Posts filed under ‘Eurozone’

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : April 9, 2012

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 Michigan 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.

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.

April 9, 2012 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : February 13, 2012

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 Michigan. 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.

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.

February 13, 2012 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : February 13, 2012

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 Michigan. 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.

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.

February 13, 2012 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : February 6, 2012

Jobs growth pushes mortgage rates higherMortgage markets worsened last week as domestic job growth surprised Wall Street and the Eurozone moved yet one more step closer to reaching a lasting Greece sovereign debt solution.

Conforming mortgage rates in Michigan rose on the news, although you wouldn’t know it from looking at Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey.

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate fell to 3.87% last week with 0.8 discount points due at closing, plus closing costs. 1 discount point is a fee equal to one percent of your loan size.

3.87% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is the official, all-time low for the weekly Freddie Mac survey, conducted since the 1970s. However, because Freddie Mac gathers its results on Monday and Tuesday only, by the time the survey results were released Thursday morning, mortgage rates were already rising off their lows.

Then, Friday morning, after January’s Non-Farm Payrolls data was released, mortgage rates surged.

The January jobs report exceeded expectations in nearly every fashion possible :

  • Economists expected to see 135,000 jobs created in January. The actual number was 243,000.
  • Economists expected to see the Unemployment Rate at 8.5% in January. The actual number was 8.3%.
  • Revisions added an additional 180,000 net new jobs to the original 2011 tally.

As compared to one year ago, there are 2.1 million more people employed in the U.S. workforce. Figures like this hint at a stronger national economy, and that tends to drive mortgage rates up.

This week, with little economic data due for release, mortgage rates are expected to move on momentum. Right now, that momentum is causing rates to rise.

If you’re shopping for a mortgage rate in East Lansing and want to know if the time is right to lock, consider that it’s impossible to time a market bottom, but simple to spot a “good deal”.

Mortgage rates remain near historical lows — it’s a good time to lock one in. Call your lender today. 

February 6, 2012 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : December 27, 2011

Existing home sales Mortgage markets worsened last week on renewed optimism from the Eurozone, additional evidence of a U.S. economic recovery, and ongoing strength in housing.

The action sparked a stock market rally at the expense of mortgage bonds, sending conforming and FHA mortgage rates meaningfully higher for the first time in more than 2 months.

Markets closed early Friday and remained closed Monday. When they re-open today, conforming mortgage rates will already have bounced off last week’s new, all-time lows.

As reported by Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.91 percent nationwide, with an accompanying 0.7 discount points plus closing costs. 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size such that 1 discount point on a $100,000 loan is equal to $1,000.

It’s not just the conventional 30-year fixed that made new lows last week, either. All of Freddie Mac’s reported rates fell to new, all-time lows.

  • 30-year fixed : 3.91% with 0.7 discount points
  • 15-year fixed : 3.21% with 0.8 discount points
  • 5-year ARM : 2.85% with 0.6 discount points

These rates are no longer valid, however. FHA mortgage rates rose slightly last week, too.

This week, mortgage rates will be more volatile than usual. There isn’t much economic data on which to trade, and it’s a holiday-shortened week (again). Look for geopolitics and momentum to nudge markets forward, therefore — a potentially bad combination for today’s rate shoppers. There is very little room for mortgage rates to fall, but lots of room for them to rise.

If the stock market rallies to close 2011, mortgage rates will rise right on with it.

For now, rates remain historically low. If you’ve been shopping for a mortgage — waiting for rates to fall — this last week of the year may be your last chance at sub-4 percent, fixed-rate mortgage rates. Don’t wait too long or you might miss it.

It’s a good time to execute on a rate lock.

December 27, 2011 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : December 12, 2011

Federal Reserve meets this weekMortgage markets were mostly unchanged for the 6th consecutive week last week as Wall Street’s uncertainty regarding the future of U.S. and global economies remain.

