What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 17, 2023

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 17, 2023

Last week’s financial reporting was dominated by readings on inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cautioned lawmakers that the debt ceiling must be raised or eliminated.

Inflation slows in December

Month-to-month inflation slowed by -0.1 percent in December and matched analysts’ expectations. This was the first slowing of inflation since the pandemic and the highest inflation reading since inflation reached its highest level in 40 years. Inflation rose by 0.1 percent in November. Year-over-year inflation rose by 6.5 percent, which matched expectations, and fell short of the November reading of 7.1 percent inflation.

Consumer prices fell for the sixth consecutive month in December. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.3 percent in December and matched analysts’ expectations. Slowing inflation is expected, but the  Federal Reserve has signaled its intention to continue raising its target interest rate range.

The University of Michigan projected that inflation will rise by 4.00 percent year-over-year in January as compared to December’s reading of 4.4 percent and the 40-year peak rate of  9.1 percent posted last summer.

Treasury Secretary: U.S. debt limit is looming

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the U.S. debt ceiling is approaching and encouraged lawmakers to either raise or eliminate the debt ceiling to avoid the U.S. defaulting on its obligations. Ms. Yellen wrote in a letter to U.S. lawmakers, “While Treasury is not currently able to estimate how long extraordinary measures will enable us to continue to pay the government’s obligations, it’s unlikely that cash and extraordinary measures would be exhausted before early June.”

Ms. Yellen emphasized that increasing or removing the debt ceiling would not result in additional spending, but would allow the government to continue financing existing obligations made by lawmakers and Presidents of both parties. Secretary Yellen cautioned that failure to address the debt ceiling would “cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability.”

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 15 basis points to 6.33 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 21 basis points to 5.52 percent.

205,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, which fell short of projections for 210,000 initial claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 206,000 first-time claims filed. 1.63 million continuing jobless claims were filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.70 million ongoing claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets, readings on housing starts, and building permits issued.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 18, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 18, 2022Inflation dominated last week’s economic readings and predictions as it hit a year-over-year growth rate of  9.10 percent in July. Inflation reached its highest year-over-year growth rate since 1981. Gasoline prices eased somewhat, but not enough to provide relief against a backdrop of high housing and food prices. Low and moderate-income consumers were disproportionately impacted as rents rose beyond near-record inflation and home prices remained out of reach for many would-be home buyers.

Inflation Causing Hardship for Moderate-Income Consumers

Consumers faced with rapidly growing expenses turned to credit cards for purchasing food and household items; this trend suggests that as interest rates rise, more households could experience increasing financial stress as paying off consumer debt becomes more difficult.

The Consumer Price Index rose by 1.3 percent in June on a month-to-month basis; analysts expected a month-to-month reading of 1.1 percent inflationary growth based on May’s reading of 1.0 percent growth. The core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.70 percent in June and exceeded analysts’ expected reading of 0.50 percent growth and May’s month-to-month reading of 0.60 percent growth.

Year-over-year inflation reached 9.10 percent in June and surpassed analysts’ expectations of 8.80 percent- year-over-year-inflationary growth and May’s year-over-year reading of 8.60 percent growth. Core inflation rose by 5.90 percent year-over-year in June and fell short of analysts’ forecasts of 5.7 percent year-over-year growth. May’s year-over-year reading for inflationary growth was 6.0 percent and could suggest that inflation has peaked.

Mortgage Rates Rise After Fed Raises Key Interest Rate Range

Although the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate range in an attempt to slow inflation, mortgage rates also rose last week. Freddie Mac reported that rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 21 basis points to 5.51 percent on average. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 22 basis points higher at 4.67 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was 16 basis points higher at 4.35 percent; discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims rose last week with 244,000 first-time claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 235,000 initial jobless claims filed. Fewer ongoing jobless claims were filed last week with 1.33 million continuing claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.37 million ongoing jobless claims filed.

Consumer concerns over inflation eased in July with a preliminary reading of 51.1 reported in the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer confidence index. Any reading over 50 indicates that most consumers surveyed were confident about current economic conditions.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on home prices, building permits issued, and housing starts. Data on sales of previously-owned homes will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.  

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 14, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - February 14, 2022Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation and the University of Michigan’s preliminary February reporting on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Rises as Fed Considers Raising Key Rate

The government’s Consumer Price Index for January reported that month-to-month inflation rose by 0.60 percent as compared to an expected increase of 0.40 percent which was based on December’s month-to-month increase of 0.50 percent.  Year-over-year inflation rose to a rate of 7.50 percent, which was the highest inflation rate in 40 years. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, also rose 0.60 percent in January from December’s reading of 5.50 percent.

