What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 1, 2013The past week was active for economic news and mortgage rates.   After a rising significantly earlier in the week mortgage interest rates ended the week almost unchanged from the close of the prior week.

Here’s the scoop on last week’s activity affecting real estate markets:

Tuesday’s Case-Shiller Composite Indices for April demonstrate the momentum of recovery in many housing markets. As of April, national home prices had increased by 12.10 percent as compared to April 2012. April’s reading also exceeded March’s reading of 10.10 percent year-over-year.

FHFA released its home prices report for April and noted that the average price for homes with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac increased by 7.40 percent, which slightly surpassed the March reading of 7.20 percent.

The Department of Commerce released New Home Sales for May and reported 476,000 new homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. This exceeded expectations of 453,000 new home sales and also surpassed April’s reading of 454,000 new homes sold.

Wednesday brought the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for the first quarter of 2013. The GDP grew by 1.80 percent against expectations of 2.40 percent and the previous quarter’s growth, also 2.40 percent.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) brought the days of bargain basement mortgage rates to a halt as average mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage moved from last week’s 3.93 percent to 4.46 percent. Average rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose from 3.04 percent 3.50 percent. This was the largest weekly jump in mortgage rates in 26 years.

Home buyers may also consider a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which provides an average 5 year fixed rate of 2.74 percent.  The fixed mortgage rate converts to an adjustable rate after five years.

The National Association of REALTORS ® reported that Pending Home Sales in May rose by +6.70 percent to their highest level in 6 years.

Last week ended on a positive note with the Consumer Sentiment Index for June beating expectations of 83.0 and coming in at 84.1. May’s reading was 82.1; higher consumer confidence is likely driving demand for available homes.

Whats Ahead This Week

A holiday-shortened week is ahead, and so is the all-important Jobs Report for June.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
07/01/13 10:00:00 AM Construction Spending May 0.50% 0.40%
07/02/13 10:00:00 AM Factory Orders May 2.00% 1.00%
07/03/13 07:30:00 AM Challenger Job Cuts Jun NA -41.20%
07/03/13 08:15:00 AM ADP Employment Change Jun 150K 135K
07/03/13 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 06/29/13 348K 346K
07/03/13 08:30:00 AM Trade Balance May -$40.8B -$40.3B
07/03/13 10:00:00 AM ISM Services Jun 54 53.7
07/05/13 08:30:00 AM Nonfarm Payrolls Jun 165K 175K
07/05/13 08:30:00 AM Unemployment Rate Jun 7.60% 7.60%
07/05/13 08:30:00 AM Hourly Earnings Jun 0.20% 0.00%
07/05/13 08:30:00 AM Average Workweek Jun 34.5 34.5

Home mortgage rates remain at  historical low levels.  It is a perfect time to consider a home purchase or refinance.

Paul Cantor

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What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 24, 2013

Mortgage rates continued their upward trend last week.  Comments by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke after Wednesday’s FOMC meeting caused havoc in financial markets as investors anticipated the potential effects of any rollback of the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing (QE). Chairman Bernanke said that the Fed may begin reducing its $85 billion monthly purchase of Treasury securities and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) toward the end of this year.

Will Mortgage Rates Fall This Week?

Rates have risen significantly over the previous 3 days, following a similar pattern over the previous month.  It is doubtful that rates will drop back to the levels we saw this spring but may ease a little.  Historically speaking mortgage rates are still at rock bottom low levels.

There is a good amount of economic data being released this week that will impact financial markets:

Economic Calendar:

Week Of Mon, Jun 23 2013 – Fri, Jun 27 2013


Period Unit Forecast
Tue, Jun 25
08:30 Durable Goods May



09:00 FHFA Home Price mm



09:00 Case Shiller Home Prices




10:00 New home sales-units mm May ml 0.463
10:00 Consumer confidence Jun


13:00 2-Yr Note Auction



Wed, Jun 26
07:00 MBA Mortgage market index


07:00 MBA 30-yr mortgage rate



08:30 GDP Final




08:30 GDP deflator Final




13:00 5yr Treasury Auction



Thu, Jun 27
08:30 Midwest manufacturing May

08:30 Personal income mm May



08:30 Consumption, adjusted mm May



10:00 Pending sales change mm May



13:00 7-Yr Note Auction



Fri, Jun 28
09:45 Chicago PMI Jun


09:55 U.Mich sentiment Jun


It’s Not Too Late To Lock A Low Rate

Rates have risen from all time lows.   Home affordability is high and studies have estimated millions of home owners would still benefit by refinancing at current rates.  Now is a good time to talk with your loan officer.


