Mortgage rates remained unchanged last week as the economic spotlight focused on housing and jobs. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market since these will eventually lead to closed sales in the coming months, increased 2.1% in February. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index fell 3.1% from January 2010, the biggest year-over-year decrease since December 2009. Eighteen of the 20 cities showed a year-over-year decline, and prices in 11 markets dropped to new lows from their 2007 peaks. The median price in San Luis Obispo County declined 13.3% from the previous year to $320,000, but total home sales increased 15.3%. According to ADP Employer Services, private companies added 201,000 jobs in March, with the majority of employment gains coming in the service-producing sector. The more widely watched Non-Farm Payrolls were even better, with 230,000 private jobs being created and the government losing 14,000 jobs. Initial Jobless Claims also fell 6,000 to 388,000 in the week ended March 26. The Unemployment Rate dropped to 8.8%, the lowest level in 2 years, but this is primarily due to the labor force not growing. San Luis Obispo County’s unemployment rate fell to 9.8% in February from 10.3%. The county’s unemployment rate ranks seventh of California’s 58 counties, and the overall state unemployment rate is 12.3%.
Currently, the 30 Year Fixed is 4.500% (4.629% APR) and the 15 Year Fixed is 3.750% (3.976% APR). There is very little market-moving data due out this week other than the usual weekly Jobless Claims number on Thursday. Expect no significant changes to mortgage rates again this week.