Analysts said that the Federal Reserve will likely raise its key federal funds rate range to help slow inflation, but drastic dips in the inflation rate aren’t expected. While the Fed predicted inflation to ease in a statement made last December, inflation has only increased. The Fed’s strategy of raising interest rates would ease high consumer demand and help slow rapidly rising prices for housing, goods, and services.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims and Consumer Sentiment Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 14 basis points to 3.69 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 16 basis points to 2.93 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.80 percent and nine basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for  5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

223,000 new jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 239,000 first-time claims filed. No information for continuing jobless claims was released last week.

The University of Michigan reported a preliminary index reading of 61.7 for January’s Consumer Sentiment Index. This was the lowest consumer sentiment reading in ten years and was attributed to consumer concerns over rising inflation.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, Commerce Department readings on building permits issued, and housing starts. Data on sales of pre-owned homes will be released along with weekly reporting on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Why Purchasing A House In 2022 Is Smart Despite Inflation

Why Purchasing A House In 2022 Is Smart Despite InflationAnyone who has paid attention to the news has likely noticed that inflation is a constant headline. Inflation takes place when the average cost of goods and services begins to rise. There are a number of reasons why inflation has been rising at record rates during 2021 and 2022.

The federal government has pumped money into the economy, and supply chain constraints have led to a shortage of goods. This means that everything from cars to groceries has gotten more expensive. Many individuals and families are looking for ways to save money, and this might mean putting off homeownership dreams. Even though housing prices have gotten more expensive as well, inflation should not stop someone from trying to buy a house in 2022.

Owning A Home Offers Financial Security

One of the biggest reasons why people should consider buying a house in 2022 is that owning a home offers financial security. Those who lock in a fixed-rate mortgage could pay the same mortgage premium for decades. Even though it is possible that real estate taxes and home insurance rates could rise, the mortgage payment will stay the same. Individuals who stay in their houses for 30 years might see their income go up as they get promoted at work. This means that they will have more money to put elsewhere with a consistent mortgage payment.

Those who put off owning a home could see their rents go up every year. Many apartment complexes and landlords raise the rent consistently to keep up with rising inflation. Becoming a homeowner simply offers more financial security. 

Owning A Home Acts As A Hedge Against Inflation

When inflation goes up, the average value of a single dollar goes down. It is critical for everyone to think about how they can hedge this risk, which means putting their money where it is unlikely to lose value. Putting that money in a home is a great decision. Because housing prices could increase, the value of the money in that house will go up as well. Furthermore, with interest rates on mortgages extremely low, buying a house becomes an even better inflation hedge. The best way to combat inflation is to have a fixed expense, such as a mortgage payment.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 18, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 18, 2022

Last week’s scheduled economic reporting focused on inflation with monthly and year-over-year readings on overall and core inflation. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was confirmed for a second term as Federal Reserve chair.  The University of Michigan released its monthly survey on consumer sentiment and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Rises in December; Nears Fastest Growth Pace in 40 Years

Year-over-year inflation rose to a pace of seven percent in December and approached its fastest growth rate in 40 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts expected year-over-year inflationary growth of seven percent as compared to November’s pace of 6.80 percent. Month-to-month inflation slowed to

0.50 percent as compared to November’s month-to-month growth rate of 0.80 percent.

Housing costs, food, and automotive sectors drove inflation in December. Shortages of computer chips used in vehicles slowed production and increased demand for vehicles. New car prices rose by one percent and used-car prices rose by 3.50 percent month-to-month.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 5.50 percent year-over-year in December and surpassed the expected reading of 5.40 percent that was based on November’s core inflation rate of 4.90 percent. Rents rose by 0.40 percent for the third consecutive month. Food prices rose by 0.50 percent month-to-month and costs for clothing and furniture also rose.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was confirmed for a second term and addressed the Fed’s plans for slowing inflation. Mr. Powell said, “The economy no longer needs or wants the very highly accommodative policies we’ve had in place to deal with the pandemic and its aftermath.”

Energy prices fell by 0.40 percent in December and decreased for the first time since April.

Mortgage Rates Rise. Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie  Mac reported higher mortgage rates as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 23 basis points to 3.4

Initial jobless claims rose last week with 230,000 first-time claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 207,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected first-time claims to decrease to 200,000 initial claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims fell to 1.60 million continuing claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.75 million ongoing jobless claims filed.5 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 19 basis points and averaged 2.62 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose 16 basis points to 2.57 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for January reported lower consumer enthusiasm for current economic conditions with an index reading of 68.8 as compared to the expected reading of 70.0 and December’s index reading of 70.6.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on housing markets and sales of previously-owned homes. Readings on building permits issued and housing starts will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

FOMC Statement: Fed Policymakers Discuss Easing Accommodations as Economy Improves

FOMC Statement: Fed Policymakers Discuss Easing Accommodations as Economy ImprovesThe Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee considered easing monetary accommodations implemented in response to stronger economic conditions according to its post-meeting statement issued November 3. The Fed started making trillions in monthly bond purchases when the pandemic started but slowed its purchasing pace to $120 billion per month in June 2020. The Fed will soon reduce its monthly bond purchases to $105 billion monthly.

