Rates rising on economyMortgage markets worsened last week for the first time in a month as the U.S. economy showed signs of improvement, and the Eurozone stepped closer to launching its $500 billion euro rescue fund.

Conforming mortgage rates in Virginia rose last week on the whole — even though Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey proclaimed that they fell.

This occurred because Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey is conducted between Monday and Tuesday each week and, last week, mortgage rates were lower when the week began. Through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, however, they rose.

According to the Freddie Mac survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage slipped to 3.36 percent nationwide last week, while the 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 2.69 percent. Both rates required 0.6 discount points and both marked all-time lows.

As this week begins, to gain access to the same 3.36% and 2.69% mortgage rates from last week, Henrico mortgage applicants should expect to pay more closing costs and/or higher discount points.

Improving U.S. employment data is partially to blame.

Friday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its September Non-Farm Payrolls report. More commonly called “the jobs report”, the monthly issuance details changes in U.S. employment by sector and reports on the national Unemployment Rate.

In September, accounting for upward revisions to data from July and August, 200,000 net new jobs were created — far exceeding Wall Street’s estimates for 120,000 net new jobs created. Furthermore, the Unemployment Rate unexpectedly dropped to 7.8%.

Jobs are considered a keystone in the U.S. economic recovery. As a result, when the jobs numbers hit Friday, mortgage rates worsened, building on momentum built earlier in the week as Greece moved steps closer to accepting aid from the Eurozone.

In general, since 2010, weakness in the Eurozone has helped push U.S. mortgage rates lower. As Europe regains its footing, therefore, domestic mortgage rates are expected to rise.

This week, in a holiday-shortened week, . The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book is released Wednesday and some key inflation data is due for Friday release. Beyond that, mortgage rates will continue to take cues from the Eurozone.

 

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
10/09/12 01:15:00 PM 3-year Treasury Note Auction
10/10/12 10:00:00 AM 10-year Treasury Note Auction
10/10/12 02:00:00 PM Fed’s Beige Book Sep
10/11/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 10/06/12 370K 367K
10/11/12 08:30:00 AM Trade Balance Aug -$43.8B -$42.0B
10/11/12 01:15:00 PM 30-year Treasury Bond Auction
10/12/12 08:30:00 AM PPI Sep 0.80% 1.70%
10/12/12 08:30:00 AM Core PPI Sep 0.20% 0.20%
10/12/12 09:55:00 AM Mich Sentiment Oct 78.5 78.3

 

It is a good idea to discuss locking a rate with your loan officer while mortgage rates remain near all-time lows.

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Jobs reportMortgage markets worsened for the third straight week last week as the U.S. economy showed new signs of expansion, and as little new news came from Europe.

August has been a rough month for rate shoppers. Since the start of the month, mortgage rates in Henrico have climbed steadily and are now at a 7-week high.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.62% nationwide, on average, for homeowners willing to pay 0.6 discount points plus a full set of closing costs. 1 discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size.

Homeowners not wishing to pay discount points are seeing 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates as high 4.00%.

These are the highest mortgage rates since Independence Day.

This week, mortgage rates may continue to move higher. There is a bevy of economic data set for publication in addition to the Federal Reserve’s release of its July/August meeting minutes. Mortgage rates are expected to get more bumpy as the week progresses.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
08/21/12 02:00:00 PM FOMC Minutes 07/31/12
08/22/12 10:00:00 AM Existing Home Sales Jul 4.55M 4.37M
08/23/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 08/18/12 365K 366K
08/23/12 10:00:00 AM New Home Sales Jul 368K 350K
08/23/12 01:15:00 PM 10-Year Treasury TIPS Auction


08/24/12 08:30:00 AM Durable Orders Jul 2.50% 1.30%

Little data will be released Monday or Tuesday. During these first two days, expect momentum and sentiment to drive markets. Lately, both have favored “higher rates”.

Then, Wednesday morning, the National Association of REALTORS® releases its July Existing Home Sales report. Strong numbers will likely lead mortgage rates higher. That is, until that day’s 2:00 PM ET release of the Fed Minutes. This will be the week’s big market-mover.

