Last week’s economic reports provided a mixed bag of results. On Monday, the Department of Commerce reported that construction spending increased by 0.40 percent in April and fell shy of the expected reading of 1.0 percent, but exceeded the March reading of -0.80 percent.
Home Prices Increase Fastest Since 2006
On Tuesday, CoreLogic released its Home Prices reported that the national average home price had increased by 12.10 percent year-over-year in April. The comparable year-over-year reading for April 2012 was 11.00 percent. This represents the fastest pace of home price increases since 2006.
The national average home price expanded by 3.20 percent as compared to March, but average prices grew faster in the West, which is experiencing a pronounced lack of available homes and developed land for building.
New Jobs Created Showing Improvement Over April Revisions
ADP released its private-sector Payrolls Report for May on Wednesday; 135,000 new private sector jobs were added as compared to investor expectations of 170,000 jobs added in May. The May reading surpassed April’s downwardly-revised reading of private-sector jobs added.
Friday’s Jobs Report, issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consists of the Non-Farm Payrolls Report and the National Unemployment Rate. Non-Farm Payrolls added 175,000 public and private sector jobs and surpassed both the consensus reading of 164,000 new jobs and the prior week’s reading of 149,000 jobs added. The National Unemployment Rate ticked up from 7.50 to 7.60 percent. The Department of Labor attributes this increase to more people joining or returning to the labor market.
Investors Watching Fed Mortgage Backed Security Buying Activity Closely
The Federal Reserve Beige Book Report was also released Wednesday. It contained no surprises and noted modest to moderate economic growth in 11 of 12 Federal Reserve Districts. The Dallas Federal Reserve District reported strong growth, but investors will be watching next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting closely for proposed changes to the Fed’s current policy of buying bonds and mortgage backed securities (MBS) with the goal of keeping long term interest rates lower.
Thursday’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey brought disquieting news of rising mortgage rates. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage had risen from the prior week’s rate of 3.81 percent to 3.91 percent. Discount points fell slightly from 0.80 percent to 0.70 percent with buyers paying all of their closing costs. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose from last week’s average rate of 2.98 percent to 3.03 percent with discount rates remaining the same at 0.70 percent for buyers paying all of their closing costs.
What‘s Ahead for Next Week
There is no news scheduled for release on Monday. The rest of the week’s calendar includes the NFIB Small Business Index on Tuesday and the Federal Budget for May on Wednesday. Thursday’s scheduled releases include Weekly Jobless Claims, Average weekly mortgage rates as reported by Freddie Mac, and Retail Sales for May. Friday’s schedule includes the Producer’s Price Index for May and June’s Consumer Sentiment Report.
How do you stimulate the economy without spending any money? You do the twist and shuffle. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would engage in a new policy known as “Operation Twist,” consisting of selling shorter-term Treasuries and using the proceeds to buy longer-term government bonds. The Mortgage Bond markets soared today after the surprise announcement from the Fed saying that it will be purchasing agency Mortgage Backed Securities from the principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency Mortgage Backed Securities in agency Mortgage Backed Securities. The move took players by surprise in a big way. The 3.5% coupon jumped 134bp to end at an all-time high of 103.00 The next few trading days will determine if we switch over to the 3% coupon, which finished at 99.81 up 134bp today.Stocks plunged after the Fed statement read that there are significant downside risks to the economy. The Dow lost 283.82, the Nasdaq fell 52.05 to 2,538.19 while the S&P 500 Index dropped 35.33. Oil in after hours trading was last seen at $84.83/barrel down $2.09. Weekly claims will be released tomorrow.
Daily pricing for conforming A paper loans is determined by mortgage-backed securities, not the Treasury market. Mortgage companies watch the market trade until 10:00 a.m. ET before determining daily price changes. Most mortgage companies/wholesalers watch market activity for over an hour each day before setting daily pricing. Mortgage companies commonly set daily pricing at 10:00 am eastern.
The Treasury market opens at 8:30 am and the mortgage-backed securities begin to trade at approximately 8:40 am each day. Many economic reports are released at 8:30 am eastern time, so wide price swings are not uncommon directly following the market open There is an inverse relationship between the price of bonds and the movement of interest rates. As interest rates rise, the price of bonds falls and vice versa.
Staying in touch with your Maine Mortgage Banker is the key to locking in at the right time.
Maine Mortgage Rate Update for August 18, 2010
Here are some of the events affecting Maine mortgage rates today:
What Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) Are Doing Today:
- The price of the FNMA 30-Year 4.0% MBS coupon opened at 102.44 this morning – the same as yesterday’s close.
- At 9:30 AM, the 4.0% MBS coupon was trading at 102.66 – up 7/32 from its opening.
Remember, on mortgage backed securities (MBSs), as the price goes up, the yield comes down – and so do mortgage rates. I expect that Maine mortgage rates will be about the same in price this morning as compared to yesterday.