According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $2,840 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $2,895, last year.
Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals; for anyone looking to buy a home in 2018, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!
The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state. (The refunds received for the 2017 tax year should continue to reflect these numbers as the new tax code will go into effect for 2018 tax filings.)
By James Brooks
The bond market is up 1/32 (2.86%), but weakness in bonds late yesterday is likely to cause Raleigh Area mortgage rates to increase by approximately .125 of a discount point.
Today?s only relevant economic release of the day was the revised 4th Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reading at 8:30 AM ET. It showed that the economy grew at an annual pace of 2.5% during the last three months of the year. This was slightly weaker than the 2.6% that was initially estimated last month, but pegged expectations. The slower economic growth is good news for bonds and mortgage rates by theory. However, the minor change and the age of the data prevented the markets from having much of a reaction to the news.
Tomorrow has a batch of mortgage rate-relevant events taking place. January's Personal Income and Outlays data will be posted at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow. This data gives us an indication of consumer ability to spend and current spending habits. Current forecasts...
People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home, but nobody ever asks when it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.
The Census Bureau recently released their 2017 fourth quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:
As you can see, rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether or not you should renew your lease, you might be pleasantly surprised at your ability to ...
By James Brooks
The bond market is down 4/32 (2.89%), which should push Raleigh Area mortgage rates higher by approximately .125 of a discount point.
January's Durable Goods Orders data was posted at 8:30 AM ET this morning. The Commerce Department announced a 3.7% decline in new orders at U.S. factories for big-ticket products. This was a larger decline than was expected, pointing towards manufacturing sector weakness. Even a secondary reading that excludes orders for more costly and volatile airplanes and other transportation-related equipment came in much lower than predicted. That allows us to consider this data good news for bonds and mortgage rates.
The second release of the morning was February's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) at 10:00 AM ET. The Conference Board said their CCI stood at 130.8 this month, up from January?s revised 124.3. The increase means more surveyed consumers felt better about their personal financial situations than did last month. Since rising...
We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand for that item is high, and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now is a great time to sell your house.
Let’s look at the data covered in the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index and Existing Home Sales Report.
REALTORS® CONFIDENCE INDEX
Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.” This month, the index showed (again) that homebuying demand continued to outpace the supply of homes available in January....
By James Brooks
The bond market up 9/32 (2.83%), which with gains late Friday should improve Raleigh area rates by .250 of a discount point.
The Commerce Department gave us January's New Home Sales data this morning, announcing a 7.8% decline in sales of newly constructed homes. This was much softer than expected and brought sales to their lowest level since August of last year. That is good news for the bond and mortgage markets because it indicates the new home portion of the housing sector was weaker than many had thought. While the decline is good news for rates, the fact that it covers only an estimated 10% of all home sales in the country reduces its importance to the markets.
Tomorrow will be a busy day with two relevant economic releases and a highly important Fed event all taking place before noon. First, January's Durable Goods Orders data will give us an important measurement of manufacturing sector strength at 8:30 AM ET. It tracks orders at U.S. factories for items expected...
By James Brooks
The bond market is up 12/32 (2.87%), which should improve Raleigh Area mortgage rates by .250 of a discount point.
Yesterday?s 7-year Treasury Note auction went a little better than Wednesday?s sale did but still was in the average category for describing investor demand. Results were posted at 1:00 PM ET yesterday and we saw little reaction in the bond market, meaning it had not impact on mortgage pricing. The 10-year Note and 30-year Bond sales that will take place in a couple of weeks are likely to have a stronger influence on rates.
There is nothing scheduled for today in terms of economic reports or other related releases that are expected to affect bond trading or mortgage pricing. There are several speaking engagements by current Fed members throughout the day that have the potential to do so. They always draw attention but often no reaction. If the speeches say anything unexpected, particularly about monetary policy and this year?s rate hikes, we could see their words...
Mortgage interest rates have already risen by over a quarter of a percentage point in 2018. Many are projecting that rates could increase to 5% by the end of the year.
What impact will rising rates have on house values?
Many quickly jump to the conclusion that an increase in mortgage rates will have a detrimental impact on real estate prices as fewer buyers will be able to qualify for a loan. This seems logical; if there is less demand for housing then prices will drop.
However, in a good economy, rising mortgage rates increase demand as many prospective purchasers immediately jump off the fence to guarantee they get the lower rate.
Let’s look at home prices the last four times mortgage rates increased dramatically.
By James Brooks
The bond market is up 7/32 (2.94%), but yesterday?s late sell-off means we still will see an increase for Raleigh Area mortgage rates by approximately .125 of a discount point.
There were two events yesterday afternoon that were mortgage rate-relevant. The first was the 5-year Treasury Note auction, that drew mediocre interest from investors. The benchmarks we use to gauge investor demand in the securities showed an average level of demand. Results were Posted at 1:00 PM ET and had little impact on the bond or mortgage markets. What it does do though, is prevent us from being too optimistic about today?s 7-year Note auction. Results of it will also be posted at 1:00 PM, so any reaction will come during early afternoon trading.
What did cause the bond market weakness and upward revisions to mortgage rates was the minutes from the January 31st FOMC meeting. While they indicated that there still is a consensus of a need for three rate hikes this year to control economic growth, there...