Weaker than expected economic data and continued low inflation helped Austin mortgage rates move a little lower from last week. In recent weeks, investors have modified their consensus outlook to reflect weaker economic growth during the second half of the year. The manufacturing and retail sales data released during the week reinforced this view. Lending further support, the Fed revised its forecast for 2010 economic growth lower as well. Meanwhile, this week’s CPI and PPI data continued to show that inflation is not a concern in the short term. Uncertainty about the pace of the economic recovery has made investors willing to purchase safer assets such as government guaranteed mortgage-backed securities (MBS) at these relatively low yields.

Congress passed the comprehensive Financial Regulations bill and President Obama will sign it into law soon. The bill provides a framework for oversight of the financial services industry, and certain aspects of the bill will affect mortgage lending and the home buying process. The bill calls for various regulatory agencies, some of which will be newly created, to determine the details. Implementation of most of the new mortgage-related rules is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.