Fed Holds Key Rate Steady As It Watches Economic Trends

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 25th, 2019

Fed Holds Key Rate Steady As It Watches Economic TrendsFederal Reserve policymakers held the federal funds rate at its current range of 2.25 to 2.50 percent. Analysts speculated that the Fed may lower its key rate based on signs of slowing economic growth and the President’s encouragement to lower the Fed rate.

Federal Open Market Committee members cited “uncertainties” in support of their decision not to change the Fed’s key lending rate. A stiff month-to-month drop in jobs growth and worries over trade problems associated with recent tariffs assessed against China contributed to the Committee’s decision to hold rates steady and closely watch domestic and global economic trends.

Signs of slowing economic growth caused the Fed to adjust its forecast for achieving the benchmark inflation rate of 2.00 percent to 2021 and lowered expectations for inflationary growth from 1.80 percent to 1.50 percent.

Fed Chair: Fed Closely Monitoring Economic Developments

After the FOMC statement, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a press conference in which he further addressed the Fed’s response to slowing economic growth and current developments in global affairs. Chairman Powell said that it is important for policymakers to respond based on emerging economic trends rather than reacting to quickly shifting data.

Chairman Powell identified trade concerns and slowing global economic growth as factors impacting slowing domestic economic growth. Due to recent economic changes, Chairman Powell said that a “somewhat accommodative” policy stance was indicated. Uncertainty over supply chains due to tariffs was an example of factors causing concern over economic growth. Positive indicators centered around labor as job growth continued and employers reported a shortage of workers for available jobs.

Manufacturing declined globally and domestically as service-related-jobs expanded. When asked about Fed oversight over banks’ risk exposure due to lending policies, Chairman Powell said that large institutional holdings presented the greatest risk for banks, but did not say such risk was currently problematic. The chairman re-emphasized that FOMC members constantly assess economic data and global events to determine the Fed’s economic policies.

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 24th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 24th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 24th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included monthly readings on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Sales of pre-owned homes were released; the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise its key interest rate range. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Slips in June

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June showed builder confidence was two points lower at an index reading of 64. Builders surveyed said ongoing concerns such as lot and labor shortages impacted their outlook, but builders were also concerned over the impact of trade wars and tariffs on the cost of building materials.

Housing starts dipped to 1.27 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in May. April’s reading was 1.28 million starts and surpassed the expected reading of 1.23 million starts. Although housing starts were higher, they were 3 percent lower year to date than for the same period in 2018 and were 4.79 percent lower year-over-year.  Building permits issued held steady in May at 1.29 million permits issued; analysts expected a reading of 1.30 million permits issued.

Sales of pre-owned homes were higher in May with 5.34 million sales; 5.28 million sales were expected based on April’s reading of 5.21 million sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of pre-owned homes were 2.50 percent higher than for April, but were 1.10 percent lower year-over-year.

Warmer weather and peak home-buying season contributed to the increase in sales. Lower mortgage rates likely compelled would-be buyers to enter the market. The Federal Reserve did not raise its target interest rate range, which stands at 2.25-2.50 percent. Lenders typically raise rates charged to consumers when the Fed raises its key rate range.

Mortgage Rates Little Changed, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.84 percent and rose two basis points week-to-week. Interest rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.25 percent and fell one basis point on average.

The average rate for 5/1 fixed-rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 3.48 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 216,000 claims from the prior week’s reading of 222,000 new claims filed and expectations of 220,000 initial jobless claims filed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller Indices, readings on sales of new homes, pending home sales and the consumer sentiment index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims are also scheduled.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 10th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 10th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 10th, 2019Last week’s economic releases included readings on construction spending, public and private sector jobs and national unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time unemployment claims were also released.

Construction Spending Little Changed in April

Census Bureau readings for April showed a minor dip in construction spending as compared to revised figures for March. $1,295.5 billion was spent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis and missed the expected reading of $1,314.7 billion.

March construction spending was revised to $1,299.2 billion. Falling mortgage rates were good news for home buyers, but concerns over global economic disputes and higher materials prices concerned home builders.

