US economic growth for the third quarter has been revised down, but not by much. Reuters reports:
Gross domestic product, or total output within U.S. borders, expanded at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, the Commerce Department said in its final estimate of growth for the period.
The rate was below the 4.3 percent the department had estimated a month ago, partly because new-car sales were slower and investment in home building was less than thought.
Providing more indication of the direction of the housing market -- and contradicting the previous day's data showing rising housing starts -- a report yesterday showed a decline in mortgage application activity last week. From the same Reuters report:
Separately, the Mortgage Bankers' Association said U.S. mortgage applications dropped to an 11-month low last week as fewer people sought loans to buy new homes. "Housing has passed its peak," said Robert Brusca, chief economist at Fact and Opinion Economics.
The association's seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity for the week to December 16 fell 4.0 percent to 594.6 from 619.3 the previous week.
For a chart of the index, see Calculated Risk, who says: "Overall this report shows purchase activity might be weakening, but it is still at a very high level."
Meanwhile, Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture maintains that housing will slow next year, downplaying the data on housing starts as it is "not a leading indicator of the housing cycle".