What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week April 4 2013Last week’s economic news includes several factors that drove U.S. mortgage rates lower.

The Bank of Japan announced that it would increase its purchase of bonds by $1.4 trillion over the next two years. 

This news caused yields on Japanese bonds to fall, which made U.S. bonds more appealing to international investors, that in turn increased MBS prices and caused mortgage rates to fall.

Bumpy Employment Numbers Support Lower Interest Rates

Other significant economic news involves an unexpected drop in the number of new jobs created last month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Nonfarm Payrolls Report issued Friday indicated that 88,000 jobs were added in March, which fell considerably short of the expected 190,000 jobs added as well as the 236,000 jobs added in February.

Average hourly earnings remained flat against February, which indicates another stall in U.S. economic growth. 

Expanding employment sectors for March included professional and business services and healthcare, while retail jobs decreased.

Jobless claims increased last week in concurrence with lower than expected jobs added for March.

New jobless claims came in at 385,000 and were higher than expectations of 345,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s jobless claims of 357,000.

The monthly unemployment rate fell from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent, but this isn’t encouraging news.

According to the BLS, the unemployment rate fell due to workers leaving the work force instead of workers finding jobs.

Next week, Treasury Auctions will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release FOMC minutes.

Fed Continues Monthly Bond Purchases

Investors and analysts review the minutes for predicting future economic developments and also for gauging the Fed’s sentiment about how or if changes should be made to the current quantitative easing program (QE).

The current QE program involves the Fed’s monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds and MBS is intended to keep long-term interest rates including mortgage rates low.

Retail Sales will be released Friday, and as indicated by falling job numbers in the retail sectors, analysts are expecting no growth for March in either report. 

Global news concerning North Korea and the European Union economic situation could also move U.S. markets up or down depending on the nature of the news.

While not encouraging in terms of an economic recovery, these events show that the recovery is proceeding with ups and downs; this doesn’t provide investors a clear picture and may cause them to seek safe haven in bonds.

The good news for San Jose homeowners is uncertainty and low expectations of the financial markets typically help keep mortgage rates lower.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates April 1st 2013European Market Jitters Continue To Affect The US Economy

Mortgage rates fell last week as investor concerns over the European economy grew.

Fears of growing differences between wealthier European nations and European nations needing economic aid brought higher bond prices and lower mortgage rates.

Positive news for Cyprus came when an agreement for an EU bailout was reached, but strict terms indicate that Germany and other nations are growing less enthusiastic about bailing out the banks of EU nations with shaky economies.

Meanwhile, the Italian government has not been able to agree on a coalition government, which reduces the chances for economic reform in the EU’s third largest country.

European trade with the U.S. could fall as the result of the EU’s ongoing economic challenges; this in turn would likely reduce U.S. inflation, which is good for lower mortgage rates.

Low inflation could also prolong the Fed’s commitment to its quantitative easing program that is designed to keep long term interest rates, including mortgage rates, lower.

Last Weeks Economic News Quiet, No Major Surprises

On Tuesday, New Home Sales for February were released, and came in short of investor expectations of 420,000 home sales on an annual basis.

February’s figure came in at 411,000 new homes sold as compared to January’s revised reading of 431,000 new homes sold.

Winter weather conditions are one reason for the decline in new home sales, which was the largest decline since February of 2011.

The National Association of REALTORS® released its Pending Home Sales Index for February on Wednesday; pending home sales reflected the results for New Home Sales with a reading of -0.4 percent as compared to expectations of a 2.0 percent reading.

January’s reading for Pending Home Sales was also higher at 4.5 percent.

Home prices and mortgage rates move according to supply and demand; if demand for homes falls, home prices are likely to do likewise as are mortgage rates.

But as demand for homes increases and prices rise, mortgage rates typically rise as well. Would-be buyers who have been waiting for their best deal may want to get into the housing market now, as strong signs of economic improvement are in play, but home prices and mortgage rates haven’t yet gone through the roof.

