Mortgage bond prices ended the week nearly unchanged despite considerable market volatility. Trading was up and down all week. Rates improved the first portion of the week as stocks fell below key psychological levels. Unfortunately a reversal the middle portion of the week eroded the earlier improvements. Data was mixed with tame inflation readings but generally stronger than expected economic activity. For the week, interest rates were near unchanged.
The Treasury auctions will take center stage again this week. If there is strong foreign demand it will likely spill over to the mortgage bond market. Weak auctions will likely result in mortgage interest rate increases. Employment cost index data will also be carefully watched.
EXISTING HOME SALES
Last week’s existing home sales data shocked the market with a stronger than expected increase. Sales rose 9.4%, considerably stronger than the expected 5.5% increase. Some analysts attribute the surge in sales to the $8000 tax credit that is currently set to expire at the end of November. Lower home prices and historically low mortgage interest rates also factored into the increase. From a national perspective this is a positive report. However, the fact that some major metropolitan areas of the country failed to see improvements is an example of the axiom that real estate is local.
There is still uncertainty regarding the future state of the economy. Mortgage rates are great. Take advantage of them while that remains the case.
Source: Todd Kabel, US Bank, Nashville, Tennessee