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

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 17th, 2021

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

April Inflation Rate Hits 13-Year High

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

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

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims, and Consumer Sentiment Fall

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

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

What’s Ahead

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

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 3, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 3rd, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 3, 2021Last week’s economic reporting included readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, data on pending home sales, and a statement from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. The University of Michigan released its Consumer Sentiment Index and weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

Case-Shiller: February Home Prices Rose at Fastest Pace Since 2006

National home prices rose at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 12.00 percent, which was the fastest pace of year-over-year home price growth in 15 years.  Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index reported 11.90 percent home price growth year-over-year and 1.20 percent growth month-to-month. All 20 cities reported in
February.

Phoenix, Arizona held its lead with 17.40 percent year-over-year home price growth followed by San Diego, California with 17.00 percent annual home price growth. Seattle, Washington reported 15.40 percent year-over-year home price growth. Rapidly rising home prices were fueled by high demand for homes and slim supplies of homes for sale. Mortgage rates remained below three percent, but rising home prices presented obstacles for first-time and moderate-income buyers as they competed with cash buyers and well-qualified buyers.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices for single-family homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac grew by 12.20 percent year-over-year and 0.90 percent month-to-month.

Federal Reserve Holds Benchmark Interest Rate Range Steady

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve voted to hold its key interest rate range steady at 0.00 to 0.25 percent. Although the Fed noted that the economy was improving, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the Fed was far from achieving its dual goal of achieving maximum employment and an annual inflation rate of 2.00 percent.

Pending home sales data provided further evidence of economic improvement in March; Home sales for which offers were received but not completed rose to a year-over-year pace of 1.90 percent. Analysts expected pending home sales to grow by 5.40 percent after February’s negative reading of -10.60 percent growth for pending home sales. Pending home sales usually depend on mortgage approval to be completed; lower mortgage rates encouraged buyers to enter the market, but high home prices and strict mortgage approval requirements could cause some pending sales to fall through.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported little change in average fixed mortgage rates last week. Rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.98 percent and rose by one basis point. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.31 percent and were two basis points higher. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by 19 basis points to 2.64 percent; discount points for fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.70 percent and rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 553,000 initial claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 566,000 first-time claims filed in the prior week.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 26, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 26th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 26, 2021Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes and weekly reports on jobless claims and mortgage rates.

March Sales of  Previously-owned Homes Dip; New Home Sales Rise

Sales of single-family homes fell in March as demand for homes exceeded availability. 6.01 million previously-owned homes were sold in March on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; analysts expected a pace of 6.11 million sales based on February’s reading of 6.24 million sales of existing homes. The March reading for sales of pre-owned homes was 3.70 percent lower year-over-year and was the lowest sales pace reported since August 2020.

High demand for homes coupled with low inventories of available homes constricted sales. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors® said, “Sales for March would have been measurably higher had there been more inventory.” Mr. Yun also addressed affordability concerns arising from lean inventories of homes and high demand. “Without an increase in supply, the society’s wealth division will widen with homeowners enjoying sizable equity gains while renters will struggle to become homeowners.” 

The average price of a single-family home in the U.S. rose to $329,100 in March, which indicates year-over-year growth of 17.20 percent in home prices. While a six-month supply of homes for sale indicates an average inventory, the March inventory of homes for sale rose to a 2.10-month supply from February’s 2.0- month inventory of homes for sale.

Shortages of existing homes for sale boosted March sales of new homes, which sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.02 million sales. Analysts expected 888,000 new homes to be sold year-over-year in March based on February’s sales pace of 846,000 new homes sold. Rapidly rising materials costs created obstacles for builders and limited their ability to meet the need for affordable homes, but they raced to meet the ongoing demand for homes.

Mortgage Rates Mixed; Jobless Claims Fall

Average mortgage rates fell below three percent last week; the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by seven basis points to 2.97 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.29 percent and were six basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by three basis points to an average rate of 2.83 percent.

Jobless claims were lower last week with 547,000 new claims filed; analysts expected 603,000 initial claims filed. 586,000 first-time claims were filed in the prior week. Claims were also lower for ongoing claims filed. 3.67 million continuing jobless claims were filed as compared to 3.67 million continuing claims filed in the prior week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, data on pending home sales, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.

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

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 19th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 19, 2021Last week’s economic news included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets along with Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued.  Fed Chair Jerome Powell appeared on 60 Minutes. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Homebuilder Confidence Ticks Up

The National Association of Home Builders reported that home builders’ confidence in housing market conditions rose one point to an index reading of 83. Builder confidence readings over 50 indicate that most builders consider housing market conditions as positive.

Component readings used for the NAHB Housing Market Index were varied. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose one point to 88 and home builders’ confidence in housing markets over the next six months fell two points to 83. The index reading for home buyer traffic in new housing developments rose three points to 75. Homebuilders faced ongoing challenges including supply chain problems, rising materials prices, and meeting the need for affordable homes.