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Mortgage Rate Update March 18 2013Mortgage rates dropped last week despite positive employment reports, which typically causes mortgage rates to rise.

As of Thursday, Freddie Mac reports that the average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.63 percent with borrowers paying their closing costs and 0.8 percent in discount points.

The average mortgage rate for a 15 year loan was 2.79 percent with borrowers paying their own closing costs and 0.8 percent in discount points.

Strong Retail Sales Show Consumer Confidence Improving

In other economic news, retail sales for February surpassed Wall Street expectations and grew by 1.1 percent against predictions of 0.5 percent and January’s reading of 0.1 percent.

Retail sales account for 70 percent of the U.S. economy and growing retail sales are a strong indicator of economic recovery, which generally causes mortgage rates to rise as bond prices including Mortgage Backed Securities fall.  With this strength in the retail sector, it may be a good time to consider locking interest rates for purchase and refinance transactions.

Results of Treasury auctions held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were mixed.  Tuesday’s auction of 3-year notes saw average demand, Wednesday’s auction of 10-year notes was strong, and Thursday’s auction of 30-year bonds drew a weak response.

Financial Reporting Strong Across Multiple Indices

The Producer’s Price Index (PPI) for February met expectations at 0.7 percent and exceeded January’s level of 0.2 percent.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February came in at 0.7 percent and exceeded expectations of 0.5 percent and January’s reading of 0.0 percent.

The Core CPI, which excludes food and energy sectors, demonstrates the impact of high fuel prices on the CPI with its lower numbers.  The Core CPI for February is 2.0 percent higher than for February 2012.

Upcoming Federal Reserve Meeting May Bring Interest Rate Changes

The Federal Reserve is not likely to modify its bond purchase program until the inflation rate reaches 2.5 percent.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects
03/19/13 08:30:00 AM Housing Starts Feb 910K
03/19/13 08:30:00 AM Building Permits Feb 924K
03/20/13 02:00:00 PM FOMC Rate Decision Mar 0.25%
03/21/13 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 03/16/13 345K
03/21/13 09:00:00 AM FHFA Housing Price Index Jan NA
03/21/13 10:00:00 AM Existing Home Sales Feb 5.00M
03/21/13 10:00:00 AM Philadelphia Fed Mar -3
03/21/13 10:00:00 AM Leading Indicators Feb 0.50%
03/21/13 01:15:00 PM 10Y TIPS Auction


As the deadline of March 27 for funding the Federal government approaches, investors will be following legislative talks to see how or if funding will be approved by the deadline.

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Fed Minutes ReleasedThe Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released minutes from its January meeting last Wednesday, as it generally does three weeks following the most recent meeting.  

The FOMC is a committee within the Federal Reserve System tasked with overseeing the purchase and sale of US Treasury securities by the Fed.

The Federal Reserve makes key decisions regarding interest rates and looks to this committee for advice on how and when to take action.

The Future Of Quantitative Easing

One of the main topices that Fed leaders discussed was the future of its ongoing program of quantitative easing (QE).

Currently, the Fed plans to continue its monthly purchase of treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) with the objective of keeping the inflation rate at or below 2 percent.

The Fed plans to phase out quantitative easing when the national unemployment rate reaches 6.5 percent.

Fed leaders opposed to current quantitative easing brought up concerns about risk exposure to the Fed as it continues acquiring large quantities of bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

Other concerns included the potential for negative impact on financial markets if the Fed sustains its current policy of quantitative easing.

The Risk Of Inflation Creates Pause

Inflationary risks were also cited as a reason for re-evaluating the current policy for quantitative easing.

As the fed continues to purchase more and more mortgage-backed securities to keep interest rates down, a higher potential risk for inflationary pressure results.

Rising inflation rates would cause mortgage rates to worsen.

FOMC members concerned about current policy for quantitative easing suggested that the Fed should prepare to vary the timing of its purchases according to economic conditions rather than committing to scheduled purchases of specific amounts of bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

The next Federal Open Market Committee meeting is scheduled for March 19-20, 2013.


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Bank guidelines loosenAccording to the Federal Reserve’s quarterly Senior Loan Officer Survey, it’s getting easier to get approved for a home loan.

Between July – September 2012, fewer than 6% of banks tightened mortgage guidelines — the fourth straight quarter that’s happened– and roughly 10% of banks actually loosened them.

For today’s buyers and refinancing homeowners in Richmond , softening guidelines hint at a quicker, simpler mortgage approval process; one which gives more U.S. homeowners better access to today’s ultra-low mortgage rates. 

However, although banks are easing guidelines, it doesn’t mean that we’re returned to the days of no-verification home loans. Today’s mortgage applicants should still expect to provide lenders with documentation to support a proper loan approval.