Prior to its last meeting, the FOMC had said economic stimulus would be warranted given certain conditions and Wall Street took that to mean that the Federal Reserve was close to adding new stimulus. When the Fed did not add said stimulus August 1 as expected, mortgage rates rose.

The Fed Minutes will provide insight into some of the debate the shaped the discussion/non-discussion of new stimulus and, depending on what market sees, mortgage rates may rise or fall Wednesday — perhaps by a lot.

Then, on Thursday, the government releases its New Home Sales data for July. This, too, can influence mortgage rates.

If you’re not yet locked on a mortgage, it may be prudent to lock your rate in. Mortgage rates have trended higher this month, and may continue to move in that direction.

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30-year mortgage ratesMortgage markets worsened last week as the investors moved back into risk-taking mode. Better-than-expected economic data in the U.S. plus a general feeling that the ongoing Eurozone issues will be soon be resolved (or lessened) contributed to a second straight week of rising mortgage rates.

One such data point was the weekly Initial Jobless Claims report.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of U.S. workers filing for first-time unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped 6,000 from the week prior on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Economists had expected a week-over-week increase.

In addition, government-backed mortgage securitizers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both announced quarterly profits last week of a combined $8.3 billion. This, too, reflects well on the economy because both companies attributed strong results to a recovering housing market.

Conforming rates in Henrico rose for the second straight week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate now averages 3.59% nationwide for mortgage applicants willing to pay 0.6 discount points plus a complete set of closing costs where 1 discount point is a loan fee equal to one percent of your loan size.  This is a 10 basis point increase from late-July, when rates averaged 3.49%.

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage also moved higher, registering 2.84% last week after recently posting at 2.80%, on average.

This week, we’ll see the release of the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index — two inflationary gauges for the U.S. economy — as well as July’s Retail Sales report. Beyond that, however, there won’t be much. Therefore, be wary of day-to-day momentum in the mortgage bond market.

 

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
08/14/12 08:30:00 AM Retail Sales Jul 0.20% -0.50%
08/14/12 08:30:00 AM PPI Jul 0.20% 0.10%
08/14/12 08:30:00 AM Core PPI Jul 0.20% 0.20%
08/15/12 08:30:00 AM CPI Jul 0.20% 0.00%
08/15/12 08:30:00 AM Core CPI Jul 0.20% 0.20%
08/15/12 09:15:00 AM Industrial Production Jul 0.60% 0.40%
08/15/12 09:15:00 AM Capacity Utilization Jul 79.30% 78.90%
08/16/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 08/11/12 368K 361K
08/16/12 08:30:00 AM Housing Starts Jul 763K 760K
08/16/12 10:00:00 AM Philadelphia Fed Aug -5 -12.9
08/17/12 09:55:00 AM Mich Sentiment Aug 72.2 72.3
08/17/12 10:00:00 AM Leading Indicators Jul 0.20% -0.30%

 

Between January and July, momentum took mortgage rates lower; eventually to an all-time low. Since August 1, however, that momentum has reversed.

If you’re floating a mortgage rate or are otherwise not yet locked, get with your loan officer quickly. Mortgage rates may fall between today and Friday, but there’s much more room for rates to rise instead.

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Retail SalesMortgage markets improved last week on slowing economic growth worldwide and investor thirst for “safe” investments.

China’s economy posted to its weakest growth since 2009 and economic activity in the Eurozone continued to sag. Both events resulted in a broad-based sell-off of equities and non-U.S. bonds. Mortgage bonds benefited from last week’s flight-to-quality as bond pricing moved higher.

When mortgage bond prices rise, mortgage rates fall.

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is now down to 3.56% nationwide for borrowers willing to pay 0.7 discount points plus a full set of closing costs. The 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 2.86%, on average.

Both mortgage rates are all-time records, rewarding today’s Henrico home buyers and mortgage rate shoppers. The principal + interest mortgage payment on a $200,000 mortgage is now just $904.80 per month.

