless claims.Share
About the Author:Babak Moghaddam graduated from University of Southern California in 1985. He entered the mortgage industry as a compliance auditor at the Bank of New York in 1986 and completed his masters in Business Administration two years later. After seventeen years in the traditional mortgage banking world Babak finally transformed this vision into his own practice in 2002 when he formed Charter Pacific Lending Corp, a mortgage company that has provided over $900 Million in residential real estate loans throughout Southern California. Babak and his team do things a little differently than other mortgage providers. They work as financial advisors, because they have come to realize that a mortgage is a very powerful financial tool. And just like any other financial tool, it should be managed as part of the overall financial management plan to reach every home owner’s long and short-term financial goals much faster. You can contact Babak for a free consultation and strategy session at (800) 322-1217 X103.