Mortgage Rates Fall as Initial Jobless Claims Hold Steady

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates across the board. 30-year fixed mortgage rates dropped 17 basis points to 3.82 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell 18 basis points to 3.28 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell eight basis points to 3.22 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims were unchanged with 218,000 first-time claims filed.  Monthly labor reports issued for May showed sharply lower jobs growth for public and private sector jobs.

Public and Private Sector Jobs Growth Dips in May

In a potential warning of slowing economic growth, public and private sector job creation fell far short of expected readings in May. The Labor Department’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 75,000 new jobs in May as compared to expectations of 180,000 new jobs and April’s reading of 224,000 public and private sector jobs created.

ADP’s report for private sector jobs growth was equally dismal for May; 27,000 jobs were created as compared to April’s revised reading of 271,000 private sector jobs created. Mark Zandi, who developed ADP jobs reporting, said “The economy is weakening; growth is slowing and slowing sharply.” The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.60 percent, which matched expectations. Analysts said that signs of slower economic growth could lead the Federal Reserve to implement monetary easing. 

Whats Ahead

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

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 3rd, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 3rd, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 3rd, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings from Case-Shiller on home prices and pending home sales. Readings on consumer confidence and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in March

While home prices continue to rise throughout the U.S., they are growing at a slower pace. Case-Shiller reported that Home prices dropped 0.20 percent in March to a growth rate of 3.70 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Case-Shiller said that March home price growth was the lowest rate reported in 10 years.

Top cities for home price growth in March were Last Vegas, Nevada with a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year home price growth rate of 8.20 percent; Home prices rose 6.10 percent in Phoenix, Arizona and increased by 5.30 percent in Tampa, Florida. These three metro areas suffered steep declines in home prices during the recession.

Home prices are no longer growing at double-digit rates, and the West Coast is no longer experiencing rapid growth of home prices previously reported in Seattle, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angles California metro areas. Analysts said that while home-buyers continue to seek homes in temperate climates, they are no longer looking in high-cost coastal metro areas. New York City was the only metro area reporting a month-to- month negative growth rate in home prices, but it is already one of the highest cost housing markets in the nation.

Pending Home Sales Fall for 16th Consecutive Month

According to the National Association of Realtors®, the annual rate of pending home sales fell for the 16th consecutive month in April. The Midwest region was the only region to report growth in pending home sales with a reading of +1.30 percent growth. Northeastern regional pending sales fell by -1.80 percent. Pending home sales dropped -2.50 percent in the South and fell by -1.80 percent in the West. Real estate pros and mortgage lenders track pending home sales as an indicator of future home sales closed and mortgage loan volume.

Mortgage Rates Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

 Mortgage rates fell across the board last week in response to uncertainty in global markets. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell seven basis points to 3.99 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.46 percent and fell five basis points. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell an average of eight basis points to 3.60 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Weekly jobless claims rose to 215,000 initial claims and matched expectations. Analysts did not find last week’s increase of 3000 new claims filed an indicator of weakening economic conditions.  Unemployment remains near an all-time low set in 1968.

Consumer confidence as reported by the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index was revised to reflect a dip in consumer confidence after tariffs on Chinese imports were imposed. Consumer confidence dropped to an index reading of 100.0 as compared to May’s initial reading of 102.4.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on private and public sector job growth and the national unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims will also be released.

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

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 28th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 28th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes; weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Sales of New and Pre-Owned Homes Lower in April

Sales of brand-new homes fell nearly seven percent in April according to Commerce Department reports. Analysts noted that March sales of new homes were revised upward, which contributed to the difference between March and April readings. 673,000 new homes were sold in April on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a reading of 670,000 sale of new homes; this reading was based on the initial March reading which was later revised upward to 723,000 sales.

Factors impacting new home sales include affordability, strict mortgage qualification requirements and new homes being built for higher-end markets. The average sale price for new homes was eight percent higher year-over-year at $342,20.

Year-to-date sales of new homes were 6.70 percent higher in April than for the same period in 2018. Inventories of homes for sale was reported at 5.9 months. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of available homes as an indicator of average market conditions.

Sales of previously-owned homes were lower in April. 5.19 million existing homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis; this reading fell short of expectations of 5.35 million sales and the sales rate of 5.21 million sales of pre-owned homes reported in March. Sales were lower for pre-owned homes for the second consecutive month in April.