In related news, the Commerce Department reported a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.74 million housing starts in March. 1.77 million building permits were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual pace in March.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by nine basis points to 3.04 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by seven basis points to 2.35 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.80 percent and were 12 basis points lower. Discount points for fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and  0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims fell to 576,000 claims filed last week as compared to 769,000 initial claims filed the previous week. Ongoing jobless claims were unchanged from the prior week at 3.73 million claims filed.

The Commerce Department released inflation data for March. The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.60 percent as compared to February’s growth rate of 0.40 percent; analysts expected a March reading of 0.50 percent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors rose 0.30 percent in March and exceeded expectations of 0.20 percent growth. Core inflation rose by 0.10 percent in February.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell appeared on 60 Minutes on Sunday; he said that that the global economy would not return to normal until the COVID pandemic is controlled, but he presented a brighter picture for the U.S. economy. He said that the national economy is expected to grow between six to seven percent and that the national unemployment rate could fall to four or five percent from its current rate of six percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 12, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 12th, 2021

Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee and a speech given by Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

FOMC Minutes: Fed’s Monetary Policy Stance to Remain “Accommodative”

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve released minutes of its meeting held March 16 and 17. The meeting minutes indicated split opinions on the U.S. economy’s outlook. Several members expected inflation to rise due to constricted supply chains and high demand for goods and services. This scenario resembles trends in residential real estate where supplies of available homes are far lower than buyer demand. Other FOMC members expected continued downward pressure on inflation. Members expected inflation to rise to 2.40 percent in 2022 but expected the inflation rate to ease to 2.10 percent by 2023.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 12, 2021The Federal Reserve has a dual legal mandate to achieve an inflation rate of 2.00 percent and maximum employment. While inflation is expected to exceed 2.00 percent in 2022 and beyond, unemployment remains above pre-pandemic levels. FOMC members did not raise the Fed’s key interest rate range from 0.00 to 0.25 percent.

In related news, Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke at a webinar hosted by the International Monetary Fund. He emphasized the potential threat of COVID to the U.S. and global economy and encouraged everyone to get vaccinate and said, “Until the world is vaccinated, we’re all going to be at risk of new mutations and we won’t be able to resume activity all around the world.”

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Show Mixed Readings

Fixed mortgage rates were lower last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by five basis points to 3.13 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by three basis points to 2.42 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.92 percent and rose by eight basis points. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points averaged 0.10 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims rose to 744,000 claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 728,000 first-time jobless claims filed. Analysts expected 694,000 new claims for last week. Continuing jobless claims were lower last week with 3.73 million ongoing claims filed. There were 3.75 million continuing jobless claims in the prior week.

What’s Ahead

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

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 5, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 5th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 5, 2021Last week’s economic reports included readings on home prices, pending home sales, and construction spending. Data on public and private-sector employment and the national unemployment rate were published along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims. 

vLast week’s economic reports included readings on home prices, pending home sales, and construction spending. Data on public and private-sector employment and the national unemployment rate were published along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims. Last week’s economic reports included readings on home prices, pending home sales, and construction spending. Data on public and private-sector employment and the national unemployment rate were published along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Case-Shiller: Record Home Price Growth in Phoenix, but Will it Last?

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices indicated fast growth in home prices as the national home price growth rate for January grew to 11.20 percent from December’s reading of 10.40 percent national home price growth. Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index reported 19 of 20 cities reported rising home prices in January, but Cleveland, Ohio home prices were lower. Detroit, Michigan resumed reporting to the 20-City Home Price Index after nearly a year’s absence.

Phoenix, Arizona led the January 20-City Home Price Index with a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 15.80 percent; Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, California followed with home price growth of 14.30 percent and 14.20 percent.

 Analysts expressed concerns that rapidly rising home prices are not sustainable in the long term and cited rising mortgage rates and skyrocketing home prices as obstacles to homebuying. As demand for homes eases, home price growth will slow.

The Commerce Department reported fewer pending home sales in February as pending home sales fell by 10.60 percent. Analysts expected pending home sales to fall to -3.10 percent; pending home sales dropped by -2.40 percent in January. Construction spending fell by -0.80 percent in February; it was expected to fall by one percent as compared to January’s positive reading of 1.25 percent growth in construction spending. Rising lumber prices and severe winter weather influenced construction spending in February.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week. The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose one basis point to 3.18 percent; Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.45 percent and were unchanged. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was also unchanged at 2.84 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

The Census Bureau reported 719,000 new jobless claims last week; this surpassed the prior week’s reading of 658,000 initial claims. Ongoing jobless claims fell to 3.79 claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 3.80 million continuing jobless claims filed.

Private-sector jobs grew by 525,000 jobs in March but fell short of the expected 525,000 private-sector jobs added. Public and private-sector jobs also ramped up with 916,000 jobs added in March. Analysts expected 675,000 jobs added to the Non-Farm Payrolls report; 468,000 public and private-sector jobs were added in February. The national unemployment rate decreased to 6.00 percent from February’s reading of 6.20 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include job openings and minutes of the recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be reported.

