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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 23, 2015


2015
11.23

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week November 23 2015

Last week’s economic events included reports the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and the release of minutes for the most recent meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. The details:

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Markets Dips

The National Association of Home Builders reported that builder confidence dropped to a reading of 62 as compared to October’s revised reading of 65. Any NAHB reading above 50 indicates that more builders are positive about market conditions than not. NAHB’s assessment of housing market conditions is based on readings for three aspects of current and future market conditions. November’s reading of 67 for current housing market conditions was three points lower than October’s reading of 70. Expectations for market conditions for sales of single family homes over the next six months fell by five points in November to a reading of 70. Builders’ sentiment about prospective buyer foot traffic in new single family developments rose by one point to 48.

Home builders started more new homes than at any time since September 2007; analysts cited wage growth and low unemployment figures along with high demand for homes as driving builder confidence in housing markets. Demand for homes continued to exceed homes available for purchase, which is a driving force for builder confidence.

NAHB Regional Builder Confidence Readings 

Regional readings provide a snapshot of regional housing market conditions on a month-to-month bases and on a three month rolling average. The monthly readings for November were lower except for the Western region, which gained one point for a reading of 77. The Northeastern region held steady with a reading of 52; the Midwest’s reading also decreased by one point to 59 and builder confidence in the Southern region fell by five points to 62.

Monthly regional readings for home builder confidence can be volatile due to regional economic conditions; the NAHB provides a three-month rolling average for its four U.S. regions. In November, the Northeast region reported a reading of 50 which was three points higher than October’s reading. The Midwest region was unchanged from October’s reading of 60; the South also reported no change from its October reading of 65. The Western region posted an increase of 69 to 73 over the three months between August and November.

Housing Starts Lowest Since Spring Floods

According to the Commerce Department, housing starts fell by 11 percent to an annualized reading of 1.06 million in October. This was the lowest reading since last spring, when construction was adversely impacted by flooding. September’s reading was adjusted to 1.19 million starts. Meanwhile, building permits issued rose by 4.10 percent to an annual rate of 1.15 million starts in October.

While housing starts fell by 18.60 percent in the South, permits issued rose to their highest level since 2007. The South is the most active region for home construction and accounts for half of all new home construction in the U.S.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower

Mortgage rates fell across the board last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by one basis point to 3.97 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell two basis points to 3.18 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was five basis points lower at 3.03 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims also fell last week to a reading of 271,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 270,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 276,000 new claims filed. Lower jobless claims indicate further strengthening of labor markets, but seasonal hiring may have positively impacted the reading for new jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic news releases include several housing reports. Existing Home Sales, the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index, FHFA House Prices and New Home Sales will be posted along with regularly scheduled reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. There will be no economic reports released on Thursday or Friday due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 16, 2015


2015
11.16

The Fibromyalgia Diet: Healthy Eating Ideas That Could Help You Feel BetterLast week’s scheduled economic news was sparse due to no scheduled releases on Monday and the Veterans Day Holiday on Wednesday. A report on job openings was released on Thursday along with regularly scheduled weekly reports on jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s report on mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates rose last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 3.98 percent from last week’s reading of 3.87 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 3.20 percent from the prior week’s reading of 3.09 percent; the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was also higher at an average of 3.03 percent as compared to the prior week’s average rate of 2.96 percent. Discount points were unchanged for all three types of mortgages at 0.60 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims rose last week to 276,000 claims filed against the expected reading of 268,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 276,000 new jobless claims filed. The Labor department reported 5.53 million job openings on September, which was the second highest reading since the inception of the job openings report in 2000.

The Labor Department also reported that the quits rate held steady at 1.90 percent for the sixth consecutive month. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that the Fed considers the quits rate an indicator of economic strength; if workers have enough confidence to quit their jobs for new jobs, this a strong economy. The quits rate has held steady for six months, which could signal to the Fed that the economy is not yet ready for a rise in interest rates that analysts expect to occur in December.

U.S. News recently cautioned that a combination of rising home prices and interest rates could quickly cool housing markets as first-time and moderate income buyers are priced out of the market and other would-be buyers find it difficult to qualify for the mortgages they need to finance home purchases. Recent hikes in mortgage rates are a likely response to the anticipated Fed rate hike in December.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. The minutes may provide additional insight into how Fed policymakers are approaching the decision about raising the target federal funds rate.

Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 09, 2015

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 09, 2015


2015
11.09

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week November 09 2015Last week’s economic reports included releases on construction spending and several labor-related reports including ADP payrolls, Non-Farm payrolls, average hourly earnings and weekly jobless claims. Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates rose as the national unemployment rate decreased to 5.00 percent.

Labor Reports Show Mixed Results

Key readings on employment showed mixed results as ADP payrolls decreased to 182,000 from September’s downwardly revised reading of 190,000 private sector jobs added. U.S. jobs expanded to a reading of 271,000 jobs added in October, which exceeded expectations of 180,000 jobs added and September’s reading of 137,000 jobs added. This was the fastest pace for job growth in 2015 and fueled expectations that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates in December. In addition, the national unemployment rate dropped to 5.00 percent in October, which was the lowest unemployment rate in seven years.

Weekly jobless claims rose by 276,000 new claims, which exceeded the expected reading of 263,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 240,000 new claims.

In testimony before The House Financial Committee, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that the central bank’s objective was to regulate financial institutions “in a manner that promotes the stability of the financial system as a whole.” This indicates that the Federal seeks to prevent threats to major financial institutions that could result in a repeat of the great recession in 2008.

Chair Yellen also said that the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC have written a rule requiring the largest financial institutions to show that any financial failure could be “resolved in an orderly manner through the bankruptcy court.” These comments suggest that the Federal Reserve has ongoing concerns about the stability of the largest financial institutions and the economy; this could cause the Fed to take a wait-and-see attitude on raising interest rates in December. The Fed is expected to address interest rates in its December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which directs monetary policy for the Fed.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Construction Spending Dips

Average mortgage rates rose across the board last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-yar fixed rate mortgage rose by 11 basis points to 3.87 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose by 11 basis points to 3.09 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by seven basis points to 2.96 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.60, 0.60 and 0.40 percent respectively.

Construction spending slowed in September to a reading of 0.60 percent which met expectations based on August’s reading of an increase of 0.70 percent.Construction spending slows as fall and winter seasons approach, but analysts are monitoring construction activity as low inventories of available homes continue to increase demand for homes and home prices in many areas.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled releases for economic reports are slim; no reports are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday markets are closed for the Veterans Day holiday. Freddie Mac will release mortgage rates on Thursday and the weekly Jobless Claims report will also be released. Other scheduled reports include retail sales, retail sales except automotive sector and the University of Michigan’s report on consumer sentiment.

Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 2, 2015

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 2, 2015


2015
11.02

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week November 2 2015A number of economic reports released last week indicate mixed economic progress. The 20-City Home Price Index released by S&P Case Shiller showed that August home prices rose, but New Home Sales dropped in September. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve indicated that it may reserve the target federal funds range at its next meeting in December.

Case-Shiller Reports Higher Home Prices in August

August’s 20-City Home Price Index issued by S&P Case Shiller showed that average home prices rose in 18 of 20 cities with Denver, Colorado and San Francisco, California posting year-over-year increases of 10.70 percent. Portland, Oregon closely followed with a year-over-year gain of 9.40 percent. Cities lagging in home price gains were Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. with year-over-year gains of 1.90 percent and New York City with a year-over-year gain of 1.80 percent.

Higher home prices were seen by analysts as contributing to a lag in New Home Sales in September. The Commerce Department reported that pending home sales dropped by -2.30 percent as compared to August’s reading of -1.40 percent. Fewer home sales in September were consistent with the winding-down of the peak spring and summer home buying season, but analysts cited higher home prices and concerns about cooling economic trends as factors contributing to slowing home sales.

Federal Reserve Hints at December Rate Hike

Economists and media have been trying to predict when the Federal Reserve will raise its target federal funds range, which is currently set at 0.00 to 0.25 percent. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Fed indicated in its post-meeting statement that rates could be raised in December, when the committee meets for the final time in 2015. While no specifics were given, eyes and ears will be paying close attention for precursors of a December rate hike. When the Fed does raise rates, mortgage rates and other consumer lending rates can be expected to increase as well.

October Consumer Sentiment decreased to a reading of 97.6 as compared to an expected reading of 101.6 and September’s reading of 102.6; this suggests that consumers are increasingly wary of economic conditions as well as potentially higher interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by three basis points to 3.76 percent. Discount points were unchanged at an average of 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.98 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was also unchanged at 2.89 percent. Average discount points were 0.60 for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage.

Jobless claims were slightly higher with a reading of 260,000 new claims filed against expectations of 265,000 new claims and last week’s reading of 259,000 new claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on Construction Spending, ADP Payrolls, the Non-Farm Payrolls report and the National Unemployment report. These reports are will provide information related to general economic conditions and labor trends.

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NAHB: Builder Confidence Hits Highest Rate in 9 Years; Fed Doesn’t Raise Rates


2015
09.18

Whats AheNAHB Builder Confidence Hits Highest Rate in 9 Years Fed Doesnt Raise Ratesad For Mortgage Rates This Week September 8 2015The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index reported that home builder confidence rose by one point to a reading of 62 for September. This was the highest reading since November 2005, when the NAHB reported a reading of 68 for home builder confidence. Any reading above 50 indicates that more builders are confident about housing market conditions than those who are not.

NAHB notes that builder confidence has been growing at a moderate pace since July 2014; this is in line with economic conditions in general. Relatively low mortgage rates and stronger labor markets are helping would-be buyers with their decisions to buy homes now.

FOMC Statement and Fed Chair Press Conference: No Rate Hikes Yet

The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve revealed that Fed policymakers have decided to wait on raising the target federal funds rate, which is currently set at 0.00 to 0.25 percent. While the FOMC statement indicated that policy makers acknowledge moderate progress in economic growth, a majority did not feel that the economy is ready to withstand a rate hike. When the Fed does raise rates, consumers can expect to see higher mortgage rates as well as increases in lending rates for credit cards and loans.

