November 23rd, 2009 9:37 AM by Lehel S.
This holiday-shortened week brings us the release of seven relevant economic reports for the markets to digest. All of the week's data is being posted over just three days, so the first part of the week should be interesting for mortgage shoppers.
October's Existing Home Sales data will be posted late tomorrow morning. This report, along with Wednesday's New Home Sales data are the least important reports of the week. They give us a measurement of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand, but the bond market generally does not rely heavily on their results. They both are expected to show increases in sales, indicating that the housing sector may be strengthening.
The first important data comes early Tuesday morning when the first revision to the 3rd Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be posted. The GDP revision is expected to show a downward revision from last month's preliminary reading of a 3.5% annual rate of expansion. Curre nt forecasts call for a reading of approximately 2.9%, meaning that there was less economic growth during the third quarter than previously thought. This would be good news for the bond market and mortgage rates, but it will likely take a smaller than expected reading for this report to improve mortgage rates.
November's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) will be released by the Conference Board late Tuesday morning. It gives us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. If consumer confidence is rising, analysts believe that consumers are more apt to make larger purchases, essentially fueling economic growth. This raises inflation concerns and usually pushes mortgage rates higher. Analysts are expecting to see little change from last month's 47.7 reading, meaning consumer were just as concerned about their own financial situations as they were last month. A weaker than expected reading should be good news for mortgage rates, but a stronger than expected reading could push mortgage rates higher Tuesday.
There are four reports scheduled to be posted Wednesday morning. October's Durable Goods Orders is the first and will be posted early morning. This data helps us measure manufacturing strength by tracking orders for big-ticket items, but is known to be quite volatile from month-to-month. It is expected to show a 0.5% increase in new orders. A smaller than expected rise would be considered good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
The second is October's Personal Income and Outlays data. This data is thought to measure consumers' ability to spend and their current spending habits. This is important because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy. It is expected to show that income rose 0.2% and that spending increases 0.5%. Smaller than expected readings would be good news for bonds and could lead to improvements in mortgage rates.
The revised November reading to the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment will also be posted late Wednesday morning. Analysts are expecting to see an upward revision to the preliminary reading of 66.0. Unless we see a significant variance from the forecasted reading, I don't think this data will cause much movement in mortgage rates Wednesday.
October's New Home Sales is the last report, but it is the least important. I don't think this data will influence mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts and the rest of the day's news matches forecasts.
The financial markets will be closed Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. There will not be an early close Wednesday ahead of the holiday, but they will close early Friday and will reopen next Monday morning. I suspect that Friday will be a very light day in bond trading as many market participants will be home. Banks have to be open Friday , but we will likely see little change to mortgage rates that day.
Overall, I believe that it is going to be an active week for the mortgage market, particularly the first half. Friday will be the least important day of the week and either Tuesday or Wednesday will be the most important. I expect to see plenty of movement in rates the first couple of days, so please be careful and maintain contact with your mortgage professional if you have not locked an interest rate yet.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other b orrowers.