What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 20, 2017

Last week’s economic readings included reports on inflation and core inflation, the National Association of Home Builders Association Housing Market Index and Federal Reserve FOMC statement and press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The Commerce Department released reports on housing starts and building permits issued.

Home Builder Confidence, Housing Starts Rise

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for March rose by six points to an index reading of 71. Builders said that subsequent readings may ease as builders continue to face shortages of lots and labor. The President said that he would work to reduce regulations affecting builders, which likely contributed to March’s increased confidence reading.  Housing industry leaders continue to monitor builder confidence as it could signal increased development and building. Home sales figures have been held back due to lack of available homes and industry leaders repeatedly say that building new homes is the only way to release the bottleneck in single-family home sales.

High demand for homes has created rapid escalation in home prices in high-demand metro areas; this sidelines first-time and moderate income buyers.

Housing starts rose in February according to the Commerce Department. 1.288 million starts were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis; January’s reading was 1.288 housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Building permits issued were lower in February with 1.213 million permits issued as compared to 1.293 million permits issued in January.

Mortgage Rates, Federal Funds Rate Higher

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of average mortgage rates was completed prior to the Fed’s decision to raise its federal funds rate, mortgage rates were higher. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose nine basis points to 4.30 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage fixed rate mortgage was eight basis points higher at 3.50 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable mortgage rose five basis points to 3.28 percent.

After it’s meeting concluded Wednesday, The Federal Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy for the Federal Reserve announced its decision to raise the target federal funds range from 0.50 to 0.75 percent to 0.75 to 1.00 percent. The post-meeting statement cited stronger economic conditions that advanced the Fed’s dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and stable pricing. Inflation was noted to be nearing the Fed’s mid to long range goal of 2.00 percent annually and the national unemployment rate has held steady in the past several months.

 Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference that the federal funds rate may be raised two more times in 2017, but the FOMC statement and Chair Yellen said that FOMC members base monetary policy decisions on current information relating to domestic and global economic developments.

Inflation grew by 0.10 percent in February as compared to January’s growth rate of 0.60 percent. The core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors. Rose by 0.20 percent as expected and was lower than January’s reading of 0.30 percent growth. 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 13, 2017

Last week’s economic readings included reports on construction spending, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and pending home sales. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech that federal interest rates would “likely” be raised. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Pending Home Sales Slump as Available Homes Dwindle

Pending Home sales fell in January as inventories of available homes declined. Prospective buyers faced with fewer choices may have chosen to wait rather than purchase homes that weren’t a good match for their needs. Analysts expected pending home sales to grow by 1.10 percent in January, but they fell by 2.80 percent to an index reading of 106.4, which was the lowest reading since January 2016. Additional factors contributing to lower pending sales, which represent sales under contract but not yet closed, include consumer uncertainty about economic conditions under the new administration and fear of rising mortgage rates. Affordability is also an issue for first-time buyers as short supplies of homes create more competition among prospective buyers.

Real estate pros have repeatedly said that the only way to resolve shortages of homes is to build more. While home builder confidence in market conditions has grown in recent months, housing starts and construction spending have not followed suit. Construction spending in January was 0.10 percent lower despite projections of 0.60 percent growth in construction spending and a positive reading of 0.10 percent in spending for December. Winter weather conditions can affect construction during winter months. Ongoing shortages of available lots and labor have also held back builders from optimum construction rat

Home Prices Rise in December

S&P Case-Shiller Home Prices rose to 5.80 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual rate. November’s reading showed 5.60 percent growth in average home prices, Home prices continue to grow in the West as Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado held on to the top three spots for fastest growth in home prices among cities surveyed.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.10 percent rate, which was six basis points lower than the prior week. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was five basis points lower at 3.32 percent. 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rates were two basis points lower at 3.14 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were lower last week with 233,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 245,000 new claims filed. There were 244,000 new claims filed in the prior week.

What’s Ahead

Labor reports including ADP payrolls Non-farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 6, 2017

Last week’s economic readings included reports on construction spending, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and pending home sales. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech that federal interest rates would “likely” be raised. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Pending Home Sales Slump as Available Homes Dwindle

Pending Home sales fell in January as inventories of available homes declined. Prospective buyers faced with fewer choices may have chosen to wait rather than purchase homes that weren’t a good match for their needs. Analysts expected pending home sales to grow by 1.10 percent in January, but they fell by 2.80 percent to an index reading of 106.4, which was the lowest reading since January 2016. Additional factors contributing to lower pending sales, which represent sales under contract but not yet closed, include consumer uncertainty about economic conditions under the new administration and fear of rising mortgage rates. Affordability is also an issue for first-time buyers as short supplies of homes create more competition among prospective buyers.