The Fed said it will continue to purchase bonds until the economy makes “substantial progress” toward its legally mandated goals of achieving two percent inflation and maximum employment. Supply shortages and high demand for goods caused by the pandemic have impacted the overall economy, but labor markets have suffered disproportionately. Pandemic-driven quits and retirements have left many job openings that remain unfilled.  Service-related jobs in hospitality and travel have been especially hard-hit as consumers continued to stay home.

Fed Calls High Inflation “Transitory”

Federal Reserve policymakers continued to call current higher-than-expected inflation “transitory,” but did not explain how long high inflation is expected to last. Supply-chain logjams continued to negatively impact supply and demand for goods and services; in some cases, high demand and short supplies drove inflation higher: “Inflation is elevated, largely reflecting factors that are expected to be transitory. Supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic and the reopening of the economy have contributed to sizable price increases in some sectors.”

FOMC members did not raise the current benchmark interest rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent, but financial markets expect two or more rate hikes in 2022.

Fed Chair Expects Inflation to Remain High into Mid-2022

Fed Chair Jerome Powell commented on high inflation during a press conference given after the FOMC post-meeting statement: “Our baseline expectation is that supply chain bottlenecks and shortages will persist well into next year and elevated inflation as well.” Chair Powell continued: “As the pandemic eases, supply chain issues will abate and growth will move up. As that happens, inflation will decline from today’s elevated levels.”

Mr. Powell further commented that he expected labor markets to strengthen as the delta variant of the covid virus continues to decline. 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 16, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - August 16, 2021Last week’s economic reporting included readings on job openings, inflation, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Job Openings Rise as Inflation Rate Falls

The Labor Department reported a record number of job openings for the fourth consecutive month in June. Job openings rose to 10.1 million available jobs from May’s reading of 9.5 million job openings. Analysts expected job openings to decrease to 9.1 million jobs in June. 

Analysts said that previous headwinds to hiring including generous unemployment benefits and childcare issues may be easing. Workers took advantage of the rising demand for employees to negotiate higher wages and switch jobs for better offers. 

The Consumer Price Index fell by 0.40 percent in July to 0.50 percent as compared to June’s reading of 0.90 percent. The pace of year-over-year inflation remained at 5.40 percent  Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, fell to 0.30 percent from 0.90 percent. July’s reading showed the impact of food and gas prices on inflation in recent months.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims and Consumer Sentiment Index Fall

Average mortgage rates rose last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 10 basis points to 2.87 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.15 percent and were five basis points higher; rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged four basis points higher at 2.44 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. 

Initial jobless claims fell to 375,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 387,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also fell; 2.87 million ongoing claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.98 million continuing jobless claims filed.

The University of Michigan reported its lowest reading for consumer sentiment since 2011. The preliminary reading for August fell to an index reading of 70.2 in August as compared to July’s reading of 81.2. Analysts expected an index reading of 81.3 for August, but rising covid 19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta form of the virus tanked consumer sentiment as mask requirements and social distancing guidelines re-emerged in some areas.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets, government readings on housing starts, and building permits issued. Retail sales will also be reported.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 19, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 19, 2021Last week’s scheduled economic reports included readings on inflation, Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Consumer Price Index: June Inflation Grows at Fastest Pace Since 2008

June’s Consumer Price Index showed the fastest pace of inflationary growth in 13 years; inflation grew by 5.40 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Used car sales accounted for one-third of the growth, but prices also rose for clothes, food, energy, and travel/hospitality. The year-over-year inflation rate for May was 5.00 percent.

Inflation grew by 0.90 percent month-to-month, which exceeded analyst’s expectations of 0.50 percent growth and 0.60 percent growth in May. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors also grew by 0.90 percent in June as compared to a month-to-month reading of 0.70 percent in May. Analysts expressed concern that the rapid pace of inflation may not slow as quickly as the Federal Reserve predicted.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell Testifies Before House Financial Services Panel

Fed Chair Jerome Powell maintained the Federal Reserve’s earlier prediction that the pace of inflation would ease, but not immediately: “Inflation has increased notably and will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating.”Mr.Powell said that inflationary growth has come in at a faster pace than the Fed was hoping to see.

Chair Powell identified three factors contributing to current inflationary growth. Weak inflationary growth during the pandemic will drop out of the year-over-year calculation; Production and supply chain constraints have led to sharp price increases after the pandemic. The third factor is a surge in demand for services as the economy reopens.

