Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.
- This week the U.S. and China signed the 'phase one' trade deal, an event that helped drive global stocks to record highs. Talks will now begin on a 'phase two' deal.
- Consumer prices rose slightly in December, but underlying inflation pressures retreated. Weak inflation supports the Fed's desire to keep policy rates unchanged.
- Producer prices edged up in December as a rise in the cost of goods was offset by weakness in services. This reading was another indication of tame inflation.
- Homebuyers were active to begin the year. Mortgage application volume was up 30.2% last week. Purchase applications were up 16% for the week and 8% year-over-year.
- The Purchase Index, which includes all mortgage applications for the purchase of a single-family home, is now at its highest level since October 2009.
- The Veterans Administration has eliminated loan limits on VA loans, starting January 1, 2020. However, there is also an increase on many associated fees.