What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 15, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 15, 2021Last week’s economic reporting included data on inflation and job openings, and weekly readings n mortgage rates, and jobless claims.

Inflation Rate Rises in February

Consumer prices grew by 0.40 percent in February according to the federal government’s Consumer Price Index; the year-over-year inflation rate rose from January’s reading of 1.40 percent to 1.70 percent. Consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in six months as rising fuel prices caused the jump in consumer prices. The Core Consumer Price Index, which does not include volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.10 percent in February and matched analysts’ expectations.

Analysts expect continued economic expansion as Americans receive stimulus checks, get covid-19 vaccinations, and businesses reopen.

Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by three basis points to 3.05 percent. Interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.38 percent and rose by four basis points. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages also rose by four basis points to 2.77 percent on average.

Jobless claims fell to their lowest level since November. New jobless claims fell to 712,000 claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 754,000 initial claims filed in the prior week. Analysts expected 725,000 first-time claims to be filed. Last week’s reading showed the lowest pace of new jobless claims since November 7, when 211,000 first-time claims were filed.

Continuing jobless claims fell to 4.14 million claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 4.34 million claims filed.  Jobless claims averaged fewer than two million claims filed before the pandemic. Accurate counts of individuals receiving jobless benefits were questioned due to the discovery of fraudulent claims and duplicate counting of some recipients. Analysts were advised to focus on jobless claims trends rather than individual claims data.  

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department readings on housing starts, and building permits issued. The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee will release its post-meeting statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will give a press conference. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released

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

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 19, 2021Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation, retail sales, and a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

 Inflation Rises as Retail Sales Fall, Fed  Says Current Monetary Policy Won’t Change

The Consumer Price Index rose to 0.40 percent in December as compared to November’s reading of 0.20 percent. The CPI measures inflation and the Core CPI measures inflation without the volatile sectors of food and fuel. December’s Core CPI reading fell to a rate of 0.10 percent growth from November’s reading of 0.20 percent.

Retail sales were dampened by the coronavirus, but December’s negative reading of -0.70 percent sales was lower than the    -1.40  percent rate reported in November.  December sales excluding the automotive sector were -1.40 percent lower in December as compared to November’s reading of -1.30 percent.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell dispelled fears of rising inflation and said that the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee will not raise its current federal interest rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent any time soon. Chair Powell also said that the Fed would not decrease its purchase of Treasury Bonds as a further measure to stabilize the economy.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 14 basis points to 2.79 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.23 percent and were seven basis points higher. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 37 basis points to 3.12 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for  5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 965,000 claims filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 784,000 initial claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims also rose with 5.27 million claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of  5.07 million continuing claims filed.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index was lower in January with a reading of 79.2.  Analysts expected an index reading of 79.2 based on the December reading of 80.7.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index and reports from the Commerce Department on housing starts, building permits issued. Sales of pre-owned homes will also be reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 19, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 19, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on average mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Rate Slows as Retail Sales Increase

Inflation rose 0.20 percent in September, which was the slowest growth rate in four months. Analysts credited the rise in consumer prices to less post-pandemic price shock as consumers adjusted to higher prices for goods. Consumer prices were boosted by used vehicle prices, which increased at their highest pace in 51 years. Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and fuel sectors, also rose by 0.20 percent in September as compared to August’s reading of 0.40 percent.

The Commerce Department reported higher retail sales growth in September at a pace of 1.90 percent as compared to the expected reading of 1.20 percent and August’s reading of 0.60 percent growth in sales. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector grew by 1.50 percent in September and exceeded expected sales growth of 0.30 percent, and August’s retail sales growth of 0.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Fall to New Record Low, Jobless Claims Data Mixed

Freddie Mac reported new record lows for average mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by six basis points to 2.81 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.35 percent and were two basis points lower. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 2.90 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.20 percent.