Low rates may not last forever.

One reason why low rates may not last is that, also last week, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its June 2012 meeting. In it, the Fed appeared more ready to add new market stimulus than Wall Street had expected. The market’s initial reaction was to push mortgage rates higher because new stimulus would encourage risk-taking among traders, and invite inflation.

This week will see the release of a number of key data points for the U.S. economy :

 

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Actual Market Expects Prior
07/16/12 08:30:00 AM Retail Sales Jun -0.50% 0.20% -0.20%
07/16/12 08:30:00 AM Retail Sales ex-auto Jun -0.40% 0.10% -0.40%
07/16/12 10:00:00 AM Business Inventories May 0.20% 0.40%
07/17/12 08:30:00 AM CPI Jun 0.10% -0.30%
07/17/12 08:30:00 AM Core CPI Jun 0.20% 0.20%
07/17/12 09:15:00 AM Capacity Utilization Jun 79.20% 79.00%
07/18/12 08:30:00 AM Housing Starts Jun 743K 708K
07/18/12 08:30:00 AM Building Permits Jun 765K 780K
07/18/12 02:00:00 PM Fed’s Beige Book Jun
07/19/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 07/14/12 365K 350K
07/19/12 10:00:00 AM Existing Home Sales Jun 4.65M 4.55
07/19/12 10:00:00 AM Philadelphia Fed Jul -10 -16.6
07/19/12 10:00:00 AM Leading Indicators Jun -0.20% 0.30%

 

If any of these reports show better-than-expected results, mortgage rates are expected to rise. In addition, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke begins a 2-day congressional testimony beginning Tuesday. The chairman’s words can move mortgage markets.

Mortgage rates remain at historical loans. If you have not yet locked a mortgage rate, talk to your loan officer soon.

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Unemployment RateMortgage markets improved last week as concerns for U.S. economic growth wrestled attention away, albeit temporarily, from the Eurozone. Mortgage bonds improved to record prices, lowering mortgage rates across Virginia and nationwide.

The biggest news of last week’s holiday-shortened trading week was the Friday release of last month’s Non-Farm Payrolls report.

In it, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the economy added 80,000 net new jobs in June, and that the initial tallies for April and May were overstated by a combined two thousand jobs. Wall Street had expected to see at least 100,000 jobs created in June.

When the actual number of jobs fell short of expectations, stock markets sold off and bond markets gained.

According to Freddie Mac, last week’s 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate averaged 3.62% nationwide for borrowers with conforming mortgages willing to pay 0.8 discount points at closing, plus a full set of closing costs.

For every $100,000 borrowed on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll pay just $456 per month — the lowest in history.

15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 2.89% with 0.7 discount points.

Both products set record-low mortgage rates, based on Freddie Mac’s data. However, by the week’s end, after the jobs report, both rates had moved lower still to the benefit of Henrico home buyers and rate shoppers.

This week, with little new economic data set for release, mortgage markets are expected to turn attention back to Europe. Early Monday, Greece’s new government won a key confidence vote in Parliament which ends a period of uncertainty during which the nation-state was without a clear leader.

 

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
07/10/12 01:15:00 PM 3-year Treasury Note Auction


07/11/12 08:30:00 AM Trade Balance May -$48.9B -$50.1B
07/11/12 01:15:00 PM 10-year Treasury Note Auction


07/11/12 02:00:00 PM FOMC Minutes 06/20/12
07/12/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 07/07/12 375K 374K
07/12/12 01:15:00 PM 30Y Treasury Bond Auction


07/13/12 08:30:00 AM PPI Jun -0.60% -1.00%
07/13/12 08:30:00 AM Core PPI Jun 0.20% 0.20%
07/13/12 09:55:00 AM Mich Sentiment Jul 73.5 73.2

.

This is one step toward resolving the debt issues that have plagued Greece but not the last step. How markets respond to Greece’s next actions will, in part, shape the direction of mortgage rates here in the United States. With optimism, mortgage rates will rise.

Should Greece falter, mortgage rates will fall.