Real estate pros have repeatedly said that the only way to resolve shortages of homes is to build more. While home builder confidence in market conditions has grown in recent months, housing starts and construction spending have not followed suit. Construction spending in January was 0.10 percent lower despite projections of 0.60 percent growth in construction spending and a positive reading of 0.10 percent in spending for December. Winter weather conditions can affect construction during winter months. Ongoing shortages of available lots and labor have also held back builders from optimum construction rat

Home Prices Rise in December

S&P Case-Shiller Home Prices rose to 5.80 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual rate. November’s reading showed 5.60 percent growth in average home prices, Home prices continue to grow in the West as Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado held on to the top three spots for fastest growth in home prices among cities surveyed.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.10 percent rate, which was six basis points lower than the prior week. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was five basis points lower at 3.32 percent. 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rates were two basis points lower at 3.14 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were lower last week with 233,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 245,000 new claims filed. There were 244,000 new claims filed in the prior week.

Whats Ahead

Labor reports including ADP payrolls Non-farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 27, 2017

Last week’s readings on new and existing home sales provided further evidence of strengthening housing markets. Both categories of home sales exceeded December’s readings. Consumer sentiment was lower in February than for January and average rates were mixed with fixed rates higher and the rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages lower. Consumer sentiment lower in February.

New and Previouslyowned Home Sales Higher in January

Home sales volume rose in January regardless of obstacles including higher mortgage rates and rising home prices. The National Association of Realtors® reported more sales of pre-owned homes in January. 5.69 million homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in January, which surpassed expectations of 5.57 million sales and December’s reading of 5.51 million sales of previously-owned homes.

New home sales also rose in January. 555,000 new home sales were reported, which fell short of 586,000 new home sales expected. 535,000 new homes were sold in December.

Mortgage Rates Mixed

Mortgage rates have traditionally been tied to the performance of 10-year Treasury notes, but this connection may be weakening due to uncertainty about current economic influences. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year mortgage rose one basis point to 4.16 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose two basis points to 3.37 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped two basis points 3.16 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New Jobless claims also rose last week; 244,000 new claims were filed as compared to expectations of 237,000 new claims and the prior week’s revised reading of 238,000 new claims. The weekly reading for new jobless claims remained below the benchmark of 3000 new claims. The less volatile four-week rolling average of new claims filed reached its lowest level since July 1973 and fell by 4,000 new claims to 241,000 new claims filed. Layoffs remain low, so week-to-week variances in new jobless claim filed do not necessarily indicate faltering job markets.

Whats Next

This week’s economic news includes readings on pending home sales, Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices, pending home sales and inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 21, 2017

Last week’s economic releases included readings on housing starts, building permits issued and the National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Fed Chair Janet Yellen testified before the House Finance Committee and consumer spending and core consumer spending reports were also released. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims were little changed week-to-week.

Home Builder Sentiment Slows as Industry Faces Obstacles

NAHB reported lower reading for its January Housing Market Index. January’s index reading was two points lower at 65 than December’s reading. Builders surveyed for the index cited ongoing shortages of buildable lots and labor, they also said that housing regulation were causing home prices to rise as new home prices are adjusted to compensate for feels associated with new construction. Any reading above 50 for the NAHB Housing Market Index is considered more positive than negative.

Builder concerns could raise additional issues for housing markets as a persistent shortage of homes for sale has driven prices up and caused fierce competition among home buyers. First-time and moderate income home buyers have been sidelined in favor of cash buyers in ultra-competitive metro areas. There was some evidence that rapidly escalating home prices may be approaching their peak. Home prices in San Francisco, California increased more slowly in recent months and were unchanged in January.

Housing Starts Lower; More Building Permits Issued

Fewer new homes were started in January as compared to December. 1.246 million homes were started in January as compared to December’s reading of 1.279 million new homes started. Winter weather can cause fluctuations in housing starts; more building permits were issued in January than for December. 1.246 million permits were issued for January as compared to December’s reading of 1.228 million permits issued.

