Rates Drop Despite Big Job Number Under normal circumstances, a big positive job number like the one we saw on Friday, would have sent mortgage rates upward.
Hot Housing Market, Strong Durable Goods = Rake Hike Coming Soon The market for both previously owned homes and newly built homes saw their best activity in years. Improved labor market conditions and low mortgage rates are a great combination to support a very active housing market.
Soft Fed Statement Helps Rates The big event last week was Wednesday’s Fed meeting. A dovish Fed statement was positive for mortgage rates. The additional economic data released over the past week closely matched expectations, so it had little impact. Mortgage rates ended the week slightly lower.
Tepid Inflation and Retail Sales Keep Rates Flat Core CPI inflation, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, was 2.2% higher than a year ago, down from a 2.3% annual rate in February, and below the consensus forecast.
Central Bank Statements Help Rates Statements by the heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the U.S. Fed shared the same sentiment, the global economy needs support.
Yellen Speech is Music to Market’s Ears Despite the release of a wide range of major economic data, a speech from Fed Chair Yellen had the biggest influence on mortgage rates over the past week. Her comments were favorable for both stocks and bonds, and mortgage rates ended the week lower.
Strong Job Gains, Wages Stagnant Friday’s Employment report showed that job gains remained strong, with the economy adding 242K jobs in February.
Wage Growth is Lone Bright Spot Against a consensus forecast of 190K, the economy added 151K jobs in January. This was down from average gains of about 280K over the prior three months. The unemployment rate declined from 5.0% to 4.9%, the lowest level since February 2008.
Overseas Issues Push Rates Lower Several events caused investors around the world to shift their holdings to safer assets. On Monday, Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran, raising tensions between these two major powers in the Middle East.
Housing and Inflation in the Spotlight as 2016 Begins The last batch of data released on housing activity showed that we are ended 2015 at better levels than in 2014, but below the best levels of the year.