Home borrowing costs rose to near levels seen in late March of 2020 (3.50%) this week though they remain historically low. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 23 basis points to 3.45% with 0.7 in points and fees. The record low was 2.65% on January 7, 2021. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's Chief Economist said, “This was driven by the prospect of a faster than expected tightening of monetary policy in response to continued inflation exacerbated by uncertainty in labor and supply chains. The rise in mortgage rates so far this year has not yet affected purchase demand, but given the fast pace of home price growth, it will likely dampen demand in the near future.”
First-time unemployment claims continued to remain low in the latest week as the country continues to get back to normal as the pandemic subsides. At present, there are nearly 11 million jobs available across the nation. The Labor Department reports that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose 23,000 to 230,000 for the week ended January 7, 2022. Continuing claims, or those receiving benefits for at least two weeks straight, fell to 1.559 million from 1.753 million.
December wholesale inflation jumps annually but the monthly numbers declined from the previous month. The Producer Price Index (PPI) in December came in at 0.2% vs 0.4% expected and down from 1% in November. PPI was up 9.7% annually versus the 9.8% expected and matched the November number. Core PPI rose 0.5%, inline and down from 0.9% in November and up 8.3% annually vs 8% expected and up from 7.7% in November. The numbers come after yesterday's 40-year high in the inflation reading Consumer Price Index.