Third Day In A Row Mortgage Rates Improve 3-29-2018

By James Brooks

The bond market is up 7/32 (2.4%), which should improve Raleigh Area mortgage rates by approximately .125 of a discount point.

Yesterday?s 7-year Treasury Note auction was not met with the same demand as Tuesday?s 5-year Note sale. 7-year Notes apparently were of much less interest to investors, causing a relatively poor auction. The bond market had a slight negative reaction to the news, but not enough to directly affect mortgage rates.

February's Personal Income & Outlays report at 8:30 AM ET was the most important of today?s three economic releases, but showed no surprises. The Commerce Department announced a 0.4% rise in income and a 0.2% increase in spending, both of which pegged forecasts. The important inflation part of the data also matched expectations. Therefore, we can consider the data neutral towards bonds and mortgage rates.

Also posted early this morning was last week?s unemployment figures that showed only 215,000 new claims for benefits were filed. This was well below forecasts of 230,000 and a noticeable decline from the previous week?s revised 227,000 initial filings. This is considered bad news for bonds and mortgage rates because declining claims is a sign that the employment sector is strengthening. Fortunately though, this is inly a weekly snapshot, so its impact on today?s rates has been minimal.

The final report of the week came from the University of Michigan late this morning. They announced a reading of 101.4 that was a bit below the expected 102.0. This means surveyed consumers were not as confident in their personal financial and employment situations than previously thought and are less likely to make a large purchase in the near future. It was still and increase from February?s final reading, but the weaker reading today makes the report good news for bonds and mortgage rates.

The bond market will close at 2:00 PM ET today, ahead of the Good Friday holiday, while stocks are open for a full day of trading. The stock and bond markets will be closed all day tomorrow and will reopen for regular trading Monday. It is common to see some pressure in bonds as investors make moves to protect themselves over the long holiday, so don't be surprised if bonds weaken slightly during early afternoon trading today.

Because of the holiday and the fact that the markets are closed tomorrow, there will be no Friday edition of this report. Next week brings us a couple of highly important pieces of economic data, including the ISM Index (Monday) and March?s Employment report (Friday). Look for details on all of next week?s mortgage-relevant events in Sunday evening?s weekly preview.

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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