Mortgage markets showed little conviction last week, carving out just a narrow trading channel. There was very little data on which for markets to move, leaving mortgage rates momentum-bound.
Luckily for rate shoppers, mortgage rate momentum was favorable. Rates were slightly lower Monday through Thursday before breaking downward Friday afternoon. Home shoppers this past weekend caught a nice break.
Last week marked the second straight week in which mortgage rates fell.
This week, in holiday-shortened trading and with little economic data set for release, expect mortgage rates to again move on momentum. The biggest report of the week is Wednesday’s Producer Price Index.
Producer Price Index is important to mortgage rates because of its role in inflation. PPI is akin to a Cost of Living-type measurement, but for business. As business costs rise, the thought goes, it’s not long before consumer costs rise, too. Businesses eventually pass on costs, after all.
In this manner, a rising Producer Price Index can foreshadow rising consumer prices, and, therefore, inflation.
Inflation is awful for mortgage rates.
PPI expectations have revised downward this month, especially because last week’s data showed a deceleration in consumer prices nationwide. If PPI isn’t as weak as expected, mortgage rates will rise.
Other influential data this week includes Housing Starts, Consumer Confidence and Initial Jobless Claims.
So far, 2010 has been for mortgage rates around the country. If you’re in need of a rate lock, this week may be a good time to take one.