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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 9, 2010

David Kosmecki | August 8, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Federal Reserve meets August 10 2010Mortgage markets improved again last week on softer-than-expected economic data, punctuated by Friday morning’s weak jobs report. Conforming mortgage rates in Wisconsin dropped on the news, making new, all-time lows.

Mortgage rates have been on an extended rally dating back to mid-April.

This week, there’s a lot of data and news due for release, the most influential to markets of which is the Federal Open Market Committee’s scheduled policy meeting.

8 times annually, the FOMC meets to discuss the nation’s monetary policy with respect to the current and projected U.S. economic conditions. Sometimes the FOMC takes action on the economy. Other times, it does not.

Either way, Fed meetings are market movers and it’s a gamble to float a mortgage rate ahead of an FOMC get-together.

There’s other’s stories to watch this week, too. Each has the ability to change mortgage rates.

  • Tuesday : FOMC meeting; Consumer Confidence data
  • Thursday : Jobless Claims
  • Friday : Retail Sales; Consumer Price Index

It’s a busy week on Wall Street, to be sure, and rate shoppers would do well to pay attention. Not only can the FOMC meeting change mortgage rates for every product in every market, but it can also change the outlook for mortgage rates going forward.

Rates are at an all-time low and low rates can’t last forever. We’re in the middle of a Refi Boom today and, soon, the boom will be over.

If you haven’t spoken to a loan officer about refinancing your home, or locking a mortgage rate, your best time to make the call is prior to the FOMC’s Tuesday afternoon adjournment at 2:15 PM ET. Mortgage rates will get jumpy leading up to the meeting, and will most certainly be volatile afterward.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 2, 2010

David Kosmecki | August 2, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Unemployment Rate 2007-2010 Mortgage markets improved last week, pushing mortgage rates lower for the 6th time in seven weeks. 

Since April, rates in Minnesota have been on a downward path, spurring refinances in most markets and sparking the start of a Refi Boom.

Last week, 3 key stories played a role in falling rates:

  1. Demand was strong for U.S. government debt
  2. Emerging concerns of a Japan-style deflation in the U.S.
  3. Personal Spending since late-2007 was shown to be less than previously thought

Of the three, it’s the measured drop in Personal Spending for which rate shoppers and home buyers in Minneapolis should watch. Drops in spending slow down the economy which, in turn, tends to pull mortgage rates lower.

Long-term, deflation could be a drag on rates, too. For now, though, it’s just a conversation among academics and economists.

This week, mortgage rates could move up or down — a lot hinges on the results on July’s Non-Farm Payrolls report.

More commonly called “the jobs report”, Non-Farm Payrolls hits the wires Friday at 8:30 AM ET. Markets are expecting a 75,000 net loss of jobs last month. If the actual number is higher, mortgage rates should rise. If the actual number is lower, mortgage rates should fall.

With the jobs numbers not due until Friday morning, expect choppy trading through Thursday’s market close. There’s a handful of economic data set for release including Personal Consumption Expenditures (Tuesday), Pending Home Sales (Tuesday) and Jobless Claims (Thursday). Each has the potential to move mortgage rates.

The Refi Boom is ongoing but when it ends, it will end in a hurry. If you’ve been thinking about a refinance, contact your loan officer about your options sooner rather than later.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 26, 2010

David Kosmecki | July 26, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Existing Home Sales June 2009-June 2010Mortgage markets worsened last week for the first time in 6 weeks last week. Investors were pleased with corporate earnings reports and the European bank stress tests results.  Stocks gained on the news, and bonds lost.

Mortgage rates rose last week, but only slightly. Rate are still hovering near their lowest levels of all-time.

Of the bigger stories last week was Existing Home Sales. As reported by the National Association of Realtors®, sales volume was down in June and home supplies were up. But figures were a bit better than expected, giving some hope for housing.

Notably, the number of move-up buyers outnumbers first-timers and the national median home price rose, suggesting that mid-to-upper home prices are getting some support.

This week, the market gets additional two pieces of housing data to add to the mix:

  1. New Homes Sales (Monday)
  2. Case-Shiller Index (Tuesday)

Both will have an impact on mortgage rates. In general, better-than-expected data should cause rates to rise in Minnesota ; worse-than-expected data should cause rates to fall.