Sales of pre-owned homes were 0.40 percent lower month-to-month and were 4.40 percent lower year-over-year. First-time and moderate income home buyers are attracted to lower asking prices for previously-owned homes; declining sales suggest that prices of pre-owned homes have risen beyond affordability for buyers with moderate incomes and less-than perfect credit ratings.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 4.06 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged two basis points lower at 3.51 percent. 

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were two basis points higher and averaged 3.68 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 211,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 0f 212,000 claims filed. Analysts expected a higher reading of 217,000 new jobless claims filed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller on home prices; pending home sales will also be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 20th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 20th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 20th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Consumer sentiment was reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises in May, Housing Starts Increase in April

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index posted its highest reading in seven months in May as headwinds facing home construction waned. Lower mortgage rates were a positive sign. May’s reading rose three points to 66; component readings also rose.

The index of builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose three points to an index reading of 72; the reading for builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose one point to 72 and the confidence reading for buyer traffic in new housing developments rose two points to 49. The reading for buyer traffic seldom exceeds 50. A reading of 50 or above indicates positive builder sentiment.

Commerce Department reports for April showed higher readings for housing starts and building permits issued. 1.235 million housing starts were reported at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace. Analysts expected 1.209 million starts based on March reading of 1.16 million starts. Housing starts were six percent higher as compared to March, but remained lower year-over-year. Building permits reported in April rose from 1.288 million permits issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in March to 1.296 million permits in April. 

Mortgage Rates, Mixed New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower fixed mortgage rates were lower last week, but the average rate for 5/1 adjustable mortgages rose. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.07 percent and were three basis points lower. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.53 percent and were four basis points lower.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose three basis points to 3.66 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims were lower last week with 212,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 217,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 228,000 initial claims filed. Analysts said that the drop in first-time claims was a sign of economic strength and job markets.

Consumer sentiment hit a 15-year high according to the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment

Index. reported an index reading of 102.40 in May; analysts expected a reading of 97.10 based on April’s reading of 97.20. Low unemployment fueled consumer sentiment, but analysts emphasized that consumers were surveyed before higher tariffs on China were announced; the costs of tariffs will be passed on to consumers, which is expected to dampen consumer sentiment.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes and minutes of the Fed’s FOMC Committee meeting. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 6th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 6th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 6th, 2019Last week’s economic news brought good news to U.S. consumers on several fronts. Mortgage rates fell and national unemployment fell to its lowest rate in 50 years. Inflation slowed and the Federal Reserve held its target federal funds rate steady.

Freddie Mac analysts credited strong labor markets, high consumer confidence and falling mortgage rates as factors setting the stage for more home sales.

Pending Home Sales Rise as Construction Spending Falls

The National Association of Realtors® reported higher pending home sales in March; home sales under contract but not completed rose 3.89 percent in March as compared to February’s negative reading of -1.00 percent growth. Pending home sales provide a gauge for completed sales and mortgage loan volume.

Increasing home sales will help balance a lop-sided housing market fueled by an acute shortage of homes for sale and rapidly rising home prices that provided prospective home buyers with few options. High demand for homes drove prices up as buyers competed for available homes in popular metro areas.

Real estate pros repeatedly say building more homes is necessary for bringing housing markets back into balance, but construction spending was -0.90 percent lower in March. Analysts expected spending to dip -0.40 percent; February’s reading showed an increase of 0.70 percent in construction spending; Builders face ongoing headwinds including shortages of buildable lots and higher materials prices.

Mortgage Rates Fall as Fed Holds Key Rate Steady

The Federal Reserve did not raise its current federal funds rate range of 2.25 to 2.50 percent and inflation is growing slower than expected. These factors and low unemployment boosted consumer confidence in April; more home buyers were expected to enter the housing market as mortgage rates fell last week.

Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell six basis points to 4.14 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 3.60 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged nine basis points lower at 3.68 percent.

Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Labor Sector: Lowest Unemployment Rate in 50 Years

National Unemployment fell to 3.60 percent for the first time since 1969; this reading was lower than the expected reading of 3,70 percent the March reading of 3.80 percent. Public and private sector payrolls grew in April.

