Another Slight Move In Today's Mortgage Rates 3-16-2017

By James Brooks

The bond market is down 12/32 (2.54%), which should push today's mortgage rates higher by approximately .125 of a discount point.

 This morning had two minor economic reports for the markets to digest at 8:30 AM ET. February's Housing Starts showed a larger than expected increase in new home

groundbreakings. The Commerce Department announced a 3.0% increase in housing starts last month. A sizable increase in single-family home starts pushed them to their highest

level since October 2007, indicating the new home portion of the housing sector is strengthening. That makes the data bad news for bonds and mortgage rates.

 The second report of the morning was last week’s unemployment figures. They revealed that 241,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. That was down

from the previous week’s 243,000 new filings but close to the 242,000 that was forecasted. The decline in new claims is technically bad news, however, this is only a weekly

report and the small variance wasn’t enough to affect today's bond trading or mortgage pricing.

 Tomorrow has three moderately important economic reports scheduled for release. First is February's Industrial Production report at 9:15 AM ET. This report measures

manufacturing sector strength by tracking output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities. It is expected to show a 0.2% rise from January's level. A large decline would be

considered favorable news for bonds and mortgage rates because it would indicate manufacturing sector weakness. Broader economic growth would be more difficult if

manufacturing activity is slipping.

 Next up is the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment for March just before 10:00 AM ET. This index gives us a measurement of consumer willingness to spend. If

consumers are more confident in their own financial and employment situations, then they are more apt to make large purchases in the near future. This helps fuel consumer

spending levels and economic growth. A drop in confidence will probably hurt the stock markets and boost bond prices, leading to lower mortgage rates. Bad news for bonds and

mortgage rates would be rapidly rising confidence. It is expected to show a reading of 96.8, up from February's final reading of 96.3.

 The final report of the week will be Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for February from the Conference Board. This index attempts to measure economic activity over the next

three to six months. It is considered to be moderately important, but likely will not have a significant impact on mortgage rates. Current forecasts are calling for a 0.5%

increase, meaning it is predicting that economic activity will likely expand moderately in the coming months. A smaller than forecasted rise, or better yet a decline would be

considered good news for the bond market and mortgage rates.

 If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20

days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now.

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