Pending Home Sales and New Home Sales Improve
The number of contracts signed to buy previously owned homes in November rose to the highest level in more than two years on a seasonally adjusted basis, the latest sign of how housing demand has firmed up.
The National Association of Realtors said their index of pending home sales, reflecting sales that have gone into contract but haven’t yet closed, rose 9.8% last month from one year ago and by 1.7% from October, marking the 19th consecutive month where contract activity has risen from the previous year.
More recently, traditional buyers—who plan to live in the home they buy—have returned in growing numbers. Household formation is expanding as the economy posts modest job growth. Rising rents and prices are sparking a sense of urgency among buyers, who are increasingly frustrated by the lack of attractive inventory.
In a separate report, New-home sales rose in November, recording their strongest pace in more than 2 years, another sign of improvement in the housing market.
The Census Bureau reported Thursday that sales of new homes rose to an annual rate of 377,000 in the month, up 4.4% from October, and up 15% from year-earlier levels. It was the highest rate of new-home sales since April 2010, when sales were inflated by a temporary $8,000 tax credit for home buyers.
What Happened to Rates Last Week:
Mortgage backed securities (MBS) gained +13 basis points from last Friday to the prior Friday which caused 30 year fixed mortgage rates to move slightly lower. We had our highest mortgage rates on Monday and our lowest rates on Friday.
We had a holiday-shortened week and light trading volumes. We had a mixed bag of economic data. With more improvement on the housing front with better than expected Pending Home Sales, New Home Sales and Case-Shiller Home Price Index. But Consumer Confidence was a big disappointment.
The markets continued to be held hostage by the unknown as traders were stuck in a holding pattern amidst the fiscal talks impasse. Without any clear direction of what our fiscal situation will be after this week, traders are unwilling to put their money to work. This has helped to keep your mortgage rates artificially low as mortgage backed securities are one of the main places that investors are parking their cash.
What to Watch Out For This Week:
The following 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:
|Date||ET||Economic Release||Actual||Market Expects||Prior|
|2-Jan||7:00 AM||MBA Mortgage Index||–||NA||-12.30%|
|2-Jan||10:00 AM||ISM Index||–||50.5||49.5|
|2-Jan||10:00 AM||Construction Spending||–||0.50%||1.40%|
|2-Jan||2:00 PM||Auto Sales||–||NA||5.6M|
|2-Jan||2:00 PM||Truck Sales||–||NA||6.5M|
|3-Jan||7:30 AM||Challenger Job Cuts||–||NA||34.40%|
|3-Jan||8:15 AM||ADP Employment Change||–||140K||118K|
|3-Jan||8:30 AM||Initial Claims||–||365K||350K|
|3-Jan||8:30 AM||Continuing Claims||–||3200K||3206K|
|3-Jan||10:30 AM||Natural Gas Inventories||–||NA||NA|
|4-Jan||8:30 AM||Nonfarm Payrolls||–||150K||146K|
|4-Jan||8:30 AM||Nonfarm Private Payrolls||–||145K||147K|
|4-Jan||8:30 AM||Unemployment Rate||–||7.70%||7.70%|
|4-Jan||8:30 AM||Hourly Earnings||–||0.20%||0.20%|
|4-Jan||8:30 AM||Average Workweek||–||34.5||34.4|
|4-Jan||10:00 AM||Factory Orders||–||0.50%||0.80%|
|4-Jan||10:00 AM||ISM Services||–||53.5||54.7|
|4-Jan||10:30 AM||Natural Gas Inventories||–||NA||NA|
|4-Jan||11:00 AM||Crude Inventories||–||NA||NA|
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.