ADP reported 275,000 new private sector jobs in April; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 263,000 more public and private-sector jobs; this exceeded expectations of 213,000 jobs added and the reading of 189,000 public and private sector jobs added in March. First-time jobless claims were unchanged from the prior week’s reading of 230,000 first-time claims filed.

Consumer confidence rose to an index reading of 129.20 in April; analysts expected a reading of 126.90 percent based on the March index reading of 124.20.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, job openings and weekly readings on first-time jobless claims and mortgage rates.

Last week’s economic news brought good news to U.S. consumers on several fronts. Mortgage rates fell and national unemployment fell to its lowest rate in 50 years. Inflation slowed and the Federal Reserve held its target federal funds rate steady. Freddie Mac analysts credited strong labor markets, high consumer confidence and falling mortgage rates as factors setting the stage for more home sales.

 

Pending Home Sales Rise as Construction Spending Falls

The National Association of Realtors® reported higher pending home sales in March; home sales under contract but not completed rose 3.89 percent in March as compared to February’s negative reading of -1.00 percent growth. Pending home sales provide a gauge for completed sales and mortgage loan volume.

 

Increasing home sales will help balance a lop-sided housing market fueled by an acute shortage of homes for sale and rapidly rising home prices that provided prospective home buyers with few options. High demand for homes drove prices up as buyers competed for available homes in popular metro areas.

 

Real estate pros repeatedly say building more homes is necessary for bringing housing markets back into balance, but construction spending was -0.90 percent lower in March. Analysts expected spending to dip -0.40 percent; February’s reading showed an increase of 0.70 percent in construction spending; Builders face ongoing headwinds including shortages of buildable lots and higher materials prices.

 

Mortgage Rates Fall as Fed Holds Key Rate Steady

The Federal Reserve did not raise its current federal funds rate range of 2.25 to 2.50 percent and inflation is growing slower than expected. These factors and low unemployment boosted consumer confidence in April; more home buyers were expected to enter the housing market as mortgage rates fell last week.

 

Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell six basis points to 4.14 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 3.60 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged nine basis points lower at 3.68 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

 

Labor Sector: Lowest Unemployment Rate in 50 Years

National Unemployment fell to 3.60 percent for the first time since 1969; this reading was lower than the expected reading of 3,70 percent the March reading of 3.80 percent. Public and private sector payrolls grew in April. ADP reported 275,000 new private sector jobs in April; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 263,000 more public and private-sector jobs; this exceeded expectations of 213,000 jobs added and the reading of 189,000 public and private sector jobs added in March. First-time jobless claims were unchanged from the prior week’s reading of 230,000 first-time claims filed.

 

Consumer confidence rose to an index reading of 129.20 in April; analysts expected a reading of 126.90 percent based on the March index reading of 124.20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, job openings and weekly readings on first-time jobless claims and mortgage rates.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 29th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 29th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 29th, 2019

Last week’s economic reporting included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes; weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released along with a report on consumer sentiment.

Sales of New Homes Hit 16-Month High

The Commerce Department reported that deep discounts offered by home builders boosted sales of new single-family homes to 692,000 sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

March sales exceeded February’s reading by 4.50 percent and exceeded the expected sales pace of 656,000 sales. The average price of new single family homes fell to $302,700 in March; this was 9.70 percent lower year-over-year.

Real estate pros reported higher inventory of new homes for sale with a six-month supply of homes for sale in March. A six-month supply of available homes indicates that housing markets were evenly balanced between homes for sale and prospective buyers.

Previously-owned homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 5.21 million sales in March. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of pre-owned homes were 5.90 percent lower than the sales pace of 5.48 million pre owned homes posted for February and that March sales missed expectations of 5.35 million sales.

Sales were likely impacted by higher average sales price for pre-owned homes; the average selling price for pre-owned homes was $259,400, which was 3.80 percent higher year-over-year. Higher home prices challenge first-time and moderate income home buyers; this could explain the slower sales pace for pre-owned homes in March.

Mortgage Rates and New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.20 percent and were three basis points higher than for the prior week. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged two basis points higher at 3.64 percent; Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell one basis point and averaged 3.77 percent. Discount points for fixed rate mortgages averaged 0.50 percent and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims jumped to 230,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 193,000 new claims filed. Analysts said that more first-time claims were likely related to the Easter holiday and spring breaks.

