This week brings us the release of only three pieces of monthly economic data that may affect mortgage rates and none of them are considered to be highly important. This should be a much calmer week for mortgage rates than last week was, particularly the first part since there is nothing of importance scheduled for tomorrow. If we see a big move in mortgage rates, it likely will not be a result of the economic reports.
May's Housing Starts is the first release of the week, coming early Tuesday morning. It tracks groundbreakings of new home projects, but is not considered to be as important as other housing reports. This means it likely will not affect mortgage rates unless its results vary greatly from forecasts. Market analysts are expecting to see an increase in starts of new homes last month. Good news for the bond market and mortgage rates would be a good-sized decline because a weakening housing sector makes broader economic growth less likely.
The second report of the week will be released late Wednesday morning when the National Association of Realtors posts May's Existing Home Sales. This report tracks resales of existing homes, giving us a measurement of housing sector strength. It is considered to be moderately important to the markets, but can also influence mortgage rates if it shows a sizable difference between forecasts and actual results. Analysts are currently expecting to see a small increase in sales. As with most economic reports we get, weak numbers will be favorable to mortgage rates.
May's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) will finish this week’s monthly reports, late Thursday morning. The Conference Board, who is a New York-based business research group, produces this report. The LEI attempts to predict economic activity over the next three to six months. Good news for mortgage rates would be a decline in this index, but it is expected to show a 0.4% increase from April's reading. This means it is predicting a increase in economic growth over the next several months. Since this report is not considered to be of high importance, I don't see it causing too much movement in rates regardless if it shows a particularly strong or weak reading.
Overall, it is difficult to label any particular day as the most important due to such a light calendar this week. We still should see movement in rates more than one day, although I am not expecting them to make a big move unless something unexpected happens. One possibility would be tariff-related news, which is more likely to be favorable for bonds and mortgage rates than negative. New tariffs from or against the U.S. should cause stock weakness and bond strength. Even though there is little happening this week, it still would be prudent to watch the markets if still floating an interest rates because the markets can get active without notice.