Friday Financial Update

Despite the recent chatter regarding inflation pressures, a key inflation gauge was unchanged in January, laying to rest the fears of increased interest rate hikes in 2018. The Fed's favorite inflation gauge, the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure, remained at 1.5% year over year, below the target range of 2%. Fed Chairman Powell said today that he doesn't see any strong evidence of significant wage growth but did say he could see wages rising soon.

Mortgage rates continued to climb this week though they remain historically low. Call us today at 207-899-5354 to discuss whether a Maine or Florida home purchase or refinance makes sense for you. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose three basis points in the latest week to 4.43% with an average 0.5 in points and fees. Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Freddie went on to say that early indications are that housing demand remains robust to the recent rate increases.

Americans claiming first-time unemployment benefits fell to lows not seen since December 1969 in the latest week as the labor market continues to strengthen. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell by 10,000 in the latest week to 210,000, below the 227,000 expected. It was the 156th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 mark, a level associated with a strong job market.

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