In other economic news, Thursday’s Jobless Claims Report fell short of Wall Street projections and came in at 357,000 new jobless claims against expectations of 340,000 new jobless claims.

The previous week’s jobless claims came in at 336,000 new jobless claims.

Analysts typically view a four-week rolling average of jobless claims as a more accurate indicator for the economy as jobless claims can vary widely week-to-week.

Consumer Sentiment for March was released Friday and came in at 78.6 and exceeded expectations of 72.5 for March.

The current reading also surpassed the prior reading of 71.8 percent. As consumers gain confidence in the economy, they are more likely to buy homes.

This week, the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting scheduled for Thursday and monthly Employment Data set for release Friday are among anticipated economic news events. 

What's Ahead For Interest Rates March 25 2013Last week’s economic news was dominated by events in Cyprus and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday.

Mortgage rates fell last Monday as investors became concerned over news that a Cyprus bank bailout was in the works.

Federal Reserve Holding Course With Mortgage Backed Security Purchases

The FOMC met on Wednesday and in a press release after the meeting, noted that no immediate changes to the present economic easing program would be made.

The Fed officers will continue to monitor the nation’s economy, and are eventually expected to implement a gradual reduction of their monthly bond and mortgage backed security (MBS) purchases when the nation’s economy has recovered sufficiently.

The Fed currently purchases $85 billion in bonds and MBS in an effort to keep long term interest rates low.

If the Fed should reduce its purchases, mortgage rates would be likely to rise. 

Investors viewed the Fed’s announcement as positive news and bond prices fell, which caused mortgage rates to rise, but mortgage rates finished the week slightly lower than last week.

Continuing Economic Turmoil In Europe May Encourage Lower US Mortgage Rates

In global news, the European Union (EU) threatened to withdraw its promise of aid to Cyprus banks if they cannot raise funds required as a condition of the bailout.

A one-time tax on bank deposits was suggested, but ultimately rejected as Cypriots nixed the idea of taxing their savings, even on a one-time basis.

Cyprus banks provide a tax shelter for foreign citizens, and the banking system in Cyprus is disproportionately large compared to its size.

Failure of this banking system could create serious repercussions for global financial markets.

The EU has set today, March 25 as a deadline for Cyprus to find the funding required for the bailout to be given.

Investors could seek safe haven in bonds if the EU withdraws its offer of a bailout to Cyprus banks, which usually creates downward pressure on mortgage rates.

If the EU offers Cyprus banks a bailout, then investors may respond positively and buy more stocks which would likely cause mortgage rates to rise.

Upcoming Economic Reports Could Affect Mortgage Rates

Other economic news scheduled for next week includes Treasury Auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The Department of Commerce issues its monthly New Home Sales report on Tuesday.

This report measures sales of new privately owned single family homes, and indicates buyer interest in new homes and also future demand for goods and services used by homeowners.

 

What's Ahead For Interest Rates March 25 2013Last week’s economic news was dominated by events in Cyprus and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday.

Mortgage rates fell last Monday as investors became concerned over news that a Cyprus bank bailout was in the works.

Federal Reserve Holding Course With Mortgage Backed Security Purchases

The FOMC met on Wednesday and in a press release after the meeting, noted that no immediate changes to the present economic easing program would be made.

The Fed officers will continue to monitor the nation’s economy, and are eventually expected to implement a gradual reduction of their monthly bond and mortgage backed security (MBS) purchases when the nation’s economy has recovered sufficiently.

The Fed currently purchases $85 billion in bonds and MBS in an effort to keep long term interest rates low.

If the Fed should reduce its purchases, mortgage rates would be likely to rise. 

Investors viewed the Fed’s announcement as positive news and bond prices fell, which caused mortgage rates to rise, but mortgage rates finished the week slightly lower than last week.

Continuing Economic Turmoil In Europe May Encourage Lower US Mortgage Rates

In global news, the European Union (EU) threatened to withdraw its promise of aid to Cyprus banks if they cannot raise funds required as a condition of the bailout.

