Purchase | Refi     512-710-1400





Monthly Archives: November 2009

Home Sales Surge

A combination of factors helped Austin mortgage rates improve yet again during the short Thanksgiving week. Strong demand for the Treasury auctions, low inflation, and a fragile economy were all positive for mortgage markets. As a result, mortgage rates dropped to the lowest levels since January.

Austin Mortgage Market Update – For the week of November 30, 2009

The economic reports before Thanksgiving were packed with housing market data and, guess what, they were all extremely positive! Monday saw Existing Home Sales UP 10.1% to an annual rate of 6.10 million, the highest since February 2007. Sales are now UP 20% in the past two months and UP 36% from their January lows. Even better, the supply of existing homes was down to just 7 months, with inventories down to 3.57 million, the lowest level in almost three years. This puts existing homes very close to the 6-month supply level of a healthy housing market. The Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose 0.3% in September. The index also showed its second consecutive quarterly increase, UP 3.1% for Q3, returning to August 2003 levels.

Really, the market is marking time, ready to grab a turkey leg and a cold one

From the technical picture, the chart is content to hang out near the highs (low yield mark) but cannot take it out. The downside (selling) has been limited as well with the regression line since October supporting the market as well as the 8 and 21 day moving averages. We call this a goldilocks market, not to hot, not to cold, but just right. Really, the market is marking time, ready to grab a turkey leg and a cold one.

Austin mortgage rates to stay low well into 2010

Our view that risk is back in vogue, noting gold at record highs and stocks up 60%. Systemic risk/asset bubble risk is creeping back into the market as investors are forced into stocks and fixed income spread product. The Fed is on hold for at least another year and they (Fed) will need to see GDP growth of 4% to 5% before they will tap on the brakes (raise interest rates). We’d look for Austin mortgage rates to stay low well into 2010.

With stocks near unchanged and a basket of economic uncertainty, best to not throw caution to the wind

With stocks near unchanged and a basket of economic uncertainty, best to not throw caution to the wind. Bernanke's mandate for low interest rates well into the future, coupled with a staggering deficit, falling dollar, 3 trillion in health care costs on the docket, and taxes for both individuals and small business destine to rise in 2010 will create difficult challenges and unintended consequences. With the Fed policy a given, we expect to see a floor under the bond market, supporting both treasury and mortgage back security pricing. Buying sponsorship (upcoming auctions) and year end book closings will be the challenge (liquidity issues).

Thursday the Wall Street Journal reported Q3 home sales at an annual rate of 5.3 million units. That was an 11.4% gain over Q2's 4.76 million units. Experts put much of the rising sales to the tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers. A week ago Friday, the President signed a bill extending that tax credit well into next year and expanding it to first-time buyers with higher incomes as well as to existing homeowners, with a $6,500 limit. National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun feels "rising sales from the expanded tax credit should stabilize home prices by next spring."

Austin Mortgage Rates Improve

Since the Fed meeting on Wednesday of last week, Austin mortgage rates have improved a little each day. There was no major economic data released during the week, and even a weak 30-yr Treasury auction on Thursday failed to stall the rally in mortgage markets. As a result, Austin mortgage rates ended the week moderately lower.