Last week’s jobless claims data showed mixed readings as initial jobless claims rose to 898,000 claims filed and surpassed the expected reading of 825,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 845,000 initial jobless claims filed.  10.02 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 11.18 million ongoing claims filed in the prior week.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose in October with an index reading of 81.2; this surpassed the expected reading of 79.9 and September’s reading of 80.4. October’s higher index readings suggest that consumers are adjusting to new economic realities caused by the pandemic and revising their expectations accordingly. The upcoming holiday season’s data for retail sales and consumer sentiment will provide additional indications of how Americans are coping with and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from the NAHB on U.S. housing markets Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. 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 – August 17, 2020

 

Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on inflation and retail sales. Weekly reports on mortgage
rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also released. In other news, the FHFA announced an increase in
fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for home loan refinance transactions.
Inflation Readings Mixed as Retail Sales Fall
Consumer prices rose by 0.60 percent in July and matched June’s reading. Analysts expected a July reading of 0.40
percent growth. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, rose by 0.60
percent in July and exceeded June’s reading of 0.20 percent and July’s expected reading of 0.20 percent price
growth.
Retail sales dropped to 1,20 percent growth in July as compared to June’s reading of 8.40 percent growth. July’s
retail sales reading fell short of the expected rate of 2.00 percent. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector rose
by 1.90 percent in July as compared to June’s retail sales growth rate of 8.30 percent Declining retail sales were
likely caused by a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in some areas.
State and local guidance on retail re-openings varied and likely impacted retail sales according to how Covid-19
regulations were interpreted and enforced. The federal government failed to enact a second round of stimulus
payments that would have provided Americans with extra cash for purchasing retail goods and services.
Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by eight
basis points to 2.96 percent on average. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.46
percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.90 percent. Discount points averaged
0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims fell to 963,000 claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.19 million new claims
filed and expectations of 1.08 million initial claims filed Continuing jobless claims were also lower than for the
previous week. 15.50 million ongoing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 16.10 million claims filed
during the prior week. Falling jobless claims numbers could reflect the re-openings of business and rehiring of
employees. This progress could be short-lived as Covid-19 cases increased last week in some states where re-
opening may have been done too soon.
What’s Ahead
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on
housing market trends, and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly
reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - August 17, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on inflation and retail sales. Weekly reports on  mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also released. In other news, the FHFA announced an increase in fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for home loan refinance transactions.

 Inflation Readings Mixed as Retail Sales Fall

Consumer prices rose by 0.60 percent in July and matched June’s reading. Analysts expected a July reading of 0.40 percent growth. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, rose by 0.60 percent in July and exceeded June’s reading of 0.20 percent and July’s expected reading of 0.20 percent price growth. 

Retail sales dropped to 1,20 percent growth in July as compared to June’s reading of 8.40 percent growth. July’s retail sales reading fell short of the expected rate of 2.00 percent. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector rose by 1.90 percent in July as compared to June’s retail sales growth rate of 8.30 percent Declining retail sales were likely caused by a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in some areas.

State and local guidance on retail re-openings varied and likely impacted retail sales according to how Covid-19 regulations were interpreted and enforced. The federal government failed to enact a second round of stimulus payments that would have provided Americans with extra cash for purchasing retail goods and services.

 

Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by eight basis points to 2.96 percent on average. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.46 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.90 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 963,000 claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.19 million new claims filed and expectations of 1.08 million initial claims filed Continuing jobless claims were also lower than for the previous week. 15.50 million ongoing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 16.10 million claims filed during the prior week. Falling jobless claims numbers could reflect the re-openings of business and rehiring of employees. This progress could be short-lived as Covid-19 cases increased last week in some states where re-opening may have been done too soon.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market trends, and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 29, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 29, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes and reports on inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also released.

Home Sales Results Mixed for May

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in May at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 3.91 million sales. Analysts expected 3.80 million sales as compared to April’s reading of 4.33 million sales. This was the lowest reading for sales of pre-owned homes since July 2010 and sales were 26.60 percent lower year-over-year.

Lawrence Yun,  the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said that sales were expected to rise as coronavirus-related restrictis were lifted and people returned to work. Mr. Yun said in a report that sales of previously-owned homes should surpass last year’s annual sales pace in the second half of 2020. Mr. Yun made this forecast before rising coronavirus cases occurring after the reopening of the economy started.

There was a 4.80 months supply of previously-owned homes for sale in May, which was below the six-months supply indicating a balanced market.

The Commerce Department reported 676,000 new homes sold in May on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; this surpassed expectations of 650,000 sales and April’s revised annual sales pace of 580,000 new homes sold. New home sales rose by 45.50 percent in May in the Northeastern region; New home sales rose by 29 percent in the West and 15.20 percent in the South, New home sales fell by -6.40 percent in the Midwest.

The average sale price of new homes was $317,900 in May. There was a 5.60 months supply of new homes available in May, which nearly matched the six months average inventory.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady as JoblessClaims Fall

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged at an average rate of 3.13 percent; The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 2.59 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell one basis point to 3.08 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 1.48 million from the prior week’s reading of 1.51 million new claims. Continuing jobless claims were also lower last week with 19.50 million claims filed as compared to 20.30 million claims filed the previous week.

