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  • Writer's pictureJenny Phung

Mortgage Market Update

This week brings us the release of only three relevant monthly economic reports, none of which are considered to be highly important. There is also a Treasury auction and release of FOMC meeting minutes that may come into play midweek. Due to the lack of highly important data and the low number of releases, we should see mortgage rates remain a bit calmer than recent weeks. We will be looking for stocks to give us some direction if they are active. There is nothing of importance scheduled for tomorrow.

April's Housing Starts will begin this week's calendar early Tuesday morning. This data gives us an indication of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand by tracking newly issued permits and actual starts of new home construction. It is expected to show a small decline in new construction starts, hinting at weakness in the new home portion of the housing sector. This report is normally not considered to be of high importance to the bond market, meaning it likely will have little impact on mortgage rates regardless of what is reveals.

Wednesday's only relevant events come during afternoon hours. The first is the results of the 20-year Treasury Bond auction at 1:00 PM ET. As with the other regular Treasury auctions, a strong demand from investors could lead to lower bond yields and a slight improvement to mortgage pricing Wednesday afternoon. A lackluster interest may lead to an upward change in rates.

The second event of the day will be the minutes from the last FOMC meeting. Market participants will be looking for how Fed members feel about the economic rebound, inflation and the possibility of altering their bond buying program. Because of recent public speaking engagements and such, we likely are not going to see too much in the minutes that we didn't already know. They will be released at 2:00 PM ET, so if there is a reaction, it will come during midafternoon trading Wednesday.

April's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) is set to be posted at 10:00 AM ET Thursday. This Conference Board report attempts to predict economic activity over the next three to six months. It is expected to show a 1.3% increase from March's reading, meaning that the indicators are predicting economic activity is likely to grow during the summer months. This would be no surprise to the markets since the economic recovery is still in process. A much smaller increase would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates.

Friday has the final report with the release of April’s Existing Home Sales data from the National Association of Realtors. The data will give us a measurement of housing sector strength by tracking resales of existing homes in the U.S. Housing data is relevant because a weakening housing sector makes broader economic growth less likely. Current forecasts are calling for a rise in sales last month, pointing at growth in the sector. Good news for rates would be a decline in sales.

Overall, no day stands out as the most important for rates. We can expect to see minor moves most days unless something unexpected happens. The calmest day may end up being tomorrow or Tuesday. While there is a good chance of seeing rates stay fairly flat the next five days, it would be prudent to keep an eye on the markets if still floating an interest rate just in case that changes.

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