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Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Private sector job growth rebounds to 174,000 in January
Private sector employment rose by 174,000 jobs in January, of which 156,000 were in services and 19,000 in producing goods. This compares to a loss of 78,000 jobs in December and a gain of 205,000 jobs in January 2019. Even with this monthly rebound, however, the economy is still down by a net 9.6 million jobs since March of 2020.
Purchase loans apps edge up 0.1 percent from previous week, rising 16 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications increased 8.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans edging up 0.1 percent (and up 16 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity rising 11 percent (and up 59 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.92 percent from 2.95 percent.
Home prices rise 1 percent in December and 9.2 percent year-on-year
The U.S. housing market exceeded expectations in 2020, closing out the year with the highest annual home price gain since February 2014 in December at 9.2%. Meanwhile, the consequences of the pandemic were seen in the dwindling supply of homes — dropping, on average, 24% below 2019 levels — as homeowners delayed selling. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 1% compared to November 2020.