Also this week, there’s two consumer confidence reports, the Fed’s Beige Book, and late-in-the-week inflationary data.  Mortgage markets should remain volatile with so much news headed down the pipe.

It’s too soon to declare the current 3-month rally over, but it’s been 3 weeks since rates dipped. This can be a signal that mortgage rates have finally bottomed and that it’s time to lock your rate.

If you’re floating a mortgage rate, or thinking about a refinance, it’s time to get locked in. Rates may drop this week, but then again, maybe they won’t.  There’s little sense gambling on a bet as big as a mortgage.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 19, 2010

David Kosmecki | July 19, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Housing starts June 2008 - May 2010Mortgage markets improved for the 5th straight week last week as consumer confidence waned and inflation data tamed. Investors ignored the news that 19 of 23 reporting S&P 500 companies beat their respective earnings estimates and sold off on stocks.

There’s concern about a potential economic slowdown for the months ahead and it may be well-founded.

Despite an improving jobs situation and booming retail sales, households are less optimistic about the future and so is the Federal Reserve. In its post-meeting minutes released last week, the Fed revised its U.S. growth estimates downward for 2010 and 2011.

For rate shoppers in Minnesota , this is excellent news.

Because of the weakness, conforming mortgage rates fell again last week, extending the current rally in rates to 16 weeks. Mortgage rates are lower than at any time in measured history.

This week, data will be housing market-heavy and mortgage rates could rise or fall.

  • Monday : National Association of Home Builders Index
  • Tuesday : Building Permits and Housing Starts
  • Thursday : Existing Home Sales

Strength in any, or all three, of these housing-related reports should push mortgage rates higher on higher hopes for the economy. Weakness, on the other hand, should have the opposite effect. 

Overall, though, mortgage markets are trending better.  Momentum is in effect and refinance activity is soaring. That said, it doesn’t mean that rates won’t rise — they could absolutely. It just takes a change in market sentiment. And that could happen quickly.

Mortgage rates are artificially right now so even the slightest jolt could cause them to spike. It would be similar to what happened in June 2009 when rates rose 1.125% in just 10 days’ time. Therefore, if you’re shopping for a mortgage and like the rate you’ve been quoted, consider locking in as soon as possible.

There’s very little room for rates to fall further but a lot of room for rates to rise. Make sure you’re on the right side of that bet.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 11, 2010

David Kosmecki | July 12, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Consumer Price Index May 2009-May 2010Mortgage markets improved again last week — if only barely — throughout a holiday-shortened week devoid of “major” data and market conviction.

Up-and-down trading characterized the week which ended with Wisconsin mortgage rates slightly lower versus the week prior.

Mortgage rates have fallen in 4 consecutive weeks and are on an extended rally that dates back to mid-April.

This week, however, data returns and rates could reverse. Especially with inflation numbers are in play.

Inflation is the enemy of mortgage rates.

Inflation is bad for mortgage rates because mortgage rates based on the price of mortgage-backed bonds.  When inflation pressures mount, the demand for mortgage-backed bonds wanes and that pushes bond prices down which, in turn, pushed bond yields (i.e. rates) up.

There’s three pieces of inflation-related news this week.

The first inflation-related story is the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday release of the minutes from its last meeting. Now, when the Fed adjourned June 23, it said “underlying inflation has trended lower“. However, there was more to the conversation that what the FOMC released in its post-meeting statement. 

Markets will be looking for clues.

Then, Thursday, the Producer Price Index is released. The Producer Price Index is a measure of business operating costs. When PPI is increasing, it means that “doing business” is more expensive — an inflationary situation. It’s inflationary because higher business costs are often absorbed by consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services.

A rising PPI is usually bad for mortgage rates.

And lastly, Friday, the Consumer Price Index is released. The CPI measures the average American’s “cost of living”. Like PPI, when the Consumer Price Index is rising, mortgage rates tend to follow.

Other releases of import this week include Retail Sales and two consumer confidence surveys.

