|For the week of November 11, 2013 – Vol. 11, Issue 45|
>> Texas Mortgage Market Update
QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” –Stuart Chase, American economist
INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… People who don’t believe in the housing recovery will no doubt ignore the latest proof of its strength. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that most metro areas saw solid year-over-year price gains in the third quarter. The national median price posted its strongest annual growth in almost eight years. For existing single-family homes, the median price rose in 88% of the markets measured, based on Q3 closings, compared to last year.
However, with “the ongoing situation of more buyers than sellers in the market,” the NAR’s chief economist expects prices “to rise slowly at a single-digit growth rate in 2014.” This of course is good news for anyone worried about homes becoming less affordable. In addition, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said builder confidence in the 55+ housing market continued to improve in Q3 compared to a year ago. The single-family index hit the highest third quarter level since 2008, posting the eighth straight quarter of year-over-year gains.
BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… People can hit a wall when they’re 95% of the way to a goal, becoming complacent, hesitant, or even negative about what’s been accomplished. Instead, they should use that 95% as the springboard to reach what they want to achieve.
>> Review of Last Week
NICE JOBS… Friday gave us a very much stronger than expected October jobs report, which then did a nice job on stock prices. The Dow set a new record high by the close of festivities, while the broadly based S&P 500 registered its fifth straight weekly gain. The tech-heavy Nasdaq failed to join the party, down a tick for the second week in a row. The good news amounted to 204,000 payrolls added to the U.S. economy in October, over twice the number expected. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.3%, as the labor force dropped by 720,000.
Other news of the week included the Advanced estimate for real GDP growth in Q3 hitting 2.8%, matching its biggest increase in a year. Investment in the housing sector stayed strong, up 14.6%, but consumer spending slowed to a 1.5% gain. Good economic news continued with the ISM Services index showing greater than expected growth for October. Even weekly jobless claims dropped by 9,000. So, despite the predictions from politicians and pundits that the partial government shutdown would have significant economic effects, the private sector doesn’t seem to have been listening.
The week ended with the Dow up 0.9%, to 15762; the S&P 500 up 0.5%, to 1771; but the Nasdaq slipped 0.1%, to 3919.
The October jobs surprise slammed bonds hard. The prospect of a healthier economy and a sooner start to the Fed tapering its bond purchases sent prices southward. The FNMA 3.5% bond we watch ended the week down 1.73, to $100.28. National average fixed mortgage rates rebounded slightly in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending November 7. Their chief economist put it to the “more positive economic data releases.” Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up to the minute information.
DID YOU KNOW?… GDP growth is an increase in the production of goods and services. “Nominal” growth includes inflation, while “real” GDP growth is nominal growth minus inflation.
>> This Week’s Forecast
TRADE DEFICIT WIDENS, PRODUCTIVITY SLIDES, MANUFACTURING SO-SO… This week is relatively quiet, but we may see some useful data. The Trade Balance for September is expected to come in with the deficit unchanged, as exports continue to trail imports. Productivity during the three months ending September 30 is forecast down, but still expanding. Manufacturing is predicted to grow slowly, with Industrial Production up a tad for October and the NY Empire Manufacturing Index ahead for November.
The stock markets will be open on Veteran’s Day, today, but the bond market will be closed.
>> 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 Nov 11 – Nov 15
>> Federal Reserve Watch
Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… The debate continues about when the Fed will start tapering its bond purchases, but economists pretty much agree the Funds Rate won’t budge, well into 2014. 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%
Probability of change from current policy: