Mortgage markets improved last week on tame inflation data, a benign statement from the Federal Reserve, and ongoing credit problems in Greece.
The factors combined to drop conforming mortgage rates to their lowest levels in 6 weeks.
It’s an unexpected development considering that mortgage rates were supposed to rise post March 31, 2010. That was the day the Fed’s support for mortgage markets ended.
Since then, however, a month-long string of devastating economic and meteorological events within the Eurozone sparked a global flight-to-quality that benefited “safe” assets such as mortgage bonds.
May 2010 may not be so kind.
The week starts with news that Greece reached a $147 billion bailout agreement with the IMF Sunday. This is a plus for the Eurozone and mortgage market negative. Rates should rise on the bailout.
Also on Monday, the government releases Personal Consumptions and Expenditures data.
PCE is the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge and it’s expected to show an annual read of 1.3 percent. Anything higher and rates should rise.
Then, for the rest of the week, employment data takes center stage.
- Wednesday : ADP releases its private sector employment data
- Thursday : The government releases initial jobless claims
- Friday : The government releases April’s job report
Jobs are key to the U.S. economic recovery, tied to consumer spending, consumer confidence, and mortgage delinquencies. If job growth is better than expected, mortgage rates should rise. If job growth is worse, rates should fall.
There’s no “best day” to lock this week so keep an eye on the market. However, if rates rise as quickly in May as they fell in April, you won’t have much time to act.