Mortgage markets worsened again last week as the holiday-shortened sessions did little to buck recent momentum. Although Freddie Mac reported mortgage rates dropping 0.02% from the week prior, loan officers on the street will report the opposite. Rates did not fall last week.
Conforming mortgage rates moved higher for 7th straight week.
For rate shoppers and home buyers, it’s been a harrowing two months.
Since the Federal Reserve announced its QE2 program November 3, 2010, mortgage rates have moved from all-time lows to 7-month highs. Mortgage payments now cost $38 more per month per $100,000 borrowed as compared to the day before the stimulus was announced.
Mortgage rates look poised to increase again. Here’s why.
A major reason why mortgage rates were so low, for so long, was that the U.S. economy was suffering. Consumer spending was slow, business forecasts were dour, and job growth was negative. These conditions lasted for longer than a year.
Lately, however, the conditions are changing:
- Consumer spending is up 5 months in a row (Bloomberg)
- Fannie Mae is boosting its economic outlook for 2011 (WSJ)
- Job growth is slow, but positive (Reuters)
And, furthermore, housing appears to be on solid ground. Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales improved last month, and home supplies are dropping. This, too, is good for the economy, which, in turn, is bad for mortgage rates.
This week, don’t be surprised is mortgage rates rise again. The week is again shortened by holiday and there’s a host of new data that may signal economic improvement including Pending Home Sales, consumer confidence surveys and the Case-Shiller Index.