Existing Home Sales a mixed bag, mortgage rates slightly worse to start the week

Owning your home is still one of the best ways to achieve wealth and as Plato once said “Wealth is known to be a great comforter.”  Happy Birthday to Plato who would have turned 1,592 years old today and he lived forever.

Mortgage Rates

We shifted to a locking bias last week and that proved to be the correct call.  Although mortgage note rates are mostly unchanged the pricing has worsened meaning the accompanying closing costs are modestly worse.

Home Sales

Earlier today the National Association of Realtors released the monthly existing home sales report.  It showed that the number of homes sold during April actually contracted by nationwide.  However, on the west coast the number of existing home sales actually accelerated by 1.8% from March.

Coincidentally, the average number of days on market contracted from 36 days down to 24.  There is no question that the housing market is less frantic than it was a couple years ago but demand remains strong.

The Week Ahead

This week’s economic calendar is relatively light.  On Wednesday we’ll get the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting but no fireworks are expected.  On Thursday we’ll see numbers for new home sales.

Stock Market

In the absence of significant economic data I expect mortgage rates to take direction from the stock market.  If stocks rally then I expect home loan rates to worsen and vice versa.

Investors remain concerned over US-China trade talks and the ongoing Brexit saga.  Any signals that either of these story lines will resolve themselves sooner rather than later would be bad for mortgage rates.

Current Outlook: neutral

 

Mortgage rates trend lower, how long will this last?

If you feel the urge today is National Dance Like a Chicken Day.  Not sure where they come up with these but if the Blazers can win tonight in game one of the Western Conference Finals I will be dancing like a mother clucker!

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates continue to benefit from the trade dispute that is ongoing between the US and China.

Last week US stock indexes lost 2%-3% as investors braced for the economic fallout.  When stocks do poorly it tends to help mortgage rates improve.

Stocks are rebounding today which is placing upward pressure on home loan rates.

Loan Performance

CoreLogic released its monthly Loan Performance Insights report for February.  It showed that the number of mortgages in delinquency fell in every category relative to last year and are at 20-year lows.

This may influence lenders to accept more risk in their loan portfolios which means it may become easier for borrowers to borrow money and buy houses.

Technical Guidance

Financial markets tend to work in cycles and home loan rates are no different.

From late March to mid-April interest rates worsened.  Since then home loan rates have been on a winning streak for roughly the same duration.  I am concerned we may see rates reverse and cycle higher.

The Week Ahead

Looking ahead this week we’ll get retail sales on Wednesday, housing starts/ permits on Thursday, and consumer sentiment on Friday.  There are also a series of Fed speakers on the docket.

Current Outlook: locking bias

Mortgage rates improve on heightened trade tensions

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the teachers and educators who work hard to support our children in their growth and development.  Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day.

I’d like to thank Professor Randy Grant of Linfield College who helped me find a passion for economics and finance.  Thank you Randy!  You are an excellent person and educator.

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have improved modestly in the last couple days thanks to uncertainty around a new trade deal with China.

Over the weekend US trade officials threatened China with additional trade tariffs if an agreement was not reached soon.  In reaction to heightened trade tensions US stocks have declined yesterday and today which has helped home loan rates improve.

Home Price Appreciation

Earlier today CoreLogic released its Home Price Index report for March.  It showed that national home prices increased by 3.7% from last year.  It also forecasted that home price appreciation would accelerate to +4.8% in the next year.

Demand for housing

Zillow released THIS POST yesterday which highlights the demographics of the US and how it is supportive of demand for housing.  According to the article an additional 3.11 million people which reach “prime first-time home-buying age” (34 years old) over the next eight years.  Portland’s age demographics mirror this forecast.

The Week Ahead

The economic calendar is light this week.  There are a handful of Fed officials with scheduled speeches including Chairman Powell who will speak on Thursday.  On Friday the Labor Department will release the latest reading of the Consumer Price Index.