Some of the more commonly requested documents include :

  • Tax returns, W-2s, and pay stubs : In order to prove income, lenders will want to see up to two years of income documentation. Self-employed applicants may be asked for additional business information. Borrowers earning income via Social Security, Disability Income, Pension or other means should expect to provide documentation.
  • Bank and asset statements : To verify “reserves”, banks will often require up to 60 days of printed bank statements, or the most recently quarterly reports. Be prepared to explain deposits which are not payroll-related — banks adhere to federal anti-money laundering laws.
  • Personal identification documents : To verify your identity, banks often require photocopies of both sides of your drivers license and/or U.S. passport, and may also ask for copies of your social security card.

In addition, if your credit report lists collection items, judgments, or federal tax liens, be prepared to discuss these items with your lender. Sometimes, a derogatory credit event can be eliminated or ignored during underwriting. Other times, it cannot.

The more information that you share with your lender, the smoother your mortgage approval process can be.

As the housing market improves and lender confidence increases, mortgage guidelines are expected to loosen more. 2013 may open lending to even more mortgage applicants.

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The jobs report puts the economy is focus

Sandy is upsetting the financial markets today, and possibly tomorrow. The NY stock exchanges are closed today with talk they may be down again tomorrow as the storm takes aim on Wall Street and NY. NY transit systems closed with concerns that the subways will flood. This morning the stock index futures traded until 9:15, now also closed. The Chicago markets still going but there are talks going on in the CME about closing also even though the storm won’t hit the city. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association suggested that trading end at noon New York time for the bond market. The recommendation applies to trading of government securities, mortgage- and asset-backed debt, over-the-counter investment grade and high-yield corporate bonds, municipal bonds and secondary money market trading in bankers’ acceptances, and commercial paper. SIFMA will continue to monitor conditions to determine any additional recommendations for tomorrow, according to the statement.

Mortgage markets ended the week slightly better last week. Wall Street took its cues from U.S. economic data, from developments in Europe, and from the Federal Reserve, moving mortgage rates lower in Virginia and nationwide.

Pricing for both conforming and FHA mortgage rates improved between Monday and Friday, with the majority of gains occurring late in the week.

The timing of the gains explains why Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate report showed the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate rising this week when, in fact, it did not. Because Freddie Mac conducts its mortgage rate survey at the start of the week, its survey respondents had no time to acknowledge late-week improvements.

Freddie Mac said the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate rose to 3.41% for home buyers and refinancing households willing to pay 0.7 discount points at closing plus a full set of closing costs.

Mortgage applicants choosing zero-point mortgages should expect a higher rate.

The biggest event of last week was the Federal Open Market Committee’s seventh scheduled meeting of the year. The FOMC’s post-meeting press release described the U.S. economy as growing, and inflation as stable. The Fed re-iterated its pledge to QE3, a stimulus program geared at keeping mortgage rates suppressed. The group also said it would hold the Fed Funds Rate low until at least mid-2015.

Lastly, the Fed showed optimism about the broader U.S. housing market — and for good reason. Since October 2011, housing has trended higher and last week saw the release of the September New Homes Sales report and the September Pending Home Sales Index. Both showed strength.

This week, the market’s biggest story is Friday’s release of the October Non-Farm Payrolls report. Jobs are a keystone in the U.S. economic recovery so the monthly jobs report holds sway over mortgage rates. If the number of jobs created exceeds Wall Street expectations, mortgage rates in Henrico will rise and purchasing power will shrink.


Date Time (ET) Statistic For Actual Market Expects Prior
10/29/12 08:30:00 AM Personal Income Sep 0.40% 0.40% 0.10%
10/29/12 08:30:00 AM Personal Spending Sep 0.80% 0.60% 0.50%
10/29/12 08:30:00 AM PCE Prices – Core Sep 0.10% 0.10% 0.10%
10/30/12 10:00:00 AM Consumer Confidence Oct 72 70.3
10/31/12 08:15:00 AM ADP Employment Change Oct 143K 162K
11/01/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 10/27/12 375K 369K
11/01/12 08:30:00 AM Productivity-Prel Q3 1.60% 2.20%
11/01/12 10:00:00 AM ISM Index Oct 51 51.5
11/01/12 10:00:00 AM Construction Spending Sep 0.80% -0.60%
11/02/12 08:30:00 AM Nonfarm Payrolls Oct 125K 114K
11/02/12 08:30:00 AM Unemployment Rate Oct 7.90% 7.80%
11/02/12 10:00:00 AM Factory Orders Sep 4.50% -5.20%


This week has a lot of data to work through with the monster on Friday, the October employment data. The storm is likely to impact trading until Wednesday based on present reports from the exchanges in NY. It will depend on the amount of flooding and the NY transportation system.  Borrowers should consider locking as the storm may present small dips in mortgage rates.