A one-time tax on bank deposits was suggested, but ultimately rejected as Cypriots nixed the idea of taxing their savings, even on a one-time basis.

Cyprus banks provide a tax shelter for foreign citizens, and the banking system in Cyprus is disproportionately large compared to its size.

Failure of this banking system could create serious repercussions for global financial markets.

The EU has set today, March 25 as a deadline for Cyprus to find the funding required for the bailout to be given.

Investors could seek safe haven in bonds if the EU withdraws its offer of a bailout to Cyprus banks, which usually creates downward pressure on mortgage rates.

If the EU offers Cyprus banks a bailout, then investors may respond positively and buy more stocks which would likely cause mortgage rates to rise.

Upcoming Economic Reports Could Affect Mortgage Rates

Other economic news scheduled for next week includes Treasury Auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The Department of Commerce issues its monthly New Home Sales report on Tuesday.

This report measures sales of new privately owned single family homes, and indicates buyer interest in new homes and also future demand for goods and services used by homeowners.

 

What's Ahead For Interest Rates March 25 2013Last week’s economic news was dominated by events in Cyprus and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday.

Mortgage rates fell last Monday as investors became concerned over news that a Cyprus bank bailout was in the works.

Federal Reserve Holding Course With Mortgage Backed Security Purchases

The FOMC met on Wednesday and in a press release after the meeting, noted that no immediate changes to the present economic easing program would be made.

The Fed officers will continue to monitor the nation’s economy, and are eventually expected to implement a gradual reduction of their monthly bond and mortgage backed security (MBS) purchases when the nation’s economy has recovered sufficiently.

The Fed currently purchases $85 billion in bonds and MBS in an effort to keep long term interest rates low.

If the Fed should reduce its purchases, mortgage rates would be likely to rise. 

Investors viewed the Fed’s announcement as positive news and bond prices fell, which caused mortgage rates to rise, but mortgage rates finished the week slightly lower than last week.

Continuing Economic Turmoil In Europe May Encourage Lower US Mortgage Rates

In global news, the European Union (EU) threatened to withdraw its promise of aid to Cyprus banks if they cannot raise funds required as a condition of the bailout.

A one-time tax on bank deposits was suggested, but ultimately rejected as Cypriots nixed the idea of taxing their savings, even on a one-time basis.

Cyprus banks provide a tax shelter for foreign citizens, and the banking system in Cyprus is disproportionately large compared to its size.

Failure of this banking system could create serious repercussions for global financial markets.

The EU has set today, March 25 as a deadline for Cyprus to find the funding required for the bailout to be given.

Investors could seek safe haven in bonds if the EU withdraws its offer of a bailout to Cyprus banks, which usually creates downward pressure on mortgage rates.

If the EU offers Cyprus banks a bailout, then investors may respond positively and buy more stocks which would likely cause mortgage rates to rise.

Upcoming Economic Reports Could Affect Mortgage Rates

Other economic news scheduled for next week includes Treasury Auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The Department of Commerce issues its monthly New Home Sales report on Tuesday.

This report measures sales of new privately owned single family homes, and indicates buyer interest in new homes and also future demand for goods and services used by homeowners.

 

Mortgage Rate Update March 18 2013Last week’s positive employment reports were good news for the economy, which typically causes mortgage rates to rise, but mortgage rates ended the week lower.

As of Thursday, Freddie Mac reports that the average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.63 percent with borrowers paying their closing costs and 0.8 percent in discount points.

The average mortgage rate for a 15 year loan was 2.79 percent with borrowers paying their own closing costs and 0.8 percent in discount points.

Strong Retail Sales Show Consumer Confidence Improving

In other economic news, retail sales for February surpassed Wall Street expectations and grew by 1.1 percent against predictions of 0.5 percent and January’s reading of 0.1 percent.

