What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 11th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 11th, 2019Last week’s economic news included Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Fed Faced with Public Mistrust of Institutions

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powel said in a speech to a group of teachers that the Federal Reserve is paddling against a current of public mistrust of the institution. Mr. Powell assured his audience that the Fed was “working in a non-political way” to support the economy.

Mr. Powell said that the Fed was working to earn public trust and said that the Central Bank must be accessible to ordinary Americans and lawmakers. In support of his remarks, Chairman Powell cited three meetings he had with lawmakers and a possible meeting at the White House.

Publicity of a recent dinner with President Trump caused speculation that the Fed may be influenced by the administration. Analysts connected last Monday’s White House dinner with the Fed’s sudden reversal of its plan to raise the target range of the federal funds interest rate. Chairman Powell said that he wanted the nation’s prosperity to be widely shared; he cited “education and mobility” as key components of achieving his goal.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates with a decrease of five basis points across the board for the three types of mortgages it tracks. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.41 percent, rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.84 percent.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.91 percent. Last week’s mortgage rates were approximately the same as for a year ago, but analysts said that less buyer competition and more available homes this year would encourage would-be homebuyers into the market.

First-time jobless claims were lower than the prior week at 234,000 new claims filed but were higher than the expected reading of 225,000 new claims filed, which was based on the prior week’s reading of 253,000 new claims filed. The reading for the four-week rolling average of new jobless claims gained 4,500 claims for a reading of 224,750 new claims filed over the most recent four weeks. Analysts said that although the four-week average was higher, it remained near historic lows.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims are also scheduled.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 4th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 4th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings new and pending home sales, Case-Shiller housing market indices and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

New Home Sales Rise as Pending Home Sales Fall

Sales of new homes rose 17 percent in November for an eight-month high. Year-to-date sales of new homes were only 2.70 percent higher than for the same period in 2018.New home sales rose to 657,000 sales as compared to expectations of 563,000 sales and November’s reading of 562,000 sales. Analysts cautioned that Commerce Department readings for new home sales are prepared from a slim sampling of sales and are subject to volatility.

Pending home sales slumped in December to a negative reading of -2.20 percent as compared to November’s seasonally-adjusted annual reading of -0.90 percent. Analysts said the dip was likely caused by consumer concerns over the government shutdown and potential future shutdowns.

December’s reading was the twelfth consecutive negative month-to-month reading. Real estate pros and analysts cited ongoing challenges including high home prices and mortgage rates as contributing to fewer contract signings.

In related news, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee elected not to raise the Fed’s target federal funds interest rate range, which is currently 2.25 to 2.50 percent. Domestic and global economic concerns led committee members to pause interest rate hikes.

Case-Shiller reported lower home price growth in November with a year-over-year annual reading of 5.20 percent growth. Las Vegas, Nevada, Seattle Washington and Denver Colorado held the top three spots on the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported slightly higher average mortgage rates last week; 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 4.46 percent and were one basis point higher than for the prior week. 15-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 3.89 percent and were also one basis point higher.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was six basis points higher at 3.96 percent. Discount points averaged 0;50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

First-time jobless claims surged last week to 253,000 new claims filed. Analysts attributed the spike in new jobless claims to seasonal quirks that were not expected to last. The four-week rolling average of new jobless claims is considered less volatile and rose by 5,000 new claims to 222,250 initial claims filed.

The University of Michigan released its Consumer Sentiment Index last week; the January index reading of 91.20 was higher than the expected reading of 90.70 but was the lowest since President Trump’s election. December’s index reading was 98.30; analysts blamed the government shutdown on the sudden dip in consumer confidence.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news includes the President’s State of the Union speech and speeches by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 28th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 28th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of previously owned homes and weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims. A scheduled report on sales of new homes was not available due to the government shutdown.

National Association of Realtors®: Sales of Pre-Owned Homes Lowest in 3 Years

Sales of previously owned homes fell in December and failed to meet expectations. 4.99 million pre-owned homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; analysts predicted 5.10 million sales based on 5.33 million sales in November 2018. December’s reading showed the lowest number of sales since November of 2015.

Sales of previously-owned homes fell 6.40 percent month-to-month and were 10.30 percent lower year-over-year. Inventories of previously-owned homes also slipped in December with a 3.70 months supply of homes as compared to 3.90 months supply of available homes in November. Real estate pros consider six months supply of homes for sale as an average inventor.

Real estate pros said that lower buyer traffic in all regions of the U.S. could indicate less interest from buyers, but on a positive note, fewer buyers also remove the high rates of competition seen in the recent past.

