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James Brooks

Again No Change In Today's Mortgage Rate 12-22-2017

Friday, December 22, 2017 - Article by: James Brooks - Message

By James Brooks

The bond market is again unchanged, which should keep Raleigh area mortgage rates unchanged.

Today's holiday-shortened session has four relevant economic reports for the markets to digest. First on the schedule was November's Durable Goods Orders at 8:30 AM ET. The Commerce Department announced that new orders for big-ticket products rose 1.3% last month when analysts were expecting to see 2.1%. A secondary reading that tracks orders excluding more costly and volatile transportation orders, such as new airplanes, fell 0.1%. That reading was expected to rise 0.4%. This data is known to be quite volatile, so the variance between the actual and forecasted numbers isn't as important as it would be with other reports. Still, the weaker than predicted readings are favorable news for bonds and mortgage rates because they indicate that manufacturing activity was not as strong as thought.

Also at 8:30 AM was the release of November's Personal Income and Outlays data. The Commerce Department gave us this data also, but the results were not as favorable. They showed a 0.3% rise in income while spending rose 0.6%. Forecasts were calling for a 0.4% increase in income, meaning consumers had less money to spend than thought. The bad news was that the spending was expected to rise only 0.4%. In short, consumers earned more than they did in October, although not as much as predicted, and they spent more than thought. Because consumer spending makes up over two-thirds of the U.S. economy, the beat in that reading makes the report bad news for bonds and mortgage rates.

The third report of the morning December's revised University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment at 10:00 AM ET. It came in at 95.9, falling short of the 96.8 that was announced earlier this month. Analysts were expecting to see 97.1, meaning consumers were less optimistic about their own financial situations than they were last month. That is good news for mortgage rates because waning confidence usually translates into softer levels of consumer spending.

Lastly, November's New Home Sales data was also posted at 10:00 AM. It revealed a whopping increase of 17.5% in sales of newly constructed homes last month. This was significantly stronger than forecasts, which were calling for a decline in sales, and pushed the number of sales to their highest level in 25 years. That is a sign of a strengthening housing sector, albeit a small portion of the overall sector. Fortunately, this is not considered to carry a lot of significance or we could have seen a negative reaction in bonds.

The bond market will close at 2:00 PM ET today ahead of Monday's Christmas Day holiday and will reopen Tuesday morning. The stock markets are set to be open for a full day of trading but will be closed Monday also. Next week is extremely light in terms of events scheduled that are likely to affect mortgage rates.

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.

We would like to take this opportunity to with you and yours a wonderful holiday!

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