Mortgage Rate News 8-24-2017

By James Brooks

The bond market is unchanged (2.19%), which should keep Raleigh area mortgage rates unchanged.

Today?s first piece of data was last week?s unemployment figures at 8:30 AM ET. They revealed that 234,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed, up from the previous week?s 232,000 initial filings. The increase is technically favorable for bonds because rising claims hints at a weakening employment sector. However, analysts were expecting to see the number come in higher than it did. That, with the fact this is only a weekly report, has prevented much of a reaction in bonds or mortgage rates.

Also, the National Association of Realtors announced a 1.3% decline in last month?s home resales at 10:00 AM ET. This was weaker than the 0.9% increase that analysts were expecting. That indicates the housing sector was softer than many had thought, making the data good news for bonds and mortgage rates.

Tomorrow has one report and it is the most important release of the week. July's Durable Goods Orders will be posted by the Commerce Department at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow, giving us an important indication of manufacturing sector strength. This report tracks orders at U.S. factories for big-ticket items, or products that are expected to last three or more years such as appliances, electronics and airplanes. Analysts are expecting to see a drop of 6.0% in new orders, pointing towards manufacturing sector weakness. This data is known to be quite volatile from month to month, so a decline of this size doesn't raise too much concern about the economy. However, a much larger decline is good news for the bond market and mortgage rates as it means manufacturing activity is softer than many had thought. A secondary reading the excludes more volatile transportation-related orders is expected to rise 0.5%. The softer the reading, the better the news it is for the bond and mortgage markets.

Also worth noting is the annual central banker conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There have been major events to come out of this event in the past while others have been non-factors. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak this year, so all eyes will be on her speech at 10:00 AM tomorrow. The conference runs today through Saturday, so we could still see the markets react to something from this event.

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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