September 3rd, 2019
Instructions on how to read this blog: Below is the news for the month when it happened and the market’s reaction. For a full view of the month start at the bottom and work your way up. If want to know what just happened start at the top. All Times are Eastern Standard Time. When the price of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) goes down rates go up, and when the price goes up rates come down. Remember in the bond market Bad News is Usually Good News and Good News is Usually Bad news.
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Newsletter updated weekly: http://www.mmgweekly.com/w/index.html?SID=
Monday September 16
Market Wrap - Mortgage Bonds closed with decent gains today but Treasuries saw the bigger gains as the disconnect continues. The attacks on two Saudi Arabian oil refineries sent investors back into the safe haven of US government securities. WTI oil closed at $62.88/barrel, up $8.03. The yield on the 10-yr T Note closed at 1.84%. The September NAHB Housing Market Index will be released tomorrow. The two-day Fed meeting kicks off tomorrow but there will be no headlines until 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday when the monetary policy statement is released.
Late Morning Review - Foreclosure activity increased month-over-month from July to August but declined from a year ago. ATTOM Data Solutions reports that that lenders started the foreclosure process for the first time on 27,886 property owners in August, up 7% from July though down 15% from a year ago. Across the nation, one in every 2,554 properties received a foreclosure filing last month.
It's Fed week! Fed members kick off their two-day Fed meeting on Tuesday and end Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET with the release of the monetary policy statement. The statement will be accompanied by the Summary of Economic Projections. In addition, Fed Chair Powell will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET. It is expected that the short-term Fed Funds Rate will be cut from 2.25% to 2.0%.
Tensions in the Mideast ramped up over the weekend after two Saudi Arabian oil refineries were attacked by drones. The price of West Texas Intermediate oil has gushed higher by $6 to $61/barrel. Sources are pointing to Iran as the culprit behind the attacks. Gas prices at US pumps will most likely inch higher during the week. However, with an overabundance of oil flowing through global pipelines, this event could quickly burn out.
Friday - September 13
Forecast for the week September 13, 2019
It is all about the FED!
Fed members will kick off their scheduled two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Tuesday with the monetary policy statement being delivered on Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The statement will be associated with a Summary of Economic Projections with Fed Chair Powell holding a press conference immediately following the statement release at 2:30 p.m. ET.
It is expected that the Fed Funds Rate will decrease by 0.25% to bring the rate to 2.0%. What is said within the policy statement and what Fed Chair Powell says can potentially impact Stock and Bond prices, yields, and mortgage rates.
Economic data will be abundant in the upcoming week with housing data in the spotlight, but the reports will take a backseat to the Fed meeting and the ongoing headlines out of the U.S./China trade issues.
Throw in the aforementioned tug of war, and we could see more volatility during the week.
Reports to watch:
Regional manufacturing will be seen from the Empire State Index on Monday and the Philadelphia Fed Index will be released on Friday.
Week in Review – This past week home loan rates ticked up sharply from the previous week leaving many wondering -- have rates bottomed?
For would-be homebuyers, real estate agents, and folks working in the housing industry, here are three things affecting home loan rates today and stories to follow in coming weeks and months. Which way these things go will determine the next directional move for home loan rates:
Bottom line: The recent uptick in rates could simply be a blip on the radar and we may see home loan rates hit all-time lows in the months ahead. As mentioned, the bullets above will determine what happens next. With rates remaining near three-year lows, would-be buyers and folks looking to refinance should capture the opportunity while at hand because there could be a high cost and risk to waiting for rates to go even lower.
Market Wrap - Mortgage Bonds fell through their 50-day MA this week for the first time since last Thanksgiving, which ushered in another wave of bond selling and another spike higher in rates. Treasury prices continued to disconnect with Mortgage Bonds, this time to the downside with the 10-yr falling 100bp in price today while the Fannie Mae 30-yr 3.5% fell by 28bp. The 10-year yield has spiked to 1.90% from 1.42% last Tuesday - whew!!! In trying to determine where the rate spike will end, 2.00% on the 10-year Note looks like a place where the rate rise might pause. Continue to lock files closing in 30 days or less with a floating bias for brand-new and longer-dated files. Have a great weekend!
Late Morning Review - After suffering big losses in August due to negative trade headlines, US stock markets have reversed in September and are now just below the all-time highs seen in late July. Easing fears of an impending recession coupled with now-positive trade headlines have lifted the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ. The closely watched S&P 500 is currently trading at 3,016, a whisker below its all-time closing high of 3,025 hit back on July 26, 2019. A solid economic environment coupled with a strong job market and rising wages are a few other reasons for the rise in the equity markets.
