Consumer prices tame. Core inflation eases. Mortgage rates unchanged in the latest week.

Consumer prices cooled a bit in April after spiking early in the year, helping to ease rising inflation fears. The numbers revealed an uptick in energy and food prices which was offset by a decline in demand for used cars and trucks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2% in April, just below the 0.3% expected and still down from the 2018 high of 0.5% recorded in January.

The so-called Core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy, rose 0.1%, below the 0.2% expected. On a 12-month basis, CPI rose 2.5%, up from the 2.4% in March, while the Core rate increased 2.1%, unchanged from the March reading. The members of the Federal Reserve will be dissecting the data but it does regard the Core Personal Consumptions Expenditures (PCE) as its favorite inflation gauge. The annual Core PCE was last reported at 1.9%, right near the Fed’s 2% target.

Mortgage rates were steady in the latest week, and while they have risen in 2018, rates still remain historically attractive. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged this week at 4.55% with an average 0.5 point added on top. Freddie Mac says as we head into late spring, the demand for purchase credit remains rock solid, which should set us up for another robust summer home sales season. In addition, while this year’s higher rates, which are up 50 basis points from a year ago, have put pressure on the budgets of some home shoppers, weak inventory levels are what’s keeping the housing market from a stronger sales pace.