Mortgage Market Update 04-29-14

Annual home price gains are beginning to slow due to rising mortgage rates along with difficulties in qualifying for a mortgage, reports the Case Shiller 20-city Index in February. The Index fell to 12.9%, just below the 13% expected and down from the 13.2% recorded year-over-year in January. The 12.9% is down from a recent high of 13.7% with 13 of the 20 tracked cities posting lower annual rates.

The Conference Board reported this morning that its Consumer Confidence Index fell in April to 82.3, down from the 83.9 registered in March. The 82.3 missed expectations of 83.2. The Conference Board said that consumers assessed current business and labor market conditions less favorably than in March. However, consumers do not see the economy or the labor markets losing the momentum that has been building up over the past several months.

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to its lowest level in nearly 19 years due to rising mortgage rates and higher home prices. The Census Bureau reported that the homeownership rate fell to 64.8% in the first quarter of 2014, down from the 65.2% in the final quarter of 2013. That is the lowest rate since the 64.7% recorded in the second quarter of 1995. The rate peaked at 69.2% in June 0f 2004.