Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level in Seven Years
U.S. foreclosure filings in February fell to the level in more than seven years, and dropped 10 percent from January, RealtyTrac reported.
According to the real estate information firm, there were 112,498 filings last month. The number, which includes default notices, auctions and repossessions, marks a 27 percent drop from the prior year. It’s also the lowest since December 2006.
The report also said there were 152,033 “zombie foreclosures”—owner-vacated homes. The figure nationwide remained flat compared to the third quarter of 2013 when the firm last reported on the number.
With less distressed properties hitting the market, this will help with our Spring selling season and should positively impact overall home prices.
What Happened to Rates Last Week:
Mortgage backed securities (MBS) gained +54 basis points (BPS) from last Friday’s close which caused 30 year fixed mortgage rates to move lower after rising the prior week. The market saw the lowest rateson Friday and the highest rates on Wednesday.
We had a another “mixed bag” of economic data. On the inflation front…the Producer Price Index fell -.01% but Import Prices rose 0.9%. Both Wholesale Inventories (+0.6%) and Business Inventories (0.4%) showed gains and Retail Sales were better than expected with a reading of +0.3%. Initial Weekly Jobless Claims were better than expected with a reading of only 315K. But the Consumer Sentiment Index was much weaker than expected at 79.9.
We had three treasury auctions (3YR, 10YR and 30YR) which all saw very strong demand and helped to provide positive momentum to MBS pricing.
But the major force behind mortgage backed securities improving (and therefore mortgage rates falling) was not our domestic economic data, it was the “flight to quality” into U.S. bonds primarily due to concern over geo-political turmoil in the Ukraine and concern over China’s banking system as Chinese companies are beginning to default on bank loans.
Date Time (ET) Economic Release Actual Market Expects Prior 17-Mar 8:30 AM Empire Manufacturing – 5.4 4.5 17-Mar 9:00 AM Net Long-Term TIC Flows – NA -$45.9B 17-Mar 9:15 AM Capacity Utilization – NA 78.50% 17-Mar 9:15 AM Industrial Production – 0.10% -0.30% 17-Mar 9:15 AM Capacity Utilization – 78.50% 78.50% 17-Mar 10:00 AM NAHB Housing Market Index – 50 46 18-Mar 8:30 AM Housing Starts – 915K 880K 18-Mar 8:30 AM Building Permits – 955K 937K 18-Mar 8:30 AM CPI – 0.20% 0.10% 18-Mar 8:30 AM Core CPI – 0.10% 0.10% 19-Mar 7:00 AM MBA Mortgage Index – NA -2.10% 19-Mar 8:30 AM Current Account Balance – -$87.6B -$94.8B 19-Mar 10:30 AM Crude Inventories – NA 6.180M 19-Mar 2:00 PM FOMC Rate Decision – 0.25% 0.25% 20-Mar 8:30 AM Initial Claims – 330K 315K 20-Mar 8:30 AM Continuing Claims – 2883K 2855K 20-Mar 10:00 AM Existing Home Sales – 4.60M 4.62M 20-Mar 10:00 AM Philadelphia Fed – 2 -6.3 20-Mar 10:00 AM Leading Indicators – 0.30% 0.30% 20-Mar 10:30 AM Natural Gas Inventories – NA -195 bcf
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.