The US consumer continued to spend in August thanks to a strong job market and higher wage growth. August retail sales rose 0.4% versus the 0.2% expected while July was revised higher to 0.8% from 0.7%. This signals that the consumer remains alive and well with the ability and willingness to spend. With consumer spending making up two-thirds of the US economy, this is great news leading into 3rd Quarter Gross Domestic Product data and throws a wet towel on any near-term recession chatter.
Thursday - September 12
Late Morning Review - Inflation at the consumer level remained contained in August due in part to a decline in the cost of gasoline and other energy products. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by a meager 0.1% last month, down from the 0.3% increase in July. When stripping out volatile food and energy, the Core CPI increased 0.3%. Inflation continues to run on the low end of the spectrum and the Federal Reserve said it will continue to remain low for several years.
Mortgage rates edged higher this week, though they remain at three-year lows and well below what was seen a year ago. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose seven basis points this week to 3.56% with an average 0.5 in points and fees. A year ago, the rate was 4.60%. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist says, "While there has been a material weakness in manufacturing and consistent trade uncertainty, so far, the American consumer has proved to be resilient with solid home purchase demand.”
Wednesday - September 11
Market Wrap - Not much movement for Mortgage Bonds toay after the recent decline. Mortgage Bonds closed near unchanged and the 10-yr yield settled at 1.74% from yesterday's 1.70% close. Stocks closed higher on positive trade headlines and as the recession stigma of an inverted yield curve between 2s and 10s eases as the curve steepens. The inflation reading CPI for August will be released tomorrow. The Treasury will sell $16B 30-yr Bonds
Late Morning Review - New home construction continues to run below demand, and the rate at which housing is being built in the US has not recovered since the Great Recession. Zillow reports that new housing starts are expected to lag below historical averages through the end of 2022 or even longer. Home prices have risen considerably since the recession ended in 2009 but construction has not kept up. Builders cite a lack of land to build on, lumber and other building material shortages, and hiring qualified workers.
US household debt hit an all-time high in the second quarter of 2019, rising by $192 billion (1.4%) to $13.86 trillion. It was the 20th consecutive quarter with an increase. To break it down: mortgage balances, the largest component of household debt, rose by $162 billion in the second quarter to $9.4 trillion. In addition, student loan debt edged lower to $1.48 trillion, and auto loans totaled $155 billion while credit card balances increased to $868 billion.
Tuesday - September 10
Market Wrap - The shift from the safe haven trade continued today as the 10-yr yield surged to 1.73% from last Tuesday's low of 1.42%. In the same time the Fannie Mae 30-yr 3.5% coupon has went from $102.91 to close at $102.31 today. Rates have also moved higher in the past week. The inflation reading PPI will be released tomorrow morning though we don't see much of an impact. The Treasury will sell $24B 10-yr Notes, which could have an impact given the results.
Late Morning Review - Fannie Mae reports that sentiment in the housing market hit a survey high in August due in part to a very favorable mortgage rate outlook. The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) rose to 93.8 last month, a fresh survey high. Within the report, there was a big increase in the "mortgage rates will go down" component. The HPSI is up 5.8 points compared to the same time last year. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist said, "We do expect housing market activity to remain relatively stable, and the favorable rate environment should continue supporting increased refinance activity.”
Job openings across the US remained at near record levels in August as the labor market continues be a beacon of light in a somewhat slowing economy. The Labor Department reports that there were 7.2 million job openings on the last day of August, just below the all-time high of 7.6 million reached in the beginning of 2019. Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest increases in wholesale trade (+91,000), real estate and rental and leasing (+60,000), and information (+42,000).
Small business optimism remained just below record highs slipping in August because fewer owners said they expect better business conditions and real sales volumes in the coming months. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index slipped 1.6 points to 103.1 last month, remaining within the top 15% of readings. NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan said, "Small business owners continue to invest, grow, and hire at historically high levels, and we see no indication of a coming recession." The report went on to say that the main impediment to more growth is the record level of no qualified workers.
Monday - September 9
Mortgage Bonds closed at the session lows and we are losing confidence in the bonds ability to push higher as it closed right on key support at the 50-day Moving Average. The decline came despite stocks closing mixed. There were no economic reports released today. The 10-yr yield has shot higher to close at 1.63% from last week's low of 1.42%. Tomorrow, there are no major economic reports but the JOLTS data and the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index will be released. Due to the recent weakness in Mortgage Bonds it might be a good oportunity to lock in before rates head higher.