Mortgage rates are expected to remain volatile for at least the next 3 weeks. If you’re floating a mortgage rate or wondering whether it’s time to lock a rate with your lender, consider locking in. With mortgage rates at 3.62% on average, rates have much more room to rise than to fall.

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Greece affects U.S. mortgage ratesHome affordability is receiving a boost from across the Atlantic Ocean this spring.

For the third time in as many years, a weakening Eurozone is pushing May mortgage rates to new lows throughout Virginia and nationwide.

The story centers in Greece and begins in 2010.

2 years ago, it was uncovered that successive Greece governments had purposefully misreported the nation-state’s economic statistics in order to meet European Union standards. The fraudulent data had permitted Greek governments to spend beyond their means while hiding deficits from EU auditors.

The realization that Greece was heavy in debt with little means to repay its creditors resulted in a massive bailout from the IMF and the rest of the Eurozone nations. The terms for Greece said that, in order to receive its €110 billion aid package, Greece would be required to enact strict spending controls.

This is known as “austerity” and the deal was met with outrage by the Greek public. There’s been general social unrest ever since and, on May 6 of this year, Greece held a special “early election” to elect all 300 members to its legislature.

No party won majority in the elections.

7 different groups garnered seats in the parliament last week with anti-austerity groups faring well. It’s spurred concern that Greece will end its bid for fiscal restraint, and that Greece may choose to leave the 17-nation Eurozone.

The uncertainty surrounding Greece is helping U.S. mortgage rates to make new lows. As concerns mount for the future of Greece — and the Eurozone, in general — global investors seek safer markets for their money.

The U.S. mortgage-backed bond market is one such market.

With the implied backing of the U.S. government, mortgage-backed bonds are viewed as nearly risk-less and investors clamor for safety of principal during uncertain times. The boost in demand drives bond prices up and bond yields down, resulting in lower mortgage rates for home buyers and refinancing households of Henrico.

So long as Greece struggles to form its government and flirts with a sovereign debt default, mortgage rates should continue to face downward pressure. U.S. rates may not fall week after week, but analysts expect any rise in rates to be muted.

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Homebuilder ConfidenceMortgage markets worsened slightly last week as positive U.S. economic news overshadowed growing concerns for the Eurozone’s future. Political and economic issues continue to weigh on Greece and Spain, and it’s still unknown how France’s new President will change that nation’s fiscal direction.

Conforming mortgage rates in Virginia edged higher on the week overall.

Last week was light on economic data, but the figures released suggest an improving U.S. economy.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 3.7 million job openings nationwide this past March, marking the highest amount since July 2008. Voluntary separations (i.e. “quit jobs”) increased, too — also at levels not seen since 2008.

Voluntary separations may hint at labor market improvement because employees rarely leave a steady-paying job without the prospect of a new job ahead. Furthermore, the four-week moving average of first-time unemployment claims fell for the first time in a month.

The jobs market is one of two key sectors expected to lead the economy forward this year.

The other is housing and, this week, there will be two key housing reports for Wall Street to review. The first is Tuesday’s homebuilder confidence survey from the National Association of Homebuilders. The second is Wednesday’s Housing Starts data for April.

Statistic For Market Expects Prior
Retail Sales Apr 0.20% 0.80%
CPI Apr 0.00% 0.30%
Core CPI Apr 0.20% 0.20%
Empire Manufacturing May 8.4 6.6
Housing Starts Apr 680K 654K
FOMC Minutes 04/25/12
Initial Claims 05/12/12 365K 367K
Philadelphia Fed May 8.8 8.5
Leading Indicators Apr 0.20% 0.30%
10 Year Treasury TIPS Auction n/a n/a n/a

Mortgage rates may also be affected by the Tuesday release of the Retail Sales report and Consumer Price Index report; and, by the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday release of the FOMC Minutes from its last meeting.

For home buyers and mortgage rate shoppers, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate nationwide is 3.83% for borrowers willing to pay 0.7 discount points and a full set of closing costs — the lowest rate-and-fee combination in Freddie Mac’s recorded history.

