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Posts Tagged ‘Retail Sales’

Mortgage Rates Climb Sharply After Retail Sales Report

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Retail Sales 2010-2012The U.S. economy is expanding, fueled by a renewed consumer optimism and increased consumer spending.

As reported by the Census Bureau, Retail Sales in February, excluding cars and auto parts, rose 1 percent to $335 billion as 11 of 13 retail sectors showed improvement last month.

February markets the 19th time in twenty months that U.S. Retail Sales increased on a month-over-month basis.

Unfortunately, what’s good for the economy may be bad for home buyers and mortgage rate shoppers. Home affordability is expected to worsen as the U.S. economy improves.

The connection between Retail Sales and home affordability is indirect, but noteworthy — especially given today’s broader market conditions.

First, let’s talk about affordability.

Last week, the National Association of REALTORS® released its monthly Housing Affordability Index, showing that homes are more affordable to everyday home buyers than at any time in recorded history. For buyers with median earnings buying median-priced homes, monthly payments now comprise just 12.1% of the monthly household income.

The real estate trade group considers 25% to be the benchmark for home affordability. Today’s payment levels are less than half of that.

The reasons why today’s homes are so affordable are three-fold :

  1. Home prices remain relatively low as compared to peak pricing
  2. Fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgage rates remain near all-time lows
  3. Average earnings are increasing nationwide

Rising Retail Sales, however, can derail the trend. This is because Retail Sales measures consumer spending and consumer spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. economy. As the economy expands, the forces that combined to raise home affordability so high begin to wane. 

First, in a recovering economy, mortgage rates tend to rise and, throughout 2012 and 2013, home prices are expected do the same. Second, as average earnings increase, it can spur inflation which is bad for mortgage rates, too. 

Home affordability is at all-time highs today. But, in part because of February’s Retail Sales data, we should not expect these levels to last. Mortgage rates are higher by 1/4 percent since the Retail Sales data was released — roughly $16 per $100,000 borrowed — and are expected to rise more throughout the spring home purchase season.

Retail Sales are up 6 percent from a year ago.

With Retail Sales And Consumer Confidence Rising, Home Prices Are Expected To Follow

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Consumer Confidence vs Retail Sales (2009-2012)

The U.S. economy continues to show signs of a rebound.

According to the Census Bureau, Retail Sales climbed to $329 billion last month on a seasonally-adjusted basis, excluding automobiles. January’s data marks the 18th time in 19 months that Retail Sales rose, a run that’s increased total sales receipts by 11 percent.

This is big news because Retail Sales accounts for close to 70% of the U.S. economy.

In addition, consumer confidence is rising.

In a separate, joint report from the University of Michigan and Thompson Reuters, it was shown that consumer attitudes toward the economy and the future are improving, primarily the result of recent job gains.  

The Survey of Consumers posted its highest value in 12 months.

It is not a coincidence that Retail Sales and consumer confidence both made multi-month highs — the readings are more than loosely linked. As consumers feel more confident about the economy and their personal prospects for the future, they’re more likely to spend money on goods and services, which leads to an increase in consumer spending.

For the housing market, the ramifications are two-fold.

First, from the financing side, an expanding economy is linked to rising mortgage rates. This is because Wall Street tends to chase risk in a growth economy and the bond market offers little in the way of risk. As demand for bonds drops, then, mortgage rates rise throughout new jersey.

Second, rising consumer confidence can lead home values higher, too.

Confident consumers are more likely than fearful ones to become home buyers. They’re more likely to stop renting and start buying; more likely to list their home and “move-up” to something bigger; more likely to “take the next step”.

So, as more buyers enter the market at a time when the national home supply is shrinking, the supply-demand balance in housing is shifting toward the sellers. This creates price pressures and should lead to higher home valuations.

If you have plans to buy a home in 2012, the best time to buy may be now. Today’s mortgage rates are low and so are the home prices — a combination that’s unlikely to last.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : February 13, 2012

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Retail Sales and mortgage ratesMortgage markets were mostly unchanged last week as Greece — once again — was front-of-mind for Wall Street investors. The nation-state is attempting to avoid a debt default, and has been attempting to avoid default since May 2010.

Early in the week, Greece reached a deal with European Union leaders to secure additional financial aid. By Friday, however, the deal was in doubt, as the EU leaders declared that the Greek Parliament would have pass new austerity measures before the aid would be released.

Austerity measures have been unpopular in Greece, giving rise to riots among citizens and resignations among politicians. Markets responded to the potential undoing of the debt deal by seeking safety in bonds — including U.S. mortgage-backed bonds.

The Greek debt default story has helped fuel low mortgage rates in new jersey. Once a final deal is reached, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

For now, though, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average, conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate held firm at 3.87% last week for mortgage borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus applicable closing costs. 1 discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size.