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 29, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 29th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 29, 2021Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes along with final March index readings on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Sales of New and Pre-Owned Homes Fall in February

Weather-related problems disrupted sales of new and previously-owned homes in February as low inventories of homes for sale further stalled sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of new and pre-owned homes were slowed by persistent shortages of homes on the market.

Shortages of available homes were common before the pandemic and are more pronounced now. Realtor.com estimates that 200,000 homeowners stayed out of the market in the past year; this contributed to the two-month supply of homes available in February. Real estate professionals consider a six-month supply of homes for sale to indicate a balanced market. Sales of previously-owned homes were 9.10 percent higher in February 2020.

High demand for homes fueled competition among buyers and drove home prices higher. Rising mortgage rates, short supplies of homes, and rising home prices presented obstacles for first-time and moderate-income home buyers as the national median price for previously-owned homes reached $313,000.

New homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 775,000 sales in February according to the Census Department and was 18.20 percent lower than the reading of 948,000 new home sales reported in January. The inventory of new homes available rose to a 4.80 month supply as buyers were sidelined by winter weather and rising mortgage rates. Analysts expect high demand for new homes to continue as buyers move out of crowded urban areas and seek larger homes that meet increasing needs for work-at-home space and up-to-date technology.

Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped eight basis points to 3.17 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose five basis points to 2.45 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages rose five basis points to 2.84 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.20 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 684,000 claims from the prior week’s reading of 781,000 first-time jobless claims.  Ongoing claims were also lower with 3.87 million continuing claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 4.13 million continuing claims filed.

The University of Michigan reported an index reading of 89.1 for its Consumer Sentiment Index in March. February’s reading was 83.0 and analysts expected an index reading of 83.7.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Index and reporting on pending home sales. Private and public sector job growth and the national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 22, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 22nd, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 22, 2021Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets and Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Slips as Materials Costs Rise

The National Association of Home Builders reported that its Housing Market Index fell to an index reading of 82 in March as compared to February’s index reading of  84. Analysts forecasted a reading of 83. Builder concerns included rising materials costs and mortgage rates, which impact home pricing and affordability.  Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for NAHB, said that lumber prices have more than doubled since August 2020 and have added $24,000 to the cost of a home on average.

Regionally, builder confidence in housing markets declined in the Midwest, Northeast, and West but remained unchanged in the South.

Demand for new homes remained high as shortages of existing homes for sale persisted. Homebuilder sentiment was unchanged in the South but declined in the Northeast, Midwest, and Western regions of the U.S.

According to Commerce Department reports for February, housing starts declined to 1.42 million starts n a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to January’s reading of 1.58 million housing starts. Building permits issued also reflected growing builder concerns as permits issued fell to 1.68 million permits issued from 1.89 million building permits issued in January.

Mortgage Rates Rise,  Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by four basis points to 3.09 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.40 percent. Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.79 percent and rose by two basis points.

Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

770,000 first-time jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 725,000 new jobless claims filed. Severe winter weather in Texas boosted new claims, which significantly exceeded analysts’ expectations of 700,000 new claims filed.

Continuing jobless claims fell to 4.12 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 4.14 million ongoing claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes, inflation and consumer sentiment.  Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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

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

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 8, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 8th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 8, 2021Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on public and private sector jobs. The national unemployment rate was published along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell also spoke at a jobs summit.

Construction Spending Rises in January

U.S construction spending rose at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.70 percent in January as compared to 1.10 percent growth reported in December. Year-over-year construction spending was 5.80 percent higher in January 2021.  Residential construction spending reported in January rose to $713 billion on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to December 2020’s construction spending pace of $695.70 billion.

Non-residential construction spending in the private sector rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $447 billion in January as compared to December 2020’s pace of $445.2 billion.

High demand for single-family homes persists as inventories of available homes fall. This scenario contributes to affordability issues that are also influenced by rising building materials costs.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, which rose by five basis points and averaged 3.02 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged from the prior week and averaged 2.34 percent. Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped by 26 basis points and averaged 2.73 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

First-time jobless claims rose to 745,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 736,000 new claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims fell last week with 4.30 million continuing claims filed; 4.42 million ongoing claims were filed during the prior week.

Private- Sector Jobs Fall as Public-Sector Jobs Increase

ADP reported 117,000 private-sector jobs added in February as compared to January’s reading of 195,000 private-sector jobs added. The government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report for February showed 379,000 public and private sector jobs added in February; 166,000 public and private-sector jobs were added in January. The national unemployment rate fell to 6.20 percent as compared to January’s reading of 6.30 percent.

Fed Chair Promised to Hold Steady on Monetary Policy

Fed Chair Jerome Powell promised to maintain accommodative monetary policies for the foreseeable future as the Federal Reserve continues striving toward its dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and annual inflation of two percent. When asked about rising long-term rates, Mr. Powell said that he could not commit to reducing the Fed’s asset purchases as he thought that the Fed’s goal of achieving maximum employment was “highly unlikely.”

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic reporting includes readings on inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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