Last week, mortgage rates again made new all-time lows. If you haven’t checked with your loan officer about the possibility of a refinance, make that call this week.  Mortgage rates can stay low for a long time, but they can’t stay low forever. Lock your rate while you can.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 6, 2010

David Kosmecki | July 6, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Unemployment Rate 2007-2010Mortgage markets improved last week as economic data revealed a slowing U.S. economy.

Major stock indices fell to 2010 lows in response to a weak jobs report among other data points, forcing worldwide investors into the relative safety of U.S. government-backed bonds.  This category includes mortgage-backed bonds and the extra demand helped to drop rates.

Once again, mortgage rates improved in Minnesota and Freddie Mac is reporting new all-time lows on three popular, conforming loan products:

  • The 30-year fixed rate mortgage
  • The 15-year fixed rate mortgage
  • The 5-year adjustable rate mortgage

Low rates mean low payments and you can’t know your options until you ask.

This week, mortgage rates may move slowly. There’s very little data set for release because markets were closed Monday in observance of Independence Day, and because the second calendar week of a month is traditionally data-slow.

Tuesday, a consumer confidence study is published; Thursday, jobless claims plus consumer credit levels hit; and, Friday, we’ll see wholesale inventories.  That’s about it.  None of these reports are particularly important but, in aggregate, the numbers can show whether the economy is expanding or contracting.

In general, evidence of an expanding economy should cause mortgage rates to rise.  In a contracting economy, rates are likely to fall.

Actual mortgage rates will vary by borrower, based on property type, credit score, and home equity, but if you haven’t talked to your loan officer about a refinance into today’s rates, it’s likely worth the time for a phone call.  Once mortgage rates start to reverse higher, they’re expected to reverse quickly.

You’ll want to act before that move occurs..


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : June 28, 2010

David Kosmecki | June 28, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Non-Farm Payrolls June 2008-May 2010Mortgage markets improved last week in response to mostly negative data about the U.S. economy, and the Federal Reserve’s acknowledgement that Eurozone financial ills could cross the Atlantic.

Conforming and FHA mortgage rates fell last week, extending a rate rally that dates to early-April.  Mortgage rates have fallen to several, new, all-time lows during this period and last week was no different.

The best rates of last week hit Thursday morning.

This week, mortgage rates should be volatile, and may rise, too.  There’s a bevy of data due for release, and market volume will be light with the long weekend looming.

Monday, the Personal Consumptions Expenditures Price Index is published. More commonly known as “PCE”, the index is the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge. When inflation is running higher than expected, mortgage rates tend to rise.

Conversely, when inflation is running lower than expected, mortgage rates tend to fall.

Tuesday, the Case-Shiller Index will be released for April’s home prices, along with two consumer confidence reports.  As with PCE, strength tends to lead mortgage rates higher and weakness draws them lower.

Thursday, the National Association of REALTORS® releases its Pending Home Sales Index for May and the Department of Labor releases initial and continuing jobless claims number.

Then, Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes June’s jobs report, including the Unemployment Rate.  This number is always a market-mover, but with the long vacation weekend looming, it’s expected that Friday’s volume will be light on Wall Street, creating extra volatility. 

Mortgage rates may be erratic, in other words.

If you’ve been shopping for mortgages, you’ve been rewarded with falling rates. However, will rates cutting new lows almost weekly and expected to reverse soon, it may be a good time to lock up your savings.

Talk to your loan officer ASAP about locking in your rate.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : June 21, 2010

David Kosmecki | June 21, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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FOMC meets this weekMortgage markets improved last week on weaker-than-expected jobless figures, ongoing troubles in Europe, and a tame reading on domestic inflation.

As a result, conforming mortgage rates for Minnesota fell last week, drawing loads of new refinance applications.

For a brief moment Thursday afternoon, mortgage bond prices pierced a key support level, dropping rates in Minneapolis to their best levels of the year. 

It didn’t last long, however. By Friday morning, pricing was worsening on profit-taking and in preparation for this week — a week that promises to be heavy on both data and rhetoric.

To mortgage markets, this can be a dangerous combination.

The biggest news of the week is the Federal Reserve’s 2-day meeting, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington D.C. 