Home builders were also concerned about rising mortgage rates as reducing affordability for would-be home buyers; Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated in her testimony before the House Finance Committee that economic conditions are normalizing and that the Fed would likely continue to raise the target federal funds rate as economic conditions continue to improve.

Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims /Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. Average mortgage rates were two basis points lower at 4.15 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages was four basis points lower at 3.35 percent. 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates were three basis points lower at 3.18 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were higher last week with 239,000 new claims filed as compared to an expected reading of 242,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 234,000 new jobless claims.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on new and previously owned home sales and consumer sentiment index. Freddie Mac will report mortgage rates and new weekly jobless claims will be released as usual.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 13, 2017

Last week’s scheduled economic readings were limited and included new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey. In other news, all types of mortgage applications rose by 2.30 percent this week as compared to the prior week.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Home Loan Applications Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates for fixed rate and 5/1 adjustable mortgages; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped two basis points to 4.17 percent. Average rates for 15-year mortgages also dropped two basis points to 3.39 percent. 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates averaged 3.21 percent, which was also two basis points lower than the previous week. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for the three types of mortgages tracked in Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, this small drop in mortgage rates caused all types of mortgage applications to rise by 2.30 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Refinance applications rose two percent from the prior week, but remain 40 percent lower year-over-year. The dearth of refinancing applications was caused by two factors including many refinances were completed recently when rates were lower and homeowners currently discouraged by higher mortgage rates.

Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Last week’s initial jobless claims fell to 234,000 as compared to expectations of 249,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 246,000 new claims. This was the lowest reading since 1973 and when compared to the benchmark of 300,000 new claims, shows that the economy continues to strengthen. Last week’s reading was the second lowest since recovery from the recession got underway in 2009 and represented the 101st consecutive week that new jobless claims were lower than the 300,000 new claims benchmark. According to Labor Department data, this week’s reading sustained the longest-running consecutive period of new jobless claims below the benchmark level.

The four-week average of new jobless claims is viewed by analysts as less volatile than the week-to-week reading, but it showed similar results last week as it fell by 3750 new claims to 244,250 initial claims and reached the lowest level of new claims filed in 44 years.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic releases include readings on inflation and core inflation, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 6, 2017

Last week’s economic news included several good signs for U.S. Labor Markets with higher than expected readings for private and public sector job creation. The Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise the target federal funds range, and inflation rose. Mortgage rates held steady and pending home sales rose.

Private and Public Sector Jobs Post Unexpected Gains

ADP, which tracks private-sector job growth, showed a gain of 246,000 jobs in January against expectations of 168,000 new jobs and December’s reading of 151,000 private sector jobs created. Analysts said 208,000 of jobs added were service-related jobs. January’s Non-Farm Payrolls, which is issued by the Labor Department and includes private and public sector jobs, also posted higher than expected job gains with 227,000 new jobs in January as compared to 197,000 new jobs expected and December’s reading of 157,000 new jobs. Retail, construction, financial and restaurant industries led job growth. The jump in construction hiring could indicate that home builders will expand construction in an effort to ease short inventories of homes for sale.

The national unemployment rate rose to 4.70 percent in January and matched analysts’ expectations based on December’s reading of 4.60 percent. New jobless claims were lower than expected with a reading of 246,000 new claims against expectations of 254,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 260,000 initial jobless claims.

Mortgage Rates Little Changed; Pending Home Sales Up

Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week. Interest rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.19 percent and were unchanged from the prior week. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 3.41 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.23 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

In related news, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee decided not to rate the Fed’s target rate that is currently 0.50 to 0.75 percent. Fed benchmarks for the economy include an unemployment rate of 5.00 percent or lower, but the annual growth inflation benchmark of 2.00 percent has not been met. January’s inflation rate rose by 0.10 percent above December’s reading of 0.0 percent.

Pending home sales increased in January with an increase of 1.60 percent; this exceeded December’s negative reading of -2.50 percent in December. Analysts said that the growth in pending home sales, which represents sales under contract that have not closed, reflects ongoing high demand for homes. Pending sales also suggest future volume for completed sales and mortgages.

Consumer confidence lagged in January to an index reading of 111.80 as compared to an expected reading of 112.90 and December’s reading of 113.30. December’s reading was the highest in 15 years. Analysts cited post-election uncertainty as contributing to consumer concerns.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include weekly releases on mortgage rates and new jobless claims along with readings on job openings and consumer sentiment.