* Purchase Mortgage Application Recovery Continues for Fourth Week. While overall mortgage application volume remained flat, purchase activity continued to rebound – and that should be the case through the remainder of the spring, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Although total mortgage applications increased by a scant 0.3% for the period ending May 8 from the previous week, the seasonally adjusted purchase index increased 11% from one week earlier. It was the fourth consecutive week of higher purchase activity. “We expect this positive purchase trend to continue – at varying rates across the country – as states gradually loosen social distancing measures, and some of the pent-up demand for housing returns in what is typically the final weeks of the spring home buying season.” Meanwhile, the refinance index decreased 3% from the previous week but was 201% higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 67% of total applications from 70% the previous week.
* Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Rises After Massive U.S. Fiscal Stimulus. U.S. consumer sentiment inched higher in the early part of May after massive stimulus measures undertaken by the government to sustain the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Friday. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index came in at 73.7 for May. That’s up from 71.8 in April and well above a Dow Jones estimate of 65. “The CARES relief checks improved consumers’ finances and widespread price discounting boosted their buying attitudes,” said Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Surveys of Consumers, in a statement. The index of current economic conditions jumped to 83 this month from 74.3. However, consumer expectations weakened to 67.7 – a six-year low – from 70.1.
* Searches for “Homes For Sale” Rebound 54%. According to a study from LendingTree, Google searches for the term “homes for sale” have increased from their 2020 lows in each metro that was analyzed. The average lowest search-interest value in 2020 for all 50 metros was about 56. By the end of April, that number grew by 54%, to 86.