Lower mortgage rates are well-timed for the upcoming spring sales season. Real estate pros were hopeful that lower mortgage rates will hold and entice more buyers into the market.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported no change in average interest rates for fixed rate mortgages. The average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages held at 4.45 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was also unchanged at 3.88 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged three basis points higher at 3.90 percent. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 199,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 218,000 new claims to be filed based on the prior week’s reading of 212,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading represented the first time since 1969 that new jobless claims fell below 200,000, but analysts were wary of potential impact of the government shutdown on new jobless claims. The shutdown ended on Friday until February 15, but politicians seemed unenthusiastic about future shutdowns.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and readings on pending home sales, construction spending and the post-meeting statement from the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee.

Labor sector readings on private and public employment and the national unemployment rate will also be released. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released on schedule.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 22nd, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 22nd, 2019Last week’s economic reports included National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued were delayed due to the federal government shutdown, which continued and became the longest government shutdown on record.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises Amid Headwinds

Home builder confidence rose two points in January according to the National Association of Home Builders. Builder concerns over rising construction costs and tariffs on building materials were balanced by falling mortgage rates.

Builders felt pressure to create more affordable homes and to offer incentives to buyers that could create more sales. Building new homes is the only solution to the long-entrenched shortage of homes; the Home builder index is closely watched by housing and mortgage industry pros as an indicator of future home inventories and mortgages.

Federal Reserve Beige Book Shows Concern Over Current Economic Conditions

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, which recounts Federal Reserve business contacts’ views of the economy included information from eight of twelve Federal Reserve districts. Business leaders cited higher costs including rising tariffs and costs for supplies. Business growth was slower during December and early January.

Additional concerns cited by the Fed’s business contacts included the government shutdown and conflicts over trade and political policies. Fed contacts reported mixed results with passing on higher costs to consumers. This suggests that consumers are “tapped out,” or are reining in spending among worries over the shutdown and rising costs.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported mixed activity on mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 330-year fixed rate mortgages was unchanged at 4,45 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage ticked down one basis point to 3.88 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.37 percent. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Fewer first-time jobless claims were filed last week with 213,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 220,000 new claims filed and 216,000 first-time claims filed in the prior week.

The University of Michigan released its consumer confidence index for January; consumer uncertainty about economic conditions and the government shutdown caused January’s reading to fall nearly eight points to 90.70. from December’s reading of 98.30 Analysts expected a reading of 97.50, but this may have been based in hopes that the government shutdown would end.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic reports are limited by Monday’s holiday and the ongoing government shutdown. Expected readings include sales of new and pre-owned homes along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 14th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 14th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, readings on inflation and core inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-tome jobless claims were also released. If the government shutdown continues, it is expected to impact release dates for readings from federal government agencies.

Federal Reserve Watches and Waits on Interest Rates as Inflation Slows

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will “wait and see” about raising the target federal funds rate this year. Chairman Powell spoke at a discussion hosed by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Mr. Powell clarified the Fed’s estimate of two rate hikes during 2019 and said that the predicted two rate hikes would occur based on “a very strong economic outlook for 2019.”

Faltering financial markets and slower rates of home price growth caused the Fed to dial back it’s bullish outlook and instead emphasize that Fed monetary policy is flexible and could be adjusted quickly adjusted as changing economic conditions merit.

Mortgage Rates and New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell six basis points to 4.45 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell 10 basis points to 3.89 percent.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate e mortgages was 15 basis points lower at 3.85 percent Discount rates averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, points for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent and discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

First-time jobless claims fell by 15,000 claims to 216,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 227,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 231,000 new claims filed.

December’s Consumer Price Index was – 0.10 percent lower than for November, which matched expectations based on November’s positive inflation rate reading of + 0.10 percent. Slowing inflation could indicate slower economic growth; a consistent pattern of sluggish inflation may cause the Fed to hold steady on raising its key interest rate.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on the National Association of Homebuilders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The Consumer Sentiment Index is also scheduled for release. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will be released on schedule.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 7th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 7th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included Labor Department readings on private and public sector jobs, the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released. Monthly reporting on construction spending was delayed due to the government shutdown.

Public and Private-Sector Jobs Growth Exceeds Expectations

ADP reported 271private sector jobs added in December as compared to 157,000 jobs added in November. Analysts expected 182,000 jobs added for December and said that December’s reading was the highest number of jobs added in almost two years. Large companies added 54,000 jobs, medium sized companies added 129,000 jobs and small companies added 89,000 private-sector jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 312,0000 public and private-sector jobs were added in December, which was more than double November’s reading of 176,000 public and private-sector jobs added. Analysts predicted 182,000 new jobs added for December.