However, low mortgage rates may not last much longer — especially if the Eurozone can reverse course on its ailing economies.

Mortgage rates remain volatile and sensitive to changes in market conditions. If today’s mortgage rates fit your budget, consider locking in.

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Unemployment RateAfter two weeks of no change, mortgage markets improved last week, pushing mortgage rates lower throughout Virginia.

The majority of the improvements occurred Friday after the April jobs report failed to impress Wall Street, and after it became clear that the Eurozone’s struggles with sovereign debt would continue.

According to Freddie Mac, conforming 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates fell to 3.84% nationwide, on average, for borrowers willing to pay 0.8 discount points at closing plus a full set of closing costs.

1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size such that one discount point on a $200,000 loan would require $2,000 to be paid at-closing.

Freddie Mac’s reported rates for the benchmark 30-year fixed rate mortgage are the lowest in recorded history.

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage is also at its lowest point in history. According to Freddie Mac’s survey, the 15-year fixed averaged 3.07% with 0.7 discount points last week. One year ago, the rate was 3.89%.

This week, with a data-sparse economic calendar, mortgage markets will likely take cues from events in Europe. Notably, France has elected a new leader, one that prefers growth over austerity; and voters in Greece have “punished” austerity-backing leaders, in the process creating a split parliament.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
05/07/12 03:00:00 PM Consumer Credit Mar $11.0B $8.7B
05/08/12 01:15:00 PM 3 Yr Treasury Note Auction n/a n/a n/a
05/09/12 03:25:00 PM 10 Yr Treasury Note Auction n/a n/a n/a
05/10/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 05/05/12 365K 365K
05/10/12 08:30:00 AM Trade Balance Mar -$49.9B -$46.0B
05/10/12 01:15:00 PM 30 Yr Treasury Note Auction n/a n/a n/a
05/11/12 08:30:00 AM PPI Apr 0.00% 0.00%
05/11/12 08:30:00 AM Core PPI Apr 0.20%
05/11/12 09:55:00 AM Mich Sentiment May 76.2 76.4

Each event adds uncertainty to an already unstable economic environment and uncertainty favors U.S. rate shoppers.

Doubt spurs investors to seek “safe” assets and U.S. government-backed bonds — including mortgage backed bonds — meet that criteria. As demand for mortgage bonds rise, mortgage rates tend to fall.

This week, rates are starting the week improved. Whether it’s a knee-jerk reaction to Eurozone news from the weekend, or low rates are here to stay is tough to know. Therefore, if today’s mortgage rates look good to you, consider locking something in. There’s more room for rates to rise than to fall.

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Spain mortgage ratesIn a week of up-and-down trading, mortgage markets improved for the second consecutive week last week. Weaker-than-expected jobs data plus evidence of a slumping Eurozone took mortgage bonds lower, capped by a furious Friday morning rally that dropped mortgage rates to near-record levels.

Once again, volatility ruled the bond pits.

Tuesday afternoon, after the release of the Fed March Minutes, mortgage rates spiked. Some products climbed as much as 0.250 percent. The surge stemmed from the Fed Minutes showing Federal Reserve members hesitant to begin new rounds of market stimulus without a demonstrated, national economic slowdown.

Wall Street hadn’t expected the Fed’s verbiage to be so well-defined. With little evidence that such a slowdown was underway — the economy has shown two straight seasons of consistent, steady growth, after all — equity markets rallied and bond markets sunk, causing mortgage rates to rise.

By Wednesday, however, rates had started to fall.

Civil unrest in Spain plus concern that the nation will fail to meet its debt obligations drew global investors away from equities and into the relative safety of U.S. government-backed bonds — including mortgage-backed bonds. This is a common investment pattern during times of economic uncertainty and one of the major reasons why mortgage rates have been so low, for so long.

If the scenario in Spain sounds similar to what transpired in Greece between mid-2010 and late-2011, that’s because it is. Mortgage rates in Virginia may benefit in the medium-term.

Also helping rates last week was the March jobs report.

