By Arun Barman, Research Economist
- NAR's monthly official forecast as of April 5th (PDF: 15K)
- GDP 2010 Q1: +2.6%
- GDP 2010 Q2: +1.9%
- GDP 2010 Q3: +2.3%
- Unemployment rate by the year-end 2010: 9.8%
- Average 30-year fixed mortgage rate by the year-end 2010: 5.7%
Mortgage Purchase Applications
- Mortgage Purchase applications were down 10.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and 10.0 percent non-seasonally adjusted. The unadjusted index was down 17.5 percent from a year earlier.
- The four week moving average for the purchase index is up 0.9 percent.
- Refinances were down 9.0 percent, and the market composite index fell 9.6 percent on a seasonal basis.
- The refinance share of market activity rose slightly to 58.9 percent, down from 58.7 percent.
- Mortgage rates, according to the MBA survey, fell slightly to 5.17 percent from 5.31 percent the week before on a fixed 30-year mortgage.
Consumer Price Index
- Consumer prices were up 0.1 percent in March. Over the previous year prices were only up 2.4 percent.
- Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, was unchanged. Compared to the previous year, core prices were 1.2 percent higher in March.
- The housing component of the CPI was also unchanged.
- The low inflation rate is a positive for mortgage / interest rates. The Fed looks at inflation closely when making interest rate decisions, so at least on the inflation front, there is not any pressure to raise rates given today's data.
- Retail sales were up 1.6 percent in March, following a 0.5 percent increase in February. The first quarter sales were up 5.5 percent from the same period in 2009.
- Gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers were especially strong.
- Furniture and home furnishing which are particularly relevant to the housing sector were up 1.5 percent from February, and 4.2 percent from March 2009.