March 23rd, 2009 11:03 AM by Lehel Szucs
Monday's bond market has opened fairly flat despite an early stock rally. The stock markets are reacting favorably to the release of details of the Fed's plan for relieving banks of their bad holdings in mortgage related securities. The result is the Dow currently up 283 points and the Nasdaq up 52 points. The bond market is nearly unchanged from Friday's close, which will likely keep this morning's mortgage rates close to Friday's levels.
The National Association of Realtors announced late this morning that home resales rose 5.1% last month, greatly exceeding analysts' forecasts. This report was expected to show a small decline in sales, meaning that the housing market was much more active than many had thought. However, offsetting that news was a large decline in sales prices. This means that even though sales activity rebounded, home prices are still falling. Regardless, this data is not considered to be of high importance and therefore has had little impact on this morning's trading or mortgage pricing.
There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release tomorrow. Wednesday's important report comes from the Commerce Department, who will post February's Durable Goods Orders. This 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 2.4%. A smaller decline would be considered a negative for bonds and could lead to higher mortgage rates Wednesday morning.
Also scheduled for release Wednesday is February's New Home Sales report. It is expected to show a small decline in sales of newly constructed homes, but some analysts are revising forecasts after seeing this morning's Existing Home figures. But with tom orrow's report covering only approximately 15% of all home sales, its result will likely have less of an impact on mortgage rates than today's data did.
Overall, it is difficult to label one particular day as the most important of the week. The single most important report will likely be tomorrow's Durable Goods Orders, but none of the week's data has the potential to be a major market mover. I would like to say that this may be a relatively calm week for mortgage rates, but as we have seen recently, a lack of important releases does not mean we will not see volatility in the markets and rates. Therefore, I recommend not letting our guard down, particularly if still floating an interest rate.
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 closin g 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 borrowers.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009