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Walden Mortgage Weekly Newsletter: August 7, 2012

Home Prices Rise for Fourth Straight Month: 

Home prices rose for the fourth month in a row in May, suggesting the recovery in the housing market continued to gain traction. The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.9 percent in May from April on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping economists' expectations for a 0.5 percent gain. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices fared even better, jumping 2.2 percent. Compared to a year ago, price declines moderated to slip 0.7 percent, the smallest drop since the last time year-over-year prices rose in September 2010. The housing market, which collapsed during the 2007-2009 recession, has been a relative bright spot in the economy this year.  Mortgage rates continue to hover near all-time lows, Consumer Confidence is up and many Realtors are reporting a shortage of supply as home inventory levels continue to fall.  All of these factors point towards some positive momentum in the housing sector.

What Happened to Rates Last Week?


Mortgage backed securities (MBS) lost -7 basis points from last Friday to the prior Friday which caused 30 year fixed mortgage rates to move higher. We had our highest mortgage rates on Friday and our lowest on Thursday. It was the week of inaction as both the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank announced no new measures to support their respective economies. We did have a major reversal from Thursday morning to to Friday morning. Thursday morning mortgage backed securities shot up (giving you lower mortgage rates which move in the opposite direction) on market speculation that the President of the European Central Bank would announce some new programs such as more bond purchasing from troubled countries like Spain and Italy.  However, he delivered a big goose egg and did not announce any new programs at that time.  This caused MBS to reverse course and sell off (causing mortgage rates to rise). MBS sold off further on Friday's Non-Farm Payroll data.  While the Unemployment rate tick upward from 8.2% to 8.3%, the Non-Farm Payroll data showed that the private sector grew at a much better than expected 163K.  This much better than expected U.S. economic news caused mortgage rates to rise on inflation concerns.

What to Watch Out For This Week:

The following are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week. They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages.
Date Time (ET) Economic Release Actual Market Expects Prior
7-Aug 3:00 PM Consumer Credit - $10.0B $17.1B
8-Aug 7:00 AM MBA Mortgage Index - NA 0.20%
8-Aug 8:30 AM Productivity-Prel - 1.50% -0.90%
8-Aug 8:30 AM Unit Labor Costs -Prel - 0.40% 1.30%
8-Aug 10:30 AM Crude Inventories - NA -6.522M
9-Aug 8:30 AM Initial Claims - 375k 365K
9-Aug 8:30 AM Continuing Claims - 3290K 3272K
9-Aug 8:30 AM Trade Balance - -$47.5B -$48.7B
9-Aug 10:00 AM Wholesale Inventories - 0.30% 0.30%
10-Aug 8:30 AM Export Prices ex-ag. - NA -1.40%
10-Aug 8:30 AM Import Prices ex-oil - NA -0.30%
10-Aug 2:00 PM Treasury Budget - NA -$129.4B

  We will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises: It is virtually impossible for you to keep track of what is going on with the economy and other events that can impact the housing and mortgage markets.  Just leave it to us, we monitor the live trading of Mortgage Backed Securities which are the only thing government and conventional mortgage rates are based upon. 

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