August 18th, 2009 9:46 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of four reports that may influence mortgage rates, but only one of them is considered to be highly important. With no relevant auctions or speeches on tap, I suspect we will see much less movement in mortgage rates this week compared to the past couple of weeks. There is no relevant data scheduled for release tomorrow, so look for the stock markets to drive bond trading and mortgage rates.
There are two reports scheduled to be posted Tuesday morning. The first is July's Producer Price Index (PPI) that gives us an indication of inflation at the producer level of the economy. There are two readings in the report- the overall index and the core data reading. The core data is more important because it excludes more volatile food and energy prices that can change significantly from month to month. Current forecasts call for a decline of 0.2% in the overall and a 0.1% increase in the core data reading. A larger increase in the core d ata could push mortgage rates higher Tuesday morning. If it reveals weaker than expected readings, we may see mortgage rates improve as a result.
The second report of the day is July's Housing Starts data. This report gives us an indication of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand. However, it isn't considered to be of high importance to the bond market or mortgage pricing and usually doesn't cause much movement in mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts. It is the least important of the week's reports and is expected to show an increase in construction starts of new homes. The lower the number of starts the better the news for bonds as it would indicate a weaker than expected housing sector.
The Conference Board will give us the its Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for July late Thursday morning. This index attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months and is considered to be moderately important. A higher than expected reading is bad news for the bond market because it indicates that the economy may be strengthening more than thought. However, a weaker than expected reading means that the economy may not grow as much as predicted, making stocks less appealing to investors. This also eases inflation concerns in the bond market and could lead to slightly lower mortgage rates Thursday if the stock markets remain calm. Current forecasts are calling for an increase of 0.6% in the index, indicating economic growth over the next couple of months.
July's Existing Home Sales will close out the week's data Friday morning. The National Association of Realtors will release this report, giving us a measurement of housing sector strength. It covers approximately 85% of home sales in the U.S., but usually does not have a major influence on bond trading and mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from analysts' forecasts. It is expected to show an increase from June's sa les, meaning the housing sector is strengthening.
Overall, look for Tuesday to be the busiest day of the week with the PPI being released. The rest of the week will likely be influenced more by stock prices than anything else, which may be quite volatile. Therefore, keep an eye on the markets 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... Lock 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 borrowers.
©Mortgage Commentary 2009