Rising Inflation Indicates Improving Economy

Inflation rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 8.20 percent in May as compared to April’s reading of -12.60 percent Analysts expected the inflation rate to reach 9.90 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news releases include readings on pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, and labor-sector jobs reports. The national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims.

 

 

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week -March 17th, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week -March 17th, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic reports included readings on inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Holds Steady in February

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.10 percent in February and matched January’s reading. Analysts expected no inflationary growth for February and noted that the Coronavirus had not yet impacted national inflation.

Higher rents and grocery prices caused inflation to rise in February. Year-over-year, the Consumer Price Index rose 2.30 percent in February after posting its highest reading of 2.50 percent in January; analysts expect inflation to decrease in the coming months.

The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, grew by 0.20 percent and matched expectations and January’s growth rate.

Mortgage Rates Mixed as New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose seven basis points to 3.36 percent last week after posting the lowest rate on record the prior week. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell two basis points to 2.77 percent.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped by 17 basis points to 3.01 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims fell to 211,000 claims filed from the prior week’s reading of 215,000 first-time claims filed. Consumer sentiment dropped to an index reading of 95.90 in March as compared to February’s reading of 101.00; analysts expected consumer sentiment to fall to an index reading of 95.00.

The March reading was the weakest in five months and was attributed to fears of the Coronavirus. The current consumer sentiment index covered data through March 11 and index readings are expected to fall lower as impacts of the Coronavirus unfold.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, sales of pre-owned homes reported by the National Association of Realtors® and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued.

The Federal Reserve will issue its post-meeting statement of its Federal Open Market Committee and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give a press conference after the FOMC statement. Additional economic news and policy announcements related to the Coronavirus may also be released.

December Home Prices Rise According To S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index

December Home Prices Rise According To S&P Case-Shiller Home Price IndexHome prices rose slightly in December according to S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday. According to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index, which covers cities representing all nine US Census divisions, home prices rose 5.40 percent year-over-year in December as compared to November’s reading of 5.20 percent.

December’s year-over-year home price increases were led by Portland Oregon at 11.40 percent, San Francisco, California at 10.30 percent and Denver, Colorado with a year-over-year reading of 10.20 percent. 10 cities reported higher home prices while eight cities reported lower home prices and year-over-year home prices were unchanged for two cities.

Year-over-year national home prices equaled winter 2007 home price levels, The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index has recovered by 36.30 percent since March 2012. Phoenix, Arizona posted its 12th consecutive month of home price gains for the longest streak of price gains in 2015.

Home Price Growth Surpasses Core Inflation Rate

David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that while home prices continue to rise, they are rising at a slower pace. All but one city (Washington, D.C.) posted home price gains higher than the core inflation rate of 2.20 percent. Home prices rising faster than inflation is positive for home sellers, but would-be-buyers may sit on the sidelines due to concerns about affordability. On the plus side, job markets are strong and mortgage rates remain low, which will likely encourage more first-time and moderate income buyers to enter the market.

S&P Case-Shiller Month-to-Month Readings

After seasonal adjustments, both the Case-Shiller 10 and 20 City home price indices posted a month-to-month gain of 0.80 percent. 19 of 20 cities posted month-to-month gains after seasonal adjustments. Factors contributing to higher home prices include high demand for homes coupled with a short supply of available homes. Home builders are ramping up construction, which should ease demand and help stabilize prices.

In related news, The National Association of Realtors reported that January sales of existing homes rose to 5.47 million sales on an annual basis as compared to expectations of 5.30 million sales and December’s reading of 5.45 million sales. January’s reading was 11 percent higher year-over-year and indicated that homes are selling in spite of rapidly rising prices in many areas.

Analysts said that the shortage of homes is causing an imbalance in market conditions; currently there is a four month supply of available homes as compared to an average six month supply of available homes. There have been only three instances when home supplies were lower in the past 16 years.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week: February 25th, 2013

What's Ahead This WeekA quiet past week in economic news caused mortgage rates to worsen slightly.

This week, however, will be packed with economic reports which may have an impact on interest rates going forward.

Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by 3 basis points from 3.53 percent to 3.56 percent with borrowers paying 0.8 in discount points and all of their closing costs.

The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged from last week at 2.77 percent with borrowers paying 0.8 in discount points and all of their closing costs.

In other economic news, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January fell slightly to 0.0 percent as compared to Wall Street expectations of 0.1 percent and December’s reading of 0.1 percent.

