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Wednesday, November 18, 2009
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Thursday, November 12, 2009
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009
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Friday, October 23, 2009
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Housing Starts on single-family homes gained last month, marking the 8th time that's happened this year.
A "Housing Start" is a home for which the foundation has been excavated and, considered alongside other key market metrics, September data suggests that the housing market stabilization is complete.
Momentum in housing is overwhelmingly positive:
- Homes under contract are soaring
- National home supplies are way down
- Home values are up in a lot of markets
Despite the positive news, the press is calling September's Housing Starts data a "bummer". Citing a drop in monthly building permits, the media purports that housing will slow in the months ahead.
The conclusion may be right, but the rationale may be wrong.
The probable cause for fewer permits isn't that the housing market is overdone. It's that home builders are choosing to exercise caution given the pending expiration of the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit and a still-growing number of foreclosed homes.
It's unclear what housing demand will be beginning in December and the last present a builder wants for the holidays is an excess of inventory.
It makes sense that building permits are down, in other words.
Looking back at February of this year, there's a host of signs that housing is on the path to recovery. Now, that path won't be a straight line and there's bound to be setbacks, but September's Housing Starts is not one of them.
Housing Starts are up 40 percent on the year.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Federal Open Market Committee starts a 2-day meeting today in Washington.
The scheduled get-together ends at 2:15 PM ET Wednesday after which the FOMC will issue a press release to the markets.
Consider locking your mortgage in advance of the press release.
The FOMC meets 8 times annually and its adjournments are among the biggest market-movers of the year.
The Fed's post-meeting press release is a direct look into the mind of the Federal Reserve and Wall Street is looking for clues anywhere it can find them.
After its August 2009 meeting, the FOMC said in its press release:
- Financial markets have improved, relative
- Household spending remains constrained
- Although weak, the economy is "leveling off"
Since then, however, credit risks have lessened on Wall Street, consumer spending have shown signs of life and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession is "very likely over".
This is why tomorrow's FOMC press release is so important. Markets don't expect the Fed to raise or lower the Fed Funds Rate, but they do expect the Fed to shed light on its next series of moves.
If the Fed alludes to inflation and stronger growth ahead, mortgage rates should rise. By contrast, reference to slower growth ahead should help keep rates steady.
The FOMC is expected to leave the Fed Funds Rate within its target range of 0.000-0.250 percent -- the lowest it's been in history. However, it's what the Fed says Wednesday that will matter more than what the its does.
If you're floating a mortgage rate or wondering if the time is right to lock, the safe approach is to lock prior to 2:15 PM ET Wednesday.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
On the 1-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the "recession is very likely over at this point".
His comments were supported by a Retail Sales report for August that was much better-than-expected.
Equities improved on the day, mortgage markets worsened, and home affordability suffered.
The days of ultra-low mortgage rates may be coming to an end.
Since last September, mortgage bonds markets have been in Rally Mode. As the Financial Crisis of 2008 worsened, investors fled the relatively risky world of stocks and moved dollars into safer investments like cash and bonds -- including the mortgage-backed kind.
Risk aversion is common when market uncertainty exists but last year's aversion was so strong that, by late-November, it had forced mortgage rates down to an all-time low.
Since November, however, rates have been on the rise. Stronger economic data and a general feeling of optimism have helped stock markets recover and some of those gains are coming at the expense of low mortgage rates.
Therefore, if you're wondering what mortgage rates might do going forward, listen to the words of the Federal Reserve Chairman. If he sees economic recovery ahead, it's probably going to happen.
It should spell higher mortgage rates into 2010.