Retail sales account for 70 percent of the U.S. economy and growing retail sales are a strong indicator of economic recovery, which generally causes mortgage rates to rise as bond prices including Mortgage Backed Securities fall.

With this strength in the retail sector, it may be a good time to consider locking interest rates for purchase and refinance transactions.

Results of Treasury auctions held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were mixed.

Tuesday’s auction of 3-year notes saw average demand, Wednesday’s auction of 10-year notes was strong, and Thursday’s auction of 30-year bonds drew a weak response.

Financial Reporting Strong Across Multiple Indices

The Producer’s Price Index (PPI) for February met expectations at 0.7 percent and exceeded January’s level of 0.2 percent.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February came in at 0.7 percent and exceeded expectations of 0.5 percent and January’s reading of 0.0 percent.

The Core CPI, which excludes food and energy sectors, demonstrates the impact of high fuel prices on the CPI with its lower numbers.

The Core CPI for February is 2.0 percent higher than for February 2012.

Upcoming Federal Reserve Meeting May Bring Interest Rate Changes

The Federal Reserve is not likely to modify its bond purchase program until the inflation rate reaches 2.5 percent.

Next week, the Federal Reserve will meet on Wednesday; investors will be waiting to see how the Fed responds to recent positive economic news in terms of potential changes to its bond purchase program, which is helping to keep mortgage rates lower.

As the deadline of March 27 for funding the Federal government approaches, investors will be following legislative talks to see how or if funding will be approved by the deadline.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This WeekMortgage rates and the major stock market indices rose last week in response to a strong jobs report and lower national unemployment rate.

The Department of Labor’s Non-farm Payrolls report for February surpassed expectations with 236,000 new jobs reported against expectations of 170,000 new jobs expected by Wall Street.

This stronger than expected showing in jobs numbers points to a stronger economy and may lead to less pressure to hold mortgage interest rates lower.

The Dow Jones Index also reached record levels last week. This strong stock market performance is to be expected with better than expected employment reports.

February’s numbers also exceeded January’s reading of 157,000 new jobs added to the economy.

Lower Unemployment Rates Help Economy, May Push Interest Rates Higher

The Unemployment Report for February also provided good news as February’s reading dropped to 7.7 percent from January’s unemployment rate of 7.9 percent.

While good news, it’s important to bear in mind that the Fed has established and unemployment rate of 6.5 percent as a benchmark for ceasing its monetary stimulus program.

The Federal Reserve released its Beige Book Report for March on Wednesday, and summarized reports from its 12 districts by noting modest to moderate economic improvement in 10 districts and slower economic growth in 2 districts.

Residential real estate markets are improving in most districts with home prices rising and inventories of available homes shrinking.

This news, coupled with last week’s rising mortgage rates is further emphasizes the upward trend in home prices in many areas and the rising cost of financing or refinancing a home.

While rising home prices are good for the economy, they impact affordability of homes, particularly for first-time home buyers.

Busy Upcoming Week In Financial News

Next week has a busy calendar of scheduled economic news; here are a few highlights:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: Treasury Auctions
  • Wednesday: Retail Sales, and Retail Sales without Auto Sales
  • Thursday: Producers Price Index (PPI) and Core PPI (PPI without volatile food and energy sectors)
  • Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims, Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Core CPI (without food and energy sectors)
  • Friday: Consumer Sentiment

It will be interesting to see how or if Consumer Sentiment reacts to recent signs supporting progress toward economic recovery.

If you’ve been watching interest rates to see when the best time is to lock in, this may be a good opportunity.  

As the economy continues to improve, mortgage interest rates will continue an upward climb.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This WeekU.S. Budget Stalemate, Italian Elections Stir Concerns

Mortgage rates were lower last week as investors sought safety in bonds in the wake of US legislators’ failure to agree on budget cutbacks, and after Italy’s elections failed to reveal a leader committed to continuing economic reform.

When bond prices including Mortgage Backed Securities rise, mortgage rates typically fall.

