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Mortgage Rates (3/22/2009 The Week Ahead)

March 22nd, 2009 8:12 PM by Lehel Szucs

This week brings us the release of six monthly and quarterly reports for the bond market to digest. Two of these reports can be considered much less important than the others, but with data scheduled for release four out of the five days we will still likely see movement in rates from day to day.

The first report of the week is February's Existing Home Sales late tomorrow morning. It will give us a measurement of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand, but is usually considered to be of low importance to the financial markets. Its' sister report- New Home Sales, will be posted Wednesday morning. Since tomorrow's release is the day's only data, it may influence bond trading enough to cause a slight change in mortgage rates if it varies greatly from forecasts. Current forecasts are calling both reports to show a decline in sales.

Wednesday's important data comes from the Commerce Department, who will post February's Durable Goods Orders. T his report gives us a measurement of manufacturing sector strength by tracking new orders for big-ticket items, or products that are expected to last three or more years. This data is known to be volatile from month to month but is still considered to be of high importance. Analysts are expecting it to show a decline in new orders of approximately 2.0%. A smaller decline would be considered a negative for bonds and could lead to higher mortgage rates Wednesday morning.

The next relevant data is Thursday's final revision to the 4th Quarter GDP. This is the second and final revision to January's preliminary reading and is expected to show a downward revision of 0.4% to the reading that was posted last month. Analysts are now more concerned with next month's preliminary reading of the 1st quarter than data from three to six months ago, so I don't expect this report to affect mortgage rates much.

There are two relevant reports scheduled for release Friday. The first is February's Personal Income & Outlays report. This data helps us measure consumers' ability to spend and current spending habits, which is important to the mortgage market because of the influence that consumer spending related information has on the financial markets. If a consumer's income is rising, they are more likely to make additional purchases. This raises inflation concerns and has a negative affect on the bond market and mortgage rates. Current forecasts are calling for a 0.1% drop in income and a 0.3% increase in spending.

 

 

The second report comes from the University of Michigan at 9:45 AM ET. Their revision to the March consumer sentiment index will give us an indication of consumer confidence, which hints at consumers' willingness to spend. It is expected to show little change from the previous reading of 56.6.

Overall, it is difficult to label one particular day as the most important of the week. The sing le most important report will likely be the Durable Goods Orders, but none of the week's data has the potential to be a major market mover. It will be interesting to see whether last week's Fed news influences this week's trading. After the huge rally, we saw some weakness in bonds at the end of the week, but this did not come as a surprise. If the stock markets start to move lower again, we should see gains in bonds and improvements in mortgage rates. But, if stocks continue to move higher, further pressure in bonds are possible, leading to higher mortgage pricing.

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 c annot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.


©Mortgage Commentary 2009

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Posted by Lehel Szucs on March 22nd, 2009 8:12 PM

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