Late Morning Review - Low mortgage rates have pushed the number of homeowners eligible for refinancing to record highs in July. Black Knight reports that there are 11.7 high quality borrowers who are refinance eligible across the nation, the highest since record tracking began in 2000. Refi-eligible means those who carry a credit score of 720 or above. Mortgage rates have plunged in 2019 by almost a full percentage point from 2018's highs.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that fixed mortgage rates could decline to 3.3% by year's end as the US economy slows. The lowest ever seen was 3.31% back in November of 2012. The NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun made those comments soon after the weaker-than-expected Jobs Report for August was released last Friday. “Mortgage rates could fall to 3.3% before the year-end,” Yun said. “But lower rates may not help with affordability because home prices are re-accelerating higher, easily above the latest wage growth.”
There are no economic reports due for release while the rest of the week features inflation data from CPI and PPI, Retail Sales and Consumer Sentiment. The Treasury will sell a total of $78 billion notes and bonds this week beginning on Tuesday. The US stock markets kicked off the week with higher prices seen for the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ due in part to easing trade tensions while fears a full-blown recession here in the US fade a bit.
Friday September 6
Forecast for the week September 9, 2019
Trade and Brexit news, fears of a global economic slowdown, and a strong dollar will continue to influence the U.S. markets in the upcoming week while key consumer data will be released.
The post Labor Day rally for Stocks weighed on Bond prices in recent days while global yields increased. After the August decline, investors were looking for some bargains in the equity markets and have pushed the closely watched S&P 500 up 5% from the mid-August lows.
The markets will be eagerly awaiting the numbers from August Retail Sales to gauge if the consumer remains strong and continues to spend their hard-earned dollars. Consumer spending makes up a big chunk (70%) of Gross Domestic Product and is vital for economic expansion. In addition, the inflation reading Consumer Price Index will be released, though we don't see any upside pressure to inflation.
There will be no Fed speak this week as the blackout period begins ahead of the September 17-18
Federal Open Market Committee Meeting.
Reports to watch:
Week in Review -Bonds and home loan rates hate good news. So, the influx of positive news abroad coupled with strong jobs data here in the U.S. pressured Mortgage Bonds lower and home loan rates higher.
The main event, which helped Stocks and hurt home loan rates, included fresh progress on the U.S./China trade front as both parties are set to meet once again in October. To be clear here, a U.S./China trade deal would be incredible for the entire global economy as it would spark more trade talks and deals around the world. If a deal is had, home loan rates will suffer -- the opposite is also true.
Bonds and home loan rates also hate uncertainty. So, when some uncertainty was lifted, as Brexit now appears to be on hold for the time being, this also helped Stocks at the expense of home loan rates. Finally, seeing uncertainty removed in Hong Kong as protests simmer down was yet another hurdle for U.S. Bonds to contend with.
The Goldilocks economy in the U.S. continues. August jobs growth remains strong, the consumer continues to spend, and there is no recession in sight. All this good news and we still have home loan rates hovering near three-year lows.
Bottom line: the ability to borrow money this cheap to either refinance or purchase a home will not last forever, so take advantage. If the Fed and global banks are successful in keeping economic expansion alive, today's rates will be in the rearview mirror.
If you or someone you know has questions about home loans, give me a call. I'd be happy to help.
Market Wrap - Not much action in the markets after this morning's Jobs report for August was released. Mortgage Bonds and Treasury prices closed near unchanged. The yield on the 10-yr T Note closed at 1.55%. Stocks ended mixed with the Dow and S&P squeaking out gains with the NASDAQ closing slightly lower. Have a great weekend!
Late Morning Review - Job growth slowed a bit in August though the overall market is still in good shape. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that non-farm payrolls rose 130,000 last month, below the 171,000 expected while June and July were revised lower by a total of 20,000. Within the report, the unemployment rate remained at 3.7% while the participation rate, or share of working people in the labor force, rose to 63.2%, up a 1/2 a point in the past year. Lastly, average hourly earnings rose 0.4% versus the 0.2% expected while annual wage growth increased 3.2%. Both were positive numbers.
A recent survey by the Bank of America shows that nearly all homebuyers surveyed are happy they stopped renting. The B of A report read that 93% percent of people who have bought a home are happier because of it, and 83% say they wouldn’t go back to renting. Most credit their happiness to an emotional attachment to their home, as well as the improved lifestyle and variety of hobbies that come with owning. The survey went to reveal that a staggering 88% of homeowners agree that buying a home is the best decision they have ever made, and 79% believe that owning a home has changed them for the better.
Thursday - September 5
Market Wrap - Bond prices closed lower while yields pushed higher in a risk on session due in part to positive trade headlines and solid economic data. The yield on the 10-yr T Note closed at 1.56% from this morning's low of 1.46%. The Dow closed with a 370 point gain. With tomorrow's Jobs Report ushering in headline risk and the double top that has formed for the Fannie Mae 30-yr 3.5% coupon, we are advising locking files that are closing within 30 days with a longer-term floating bias. The Jobs Report for August will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Look to the Market News section of the MMG site for the numbers and the market's reaction.