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Fed Funds Rate 2006-2012Mortgage markets improved last week as the Federal Reserve introduced new economic stimulus. The move trumped bond-harming action from the Eurozone, and a series better-than-expected U.S. economic data.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate dropped last week for most loan types, including for conforming, FHA and VA loans. 15-year fixed rate mortgage rates improved, as well.

Mortgage rates are back near their lowest levels of all-time.

Last week’s main event was the Federal Open Market Committee’s sixth scheduled meeting of 2012. Wall Street expected the Fed to launch a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) after its meeting and the nation’s central banker did not disappoint.

It launched QE3 and did so with such scale that even Wall Street was shocked.

The Federal Reserve announced a plan to purchase $40 billion monthly of mortgage-backed bonds indefinitely, a move aimed at lowering U.S. mortgage rates in order to stimulate the housing market which can create more jobs in construction and other related industries.

The Fed will continue to buy mortgage bonds until it deems such purchases no longer necessary. The Fed also announced a commitment to holding the Fed Funds Rate in its current target range of 0.000-0.250% until mid-2015, at least.

Mortgage rates responded favorably to the stimulus, falling to their lowest levels of the week. It masked a rise in rates from earlier in the week tied to the German court’s clearing of the European Stability Mechanism — the Eurozone “bailout fund”.

The action clears the way for debt-burdened nations including Spain and Greece to get the support necessary to remain solvent.

Mortgage rates were also pressured higher by a strong consumer confidence report. When consumers are more confident in the economy, they may be more likely to spend and consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

This week, mortgage rates throughout Virginia face competing pressures. The Fed’s bond-buy has started and that will lead rates lower, but with Housing Starts and Existing Home Sales data set for release, data could pull rates up.

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Jobs Report In Focus

Mortgage markets improved last week for the second consecutive week.

With no news coming from Europe, Wall Street was focused U.S. economic data and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s planned public speech from the Fed’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Rate shoppers and home buyers in Richmond caught a break.

The housing market was shown to be improving last week, as was the average household income nationwide — two events which would have typically moved Virginia  mortgage rates higher. But, because the Fed Chairman used his speech to signal that new economic stimulus may be imminent, mortgage rates dropped.

The Fed is expected to launch a bond-buying program that would create new demand for mortgage-backed bonds. Mortgage-backed bonds are the basis for most U.S. mortgage rates and the new-found demand would result in lower rates nationwide.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate fell to 3.59% last week for borrowers willing to pay 0.6 discount points plus a full set of closing costs, where 0.6 discount points is a one-time closing cost equal to 0.6 percent of your loan size.

Conventional mortgage rates open this week at a 4-week best. Threats to low rates remain, however.


Time (ET)



Market Expects



10:00:00 AM

ISM Index





10:00:00 AM

Construction Spending





08:30:00 AM






08:15:00 AM

ADP Employment Change





08:30:00 AM

Initial Claims





08:30:00 AM

Nonfarm Payrolls





08:30:00 AM

Nonfarm Private Payrolls





08:30:00 AM

Unemployment Rate




A European Central Bank meeting is scheduled for Thursday and the release of the August Non-Farm Payrolls report is due Friday. Both events could have negative repercussions on mortgage rates.

For example, the ECB is expected to announce new aid measures for some its struggling member nations, including Greece, Spain and Italy. If the aid package “ends” the sovereign debt issues which have plagued the European Union since 2010, equity markets would rally on the news at the expense of bond markets. This would drive U.S. mortgage rates higher as investors dump their bond holdings.

Similarly, if the August jobs report is deemed “strong”, it would lower the likelihood of new Fed-led stimulus. This, too, would lead mortgage rates higher — perhaps by a lot.

Economists expect to see that 130,000 net new jobs created last month. The jobs report will be released Friday at 8:30 AM ET.

Mortgage interest rates remain historically very favorable. This week has the potential to cause increases or decreases in rates depending on the outcomes.  Floating into the data maybe risky.  Now is a great time to avoid the uncertainty of market volatility and take advantage of low rates by locking,

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Greece bailout plans revisitedMortgage markets improved last week. Mixed data highlighted the U.S. economy’s slow, steady expansion; the Federal Reserve changed market expectations for the new stimulus; and, sovereign debt concerns moved back to the forefront in Europe.

