Home borrowing costs increased this week to their highest levels since late 2008. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 5.81% this week from 5.78% last week with an average of 0.8 in points and fees. A year ago the rate was 3.02%. The 15-year inched higher to 4.92% from 4.81% with a 0.9 point. A year ago that 15-year was 2.34%. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist said, "The combination of rising rates and high home prices is the likely driver of recent declines in existing home sales. However, in reality many potential homebuyers are still interested in purchasing a home, keeping the market competitive but leveling off the last two years of red-hot activity."
Americans filing for first time unemployment benefits were essentially unchanged in the latest week as the cockeyed labor market continues to raise questions. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose fell by 2,000 to 229,000 and above the 227,000 expected. Continuing claims rose to 1.315 million from 1.310 million. There are currently 11.5 million jobs available with 6.5 million unemployed while 47% of small business owners recently reported job openings that could not be filled.