In related news, the national unemployment rose to 3.90 percent from November’s level of 3.70 percent. While the unemployment rate was expected to dip to 3.60 percent, it rose due to more workers seeking jobs. Unemployment rates are determined as a percentage of workers actively seeking employment. A larger pool of people seeking work suggested expanding job opportunities.

Mortgage Rates Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as rates for fixed rate mortgage were four basis points lower at 4.51 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.99 percent and rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged two basis points lower at 3.99 percent. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.30 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

In remarks made at the American Economic Association, current Fed Chair Jerome Powell joined former Fed Chairs Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke to comment about the economy in 2018 and emphasized that Fed policy would be adjusted quickly and flexibly” if economic conditions warrant. All three Fed Chairs expected a slowing of economic growth in 2019, but their overall outlook was positive.

First-time jobless claims rose by 10,000 new claims to 231,000 first-time claims filed. Expectations of 218,000 new claims filed were based on the prior weeks reading of 221,000 new claims filed. The increase in new claims filed was caused in part by holiday season fluctuations and more people actively seeking jobs. Unemployed workers must be actively seeking work to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on job openings, minutes of the December meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Grinds to Lowest Rate in 2 Years

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Grinds to Lowest Rate in 2 YearsHome prices rose by 0.40 percent in October according to Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index and were unchanged from September’s year-over-year reading of 5.50 percent growth.

Slower growth in home prices could help some would-be home buyers enter the market, but rapidly rising mortgage rates have sidelined buyers concerned with affordability and meeting strict mortgage lending requirements.

High Mortgage Rates Stifle Demand for Homes

October’s year-over-year reading for home price growth was the lowest in two years, but home price growth continued to exceed wage increases; builders continued to face labor shortages and higher materials costs. Rising mortgage rates were a major cause of lower demand for homes as the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage increased from les than 3.50 percent at the beginning of 2017 to a high point of 4.94 percent in September.

Mortgage rates have fallen in recent weeks but remain more than one percent higher than they were two years ago. Recent volatility in financial markets and concerns over general economic conditions also contributed to a lower pace of home price growth.

Las Vegas Leads Cities with Highest Home Price Growth

The top three cities in October’s Case-Shiller 20-City index were Las Vegas, Nevada with year-over-year hone price growth of 12.80 percent; San Francisco, California’s home prices rose by 7.90 percent year-over-year and Phoenix, Arizona home prices rose by 7.70 percent year-over-year. 

October’s home price growth rates suggest that West Coast cities such as San Francisco, and Seattle, Washington may be losing their domination over double-digit home price growth rates they’ve enjoyed in recent years. Slower rates of home price growth could indicate that home prices have topped out in costly metro areas.

David M. Blitzer, managing director and chair of S&P Dow Jones Index Committee, echoed analyst’s concerns: “Rising home prices and mortgage rates mean fewer people can afford to buy a house.” The Fed’s recent decision to raise its key interest rate range for the third time in 2018 concerned some economists, but the Fed said that its Federal Open Market Committee predicts that it will raise rates only twice next year based on current and expected economic conditions in 2019.

Banks and credit-card companies typically follow the Fed’s interest rate decisions; this means that rates for consumer lending including mortgages are likely to increase in 2019.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 31st, 2018

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 31st, 2018Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices, National Association of Realtors® on pending home sales and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.  

The Commerce Department’s reading on sales of new homes was delayed due to the federal government’s shutdown.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Lowest in Two Years

Home price growth was nearly nil with October’s month-to-month reading of 0.40 percent; The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index showed a year-over-year home price growth rate of 5.50 percent, which matched September’s year-over-year reading. Las Vegas, Nevada led home price growth in the 20-city index with a year-over-year increase of 12,80 percent; San Francisco, California had home price growth of 7,90 percent and Phoenix, Arizona home prices grew by 7.70 percent year-over-year in October.

While San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon dominated the top three spots in the 20-City Home Price Index in recent years, the latest home price growth rates indicate that the West Coast may be easing off on its rapid home price gains. High-cost metro areas risk reaching a tipping point when there are few properties available with very high prices and buyers competing.

,Affordability and slim choice of available homes can cause would-be buyers to sideline themselves while they await more options and lower prices. Rising mortgage rates caused concern among buyers concerned with affordability and qualifying for mortgage loans under strict lender requirements.