Current Outlook: locking bias

Home Loan Rates Stable, Home Prices increase at a decreasing rate

On this day in 1789 a crowd of 10,000 gathered outside the Federal Hall in New York City to witness George Washington being sworn is as the first president of the United States.

Washington’s salary as President was $25,000/ year which translates to $722,165 in 2019 dollars.  In comparison, President Trump’s annual salary is $400,000.  There is no data on how much income tax each President paid…..

Mortgage Rates

After increasing modestly last week home loan rates have stabilized and even improved very modestly this week.

The Federal Reserve

The Fed kicks off a regularly scheduled 2-day meeting today which will conclude tomorrow.  It is not expected that the Fed will make any changes to interest rates.

At this point US economic growth remains solid and inflation pressure is relatively muted.  However, the Fed’s post-meeting comments can move the markets so we’ll be listening.

Housing Market

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index was released earlier today.  The report showed that nationwide home price appreciation decelerated from February 2018 to February 2019.

For Portland, the report showed home prices increased by 2.9% from February 2018 to February 2019.  Home prices are still increasing.  However, they are increasing at a slower rate.

The National Association of Realtors released its monthly Pending Home Sales Index report earlier today.  Although the number of homes under contract is down from a year ago it did jump by 8.7% in the west during the month of March compared to February.

Stronger demand may show up next month when we get updated appreciation information.

The Week Ahead

The remainder of the week is busy in terms of economic news.  We’ll get the latest all-important jobs report this Friday.  Analysts are expecting +210,000 new jobs created for April.

We’ll also get the aforementioned Fed statement on Wednesday and other Fed speakers on Friday.

Current Outlook: floating bias

US stock market rally pressures mortgage rates higher

Think owning Portland real estate is a great investment?  Try purchasing a professional sports franchise.

The late Paul Allen purchased the Portland Trail Blazers in 1988 for $70 millionAccording to recent reports the Trail Blazers franchise is currently worth $1.6 billion.

Ignoring annual cash-flow the team has appreciated at a 10.6% annualized rate over that time (which outperforms housing).

The Blazers will try and outperform their 1st round opponents tonight at the Moda Center and advance to the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs.  Go ‘zers!

Mortgage Rates

Home loan rates have been trending modestly higher since the end of March.  They have increased .125%-.25% which is not a surprise given that during that time the yield on the US 10-year treasury note has increased from 2.37% to 2.57% (+.20%).  Mortgage rates tend to track changes in the the 10-year treasury note yield.

Technical Signals

The US 10-year treasury note has been trading at its 50-day moving average for the past week.  The technical signals suggest that bonds are oversold which means that yields may improve in the coming days.

That said, if yields break above this level then mortgage rates are likely to worsen by another .125%-.25%.

US Stocks

Much of the reason interest rates have suffered during the month of April is because the stock market has been rallyingStrong earnings from various companies have pushed investors into stocks and US indexes are now hovering near all-time highs.

The Week Ahead

The remainder of the week is relatively light on economic news so I expect markets to react to technical signals.  Given that momentum is working against us I think the safe play is to lock so will remain with that bias.  That said, I am hopeful the aforementioned technical levels can help interest rates improve.

Current Outlook: locking bias

As stocks rally mortgage rates pressured higher

Think your life is busy?  Each year the IRS receives over 290 million tax returns which the IRS receives.  According to the IRS only .50% of all filed tax returns are audited.

The IRS also reports that over 9,000 tax returns are filed where the taxpayer makes more than $200,000/ year but pays $0 income tax.  Has the President released his tax returns yet?

Stock Market

Earnings season is underway and analysts expect in aggregate that corporations will report stable or declining profits compared to last year.

However, financial companies appear to be bucking that expectation.  Last Friday Chase Bank reported better than expected financial results and earlier today Bank of America did the same.

The US Stock market has now completely recovered the declines it incurred at the end of 2018 and the S&P 500 is only 35 points away from all-time highs.  If profits fail to grow and stock prices continue to rally it may reignite concern over valuations which I wrote about last summer (HERE).

Mortgage Rates

As stocks rallied last Friday it pushed mortgage rates up by ~.125%.  See why HERE.