Late Morning Review - Labor market news continued strong today with private payroll growth surpassing expectations in August. ADP Private Payrolls rose 195,000 last month, well above the 150,000 expected while July was revised lower to 142,000 from 156,000. It was the largest gain in four months. Within the numbers it showed that small business hiring rose 66,000, a four-month high, midsized added 77,000 while large companies added 52,000. The data signals that the market remains strong despite a slowdown in manufacturing.
Home loan rates continued to decline in the latest survey though they may have edged up since the survey numbers were collected. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell nine basis points to 3.49% with an average 0.5 in points and fees. Freddie Mac says, "Going forward, the combination of low mortgage rates, a tight labor market, and strong consumer confidence will offset declining business sentiment. These factors will set the stage for continued improvement in the housing market heading into the fall."
A recent rental report showed prices increased modestly in September nationally, though prices edged lower in the three top markets that include New York, San Francisco and Boston. Rental prices rose 0.1% for a one-bedroom and 0.5% for a two-bedroom, according the Zumper's National Rent Report. The average median cost for a one-bedroom is at $1,250 while a two-bedroom rose to $1,493. The Zumper National Rent Report analyzes rental data from over 1 million active listings across the country.
Wednesday - September 4
Market Wrap - Mortgage Bonds traded in a tight range today in lackluster trading. Treasury prices ended slightly positive while the 10-yr yield settled at 1.46%. Stocks closed higher on strong Chinese data, an ease in Hong Kong tensions and positive Brexit news. Mortgage rates were reported to be at 3-yr lows. There were no major economic reports released today. ADP and Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be released tomorrow morning. However, be on guard heading into tomorrow's ADP and Friday's Jobs Report.
Late Morning Review - Mortgage rates edged lower in the latest week and are now at three-year lows, reports the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell seven basis points in the week ended August 30, 2019 to 3.87% with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.38. In addition, the Market Composite Index, a measure of total mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.1%, while the Refinance Index fell 7% with the Purchase Index up 3.6%. The survey covers over 75% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990.
US stocks are bouncing back today after the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered a 300-point loss yesterday. Simmering tensions in Hong Kong, strong economic data out of China and the People's Bank of China hinting at additional stimulus to stimulate its economy are giving global stocks a boost. The Dow hit an all-time high of 27,359 back on July 15, 2019 and is currently at 26,282 after suffering losses in August.
The September Federal Open Market Committee meeting will take place next week on the 17th and 18th. It is expected that the benchmark Fed Funds Rate (FFR) will be cut by twenty-five basis points to 2.0%. The FFR is the interest rate at which banks or other depository institutions lend money to each other, usually on an overnight basis. Banks set their prime rates to the FFR by adding three points to the current FFR. The current FFR is 2.25% and by adding three points, the current prime rate is 5.25%. The prime rate is the interest rate that banks charge their preferred customers, or those with the highest credit ratings. It is used to determine borrowing costs on many short-term loan products.
+3.6%. 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage -7bp to 3.87%, lowest since November 2016.
Tuesday - September 3
Market Wrap - Lower stock prices pushed Treasuries prices higher today due to the ongoing trade issues between the US and China. However, Mortgage Bonds closed near unchanged as the disconnect continues. The yield on the 10-yr Note closed at a 3-year low of 1.46%. WTI oil settled at $53.91/barrel, -$1.19. The weak ISM Index data also weighed on Stocks during the session though the Dow, S&P and NASDAQ managed to close off their lows. There are no major economic reports due for release tomorrow
Late Morning Review - CoreLogic reports that home prices rose 3.6% from July 2018 to July 2019 while there was a 0.5% increase month-over-month from June to July. Home prices are expected to increase by 5.4% from July 2019 to July 2020. “Sales of new and existing homes this July were up from a year ago, supported by low mortgage rates and rising family income,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “With the for-sale inventory remaining low in many markets, the pick-up in buying has nudged price growth up. If low interest rates and rising income continue, then we expect home-price growth will strengthen over the coming year.”
National manufacturing across the US contracted in August due in part to the trade issues between the US and China. The ISM Manufacturing Index fell to 49.1 last month, down from 51.2 in July. A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 indicates that it is generally contracting. The 49.1 number was the lowest reading since January 2016, when the index registered 48. Within the report, it showed that the employment component also fell into contraction, after 34 consecutive months of employment growth.
US stocks are plunging on the first day of the month and the kickoff to the fourth quarter of 2019 on continued trade woes. New tariffs went into effect September 1 on $110 billion worth of imports from China into the US while the two sides are struggling to decide on when to schedule the September talks. The closely watched S&P 500 stock index fell 1.8% in August, for only the second monthly decline in 2019. The losses came in response to the trade issues along with inverted yield curve/recession fears.
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