Rate Update July 28, 2009

Mortgage rates are unchanged from yesterday.

As I explained in yesterday’s ‘rate update’ we are closely watching the level of foreign participation in this week’s US Treasury auctions.  Today there will be $42 billion in US T-bills sold to the market.  We wouldn’t surprised to see mortgage rates increase due to the additional supply of bonds on the market.

S & P released their monthly Case-Shiller real estate report.  Many experts consider this report to be the most accurate measure of home prices (click here to understand why).  The report showed that home prices declined on a year-over-year basis at the slowest pace in 12 months.  Many analysts are interrupting this as more evidence that the housing market is at or near bottom.

If you haven’t yet read about the new federal mortgage rules which take effect July 30 and could delay real estate closings you can do so by clicking this link.

Current Outlook: bias towards locking on short-term transactions with additional supply of treasury bills.

Rate Update July 22, 2009

Sometimes words can be louder than actions.  As we expected in yesterday’s ‘rate update’ mortgage rates have improved modestly this morning thanks to Ben Bernanke’s assurances that the Fed has the tools to curb future inflation (even though no action has been taken thus far).

We pointed out earlier in the month the importance of the financial sector in this 2nd-quarter earnings season.  This morning Morgan Stanley & Wells Fargo reported earnings.  Morgan Stanley reported a 3rd straight quarterly loss and Wells Fargo provided weak guidance for the second half of the year.  These two reports are weighing on stocks which should help mortgage rates.

Given that mortgage-backed bonds rallied sharply yesterday we may see traders pull profits off the table which would cause rates to reverse back higher.  For now mortgage rates are extremely attractive but we could see them go a touch lower.  We are shifting to a neutral position.

Current Outlook: neutral

Rate Update July 16, 2009

Mortgage rates did move higher yesterday afternoon but have dropped back to yesterday’s levels this morning.

For the last week we’ve been stressing the importance of the financial sector during this 2nd-quarter earnings season.  On Tuesday Goldman Sachs reported better than expected earnings which pushed rates higher.  This morning JP Morgan reported better than expected earnings but also warned against larger loan losses in the second half of the year.  These comments are hurting financial stocks which is part of the reason mortgage rates recovered from yesterday afternoon’s increase.  Tomorrow Citigroup and Bank of America report earnings.

In other financial news lender CIT has announced that unless it can raise $2 billion in additional capital it will be forced to file for bankruptcy in the next 24 hours.  If this were to happen it would be another blow to the economy as CIT is a major lender to thousands of small businesses across the nation.  It is unclear whether the market fully understands the impact of this announcement.

With the poor outlook given by JP Morgan and the CIT news we are going to shift into a floating position.  I believe Citi & B of A will also warn against upcoming loan losses which will dampen the outlook for stocks; helping to push mortgage rates lower.

Current Outlook: floating

Rate Update July 14, 2009

Mortgage rates are higher this morning. See today’s you tube video for an explanation.

We are shifting our outlook to a neutral stance because mortgage-backed bond prices appear to have technical support at the current levels. Should prices dip below support we will shift our outlook to locking. Tomorrow the Labor Department will be releasing consumer inflation data (CPI) & on Thursday JP Morgan is scheduled to release earnings.

Current Outlook: neutral