The Fed is expected to hold the Fed Funds Rate in its target range near 0.000-0.250 percent. It won’t be what the Fed does at its meeting that will matter to rates, though. It will be what the Fed says — about jobs, about growth, about inflation — in its post-meeting press release.

Remarks that reflect well upon the economy should lead mortgage rates higher. Remarks viewed as negative should lead mortgage rates down.

There’s key data due for release next week, too:

  • Tuesday : Existing Home Sales and Home Price Index
  • Wednesday : New Home Sales
  • Thursday : Continuing Jobless Claims
  • Friday : GDP and Consumer Sentiment

Mortgage rates remained relatively tame last week.  This week, volatility should return.

If you’re shopping for a mortgage, rates remain very low but could reverse quickly. Your biggest risk is tied to the Fed’s adjournment Wednesday afternoon.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : June 14, 2010

David Kosmecki | June 14, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Retail Sales (June 2008 - May 2010)Mortgage markets posted four good days last week and one awful one.  Unfortunately for rate shoppers in Wisconsin , that one bad day outweighed the gains of the other four and mortgage rates worsened on the week overall.

Despite re-touching all-time lows on Tuesday and Wednesday, Conforming and FHA mortgage rates moved higher on the week.

There wasn’t much domestic data on which for mortgage markets to move so rates took their cues from global economic activity. Strong data from Japan and China, plus an improving outlook from the Eurozone, sparked optimism among Wall Street investors. Cash poured into the stock market and it happened at the expense of bonds — including the mortgage-backed ones.

It’s the primary reasons rates rose and not even the worst Retail Sales report in 8 months could undue the damage.

Often, weak Retail Sales data causes mortgage rates to fall. Last week, however, that wasn’t the case. 

This week, there’s cause for rates to rise again with Wednesday emerging as a “data day”.

First, at 8:30 AM ET, the government releases two key housing statistics and one major gauge for inflation — Housing Starts, Building Permits and Producer Price Index, respectively.  Strength in any or all three should lead mortgage rates higher.

Then, at 5:45 PM ET, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke makes a public speech and anytime Bernanke speaks, mortgage rates can move.

Mortgage rates remain unnaturally low and a lot of Americans have taken advantage already. If you’re a homeowner and you’ve wondered whether or not a refinance makes sense, talk to your loan officer straight away. Low rates like this can’t last forever so lock one in while you can.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : June 7, 2010

David Kosmecki | June 7, 2010 in Weekly Review | Comments (0)

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Non-Farm Payrolls June 2008-May 2010Rate shoppers caught another break last week as mortgage markets improved on weak jobs data.

The May Non-Farm Payrolls report fell well short of expectations while ongoing jobless claims rose.  The two combined to cast doubt on the speed of the U.S. economic recovery, hurting stocks and helping bonds.

Conforming and FHA mortgage rates in Wisconsin dropped for the fifth time in six weeks and, once again, rates are trolling back near all-time lows.

No doubt you’ve heard that before — “mortgage rates at all-time lows”.  Mortgage rates have dipped to these levels four times in the last 19 months. However, on each occasion, it wasn’t long after touching bottom before rates reversed higher.

  • November 2008 : Roughly 90 minutes
  • March 2009 : Roughly 6 hours
  • May 2009 : Roughly 1 day
  • May 2010 : Roughly 3 hours

This week, rates could stay low for a matters of hours, or days — we can’t really know. Especially with no “major” data due for release.  Instead, most of this week’s economic news is incidental. That means that mortgage markets will move based on trader sentiment and “gut feel”.

The good news is that the market momentum is currently in the rate shoppers’ favor. We entered the weekend with rates falling and they look poised to open Monday no worse.

Here’s a look at what’s ahead this week:

  • Monday: Consumer credit, a critical piece of consumer spending
  • Wednesday : The Beige Book, a regional economic report from the Fed
  • Thursday : Initial and continuing jobless claims
  • Friday : Retail Sales and the Consumer Sentiment report

Market sentiment is a strange animal. One minute it can be your friend and, the next, it can be your enemy. Opinions change swiftly on Wall Street and so do mortgage rates. 

If you’re still not locked in, consider making your move. Rates have a lot farther to rise than they do to fall. You won’t want to be on the wrong side of the bet when rates start rising.