For borrowers unwilling to pay discount points and/or closing costs, average mortgage rates are higher.

This week, data returns to the U.S. economic calendar.

Greece will still be in play, but the health of the U.S. economy will determine in which direction mortgage rates will go. There are two inflation reports due — the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index.

The former is a “cost of living” indicator for U.S. households; the latter measures the same for business. Inflation is bad for mortgage rates so if either report comes in unexpectedly high, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

The same is true for Tuesday’s Retail Sales report.

Retail Sales account for close to 70% of total U.S. economic activity. An unexpectedly strong Retail Sales figure will suggest that the domestic economy is improving and that, too, would pressure mortgage rates up.

If you’re shopping for a mortgage, or floating one with your lender, consider locking in this week. Mortgage rates don’t have much room to fall and there’s much room to rise.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : February 13, 2012

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Retail Sales and mortgage ratesMortgage markets were mostly unchanged last week as Greece — once again — was front-of-mind for Wall Street investors. The nation-state is attempting to avoid a debt default, and has been attempting to avoid default since May 2010.

Early in the week, Greece reached a deal with European Union leaders to secure additional financial aid. By Friday, however, the deal was in doubt, as the EU leaders declared that the Greek Parliament would have pass new austerity measures before the aid would be released.

Austerity measures have been unpopular in Greece, giving rise to riots among citizens and resignations among politicians. Markets responded to the potential undoing of the debt deal by seeking safety in bonds — including U.S. mortgage-backed bonds.

The Greek debt default story has helped fuel low mortgage rates in delaware. Once a final deal is reached, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

For now, though, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average, conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate held firm at 3.87% last week for mortgage borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus applicable closing costs. 1 discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size.

For borrowers unwilling to pay discount points and/or closing costs, average mortgage rates are higher.

This week, data returns to the U.S. economic calendar.

Greece will still be in play, but the health of the U.S. economy will determine in which direction mortgage rates will go. There are two inflation reports due — the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index.

The former is a “cost of living” indicator for U.S. households; the latter measures the same for business. Inflation is bad for mortgage rates so if either report comes in unexpectedly high, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

The same is true for Tuesday’s Retail Sales report.

Retail Sales account for close to 70% of total U.S. economic activity. An unexpectedly strong Retail Sales figure will suggest that the domestic economy is improving and that, too, would pressure mortgage rates up.

If you’re shopping for a mortgage, or floating one with your lender, consider locking in this week. Mortgage rates don’t have much room to fall and there’s much room to rise.

Home Affordability Set To Worsen On Thursday’s Retail Sales Data

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Retail Sales Growth (2008-2011)

Consumer spending continues to rise nationwide, fueled by jobs growth and a rosier outlook for the U.S. economy. Unfortunately for mortgage rate shoppers |*STATE in % STATE**|, it may also lead to higher mortgage rates later this week.

Thursday morning, the Census Bureau will release its U.S. Retail Sales data for December. The report is expected to show an 18th consecutive monthly increase, with analysts projecting sales volume higher by 0.4 percent from November.

This would be double the increase from last month, which saw a 0.2 percent increase in Retail Sales.

The Retail Sales report tallies receipts collected by retail and food-service stores nationwide. When the sum of these receipts rise, it puts pressure on mortgage rates to do the same. The connection is straight-forward.

Retail Sales are the largest part of “consumer spending” and consumer spending accounts for the majority of the U.S. economy — up to 70 percent, by some estimates.

As the economy goes, so go mortgage rates.

Remember: today’s ultra-low mortgage rates have been partially fueled by weak economies — both domestic and abroad — going back 4 years. Stock markets have sold off as economies have faltered worldwide, leading investors to seek refuge in the relative safety of U.S.-backed mortgage bond market. The new-found demand for mortgage-backed bonds has helped drop mortgage rates to levels never seen in history.

When economic recovery is apparent, therefore, we should expect a mortgage rate reversal, and should expect for it to happen quickly. Stock markets should rise; bond markets should fall. Mortgage rates will climb. Rate shoppers will lose.

Last week’s strong jobs report sparked hope for the U.S. economy. If Thursday Retail Sales data reveals similar strength, the risk in “floating” your mortgage rate may be too great. The safer play is to lock your rate today.

The Retail Sales report will be released at 8:30 AM ET.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : January 9, 2012

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Retail Sales 2009-2011Mortgage markets improved last week, pushing mortgage rates in new jersey lower for the second straight week. Conforming fixed and adjustable-rate mortgage cut new, all-time lows, and FHA mortgage rates did the same.

In a holiday-shortened trading week, stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data and ongoing weakness within Europe drove investors into the U.S. mortgage-backed bond market. When demand for bonds is high, mortgage rates improve.

