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August Builder Confidence Up, Reaches Record High in Midwest

The National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI)--a measure of builder confidence--increased again in August, climbing three points to 59, its highest reading since November 2005, the group reported Thursday. The index has improved 15 points (34 percent) in the last three months. Economists had expected the August index to slip to 56 from July's originally reported 57. The strong August numbers--following the strong June and July reading--gave further evidence to a recovery in the housing sector.

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First-Time Jobless Claims At Pre-Recession Levels

First-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending August 10 fell to the lowest level since January 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The department said there were 320,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, a drop of 15,000 from the previous week. Economists expected the number of claims to drop to 330,000 from the 333,000 originally reported for the week ending August 3. The number of filings for that week was revised to 335,000.

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Former Nationstar VP Joins Pacific Union Financial

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In Texas, Pacific Union Financial, LLC hired Tim Wagner as SVP of marketing. Wagner joins the company from Nationstar Mortgage, where he was VP of marketing. There, he directed the integrated and ecommerce marketing teams, supporting all corporate, servicing, and originations decisions.

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Report: Production, Profits Up at Independent Mortgage Bankers

Production and profitability both increased among independent mortgage bankers last quarter, though commissions continue to decline, according to a quarterly trend report released by Richey May & Co. The quarterly benchmarking survey--put together using the company's Richey May Select analytical technology--shows overall production increased among independent mortgage banks by 11 percent from the first quarter to the second.

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