Mortgage Market Guide – July 25th, 2011

“The heat is on.” The title of that Glenn Frey song not only applied to the sweltering temperatures around much of the nation last week, it also applied to the debt ceiling debate, as the heat was on our leaders in Washington to finalize a solution to our debt situation. Why is this important? Read on for details.

It only takes a look at what is happening in Europe these days to understand why it’s crucial that the United States finds a solution to the debt ceiling issue. Not only have eight European banks recently failed a stress test, but last week there was news that Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and French “credit default swaps” (which are insurance policies against default) were trading at record levels. While the European Union is continuing to work to contain Europe’s debt problems and prevent a default in Greece (and elsewhere), these events bode a very important lesson for the US.

Why? Because solving our debt ceiling debate and finding a long-term plan for lowering our deficit and being fiscally sound will raise confidence in our debt and help the US keep its AAA credit rating from the various credit rating firms like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. This will help investors continue to see the US as the ultra safe haven for their money, which is a key aspect of our continued economic recovery.

Speaking of our economic recovery, there was some good news last week for the housing sector, as June Housing Starts and Building Permits were both reported better than expected. While this is only one number and one number doesn’t make a trend, this is a good figure, and I will be watching closely for follow through in future readings.

If you’ve been thinking about buying or refinancing a home, give me a call or send me an email to learn how you can take advantage of home loan rates that remain near some of the best levels we’ve seen this year. Or forward this newsletter on to someone you know who may benefit.

Forecast for the Week  
Earnings season continues, with reports from 3M, Ford, and Exxon, among others. Plus, a busy week is ahead when it comes to economic reports. Look for:

  • On Tuesday we’ll get an idea about how people are feeling about the economy with the Consumer Confidence Report.
  • Tuesday also brings a report on New Home Sales, which will be followed by the Pending Home Sales Report on Thursday.
  • Thursday also brings another weekly Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims Report. Last week’s Initial Jobless claims came in at 418,000, above the 400,000 mark for the 15th consecutive week. This leading indicator on job market health tells us that the labor market pains have not subsided.
  • Rounding out the week is a double read on the state of the economy with Wednesday’s Durable Goods Orders, which gives us an update on consumer and business buying behavior on big-ticket items, and Friday’s Gross Domestic Product Report, which is the broadest measure of economic activity.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see in the chart below, uncertainty in Washington and overseas caused volatility and anxiety in the markets last week, which put pressure on the Bond market and home loan rates. But remember, rates are still very attractive right now. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.


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Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jul 22, 2011)
Japanese Candlestick Chart