Mortgage Market Update
This week brings us only three pieces of economic data that have the potential to influence mortgage rates. We are also still in corporate earnings season, so any surprises in those releases could affect stock and bond trading, leading to changes in mortgage rates. There is nothing of importance scheduled for release tomorrow or Tuesday so we should see the most movement in rates the latter days. The National Association of Realtors will post June's Existing Home Sales figures late Wednesday morning. This report gives us a measurement of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand. Current forecasts are calling for a small increase in sales from May's totals. A drop in sales would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates because a weakening housing sector makes broader economic growth more difficult. However, unless this data varies greatly from forecasts it probably will lead to only a minor change in mortgage rates. Thursday's sole monthly economic report is June's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) at 10:00 AM ET. This Conference Board index attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months. While it is not a factual report, it still is considered to be of moderate importance to the bond market. It is expected to show a 0.2% increase, meaning it is predicting minor gains in economic growth over the next few months. A large decline in the index would be good news for the bond and mortgage markets. June's New Home Sales report will be released at 10:00 AM ET Friday. This Commerce Department report gives us another measurement of housing sector strength. Analysts are expecting it to show an increase in sales of newly constructed homes, indicating that the new home portion of the housing sector strengthened a little last month. That would be considered negative news for bonds, but since this data tracks only a small percentage of all home sales it usually has little impact on the bond market and mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts. The Existing Home Sales report covers most of the home sales in the U.S. Overall, it is difficult to label one particular day as the best candidate for calmest day for mortgage rates. Or most active for that matter also. I suspect we will see changes in rates several days but they will be only minor adjustments. The wildcard will be stocks and if they go into selling mode or a rally.