European Central Bank President Mario Draghi defended the tools that the organization has available.Europe Newsread more
According to China's top economic planning body, some local companies are cutting back on their efforts to hire new university graduates.China Economyread more
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has presided over a tumultuous recent period, which for many, has left Europe on the brink.Commentaryread more
Tensions between China and the U.S. are threatening to slow global trade further, threatening some Asian economies.Asia Economyread more
U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was transferred to a detention facility in Manhattan on Monday ahead of an expected arraignment on state...White Houseread more
Airbus recorded orders and options for 123 planes, according to the aviation consulting firm IBA.iQ.Paris Air Showread more
Markets in Asia were mostly higher on Tuesday as investors awaited the start of a closely-watched meeting by the U.S. Federal Reserve, set to kick off later stateside.Asia Marketsread more
Wall Street analysts think Facebook's cryptocurrency payments project will give the company a big boost.Marketsread more
Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to North Korea this week for a two-day visit, ahead of a possible meeting between Xi and President Donald Trump at next week's G-20...Politicsread more
The Pentagon said that the crew of one of the tankers, the Japanese Kokuka Courageous, found an unexploded limpet mine on its hull following an initial explosion.Politicsread more
China's Alibaba Group on Tuesday said its chief financial officer, Maggie Wu, will oversee the firm's strategic acquisitions and investments unit, as part of a business and...Technologyread more
Even with mortgage interest rates sitting near record lows, mortgage applications failed to make any gains last week.
Total application volume decreased 4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Even refinances, which are highly rate-sensitive, were unimpressed by the continued low rates, falling 4 percent from the previous week, seasonally adjusted. They are, however, nearly 48 percent higher compared to the same week one year ago, when interest rates were higher.
"Refinance volume continues to tail off as markets recover post Brexit," said Michael Fratantoni, chief economist for the MBA.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.64 percent from 3.65 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.
Mortgage applications to purchase a home also lost ground, falling 4 percent for the week to the lowest level since February. Still, they are 10 percent higher than the same week last year.
"A strong job market and low rates continue to support home sales," Fratantoni said.
Low rates are the only bright spot in a housing market plagued by low inventory and rising prices. Several major U.S. metropolitan markets are hitting new record high median home prices, and homebuilders are not starting enough new homes to meet demand and help moderate the price gains. Single family housing starts in July rose less than 1 percent for the month, and building permits, an indicator of future construction, fell 3.7 percent, according to the U.S. Census.
"Single family starts of 770,000 is about exactly where the year to date average is, 25 percent below the 25 year average and 58 percent below the 2006 peak," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst of the Lindsey Group. "Yes, we continue to be in a housing recovery but let's put it into perspective."
Mortgage rates did begin inching higher Tuesday and could make bigger gains depending on what investors glean from the release of the Federal Reserve minutes Wednesday.
"This gives investors a chance to examine the Fed's discussion leading up to the late July policy announcement in greater detail," wrote Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. "At the moment, everyone is looking for clues about the Fed's thoughts on hiking rates at the September or December meeting. If the minutes make it seem like September is more likely, rates could easily continue higher."