Monday, January 10, 2011

2508 Partridge Place, Carrollton, TX | Powered by Postlets

2508 Partridge Place, Carrollton, TX | Powered by Postlets

This Month In Real Estate (US): January 2011

Weekly Mortgage Update: 30yr Fixed 4.75%, 15yr Fixed 4.25% BOTH with NO Origination

The volatility in mortgage rates continued during the first week of the year. Prior to Friday's Employment report, nearly all the economic data was stronger than expected, which was negative for mortgage rates. Rates improved after the Employment data, though, and ended the week nearly unchanged.

Over the last two months of 2010, investors began to focus on a trend toward stronger economic growth, which helped push mortgage rates higher over that period. Nearly every economic report released this week showed greater than expected improvement from last month, including Services, Manufacturing, and Construction. Stronger economic growth and job creation is positive for home sales, but it also results in higher inflation, which leads to higher mortgage rates.

The condition of the labor market is among the most important economic data every month, and this week there was some additional suspense. On Wednesday, ADP, a private payrolls firm, released its forecast for private sector job growth in December, and it was for an increase of an enormous 300K jobs. The ADP forecast has always been considered an imprecise labor market predictor, but the sheer magnitude of the ADP forecast caused many investors to increase their expectations for the government's monthly Employment report. Friday's data showed that the economy added 103K jobs in December, and revisions to prior months added an additional 70K jobs. The combined total of 173K jobs was close to the original consensus estimate, but was below the number that some investors expected after the ADP forecast, and mortgage rates improved after the news. Another big surprise came from a drop in the Unemployment Rate to 9.4% from 9.8% in November, far below the consensus forecast of 9.7%, and the lowest level in 19 months. Economists suggest that seasonal factors may have played some role in the large decline in the Unemployment Rate, so next month's results will be highly anticipated.