Foreclosures are down?

CoreLogic reported today that completed foreclosures in September fell by nearly 40% from the year ago period. In addition, there were fewer than 2.1 million residential mortgages, or 5.2%, seriously delinquent and that rate is at its lowest level since December of 2006. However, there were 51,000 completed foreclosures in September from the 84,000 in September 2012. This compares to an average of 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
Over in the labor markets, Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell by 10,000 in the week ended October 25 to 340,000 and above the 335,000 expected. The 340,000 is above the 325,000 levels that were reported during the summer. The four week moving average, which irons out out any seasonal abnormalities, rose by 8,000, the highest level since mid-April.
Manufacturing activity in the Chicago region surged in October to its highest level since March of 2011 to 65.9. Gains were seen across the board in production, new orders and order backlogs. Any readings over 50 signals expansion. Estimates were calling for a reading of 55.0 and the 65.9 is up from the 55.7 recorded in September.

Market News

Over in housing, the Case Shiller 20-city Index year-over-year rose by 12.8% in August, above the 12.4% expected and above the 12.3% recorded in July. It was the fastest year-over-year gain since February 2006. However, prices gains are beginning to slow in many cities, a signal that the big gains may have peaked. The Conference Board reported that Consumer Confidence in October slowed due to the effects as the government shutdown and debt ceiling issues took hold of the economy. The Index fell to 71.2 in October, below the 73.1 expected and down from the 80.2 recorded in September. A spokesperson for the Conference Board said, "Confidence is likely to remain volatile for the next several months."

Less Competition in Real Estate Market

There were no economic data points to influence the markets today as both Stocks and Bonds are near unchanged levels. After two weeks of uncertainty surrounding the trials and tribulations in D.C., the capital markets can get back to what should be driving sentiment, economic data and corporate earnings.
The Labor Department reported yesterday that the September jobs report will be released on Tuesday, October 22 at 8:30am ET now that the government is back up and running. Various other government reports like Retail Sales, Consumer and Producer Price Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits and any other government data will be released in the coming weeks.
Online real estate company Zillow reported today that home price gains are slowing a bit after the big rise during 2012 and this year. Home values rose 1.2% in the third quarter from the second quarter and down from the 2.5% rise in the second quarter from the first. Zillow went on to say that more homes came on the market and Realtors said that there was less competition among buyers.

Government Reopens Mortgage Market News

The government shutdown has ended and the debt ceiling limit has been extended. The government is now funded through January 15, 2014 while the debt ceiling is extended through February 7, 2014. All furloughed government employees will be reporting for work on Thursday and all national parks and monuments have been re-opened.
In economic news, Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell by 15,000 in the latest week to 358,000 and above the 330,000 that was expected. There are still computer glitches in processing claims in California, which continue to distort the numbers. The Labor Department said there were no perceptible increases in filings last week from the non-federal workers furloughed because of the shutdown.
In manufacturing news, the Philadelphia Fed Index fell to 19.8 in October, down from the 22.3 registered in September, but well above the 15.0 expected. The index covers manufacturing activities in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

16 Days Government Shutdown

The government shutdown enters its 16th day, but a deal is rumored to be struck this afternoon to reopen the government and to raise the debt ceiling. The House of Representatives will be meeting at 10:00am ET today while the Senate is set to meet at 12:00pm ET. The deadline for the debt ceiling issue is at the stroke of midnight tonight eastern time.
Late yesterday, credit rating agency Fitch placed the U.S. debt on negative watch, but did maintain its AAA rating. The reason behind the move was the "failure to raise the federal debt ceiling in a timely manner before the Treasury exhausts extraordinary measures."
Over in housing news, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported today that its Housing Market Index fell to 55 in October versus the 57 expected as home loan rates rose along with the government shutdown providing uncertainty. Any readings over 50 shows optimism and the NAHB said that it is still seeing signs of pent-up demand in many markets across the country.

Mortgage Market News

The shutdown in Washington D.C. drags on for the eighth day with no end in sight as both the Democrats and the Republican parties are far from coming to a deal. There are now about 500,000 federal workers on furlough, but once back to work, they should be receiving any lost wages retroactively.
Over on the foreclosure front, research firm CoreLogic reported that foreclosure inventories in August fell by 33% to 939,000 compared to August of 2012 of 1,400,000. In addition, completed foreclosures came in at 48,000 in August, down 34% from the 72,000 recorded in August of 2012.
Don't look now but filling up the gas station has gotten much cheaper in the past month. The national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline is $3.34, down nearly 14 cents in the last two weeks. The end of the summer driving season and a drop in oil prices in September let refiners cut their prices. However, unless there is another drop in oil prices, we may have seen the bottom for prices at the pump. However, the price for a regular gallon of gasoline has been above $3 for over 1,000 days, a record.
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