What the Markets Are Doing Today:
Both the bond market and Mortgage Backed Securities as well as the stock markets opened down in price today. This is probably a negative reaction to the president's speech last night. But it also could be because of the sale of even more government debt that is expected later today.
- The Dow opened down 34 points from yesterday's close and is currently down 123 points
- NASDAQ opened down 12 points from yesterday's close and is currently down 24 points
- The 10 Year Treasury Bond opened down 11/32 from yesterday's close and is currently down 19/32
- FNMA 30 Year Mortgage Backed Securities February 4.5 coupon opened down 1/32 from yesterday's close and currently down 6/32
Remember, on MBSs, as the price goes up, the yield goes down - and mortgage interest rates go down with it. Conversely, as the price goes down, the yield goes up - and so do mortgage interest rates. MBS closed down 4/32 from its opening yesterday morning, and is currently down another 6/32 this morning. I expect mortgage rates will most likely be a little more expensive today than yesterday by 0.125% to 0.250% in price.
Economic Reports Being Released Today:
- Existing Home Sales Report for January - The number of home sold in January fell far below than what analysts were expecting. There were 449,000 homes sold last month, and is a 5.2% drop from home sales in December. Analysts were expecting to see a 1.1% rise in home sales. This means that the values of homes in most areas will continue to fall.
There's an average 9.6 month supply of homes on the market. That means that if no more homes were brought onto the market, it will take 9.6 months to sell the current supply of available homes. It also means that we are still in a buyer's market. In addition, the average price of a single-family home in January was $212,400.
This is one of two least important reports of the week, and it will not have much impact on bond or MBS prices or mortgage rates.
Important News of the Day:
The President gave a speech before Congress last night. He did not provide any more details on how to improve the economy or resolve the mortgage mess. I expect stock and bond traders are a little more than disappointed, and will be selling stocks and bonds today, which in turns means mortgage rates and/or pricing could be a little higher today.
The Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, will continue his testimony before Congress today. What he says or doesn't say and what he implies or doesn't imply could affect the markets either positively or negatively. (If that isn't a wishy-washy statement, I don't know what is!) It all depends on what the investors want to hear, what they actually hear, and what they didn't hear.
There's another round of treasury auctions today. That means the government will try and sell even more debt to the weary market. And as the supply of bonds to pay for the massive debt continues to grow, it will apply more downward pressure on MBS (meaning it forces bond price down which in turn drives yields up). And because treasury bonds and MBSs are both fixed income investments, they tend to move in the same direction. So keep an eye on the bond markets. If bond prices drop, then you can expect the prices of MBSs to drop. That will in turn lead to higher mortgage rates.
There are six economic reports to be released this week that could potentially affect mortgage rates. Look for more details on next week's economic data releases and events on my Weekly Mortgage Market Watch.
What Happening With Mortgage Rates Today:
Moderate Volatility. Overall, I am expecting to see some movement in the markets, and there's some downward pressure on MBS prices again today (meaning higher rates). I expect the markets will be more volatile the rest of the week.
If you haven't locked in a rate yet, then you may want to continue floating. While floating continues to make sense right now, the ever increasing massive government debt could drive mortgage rates up. So, if you like the rate that you are being offered today, then there's nothing wrong with locking in.
My Interest Rate Lock Advice for Today:
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would...
- Float if my closing was taking place within 7 days
- Float if my closing was taking place within 8 and 30 days
- Float if my closing was taking place between 31 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 any or all other borrowers.
East Bridgewater, MA 02333
Lew Corcoran, ASP®, IAHSP, IAHSP-CB