MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Purchase loan applications slip 0.4 percent from previous week, down 29 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications decreased 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 0.4 percent (and down 29 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 11 percent (and down 84 percent year-on-year). The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 10.4 percent of total applications. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.52 percent from 6.25 percent.
September consumer confidence improves for second consecutive month
Consumer confidence improved in September for the second consecutive month supported in particular by jobs, wages, and declining gas prices. The Present Situation Index rose again, after declining from April through July. The Expectations Index also improved from summer lows, but recession risks nonetheless persist. Concerns about inflation dissipated further in September—prompted largely by declining prices at the gas pump—and are now at their lowest level since the start of the year.
Initial unemployment claims drop to five-month low
In the week ending September 24, initial unemployment claims were 193,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level. Continued claims during the week ending September 17 were 1,347,000, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending September 10 was 1,302,353, an increase of 6,855 from the previous week. There were 5,027,611 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2021.