Mar 302020

Another report portrayed a solid housing market as we work with the coronavirus slowdown. New Home Sales, off 4.4% in February, were up a strong 14.3% versus a year ago, at a 765,000 annual rate.

To help keep the home buying process moving, Fannie Mae and  Freddie Mac are easing standards for property appraisals and verification of employment on some loans. Please contact us for the specifics.

As low mortgage rates keep motivating buyers, they’re addressing health concerns by viewing virtual tours before visiting listings, seeing inspections on tablets, and hiring services to sanitize their new purchase before moving in.

Review of Last Week

BEST WEEK SINCE 2008… Last Monday’s headline was identical except for “worst” instead of “best” but, hey, the stock market’s been volatile. The S&P 500 posted its best weekly gain since 2008, the Dow its best since 1938!

Friday, the President signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion stimulus package for workers and businesses, small and large, to survive the coronavirus slowdown. This followed Thursday’s 3.28 million new unemployment claims. 

Mortgage rates stabilized after the Fed announced there would be no limit to its bond buying program to shore up the economy. That includes purchasing mortgage-backed securities, which should keep bond prices up and rates down.

The week ended with the Dow UP 12.8%, to 21,637; the S&P 500 UP 10.3%, to 2,541 and the Nasdaq UP 9.1%, to 7,502.

Bond prices gained, boosted by the Fed’s dialed up bond buying. The UMBS 4.0% ended UP 2.45, to $105.84. The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped for the first time in three weeks in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.

DID YOU KNOW?… Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that combating the coronavirus is causing a GDP contraction, but it likely would be short and the rebound sharp, because it isn’t coming from weakness in the economy or the banking system.

This Week’s Forecast

CONSUMERS CONFIDENT THOUGH ECONOMY SLOWS… The Consumer Confidence index is predicted to drop for March but stay well above a decent 100 read. Truly a sign of hope, as other key reports should show contraction: Pending Home Sales, the ISM Indexes for manufacturing and services, and March Nonfarm Payrolls, though Hourly Earnings are expected to grow.

NOTE: Weaker economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and higher loan rates

Federal Reserve Watch

Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… Predicting the Fed rate has gotten easy. We’re at the lowest range, and no one sees central bankers moving until the coronavirus threat passes and the economy turns back up. Note: In the lower chart, a 0% probability of change is a 100% certainty the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%-0.25%

Apr 29 0.00%-0.25%
Jun 10 0.00%-0.25%
Jul 290.00%-0.25%

Probability of change from current policy:

Apr 29     0%
Jun 10     0%
Jul 29    0%

via Anne Conway at CB Loans

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