July 13th, 2015 categories: Market Outlook
Last week’s scheduled economic events were few due to the Independence Day holiday. Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates brought good news as mortgage rates fell across the board. The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its most recent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and weekly jobless claims rose.
Job Openings Rise to Highest Level Since 2000
The Labor Department reported that U.S. job openings rose from April’s reading of 5.33 million to 5.36 million job openings in May. This was the highest reading for job openings since the report’s inception in 2000. Private sector job openings rose to 4.85 million, an increase of 16 percent. Government jobs rose increased by 511,000 open jobs from April’s reading of 430,000 job openings. Based on the Labor Department’s report of 8.67 million unemployed workers, there were 1.60 job seekers for each job opening in May as compared to 2.10 job seekers for each job available in May 2014. There were approximately 1.80 job seekers for each job available when the recession started in December 2007.
FOMC Minutes: Fed Issues No Firm Date for Raising Rates
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released the minutes of June’s FOMC meeting, during which nine of ten committee members indicated that they were not ready to raise the federal funds rate. One FOMC member indicated that they were willing to wait for another meeting or two to raise rates. While FOMC has hinted at the likelihood of raising rates this fall, committee members are wary of moving too quickly and cited developments in China and Greece as concerns that contributed to the committee’s current wait and see position. When the Fed does raise its target rates from 0.00 percent, consumers can expect higher mortgage and loan rates.
Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Fall, Jobless Claims Rise
Mortgage rates fizzled last week with Freddie Mac reporting average rates lower for all types of mortgages. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 4.04 percent and discount points unchanged at 0.60 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was also four basis points lower at 3.20 percent. Average discount points for a 15-year mortgage fell from 0.60 to 0.50 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell by six basis points to 2.93 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.40 percent.
According to the Labor Department, weekly jobless claims rose to 297,000 new claims filed as compared to 282,000 new claims filed the previous week. There were no estimates for last week’s jobless claims due to the holiday.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include Retail Prices, Retail Prices Except Automotive and the NAHB Housing Market Index. The Commerce Department is set to release monthly readings for Housing Starts and Building Permits. In addition to Freddie Mac’s report on mortgage rates and the Labor Department’s report on new jobless claims, the University of Michigan will wrap up the week with its Consumer Sentiment report.
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The Federal Open Market Committee met today, and as most observers expected, it voted 9-to-1 to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged.
The press release that was issued by the FOMC noted the slower pace of economic recovery. Even though household spending is increasing, it is hampered by other factors, most notably the unemployment situation, tight credit, and the housing market.
Not a whole lot of optimism coming from the Fed but it does expect growth that will be “modest in the near-term”.
Some would argue that the recession is over, and that growth has resumed, but at a very slow pace.
On the positive side, the Fed did make mention of strengths in the economy:
- Growth is continuing on a national level
- Inflation levels remain very low
- Business spending is rising
No surprise that the Fed re-stated its intention to hold the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent “for an extended period”.
Since there were no surprises, the mortgage market’s reaction to the release has been neutral. Mortgage rates in Virginia seem to be unchanged as of today.
The FOMC’s next meeting is scheduled for November 2-3, 2010.
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Mortgage rates hit all time lows this week, at least according to Freddie Mac.
And they may be staying low for awhile, but then again who can predict. A good run of economic news could send them creeping up.
Since the Fed released its June 2010 meeting highlights, mortgage rates have been dipping, owing to the tone and language of the report.
The Fed’s report is page upon page of stats, and other somewhat dense descriptions of the U.S. economy, along with discussion of the give and take of opinions among the Fed members.
Some highlights from this report include:
- An expectation of below normal growth through 2012
- A less positive picture on employment
- Credit conditions easing only very slowly
This is not great news overall, but it may bode well for mortgage rates.
If you have a re-fi or a home purchase on the horizon, consider getting that mortgage rate locked in now. Forget the stress of trying to second guess what is next.
And of course, if you are considering a move to the Northern Virginia area or a home sale or purchase in Northern Virginia, I invite you to take a quick minute and watch our video on how we serve our clients. It is an honest view on how we serve home buyers and sellers. Click on “Our Story: In the Voice of Our Clients.”
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