Conforming mortgage rates fell last week for the first time this month, breaking a 4-week losing streak that had stymied would-be refinancing households in Virginia and nationwide.

Mortgage rates had been higher since the start of August.

In published minutes from its July 31-August 1, 2012 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the Federal Reserve revealed that, absent “substantial and sustainable” economic growth, many of its members believe further monetary easing would be warranted.

Recent data shows that growth may be sustainable, but it’s hardly substantial.

  • Job growth is higher in 22 straight months, but averaging less than 100,000 net new jobs per month over the past three months
  • Housing data shows a steady home sales growth, but a dwindling home inventory of new homes and home resales
  • GDP grew 1.5% in Q2 2012, down from 2 percent during the first three months of the year

Should the Fed add new stimulus, it would likely come in the form of a third round of quantitative easing, a program by which the Federal Reserve purchases government-backed bonds on the open market, including mortgage-backed bonds.

The new-found demand for bonds helps raise their respective prices which, in turn, moves down their respective yields.

“QE3” would push mortgage rates lower, likely. It’s not expected to be released (if at all) until the FOMC’s next scheduled meeting, September 12-13, 2012. There is a small chance it’s announced this Friday, however; the Federal Reserve is meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for its annual retreat.

For this week’s rate shoppers, this week is filled with data and rhetoric. New U.S. housing data will be released along with recent inflation statistics. Both have the ability to cause mortgage rates to rise. In addition, second quarter GDP figures will be revisited and revised. If they’re revised lower, Fed-led stimulus may be more likely.

Date Time (ET) Statistic For Market Expects Prior
08/28/12 10:00:00 AM Consumer Confidence Aug 65.7 65.9
08/28/12 01:15:00 PM 2-year Treasury Note Auction
08/29/12 08:30:00 AM GDP – Second Estimate Q2 1.60% 1.50%
08/29/12 10:00:00 AM Pending Home Sales Jul 0.00% -1.40%
08/29/12 02:00:00 PM Fed’s Beige Book Aug
08/29/12 01:15:00 PM 5-year Treasury Note Auction
08/30/12 08:30:00 AM Initial Claims 08/25/12 370K 372K
08/30/12 08:30:00 AM Personal Income Jul 0.30% 0.50%
08/30/12 08:30:00 AM Personal Spending Jul 0.50% 0.00%
08/30/12 08:30:00 AM PCE Prices – Core Jul 0.10% 0.20%
08/30/12 01:15:00 PM 7-year Treasury Note Auction
08/31/12 09:55:00 AM Michigan Sentiment – Final Aug 73.6 73.6
08/31/12 10:00:00 AM Factory Orders Jul 2.00% -0.50%

Lastly, Eurozone leaders reconvene to discuss the terms of Greece’s bailout. If terms are changed for the worse for Greece, mortgage rates may drop in a bout of safe-haven buying.

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Fed Senior Loan Officer SurveyAs another signal of an improving U.S. economy, the nation’s biggest banks have started to loosen mortgage lending guidelines.

As reported by the Federal Reserve, last quarter, no “big banks” reported stricter mortgage standards as compared to the quarter prior and “modest fractions” of banks reported easier mortgage standards. 

The data comes from the Fed’s quarterly Senior Loan Officer Survey, a questionnaire sent to 64 domestic banks and 23 U.S. branches of foreign banks. The survey is meant to gauge, among other things, direct demand for consumer loans and banks’ willingness to meet this demand.

Not surprisingly, as mortgage rates fell to all-time lows last quarter, nearly all responding banks reported an increase in demand for prime residential mortgages where “prime residential mortgage” is defined as a mortgage for an applicant whose credit scores are high; whose payment history is unblemished; and, whose debt-to-income ratios are low.

Consumers were eager to buy homes and/or refinance them last quarter and 6% of the nation’s big banks said their credit standards “eased somewhat” during that time frame. The remaining 94% of big banks said standards were left unchanged.

The ease of getting approved for a home loan, however, is relative.

As compared to 5 years ago, Midlothian home buyers and rate shoppers face a distinctly more challenging mortgage environment. Not only are today’s minimum FICO score requirements higher by up to 100 points, depending on the loan product, applicants face new income scrutiny and must also demonstrate a more clear capacity to make repayments.

Tougher lending standards are among the reasons why the national home ownership rate is at its lowest point since 1997. It is harder to get mortgage-approved today as compared to late-last decade.

For those who apply and succeed, the reward is access to the lowest mortgage rates in a lifetime. Mortgage rates throughout Virginia continue to push home affordability to all-time highs.

If you’ve been shopping for a home, or planning to refinance, with mortgage rates low, it’s a good time to commit. 

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