10-year treasury note

The yield on the US 10-year treasury note is currently trading at 2.58% which just below an important technical layer of resistance.  If yields break above this level then I expect mortgage rates to increase an additional .125%.

The Week Ahead

The economic calendar is heavy on new residential construction this week.  Earlier today the Home Builders’ Index was released and showed greater optimism amongst home builders compared to last month.

On Friday we’ll see fresh numbers for building permits and new housing starts.

Current Outlook: locking bias

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady at Multi-Month Lows

In 1930 two men spent $70,000 to buy 365 acres from Fruitland Nurseries Inc. with the vision of building a new golf course.  They hired an architect from Scotland by the name of Alistair MacKenize and by 1933 the course was ready for play.

Fast forward to today and Augusta National Golf Club is one of the most exclusive golf courses in the world.  Starting on Thursday it will play host, as it does each April, to the Masters Tournament and the champion golfer will don the signature green jacket on Sunday afternoon.

Mortgage Rates

Home loan rates are holding steady from last week.  Similarly the yield on the US 10-year treasury note has been almost flat at ~2.5% since the beginning of April.

Jobs Report

Last Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly employment report. It showed that 196,000 jobs were created during March and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%.

For the financial markets the results were “Goldilocks” in that they were not too hot, which could have pressured rates higher, and not too cold which may have stoked fears of an economic slowdown.

Brexit

With the original Brexit date of March 29th come and gone EU leaders are meeting on Wednesday to decide if an extension will be granted.  Without an extension Britain will leave the EU on Friday without a trade deal.  Most analysts think an extension will be granted but for how long is not known.

Uncertainty from the Brexit proceedings have helped US interest rates remain low.  Any signals for a quick and orderly exist could pressure rates higher.

The Week Ahead

This week’s economic calendar heats up on Wednesday when the Consumer Price Index and minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting are released. Recently mortgage rates have not reacted well to Fed meeting minutes.  Speaking of the Fed, Chairman Powell is schedule to give three speeches this week.  His comments can always influence the markets.

Current Outlook: floating

Improved Mortgage Rates – Should I Refinance?

Mortgage rates are at their best in over a year. Does that mean you should refinance?

There are a few different factors that you need to consider before making the decision to refinance.

Watch this week’s video to learn more.

 

Questions or comments? Please reach out at www.swansonhomeloans.com OR 503.488.1808.

I’d be happy to help! Thanks!

Rates remain low, home prices continue to rise

Happy National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day.  I wish I had more time to celebrate but my schedule is JAM packed!

Mortgage Rates

Home loan rates continue to hover at 13 month lows.  Although economic data out on Monday was relatively strong there are still concerns over Brexit and future growth which is helping US interest rates remain low.

Home Prices

Earlier today CoreLogic released its monthly Home Price Insights Report.  It showed that nationwide home prices increased by 4% from last year.  This marks a slowdown from prior years but they also foretasted that for the next 12 months home prices would increase by 4.7%.

Idaho lead all states with +10.2% year-over-year appreciation.

Interest Rate Forecast

Embedded in the aforementioned report CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said, “….the Federal Reserve’s announcement to keep short-term interest rates where they are for the rest for the year, we expect mortgage rates to remain low and be a boost for the spring buying season.

The Week Ahead

Being that it is the first week of a new month we will get the all-important jobs report this Friday.  Analysts are expecting +179,000 new jobs for the month of March and the unemployment rate to remain at 3.8%.

I am a little concerned that interest rates are overdue for a reversal so am going to recommend locking ahead of Friday.

Current Outlook: locking

Should I buy or rent?

Tired of paying rent and wondering if homeownership is right for you?  There is no doubt that owning your home can significantly improve your financial standing in the long-term.

In fact, a recent survey showed that homeownership was a greater predictor of net worth than age or education (see HERE).

In this video I talk about some of the benefits and risks of owning a home:

If you’d like to learn about your options for buying a home in a no pressure environment please contact me today to schedule an initial conversation.

Thanks!