housing snapshot

Pending Home Sales Index Strong

The National Association of Realtors latest Pending Home Sales Index was just released and came in at a very strong 106.4.  According to the NAR, any reading above 100 is above historical norms.

But it was still a mixed bag with the South leading the way with very strong growth.  Other geo-graphic regions were hampered by a severe lack of available inventory to satisfy demand.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market this spring is hindered because of the severe housing shortages in much of the country. “Pending sales slipped in April and continued to stay within the same narrow range with little signs of breaking out,” he said. “Feedback from Realtors®, as well as the underlying sales data, reveal that the demand for buying a home is very robust. Listings are typically going under contract in under a month1, and instances of multiple offers are increasingly common and pushing prices higher.”

Added Yun, “The unfortunate reality for many home shoppers is that reaching the market will remain challenging if supply stays at these dire levels.”

Heading into the summer months, if low supply and swift price growth were not enough of a headwind for the housing market, Yun believes that rising mortgage rates and gas prices could lead to hesitation among some would-be buyers.

“The combination of paying extra at the pump, while also needing to save more for a down payment because of higher rates and home prices, may weigh on the psyche of those looking to buy,” he said. “For now, the economy is very healthy, job growth is holding steady and wages are slowly rising. However, it all comes down to overall supply. If more new and existing homes are listed for sale, it would allow home prices to moderate enough to stave off inflationary pressures and higher rates.”

Yun still forecasts for existing-home sales in 2018 to increase 0.5 percent to 5.54 million – up from 5.51 million in 2017. The national median existing-home price is expected to increase around 5.1 percent. In 2017, existing sales increased 1.1 percent and prices rose 5.7 percent.

Source: National Association of Realtors

What Happened to Rates Last Week?

Mortgage backed securities (FNMA 4.50 MBS) lost -1 basis poins (BPS) from last Friday’s close which caused fixed mortgage rates to move sideways for the week but we had a very “choppy” session with a large spread of -59BPS from our best pricing of the week (lowest rates) to the worst pricing of the week (highest rates.

Overview:  We had a holiday-shortened week that started on a big upswing (lower rates) due to Geo-Political concerns over Italy’s government and debt issues potentially crashing the Eurozone.  However, we had some very strong domestic economic data and by the end of the week both Italy and Spain were able to form new governments which calmed down the markets and caused MBS to loose their “fear factor” premium.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: We had our Big Jobs Friday!  And here is the “tale of the tape”:
May Non Farm Payrolls 223K vs est of 188K
April NFP revised from 164K down to 159K
March NFP revised from to 135K up to 155K
The more closely watched rolling 3 month average is now 179K
Average Hourly Earnings YOY 2.7% vs est of 2.7%
Average Hourly Earnings MOM 0.3% vs est of 0.2%
Unemployment Rate:
Unemployment Rate 3.8% vs est of 3.9%
Participation Rate 62.7% vs est of 62.6%

Japanese Taper:
The Bank of Japan chose to cut the size of its purchases of 5-to-10 year JGBs from 450bn to 430bn yen.

ISM Manufacturing: This was a very strong report! The headline reading beat estimates with a 58.7 vs 58.1 reading. But the Prices Paid when through the roof with a 79.5 reading. Chicago PMI was very strong with a 62.7 reading vs est of 58.4. Any reading above 60.0 is rare and very expansionary.

Inflation Nation:
 The Fed’s “trigger” rate, PCE YOY remained at 2.0% and the Core PCE YOY hit 1.8% which matched expectations and March was revised lower from 1.9% to 1.8%. Personal Spending shot up 0.6% vs est of 0.4% and Personal Income matched forecasts with a 0.3% monthly gain.

What to Watch Out For This Week:

The above are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week. They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages. I will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises.

It is virtually impossible for you to keep track of what is going on with the economy and other events that can impact the housing and mortgage markets.  Just leave it to me, I monitor the live trading of Mortgage Backed Securities which are the only thing government and conventional mortgage rates are based upon.