According to the Consumer Sentiment Index for April, consumer sentiment rose to an index reading of 97.20 percent as compared to an expected reading of 97.0 and March’s reading of 96.9.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from Case-Shiller, and Commerce Department readings on construction spending and pending home sales. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will issue its post-meeting statement and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give a press conference. ADP and Non-Farm Payrolls reports will be released along with the national unemployment rate.

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

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 22nd, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 22nd, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on home builder confidence in housing market conditions and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage ratees and first-time jobless claims were also released.

NAHB Housing Market Index: Builder Confidence Rises One Point in April

Home Builder Confidence readings posted by the National Association of Home Builders held steady for April and rose one point overall. Component readings for the NAHB Housing Market Index were mixed; builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose one point to an index reading of 69, but builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months fell one point to 62.

Home builder confidence in potential buyer traffic rose three points to 47. NAHB Housing Market index readings above 50 indicate that most builders view market conditions as positive, but the reading for buyer traffic seldom rises above 50.

Housing Starts and Building Permits Issued Fall Short of Expectations in March

Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued in March were lower than in February and fell short of analyst expectations. Housing starts were reported at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.139 million starts. Analysts expected housing starts at an annual rate of 1,225 billion starts based on February’s reading of 1.142 million starts.

Builders continued to experience headwinds including higher materials costs, shortages of buildable lots and a lack of skilled labor. Analysts cited disparities between new housing developments, which tend to favor luxury homes and the need for affordable housing.

Exclusionary zoning and neighborhood politics can block construction of affordable housing in desirable areas; legal and zoning constraints prevent builders from producing enough affordable homes to meet demand. Housing starts year-to-date were 9.70 percent lower than for the same period in 2018.

Fewer building permits were issued in March than in February. 1.269 million permits were issued on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to expectations of 1.300 million permits issued and February’s reading of 1.291 million permits issued.

Mortgage Rates Rise as New Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates were higher last week as average rates for fixed rate mortgages rose. 30-year mortgage rates averaged five basis points higher at 4.17 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged two basis points higher at 3.62 percent.  

Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged two basis points lower at 3.78 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell by 5000 new claims to 192,000 initial claims; this was significantly lower than 204,000 new claims expected.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on sales of new and pre-owned homes and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.

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

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 15th, 2019

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 8th, 2019Last week’s economic readings included reports on inflation, mortgage rates, and first-time jobless claims. Monthly reporting on consumer sentiment was delayed.

Consumer Price Index: Inflation Rises in March

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.40 percent in March, which matched expectations and surpassed February’s month-to -month reading of 0.20 percent growth. The March reading showed the highest consumer price growth in 14 months; higher rents, fuel and food prices contributed to month-to-month price gains in March.

The Core CPI excludes volatile food and energy sectors and was unchanged in March although 0.20 percent growth was expected. February’s reading showed 0.10 percent growth. Inflation increased 1.90 percent year over year.

Mortgage Rates Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week that stopped weeks of decreasing rates. Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.12 percent and rose four basis points. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.60 percent and were also four basis points higher than during the prior week. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages jumped 14 basis points to 3.80 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac reported fewer mortgage applications in response to higher rates. Potential homebuyers were sensitive to higher mortgage rates, but may not have to wait long for lower rates to return. Low 10-year Treasury yields suggested that mortgage rates are likely to fall and to remain lower during the peak home-buying season. Mortgage rates are expected to stay comparatively low throughout 2019 according to Freddie Mac.

New Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Since 1969

First-time jobless claims fell last week to 196,000 initial claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 204,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading was the first to fall below 200,000 initial claims since 1969 and provided another sign of strong labor markets.

Federal Reserve FOMC Minutes Released

The Federal Reserve released minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held in March. The minutes explained the Committee’s reversal of its plan to raise the target range of the federal funds rate twice during 2019. Committee members said that they were holding off on raising rates due to slowing in domestic and global economic conditions. While Committee members said that the current economy is strong, they were willing to exercise patience in raising rates based on slower growth of home prices and potential impacts caused by Brexit and slowing in China’s economy.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, housing starts and building permits issued and data on retail sales. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released.

 

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