Mortgage bonds made gains made through the early part of the week, which caused mortgage rates in Michigan to drop Monday through Wednesday afternoon. Those gains were erased, however, as 23 of 27 Euro leaders reached agreement on fiscal coordination and budget planning, sparking optimism for the future of the Eurozone, in general.

Mortgage rates rose Thursday and Friday.

This week, the momentum may continue. The main story we’ll be watching is the Federal Open Market Committee’s Tuesday meeting — its 8th scheduled meeting of the year and its last until 2012. 

When the Fed meets, mortgage rates are often volatile.

At its meeting, the FOMC is expected to vote the Fed Funds Rate unchanged within its current range near zero percent. However, it won’t be the Fed’s vote on the Fed Funds Rate that changes markets. Wall Street is keyed in to two other elements, instead.

The first element is the verbiage of the FOMC’s press release to markets. Issued upon adjournment, the FOMC’s press release identifies strengths and weaknesses in the U.S. economy, and offers an outlook for the future plus potential threats. The “tone” of the press release can change how mortgage bonds trade.

If the Fed describes an economy in recovery with few threat to growth, mortgage rates are likely to rise post-FOMC. By contrast, if the Fed says the economy has slowed, mortgage rates should fall.

The second element on which Wall Street is focused is the likelihood of new, Fed-led economic stimulus. Should the Federal Reserve modify existing support programs, or introduce new ones, mortgage rates are sure to shift. Unfortunately, we can’t know in which direction — it will depend on the size of the program and its expected impact on the U.S. economy.

The Fed adjourns Tuesday at 2:15 PM ET.

Beyond the Fed, there is other rate-moving news, too, including Tuesday’s Retail Sales report, Thursday’s Producer Price Index, and Friday’s Consumer Price Index. Each has the capacity to change mortgage rates throughout Okemos so if you’re floating a mortgage rate, it may be a good time to lock one in. 

Freddie Mac reports the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.99% with 0.7 discount points, plus closing costs.

December 12, 2011 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : December 5, 2011

Non-farm payrolls Dec 2009 - Nov 2011Mortgage markets made little change last week for the fifth time in as many weeks.

As Wall Street watched both the Eurozone and the U.S. regain their respective footing, expectations for a new Fed-led stimulus increased, which prevented mortgage rates from rising.

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate conforming mortgage rose just 2 basis points last week to 4.00% nationwide with an accompanying 0.7 discount points

1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

For every $100,000 borrowed at 4.00 percent, therefore, today’s Michigan mortgage applicant should expect to pay $700 in “points”. Mortgage rates for “zero-point loans” are higher than Freddie Mac’s published, average value.

This week, with few economic releases set for release, last week’s big stories should carry over into the current one — the biggest of which was a worldwide, coordinated central bank effort to increase system liquidity.

The European Central Bank, Bank of England and U.S. Federal Reserve were joined by the central banks of Japan, Canada and Switzerland in the effort. Stock markets rallied on the news.

Another of last week’s big stories was the sharp drop in the U.S. Unemployment Rate.

After hovering near nine percent since April, the Unemployment Rate broke out of range, dropping to to 8.6% in November. This is the lowest national Unemployment Rate since March 2009, a milestone achieved via the combination of new jobs created (+192,000 in November with revisions) plus a smaller U.S. workforce.

The U.S. economy has added 1.9 million jobs in the last 14 months.

Lastly, last week’s New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales Index releases support the growing belief that the U.S. housing market is in recovery. Both reports showed strong growth for October, corroborating what home builders have been saying — the housing market is improving and buyer ranks are growing.

Home supplies are lower in many U.S. markets.

This week, rate shoppers in Okemos should be on alert. Market momentum changes quickly, and rates are currently anchored by the expectation of new Federal Reserve stimulus. The Fed meets December 13, 2011. As that date approaches, expectations could change, causing rates to rise.

Mortgage rates remain near all-time lows. It’s a good time to lock a rate with your lender.

December 5, 2011 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

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Don Grimes

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Don Grimes
"Your Residential Mortgage Specialists"
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Michigan Mutual, Inc
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