Daily News 01/21/2015

January 21, 2015

Wednesday – January 21

The housing markets received good news in December to end a mixed year for the sector. The Commerce Department reported that Housing Starts rose by 4.4% from November to an annual rate of 1.09 million units, which was the highest annual pace in seven years. The 1.09 million was above the 1.04 million expected. The rise was led by a surge in single-family starts…the strongest rise since early 2008. In December, there is historically a small volume of new construction of homes, but the big jump could signal that builders are looking for a robust spring buying season.

With home loan rates hovering near historic lows, mortgage application activity continued to rise in the latest week, after a big jump in the previous week. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, rose by 14% and has risen to its highest level since June 2013. The refinance index jumped 22%, while the purchase index fell 3%.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is set to enact a massive stimulus program to boost economic growth in the region along with fighting deflation. The ECB commission has vowed to spend 50 billion euros a month until December 2016. The program is set to begin on March 1 and will eventually expand the ECBs balance sheet to 3 trillion euros. In addition, the Bank of Canada cut its key interest rate by .25% today, citing the economic threat by falling oil prices.