The Fed Chair said that “it’s a pretty narrow group of things that are producing these high readings.”

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported mixed mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.88 percent and were two basis points lower. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to an average of 2.22 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by five basis points to 2.47 percent on average; Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-yar fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 360,000 initial claims filed from the previous week’s reading of 386,000 claims filed. Data for continuing jobless claims were not updated last week.

The University of Michigan reported no change in its Consumer Sentiment Index for July with an index reading of 85.5. Analysts expected a reading of 86.3.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, reports on housing starts and building permits, and data on existing home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

FOMC Statement: Fed Predicts 2 Interest Rate Hikes in 2023

FOMC Statement: Fed Predicts 2 Interest Rate Hikes in 2023The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve said in its post-meeting statement that the Federal Reserve expects to raise its benchmark interest rate range twice during 2023. No rate changes will be made during 2022 as the economy continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Fed’s current interest rate range is 0.00 to 0.25 percent.

Fed Expects “Transitory” Inflation

The Fed’s post-meeting FOMC statement said that although Committee members adjusted their forecast for raising the Fed’s benchmark interest rate range, members did not predict long-term inflation and described current upward inflation as “transitory.”

The Consumer Price Index reported that the cost of living jumped in May and drove inflationary growth to a 13-year high of five percent.

11 of 18 FOMC members currently expect two or more rate hikes in 2023; in March, seven members expected one rate hike in 2023. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said that the Fed needs to reconsider its monetary policies based on the two stimulus payments provided to Americans. The Fed has held its benchmark interest rate range to 0.00 to 0.25 percent and continued its monthly purchases of $80 billion in Treasurys and $40 billion in Mortgage-Backed Securities in efforts to support the economy and stabilize financial markets.

The Committee will follow economic news and developments through readings on public health, labor market conditions, inflation, and financial and global news to determine monetary policy adjustments.

Fed Chair Suggests Future Tapering of Bond Purchases

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in his post-FOMC meeting press conference that members had their first discussion of tapering the Fed’s bond purchases. Although the Fed has indicated it wants to see “substantial further progress” in the economy before it starts to taper its bond purchases, analysts expected further discussion of tapering bond purchases in FOMC’s July meeting. Reducing bond purchases is considered the first step in moderating the Fed’s accommodative stance on monetary policy.

Chair Powell said that the FOMC will continue to develop monetary policy in consideration of the FOMC’s dual mandate of achieving maximum and an annual inflation rate of two percent over the longer term. Inflation has run below two percent for some time before the pandemic; so a current inflation rate running above two percent would help raise the average inflation rate to the two percent requirement.  

The unemployment rate is improving as businesses and other employers open their doors and restore service to full capacity. Chair Powell cautioned that the economy remains strongly connected to how the Covid-19 virus progresses and said that monetary policy would be adjusted according to how the pandemic impacts the economy.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 17, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 17, 2021Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation, core inflation, and the University of Michigan’s  Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

April Inflation Rate Hits 13-Year High

The federal government’s Consumer Price Index rose by 0.80 percent in April as compared to the March reading of 0.60 percent. Analysts expected inflation to increase by 0.20 percent in April. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.90 percent in April. Analysts expected core inflation to grow by 0.30 percent in April which would have been unchanged from the March reading of 0.30 percent Core inflation rose month-to-month at the fastest pace in forty years and grew by three percent year-over-year, which was the highest growth rate since September 2008.

Consumer gas prices surpassed $3.00 per gallon for the first time since 2014; last week’s shutdown of Colonial Pipeline’s main transmission line was expected to drive gasoline prices higher. Prices of used cars and trucks rose 10 percent in April and contributed to a 21 percent increase in used vehicle prices year-over-year. Costs for shelter rose 2.10 percent year-over-year and were 0.0 percent higher month to month. Analysts noted that high inflation rates are caused in part by the low pace of inflation reported during the pandemic. Inflation Growth percentages are higher than they would have been if inflation had not slowed during the pandemic.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims, and Consumer Sentiment Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.94 percent and were two basis points lower. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.26 percent and were four basis points lower; the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped by 11 basis points to 2.59 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent, 0.60 percent, and 0.30 percent respectively.

First-time jobless claims were lower last week with 473,000 initial claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 507,000 new jobless claims filed. Continuing jobless claims were also lower with 3.66 million ongoing claims filed; 3.70 million continuing jobless claims were filed in the prior week. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index reading was lower in May with a reading of  82.8 as compared to the expected reading of  90.1 and April’s index reading of 88.3.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets, data on sales of previously-owned homes,  and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Minutes of the Fed’s most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims