12/10: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Purchase loans dip 5 percent from previous week, still up 22 percent year-on-year

The Market Composite Index for mortgage loans decreased 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 5 percent (but up 22 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity rising 2 percent (and up 89 percent year-on-year).  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to a new survey low of 2.90 percent.


November Small Business Optimism Index slips 2.6 points to 101.4, labor quality most-cited business problem

The Small Business Optimism Index declined 2.6 points in November to 101.4 but remains well above the 47-year historical average reading of 98. Six of the 10 Index components declined and four increased.  The Uncertainty Index decreased 8 points to 90, still a historically high reading.  24% of respondents said that labor quality was their top business problem (up 2 points), exceeding the percentages that selected taxes, regulations, and weak sales as their top problem.


Overhang of unemployed versus job openings fell 38 percent in October to 4.4 million

Although were a total of 11.1 million unemployed persons in October — or 4.4 million more than open jobs — this gap fell by 38.0 percent from September due to a decline of nearly 14 percent of unemployed persons. The number of job openings rose 2.4 percent to 6.7 million on the last business day of October, with new hires falling 1.3 percent, but separations rising 5.1 percent and quits rising 0.6 percent.


Zillow survey shows renters more likely to leave rural areas than urban ones

Renters are more likely to leave rural areas than urban ones. Three quarters (74%) of participants whose former home was in an urban area moved to an urban rental. Most suburbanites (71%) stayed in the suburbs. But a smaller majority (57%) of rural dwellers moved into a rental in a rural area.  Among renters that moved from a previous rental, most are not saving money. Half (51%) of renters that moved from a previous rental report paying more than before. About a third (36%) report paying less. And 14% report paying the same.