Market Outlook, Mortgage

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 3, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 3, 2022Last week’s economic news included readings on home prices, pending home sales, and inflation. The University of Michigan released its monthly reading on consumer sentiment and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Price Growth Slower in July

According to S&P Case-Shiller’s national reading for July home prices, home price growth slowed by -2.90 percent in July as compared to +3.00 percent growth in June. This reading supported analysts’ expectations of a cooling housing market after months of rapidly rising home prices in many areas.  The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index, which is a benchmark report used by real estate professionals, also posted slower home price gains for July. All 20 cities reported slower home price gains year-over-year in July.

The top three cities in the 20-city index for July with Tampa, Florida posting a year-over-year home price gain of 31.80 percent; Miami, Florida followed closely with a year-over-year home price gain of 31.70 percent and Dallas, Texas reported a year-over-year home price gain of 24.70 percent.

Mortgage rates approached seven percent last week and increased affordability concerns for would-be home buyers. Pending home sales declined by 2.00 percent in August; Analysts expected pending sales to decrease by 1.40 percent.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 41 basis points to 6.70 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 52 basis points to 5.96 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 33 basis points and averaged 5.30 percent. Discount points

for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.90 percent; discount points for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 1.30 percent and points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

Initial jobless claims fell to 193,000 claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 209,000 first-time claims filed. Analysts predicted a reading of 215,000 initial jobless claims filed.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for August reported an index reading of 58.60 as compared to the expected reading of 59.50 and July’s index reading of 59.50. Decreased consumer sentiment is  related to high inflation and rising rates for mortgages and consumer credit.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending, public and private sector job reports, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.


Market Outlook

Case-Shiller: February Home Prices Gained Before Coronavirus Outbreak

Case-Shiller February Home Prices Gained Before Coronavirus OutbreakHome prices continued to grow in February according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. National home prices grew at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 4.20 percent as compared to national home price growth of 3.90 percent in January. Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index showed higher home price growth rates in February with average annual home price growth of 3.50 percent. January home prices grew by 3.10 percent for cities included in the 20-City Index.

The lowest year-over-year home price growth rates were posted by Chicago, Illinois with 0.70 percent; New York City posted 1.50 percent growth, and Dallas, Texas with 2.50 percent home price growth.

Phoenix, Arizona home prices grew by a seasonally-adjusted annual rate e of 7.50 percent; Seattle, Washington home prices grew by 6.00 percent year-over-year. Tampa, Florida’s home price growth was tied with Charlotte, North Carolina’s home price growth rate of 5.20 percent. Analysts said that long-standing market conditions of high buyer demand, low inventories of available homes, and mortgage rates near record lows contributed to February’s home price growth.

Gains Across 20 City Composite

Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said February results “were broad-based with gains in every city in our 20-City Composite; 17 of 20 cities saw accelerating prices.”

February readings were based on home sales completed before the Coronavirus impacted the U.S. economy and government restrictions on all but essential activities reduced buyer traffic and slowed home sales. Areas supported by tourism and recreation were expected to see sharp declines in home prices and sales.

Fed Promises to Use All Remedies as Coronavirus Crisis Grows

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee said it would use all available tools to steady economic conditions destabilized by the Coronavirus pandemic. The FOMC said in its post-meeting statement that “The ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook in the medium term.”

Committee members did not change the current federal interest rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent and pledged to hold the Fed rate steady until the economy has weathered the public health crisis and was on track to achieve the Fed’s dual mandate of full employment and price stability.


Market Outlook

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Near 1999 High

NAHB Home Builder Confidence Near 1999 HighThe National Association of Home Builders reported a housing market index reading of 74 in February; the index reading was one point lower than for January and was only two points below the highest reading of 76 reported in December. Readings over 50 indicate that most builders consider housing market conditions to be positive.

Factors contributing to builder confidence included strong housing markets and low mortgage rates; job growth and higher wages also boosted builder confidence.

Low Inventory Influences Home Prices

Low inventories of available homes continued to drive demand and rising home prices. Homebuyers faced with low supplies of existing homes turned to new home developments for additional options. First-time homebuyers faced obstacles including affordability and student loan debt that negatively impacted the ability to save for a down payment and qualify for home loans.

High costs of building materials and lots contributed to homebuilder expenses and higher home prices. Analysts noted that environmental and zoning issues also presented challenges for builders and limited their ability to meet the rising demand for affordable single-family homes.

Composite indices used to calculate the Homebuilders Housing Market Index slipped one point in each category. Builder confidence in current market conditions for newly-built single-family homes fell to an index reading of 80 and builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months dipped to 79. Buyer traffic volume in new housing developments dropped to 57, but buyer traffic readings of 50 or more were historically rare until recently.

Analysts identified correlations between the Housing Market Index and readings on consumer sentiment. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index and the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index readings trend close to the NAHB Housing Market Index but are reported one month behind the Housing Market Index.

Regional Builder Confidence Mixed

Homebuilders reported mixed confidence in housing market conditions throughout the U.S. Market Conditions improved in the Northeast where homebuilder confidence was five points higher at 67. The Midwestern region reported a builder confidence reading of 62, which was five points lower than January’s reading. Homebuilder confidence in the South rose two points to an index reading of 79; homebuilder confidence fell four points in the West to 82.

Regional builder confidence levels reflect local economic conditions and events impacting housing markets.