The Refi Boom continues.

Since beginning their descent last February, mortgage rates have shed 114 basis points en route to reaching 3.91%, the current, “average”, 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate nationwide and a new all-time low, according to Freddie Mac and its mortgage market survey. If you’re among today’s home buyers or would-be refinancers, on a $200,000 mortgage, the 1.14% rate drop represents a monthly mortgage payment savings of $135 — $1,623 per year.

Larger loans save more, smaller loans save less.

This week, with little economic news set for release, mortgage rates are expected to take their cue from the 8 Federal Reserve members scheduled to speak in public, and from whatever news may bubble up from the Eurozone.

The Federal Reserve said it will communicate its vision for the U.S. economic more openly and more often so Wall Street will be watching the Fed members’ speeches this week, in search of clues about the Fed’s 2012 roadmap.

For example, there has been speculation that a new round of stimulus would be introduced at the Fed’s next meeting later this month. If, after listening to this week’s speeches, investors sense it will happen, mortgage rates may be susceptible to an increase.

We’ll also be watching the Retail Sales report this week, due Thursday. Retail Sales are a reflection on consumer spending and consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of the U.S. economy. If Retail Sales make gains, it may spark stock market gains at the expense of mortgage bonds.

This, too, would result in higher mortgage rates.

You can’t time the mortgage market, but with mortgage rates this low, it’s hard to go wrong. Talk with your loan officer to get a live rate quote.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : October 16, 2011

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Mortgage bonds suffered through another tough week last week as rising optimism that Eurozone leaders will “rescue” Greece plus stronger-than-expected economic data in the U.S. led bonds lower for the second straight week.

Conforming and FHA mortgage rates in delaware moved sharply higher. After reaching an all-time low just two weeks ago, 30-year fixed mortgage rates are now at a 2-month high.

There were several big stories in the mortgage bond market last week. Each was bad for consumer mortgage rates.

The first big story was tied to Greece. As meetings continue between Eurozone leader and rhetoric heats up, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Greece will receive its next wave of debtor aid. The planned rescue of Greece is undoing the safe haven buying that characterized the mid-summer financial markets. 

With investors more willing to take risks, mortgage bonds are selling off, and rates are rising.

The next big story was the release of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting minutes. The central bank’s meeting recap showed that the Fed considered additional stimulus beyond its Operation Twist, even as inflationary pressures are increasing. Because inflation lowers the value of outstanding mortgage bonds, rates climbed post-release.

Lastly, last week we learned that the U.S. consumer will not be deterred. Retail Sales grew 1.1 percent in September — much more than Wall Street’s expectation. This, too, caused a mortgage bond sell-off and led to a late-Friday surge in rates.

Markets should open worse this morning, pressuring rates higher yet again. However, there’s plenty of data this week for which rate shoppers should be watching :

  • Tuesday : Producer Price Index; Housing Market Index
  • Wednesday : Consumer Price Index; Housing Starts
  • Thursday : Existing Home Sales

In addition, there are 8 Fed speakers this week. Each can move markets.

Despite rising rates, mortgage rates remain low nationwide. If you’ve been shopping for a rate, it’s not too late to lock in. Talk to your loan officer and make a plan to get locked, and get closed. 

Retail Sales Expected To Rise; Mortgage Rates Should Rise, Too

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Retail Sales 2008-2011

The American Consumer is alive and well, it seems.

Friday morning, the Census Bureau will release its Retail Sales figures for September. The report is expected to show an increase in gross receipts for the 15th straight month with analysts predicting a 0.6 percent increase from August.

The projected increase represents the largest jump in Retail Sales in six months and would likely lead mortgage rates higher for buyers nationwide.

The connection between Retail Sales and mortgage rates is fairly straight-forward. Retail Sales are the majority component of “consumer spending” and consumer spending represents the majority of the U.S. economy — up to 70 percent, by some estimates.

And, as the economy goes, so go mortgage rates.

10 months ago, mortgage rates shot forward to start the year. This is because expectations were high for a strong economic rebound. Conforming and FHA rates crossed 5 percent at the time and were headed toward six.

By mid-April, though, it was clear that economic data was falling short of predictions. As a result, mortgage rates declined, kicking off the 2011 Refi Boom. Then, by August, on ongoing economic softness, mortgage rates in delaware fell further, making new all-time lows.

Expectations for a recovery have returned. Rates are now rising.

Last week’s strong jobs report sparked hope for the U.S. economy and investors have been voting with their dollars. Mortgage rates are now up 7 consecutive days and Friday’s Retail Sales report could cement the trend.

If you’re shopping mortgage rates today, there’s risk in “floating”. You may want to lock your rate before Friday’s Retail Sales report drives rates even higher.

The Retail Sales report will be released at 8:30 AM ET.

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