Austin Mortgage rates moved even lower during the week, as uncertainty about the pace of the economic recovery has increased investor demand for relatively safer assets such as government guaranteed mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The Fed Chairman acknowledged during the week that the economic outlook is even more difficult than usual to predict right now. Uncertain economic growth with low inflation is a favorable environment for Austin mortgage rates.

In his semi-annual testimony to Congress, Fed Chief Bernanke described the economic outlook as “unusually uncertain”. According to Bernanke, this is the worst labor market since the Great Depression, and it is recovering more slowly than expected. Still, the Fed forecasts modest economic growth in 2010 with low inflation. Important for mortgage rates, Bernanke expressed reluctance to provide further monetary stimulus, unless the economy falters badly. He suggested that the upside of additional Fed actions may be limited, while the downside is that it would raise future inflation expectations.

In the housing sector, June Existing Home Sales declined 5% from strong May levels to an annual rate of 5.37M units, which was well above the consensus forecast of 5.10M. Existing sales were 10% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 43% of existing home sales in June. Existing home sales have been helped in recent months by the homebuyer tax credit. Even with the end of the tax credit, though, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) expects annual existing home sales to increase in 2010 and to rise further in 2011.