FOMC members said that housing markets were growing at a steady but moderate pace, but that inflation was lagging below the Fed’s benchmark 2.00 percent level due to transitory effects of lower energy and import prices. The Fed expects that inflation will reach its 2.00 percent goal over the medium term and will not likely raise rates until FOMC members are confident that inflation will rise as expected.

FOMC members continued to assert that any decision to raise rates will be based on close review of domestic and global financial and economic trends and will not be based on meeting the Fed’s dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and an inflation rate of 2.00 percent.

Committee members also said that economic conditions could continue to warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below normal levels for the longer term.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave a press conference after the FOMC statement concluded. She addressed questions about the Fed’s decision not to raise rates and said that concerns over global developments contributed to Fed policy makers’ decision not to raise rates. Ms. Yellen explained that a stronger U.S. dollar has caused deflationary pressures and increased competition for U.S. exports. The Fed isn’t overly concerned about global conditions at present, but changing circumstances could change the Fed’s likely intention to raise rates before year end.

Comments Off on What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 14, 2015

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 14, 2015


2015
09.14

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week September 14 2015A short week after the Labor Day Holiday provided a slack schedule for economic news. Bloomberg reported that residential investment for the second quarter of 2015 represented 3.34 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Compared to the long-term average reading of 4.56 percent, analysts said that the Q2 15 reading suggested pent-up demand in the housing market that could help propel the economy through any setbacks that could occur when the Fed raises rates.

Pent-Up Housing Demand a Plus when Fed Raises Rates

Job openings rose in July to 5.75 million as compared to June’s reading of 5.32 million. This is a positive indicator for the economy and for the housing sector, as consumer confidence in terms of buying a home typically relies on stable employment and a strong labor sector.

While economic indicators are looking good for housing construction, analysts note that a shortage of construction workers could affect construction of new residential units. Analysts said that children born during the 1980’s will lead the next wave of first-time home buyers, with millennials following. This trend could last for the next 10 to 15 years and is expected to bolster housing markets.

More lenient mortgage lending requirements and rising confidence among home builders were also cited as positive indicators for housing.

Mortgage Rates Mixed

Freddie Mac reported that average fixed mortgage rates rose by one basis point to 3.90 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 3.10 percent for 15-year mortgages. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 2.91 percent. Average discount points for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage were unchanged at 0.60 percent and rose to 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and to 0.50 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Job Openings Rise as Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

July job openings rose to 5.75 million from June’s reading of 5.32 million; this was the highest number of available jobs since records have been kept. Analysts said that the high number of job openings clearly indicate that the labor force is not able to supply the workers needed by employers. Jobs available range from professional to service related work; this suggests a universal trend rather than hiring challenges within specific job areas.

Hiring activity fell in July to 4.98 million from June’s reading of 5.18 million. July separations also fell, which suggests that employers are having problems finding skilled workers and are holding on to experienced workers.

Weekly jobless claims fell to 275,000 from the prior week’s reading of 281,000 new jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include Retail Sales, Consumer Price Index and Core CSI along with the NAHB Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits. The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee will issue its customary statement on Wednesday, followed by highly-anticipated press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

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Federal Reserve FOMC Announcement


2015
07.30

Federal Reserve FOMC AnnouncementThe stage was set in high suspense for FOMC’s post-meeting announcement on Wednesday. As fall approaches, analysts and the media are looking for any sign of when and how much the Fed will raise its target federal funds rate. According to CNBC, some analysts were projecting two interest rate hikes before year end, but the truth of the matter remains unknown until the Federal Open Market Committee announces its intentions.

Meanwhile, reports of what Fed rate hikes will mean for consumers were released prior to the FOMC statement. Real estate analyst Mark Hanson said that a rate hike would “crush” housing markets, which continue to improve slowly in spite of the current 0.00 to 0.25 percent federal funds rate.

Last Friday’s report on June sales of new homes shows unpredictable progress in housing. Analysts estimated that new home sales would reach 550,000 units based on May’s reading of 517,000 new homes sold. June’s reading came in at 482,000 units sold.

FOMC Statement: Current Federal Funds Rate “Remains Appropriate”

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserved announced as part of its post-meeting statement that it would not immediately increase the federal funds rate. The FOMC statement cited concerns over the inflation rate, which remains below the Fed’s goal of 2.00 percent. According to the statement, the FOMC will not move to raise the federal funds rate until the committee is “reasonably confident” that inflation will achieve the committee’s goal of 2.00 percent over the medium term.

No prospective dates for raising the target federal funds rate were given. The FOMC statement repeated language included in previous statements indicating that committee members anticipate that economic events could further postpone increases in the federal funds rate. The FOMC statement asserted that committee members continue to monitor domestic and global financial and economic developments as part of the decision-making process for raising the target federal funds rate.

FOMC members agreed that policy accommodation may be required “for some time” after the committee’s dual mandate of maximum employment and 2.00 percent inflation have been achieved. This suggests that FOMC members are not in a hurry to boost rates when economic uncertainty remains.

In terms of housing markets, the Fed’s decision not to raise rates likely caused a sigh of relief as rate increase would have caused consumer interest rates including mortgage rates to rise.