The Core CPI, which measures consumer prices exclusive of volatile food and energy sectors, was 0.3 percent for January and surpassed analyst expectations of 0.2 percent and December’s reading of 0.1 percent.

Inflation Remains Low

These readings remain well below the 2.5 percent inflation level cited by the Fed as cause for concern.

According to the Department of Commerce, Housing Starts for January fell to 890,000 from December’s 954,000 and below Wall Street projections of 910,000.

These seasonally adjusted and annualized numbers are obtained from a sample of 844 builders selected from 17,000 newly permitted building sites.

Falling construction rates could further affect low supplies of homes reported in some areas; as demand for homes increase, home prices and mortgage rates can be expected to rise.

Full Economic Calendar This Week

This week’s economic news schedule is full; Treasury auctions are scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. New Home Sales will be released Tuesday.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is set to testify before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Wednesday’s news includes the Pending Home Sales Index and Durable Orders.

Thursday’s news includes the preliminary GDP report for Q4 2012, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, and weekly jobless claims.

Friday brings Personal Income and Core Personal Expenditures (CPE).

Consumer Sentiment, the ISM Index and Construction Spending round out the week’s economic news.

Breaking Down The Federal Reserve Statement (January 2013 Edition)

FOMC statementThe Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to maintain the Federal Funds Rate within its current range of zero to 0.25 percent, and to continue its current stimulus program of purchasing $85 billion monthly in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

Citing weather-related events such as Hurricane Sandy and drought in the Midwest, the committee said in its statement that information received since its December 2012 meeting “suggests that growth in economic activity has paused in recent months in large part because of weather-related disruptions and other transitory factors.”

Concerns over the then-looming fiscal cliff crisis may have also contributed to the economic contraction during the last quarter of 2012. Positive economic trends observed by the Fed included:

  • Improved household spending
  • Improving housing markets
  • Growth in business fixed investments

The Fed initiated its third round of quantitative easing (QE3) in September as part of an ongoing effort to hold down interest rates and to encourage business spending. The benchmark Federal Funds Rate will remain between zero and.0.25 percent until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent and provided that inflation remains stable.

The Fed Funds Rate has stayed near zero since December 2008.

The national unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in December, and Wall Street expects it to be 7.7 percent for January. The Department of Labor will release its monthly jobs report on Friday; this report includes the monthly unemployment rate. Inflation is expected to remain at or below the Fed’s target level of 2.0 percent or less for the medium-term.

While noting that “strains on global financial markets have eased somewhat,” the FOMC said that it “continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook.” Low overall interest rates and gradual inflation work in favor of home buyers as home prices and mortgage rates are likely to rise at a gradual pace.

Mortgage rates improved slightly after the FOMC release.

Fed Minutes Suggest Fiscal Stimulus Later This Year

FOMC Fed MinutesThe Federal Reserve released the minutes from its June Federal Open Market Committee meeting, revealing a Fed divided on the future of the U.S. economy. Mortgage rates are higher after the release of the minutes.

The Fed Minutes is the detailed recap of an FOMC meeting. It is the companion piece to the more brief, more well-known post-meeting FOMC press release.

For a comparison, whereas the Fed’s June 20, 2012 press release contained 5 paragraphs and 490 words, the same meeting’s minutes contain 62 paragraphs and 7,508 words. The extra detail afforded by the extra words Wall Street gives insight into the nation’s central banker.

The June Fed Minutes, for example, suggest that the Fed may soon add new economic stimulus. 

Recent data suggests that the U.S. economy is expanding, but more slowly that it was at the start of the year. The Fed acknowledged that this, in part, is the result of “below-trend” growth in Euro-area economies, plus a general slowdown in China.

The Fed also said that “strains in global financial markets” continue to pose “significant downside risks” to the U.S. economy. The Fed expects U.S. growth to “moderate over coming quarters”.

Other notes from with the Fed Minutes included : 

  • On housing : Home sales, construction and prices suggest improvement
  • On inflation : Prices are stable, and inflation will remain “subdued” through 2014
  • On new policy : Rapid fiscal tightening poses a “downside risk” to the economy

In addition, there was discussion about whether the Fed is missing its dual mandate of low inflation and low unemployment. Several Fed member discussed the need for new stimulus to raise employment and to raise the rate of inflation. This action could occur as soon as next month.

If the stimulus was enacted, mortgage rates would likely rise because inflation, in general, is a threat to low mortgage rates.

The next Federal Open Market Committee meeting is a 2-day affair scheduled for July 31-August 1, 2012.