Mortgage rates improved slightly through last week’s holiday-shortened trading sessions. Better-than-expected housing data led mortgage rates higher Tuesday and Wednesday, but rates retreated Thursday morning in advance of Good Friday.
Markets were closed Thursday afternoon and Friday. They re-open this morning.
Conforming mortgage rates in South Carolina ended last week unchanged overall. It’s a strange outcome considering that Standard & Poor’s issued a downgrade on U.S. debt Monday.
In most instances, a debt downgrade would lead investors away from a particular group of securities — in this case, a group that includes mortgage-backed bonds. However, Wall Street reacted in the opposite.
When S&P issued its opinion, however, mortgage bonds rallied.
Some say this is because the downgrade will force Congress to address a rising debt-load; others think a downgrade slows growth which, in turn, slows down inflation. Both scenarios are considered a positive for mortgage bonds. Hence, mortgage rates fell.
This week, momentum could reverse. In addition to a slew of housing and economic data including New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales, and Consumer Confidence data, the Federal Open Market Committee is meeting for the third time this year. And this month, the FOMC is meeting a little differently.
Usually, when the FOMC gets together, it adjourns and releases a press statement to the markets at 2:15 PM ET. This month, though, the FOMC will release its statement at 12:30 PM ET, and then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a press briefing at 2:15 PM ET to address the aforementioned statement. He’s expected to add growth forecasts to the official FOMC release, among other items.
Whenever the FOMC meets, mortgage rates can be volatile. This week, with the new press briefing format, that volatility is even more likely.
If you’re floating a mortgage rate or wondering whether to lock, mortgage rates will be at their “calmest” levels of the week Monday and Tuesday. Once Wednesday hits, and the FOMC statements begin, expect for rates to change.
Mortgage rates improved last week, buoyed by two days of out-sized gains. Mortgage rates bounced off their 8-week highs on much weaker-than-expected inflation data, and debt concerns abroad.
It’s an abrupt change in mortgage rate momentum.
Since the Federal Reserve’s March 2011 meeting, in which the Fed said rising energy costs are “putting upward pressure on inflation“, inflation chatter has figured big for Greenville mortgage rates. With each tick higher in gas prices; in every conversation on U.S. debt load; as fruits and vegetables get more expensive at the supermarket, Wall Street’s fears of inflation have grown, and rate shoppers have suffered.
The connection between inflation and mortgage rates is straight-forward. Inflation is the devaluation of the U.S. dollar — the currency in which mortgage bonds are denominated. As the dollar loses values, so do mortgage bonds, therefore, leading mortgage rates to rise, inevitably.
Leading up to last week, concerns peaked and rates did, too. And then, a strange thing happened. The government’s March inflation report showed inflation well under control.
The results surprised Wall Street and the trades that had previously served to pump rate up, last week, ran in reverse.
The biggest gains were made Friday.
This week, inflation takes back-seat to housing data. There’s a lot of it coming.
- Monday : Homebuilder Confidence Index
- Tuesday : Housing Starts and Building Permits
- Wednesday : Existing Home Sales
- Thursday : Housing Market Index
There’s no data due Friday with markets closed for Good Friday.
This is a holiday-shortened week so expect low trading volume to render rates more erratic than typical. If you’re not yet locked in to a mortgage rate with your lender, consider doing it this week.
Mortgage rates worsened last week as energy costs remained high and jobs data looked strong. The safe haven buying that characterized the March mortgage market has eased.
It’s driving mortgage rates higher across South Carolina.
Conforming and FHA mortgage rates rolled back 8 weeks worth of improvements last week and are now back to mid-February levels. The rise in rates is hurting refinance activity and home affordability.
The biggest story from last week figures to carry forward into this one — the Federal Reserve’s take on inflation.
In the minutes from its March meeting, the FOMC was shown to have discussed the possibility of raising the Fed Funds Rate ahead of schedule, and to be watching near-inflation closely. Both developments are in response to a growing economy with rising price pressures.
Mortgage rate shoppers should take note.
Inflation is a mortgage-rate killer. When inflation is present in the economy, all things equal, mortgage rates rise. Sometimes by a lot. And, usually, just the expectation of inflation is all it takes to make mortgage rates jump.
That’s what we saw last week.
This week, keep a close watch on new inflation-related data set for release. This includes Tuesday’s Retail Sales data, Wednesday’s Producer Price Index, and Thursday’s Consumer Price Index. Each release can potentially move mortgage rates although, if recent trends are an indication, expect for rates to rise.
Mortgage rates in Simpsonville remain historically low. If you’re shopping for a mortgage, consider locking as soon as you can.
In a volatile week of trading, mortgage markets closed unchanged last week. Despite economic data proving stronger-than-expected — a situation that tends to lead mortgage rates higher — concern for persistently high oil prices tempered Wall Street’s excitement and mortgage rates stayed steady.
That’s not to say rates weren’t volatile, however. From day-to-day, mortgage rates showed huge variance last week and several lenders issued five separate rate sheets Friday.
The 12-month average is slightly less than two per day.
Expect the volatility to continue into this week, too. With little economic data due for release, mortgage rates should move on momentum. This would be good news for rate shoppers and home buyers throughout South Carolina because mortgage rates ended last week on a downswing.
It’s all because of the March jobs report.
The jobs report is important to the economy because as the number of working Americans grows, so does total earned wages nationwide. In theory, this leads to higher levels of consumer spending, and to larger government tax receipts.
It starts a cycle in which businesses and governments additional workers and the cycle continues.
The U.S. economy added jobs in March for the sixth straight month.
Mortgage rates are 0.69% higher today as compared to their early-November 2010 lows. The jump has added 14 percent to the 30-year, long-term cost of homeownership in Mauldin. However, as compared to history, rates remain low.
If you’re currently shopping for a mortgage, talk to your loan officer about today’s market and its risks. Rates may not rise this week, but they’re poised to surge along with the economy. Consider locking in today.