While the March 1st deadline for passing budget cutbacks for the U.S. government passed without a resolution, emergency legislation passed last year will keep the government running until March 27.

If a budget is not passed by then, the federal government could face shutdown.

As it stands, $85 billion in cuts are scheduled over the next seven months, but this represents only about 2 percent of the federal budget.

Investor concerns are likely to rise if the March 27 deadline approaches without a resolution.

Italian Elections Influence Investor Sentiment

On Monday, Italian elections were held, but the results did not reveal a leader dedicated to continuing economic reforms necessary for stabilizing Italy’s economy.

Another round of elections may be required to determine Italy’s new leader.

There is deep conflict in Italy as citizens do not agree with the need for economic austerity measures.

As the Eurozone’s third largest economy, Italy’s division on future economic reforms raises two concerns for investors.

First, without a clear reform leader established in last week’s elections, Investors fear that austerity measures may be relaxed and increase Italy’s debt risk.

A less likely risk is that Italy may leave the EU if it cannot resolve its need for economic reforms with its citizens’ wishes.

Upcoming Economic Releases

The coming week’s scheduled economic releases include:

  • Ongoing developments regarding the U.S. budget and aftermath of the Italian elections are expected to continue influencing U.S. financial markets.
  • On Tuesday ISM Services Index for February will be released. Wednesday’s news includes the Fed’s Beige Book Report for March and Factory Orders for January.
  • Thursday’s scheduled economic news releases include Productivity and Trade Balance reports. Friday finishes the week’s economic news with the Employment report, which includes job and unemployment data for February.

As spring approaches, demand for homes typically increases, which in turn may drive up home prices and mortgage rates.

Consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage and looking for your new home sooner than later.

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.

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Homebuilder Confidence ImprovesMortgage rates worsened last week in response to more indications that the U.S. economy and global economic trends are improving. Global economic data was stronger than expected; which generally boosts investor confidence and leads to higher mortgage rates in California and across the country.

According to Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.53 percent with borrowers paying all of their closing costs and 0.8 percent in discount points along with a full complement of closing costs.

The U.S Department of Commerce reported that Factory Orders for December improved over November; they rose from 0.0 percent in November to 1.89 percent in December, but fell short of Wall Street’s expectation of 2.5 percent.

The ISM Services Index for January was released Tuesday and fell to 55.2 from December’s reading of 56.1 and was slightly higher than against investors’ expectations of 55.0. Readings above 50 indicate expansion of the service sector of the economy. The ISM Services Index is also an indicator of future inflationary pressure.

Homebuilders Say Markets Improve For 6th Consecutive Month

On Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released its NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), which provided good news for housing markets in all 50 states and Washington, D. C. Metro housing markets surveyed showed expansion of improving markets for the sixth consecutive month.

259 of the 361 metro areas surveyed in the IMI showed improvement in February. By comparison, only 12 improving metro markets were reported for September of 2011.

Increasing home prices and mortgage rates suggest that now may be the time for buying a home.

The weekly Jobless Claims report released on Thursday indicated that 366,000 new claims were filed, which was higher than Wall Street’s estimate of 360,000 new jobless claims, but lower than the previous week’s 368,000 new jobless claims.

Falling U.S. Trade Deficit Signals Economic Uptick

The best economic news for last week came on Friday, when the U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level since January 2010. The Trade Balance Report for December shows the trade deficit at -$38.5 billion against expectations of -$46 billion and November’s deficit of -$48.7 billion. While a great boost for the economy, this is another indicator that recent low mortgage rates and home prices may soon become history.

Economic News scheduled for this upcoming week includes U.S. Treasury Auctions set for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Retail Sales for January will be released on Wednesday and watched closely by investors. Retail sales account for approximately 70 percent of the U.S. economy and are viewed as a strong indicator of the economy’s direction.

Jobless Claims on Thursday, Industrial Production and Consumer Sentiment on Friday round out the week’s economic reports.