TEXAS MORTGAGE MARKET UPDATE – For the week of December 17, 2012

For the week of December 17, 2012 – Vol. 10, Issue 51
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and community of Newtown, Connecticut.

TEXAS MORTGAGE MARKET UPDATE

>> Review of Last Week

UNCERTAINTY TAKES ITS TOLL… There are just two weeks to go for politicians to broker a deal to stop the country from going over a fiscal cliff of draconian tax hikes and spending cuts. Unfortunately, Washington isn’t proceeding with much urgency. Investors reacted poorly to the uncertainty as all three major stock indexes slipped for the week. Not helping things, the economic data was mixed, as inflation cooled and Industrial Production beat expectations, but Retail Sales missed consensus targets.

The big news came out of the Fed meeting on Wednesday. The Fed Funds Rate wasn’t touched, but the FOMC Committee announced it would now keep the Rate at these super low levels as long as unemployment stays above 6.5%. Most economists think that will be a very long time. To support this policy, once the current “Operation Twist” bond buying program ends, the Fed will start purchasing $45 billion worth of Treasuries each month, indefinitely.

For the week, the Dow ended down 0.2%, to 13135; the S&P 500 was down 0.3%, to 1414; and the Nasdaq was down 0.2%, to 2971.

In spite of this week’s Fed announcement, there was a bit of a sell-off in long term bonds. The FNMA 3.5% bond we watch ended the week down .08, at $106.15. Nonetheless, the Fed did signal that the measures they’re taking to keep interest rates low will remain in place for a good long while. So national average mortgage rates stayed at or near record lows. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported demand for purchase loans gained for the fifth week in a row, up 9% over a year ago.

DID YOU KNOW?… Fiscal policy refers to decisions by the President and Congress about taxation and government spending. Economists explain that when taxes increase, more money goes to the government, so consumers have less to spend on goods and services to grow the economy and create jobs.

>> This Week’s Forecast

HOME BUILDING, EXISTING HOME SALES, MANUFACTURING, GDP, INFLATION… November Housing Starts are forecast down a little, although Building Permits are expected up for the month. Existing Home Sales should be up in November, inching ever closer to the 5 million mark. Manufacturing should look better, with the NY Empire and Philadelphia Fed Indexes both back in positive growth territory.

Thursday, the Third Estimate of Q3 GDP is predicted to remain at 2.7%, putting our economic growth just below where it needs to be. Friday’s Personal Income and Spending are both expected up for November, with Core PCE Prices showing inflation still under control.

>> The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates.

Economic Calendar for the Week of Dec 17 – Dec 21

 Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact
M
Dec 17
08:30 NY Empire Manufacturing Index Dec 2.0 –5.2 Moderate
W
Dec 19
08:30 Housing Starts Nov 873K 894K Moderate
W
Dec 19
08:30 Building Permits Nov 876K 866K Moderate
W
Dec 19
10:30 Crude Inventories 12/15 NA 0.843M Moderate
Th
Dec 20
08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 12/15 345K 343K Moderate
Th
Dec 20
08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 12/8 3.192M 3.198M Moderate
Th
Dec 20
08:30 GDP – 3rd Estimate Q3 2.7% 2.7% Moderate
Th
Dec 20
08:30 GDP Deflator– 3rd Estimate Q3 2.7% 2.7% Moderate
Th
Dec 20
10:00 Existing Home Sales Nov 4.90M 4.79M Moderate
Th
Dec 20
10:00 Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index Dec 1.0 –10.7 HIGH
Th
Dec 20
10:00 Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) Index Nov –0.2% 0.2% Moderate
F
Dec 21
08:30 Personal Income Nov 0.3% 0.0% Moderate
F
Dec 21
08:30 Personal Spending Nov 0.3% –0.2% HIGH
F
Dec 21
08:30 PCE Prices – Core Nov 0.1% 0.1% HIGH
F
Dec 21
08:30 Durable Goods Orders Nov 0.2% 0.5% Moderate
F
Dec 21
09:55 U. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment – Final Dec 74.0 74.5 Moderate

>> Federal Reserve Watch

Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… Last Wednesday’s Fed announcement told us they’re tying a rate hike to employment targets, but economists don’t expect to see those numbers any time soon. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%–0.25%

After FOMC meeting on: Consensus
Jan 30 0%–0.25%
Mar 20 0%–0.25%
May 1 0%–0.25%

Probability of change from current policy:

After FOMC meeting on: Consensus
Jan 30      <1%
Mar 20      <1%
May 1      <1%
 Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact
Tu
Dec 11
08:30 Trade Balance Oct –$42.2B –$41.5B Moderate
W
Dec 12
10:30 Crude Inventories 12/8 NA –2.357M Moderate
W
Dec 12
12:30 FOMC Rate Decision Dec 0%–0.25% 0%–0.25% HIGH
W
Dec 12
14:00 Federal Deficit Nov –$B –$137.3B Moderate
Th
Dec 13
08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 12/8 382K 393K Moderate
Th
Dec 13
08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 12/1 3.275M 3.287M Moderate
Th
Dec 13
08:30 Retail Sales Nov 0.2% –0.3% HIGH
Th
Dec 13
08:30 Retail Sales ex-auto Nov –0.2% 0.0% HIGH
Th
Dec 13
08:30 Producer Price Index (PPI) Nov –0.6% –0.2% Moderate
Th
Dec 13
08:30 Core PPI Nov 0.2% –0.2% Moderate
Th
Dec 13
10:00 Business Inventories Oct 0.5% 0.7% Moderate
F
Dec 14
08:30 Consumer Price Index (CPI) Nov –0.3% 0.1% HIGH
F
Dec 14
08:30 Core CPI Nov 0.2% 0.2% HIGH
F
Dec 14
09:15 Industrial Production Nov 0.2% –0.4% Moderate
F
Dec 14
09:15 Capacity Utilization Nov 78.4% 77.8% Moderate

>> Federal Reserve Watch

Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… This Wednesday we’ll see if the Fed says anything different about keeping the Funds Rate at super low levels “at least through mid-2015.” Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%–0.25%

After FOMC meeting on: Consensus
Dec 12 0%–0.25%
Jan 30 0%–0.25%
Mar 20 0%–0.25%

Probability of change from current policy:

After FOMC meeting on: Consensus
Dec 12      <1%
Jan 30      <1%
Mar 20      <1%

About Max Leaman Austin Mortgage

GREAT RATES, LOW FEES, CLOSE ON TIME™ ---- 2012 Ranked #1 Austin Residential Mortgage Lender (Austin Business Journal) 2010, 2011 & 2012 Five Star Professional (Texas Monthly) 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 PrimeLending Chairman's Circle Award 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Scotsman Guide Top Originator (Top 200 Mortgage Professionals in U.S.A.) Better Business Bureau "A+ Rating" National Lender Rankings (Scotsman Guide): Top Purchase Volume (No. 10) Most Loans Closed (No. 32) Top Dollar Volume (No. 88)

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