The U.S. government reported 120,000 net new jobs created in March, well short of the 200,000 figure that analysts expected. Market sold off sharply on the news, giving rate shoppers another chance to capture low rates.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
04/10/12 01:15:00 PM 3-Year Treasury Not Auction n/a n/a
04/11/12 01:15:00 PM 10- Year Treasury Note Aucrion n/a n/a n/a
04/11/12 02:00:00 PM Fed’s Beige Book Apr
04/12/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 04/07/12 355K 357K
04/12/12 08:30:00 AM PPI Mar 0.30% 0.40%
04/12/12 08:30:00 AM Core PPI Mar 0.20% 0.20%
04/12/12 08:30:00 AM Trade Balance Feb -$52.0B -$52.6B
04/13/12 08:30:00 AM CPI Mar 0.30% 0.40%
04/13/12 08:30:00 AM Core CPI Mar 0.20% 0.10%
04/13/12 09:55:00 AM Mich Sentiment Apr 76.1 76.2

 

This week, with the economic calendar light, look for Europe to dictate market action. Mortgage rates may move lower but there’s more room for rates to rise than to fall. Rates remain near all-time lows.

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Retail Sales and mortgage ratesMortgage markets were mostly unchanged last week as Greece — once again — was front-of-mind for Wall Street investors. The nation-state is attempting to avoid a debt default, and has been attempting to avoid default since May 2010.

Early in the week, Greece reached a deal with European Union leaders to secure additional financial aid. By Friday, however, the deal was in doubt, as the EU leaders declared that the Greek Parliament would have pass new austerity measures before the aid would be released.

Austerity measures have been unpopular in Greece, giving rise to riots among citizens and resignations among politicians. Markets responded to the potential undoing of the debt deal by seeking safety in bonds — including U.S. mortgage-backed bonds.

The Greek debt default story has helped fuel low mortgage rates in Virginia. Once a final deal is reached, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

For now, though, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average, conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate held firm at 3.87% last week for mortgage borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus applicable closing costs. 1 discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size.

For borrowers unwilling to pay discount points and/or closing costs, average mortgage rates are higher.

This week, data returns to the U.S. economic calendar:

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
02/14/12 08:30:00 AM Retail Sales Jan 0.80% 0.10%
02/14/12 08:30:00 AM Retail Sales ex-auto Jan 0.50% -0.20%
02/14/12 10:00:00 AM Business Inventories Dec 0.50% 0.30%
02/15/12 09:15:00 AM Industrial Production Jan 0.60% 0.40%
02/15/12 09:15:00 AM Capacity Utilization Jan 78.60% 78.10%
02/15/12 02:00:00 PM FOMC Minutes 01/25/12
02/16/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 02/11/12 365K 358K
02/16/12 08:30:00 AM Housing Starts Jan 671K 657K
02/16/12 08:30:00 AM Building Permits Jan 675K 679K
02/16/12 08:30:00 AM PPI Jan 0.30% -0.10%
02/16/12 08:30:00 AM Core PPI Jan 0.20% 0.30%
02/16/12 10:00:00 AM Philadelphia Fed Feb 10 7.3
02/17/12 08:30:00 AM CPI Jan 0.30% 0.00%
02/17/12 08:30:00 AM Core CPI Jan 0.10% 0.10%
02/17/12 10:00:00 AM Leading Indicators Jan 0.50% 0.40%

Greece will still be in play, but the health of the U.S. economy will determine in which direction mortgage rates will go. There are two inflation reports due — the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index.

The former is a “cost of living” indicator for U.S. households; the latter measures the same for business. Inflation is bad for mortgage rates so if either report comes in unexpectedly high, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

The same is true for Tuesday’s Retail Sales report.

Retail Sales account for close to 70% of total U.S. economic activity. An unexpectedly strong Retail Sales figure will suggest that the domestic economy is improving and that, too, would pressure mortgage rates up.

If you’re shopping for a mortgage, or floating one with your lender, consider locking in this week. Mortgage rates don’t have much room to fall and there’s much room to rise.

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