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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Market Commentary

Updated on September 19, 2018 10:18:26 AM EDT

Augusts Housing Starts was posted at 8:30 AM ET this morning. The Commerce Department announced a 9.2% increase in new home groundbreakings, exceeding forecasts. The favorable news came in the number of new building permits issued that was well below expectations. The permits reading helps us gauge future groundbreakings since a permit must be issued before construction starts. The mixed results did nothing to deter the negative tone in the bond market, leaving us with a bad start to the day for mortgage shoppers.

Tomorrow has two pieces of economic data set for release. The first will be last week’s unemployment figures at 8:30 AM ET. They are expected to show that 209,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, up from 204,000 the previous week. Rising claims is a sign of employment sector weakness, so the higher the number of new claims, the better the news it is for mortgage rates. Although, because this is only a weekly update, it will take a wide variance from forecasts for the data to directly influence mortgage rates.

Next up is Augusts Existing Home Sales from the National Association of Realtors at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow. This report will give us another indication of housing sector strength by tracking home resales in the U.S. It is expected to show a slight increase from Julys sales. Good news would be a sizable decline in sales because a weakening housing sector makes broader economic growth more difficult.

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