Pending Home Sales Improve, But Remain in Negative Territory

Future home sales slipped in November, but less so than they did in October. Pending sales registered in negative territory with a reading of -0.70 percent in November as compared to October’s reading of -2.60 percent.

Analysts and real estate pros view pending sales as an indication of future completed sales and mortgage activity; falling numbers for pending home sales suggest slowing home sales that could impact housing markets. Pending sales are considered sales for which purchase contracts have been signed, but that have not closed.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower averaged fixed mortgage rates with the rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage lower by seven basis points at 4.55 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by six basis points to 4.01 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose two basis points to 4.00 percent. Falling mortgage rates could induce discouraged home buyers to look for homes again.

First-time jobless claims dropped by 1000 claims to 216,000 new claims filed. Analysts predicted a reading of 217,000 mew claims filed, which was unchanged from the prior week’s reading.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending, non-farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time unemployment claims are also scheduled. Please note that some scheduled readings could be delayed due to the federal government shut-down.

FOMC Raises Key Rate, Forecasts 2 Rate Hikes in 2019

FOMC Raises Key Rate, Forecasts 2 Rate Hikes in 2019During its post-meeting statement, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced that its target range for the Fed’s key interest rate would increase one quarter percent to 2.25 to 2.50 percent. While this rate hike was not expected by the Executive branch, it met analyst expectations.

FOMC said in its customary post-meeting statement that members expect to make two interest rate hikes in 2019 as compared to three rate hikes in 2018 and the Committee’s original forecast of three rate hikes in 2019. Given current economic conditions, the Fed forecasted only one rate hike for 2020.

Hawks And Doves: Federal Reserve Leaders Differ On Interest Rate Projections

Six FOMC members indicated support for three rate hikes in 2019 and the FOMC statement cited a need for future interest rate hikes while some economists expected that no mention of potential rate hikes would be included in the statement. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said, “Policy at this point does not need to be accommodative. It can move to neutral.”

FOMC’s statement cited “cross currents” impacting the economy, but expects “solid growth next year, declining unemployment a healthy economy.” The Fed specifically listed strengths in labor markets, household spending and a healthy economy influenced the committee’s decision to raise the Fed’s benchmark interest rate range.

Recent volatility in global affairs and the economy prompted FOMC to say that they would be reviewing ongoing global economic and financial developments and assess their implications for the global economic outlook.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell: Fed Is About To Embark On A Delicate Balancing Act

Chairman Powell said that current economic conditions have helped the Fed meet its dual mandate of maintaining maximum employment and stable economic growth, for which the Fed has set a benchmark of two percent annual growth for inflation. Current inflation is lower than expected and unemployment is near record lows. The Fed faces balancing interest rate increases with closely monitoring economic “cross currents”.

Chairman Powell said the Fed expects the median rate of economic growth to slow to 2.30 percent in 2019 as compared to 2018’s rate of 3.00 percent. The National Unemployment rate is expected to fall from its current rate of 3.70 percent to 3.50 percent by the end of 2019. Mr. Powell said that no course of action is predetermined and that Fed leaders will monitor economic and global developments on an ongoing basis.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 17th, 2018

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 17th, 2018Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation and retail sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Retail Sales Grow, Inflation Unchanged in November

November retail sales grew by 0.20 percent in November as compared to expectations of 0.10 percent and October’s reading of 1.10 percent growth. Core retail sales, which exclude automotive sales, grew by 0.20 percent and met expectations. Analysts said online stores pushed retail sales growth in November.

Inflation held steady in November as expected. Inflation grew by 0.30 percent in October. Core inflation, which excludes volatile fuel and food sectors, rose by 0.20 percent, which matched October’s reading. Lower fuel prices contributed to the higher Core Price Index reading.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week, which caused an uptick in demand for homes. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped by 12 basis points and averaged 4.63 percent. Mortgage rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages dropped 14 basis points and averaged 4.07 percent.

Rates s for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 4.06 percent and were three basis points lower than the prior week. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Last week’s average mortgage rates were the lowest in three months and prompted would-be be home buyers to enter the market.

First-time Jobless claims fell to 206,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 233,000 new jobless claims filed. Analysts expected 226,000 new claims to be filed. The surge in unemployment claims during the prior week was connected to an early Thanksgiving holiday.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Sales of previously owned homes will be reported.

The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee will issue its post-meeting statement along with economic projections for 2019. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released along with a monthly report on consumer sentiment.