Mortgage rates trended downward in August
August was a month of steady residential mortgage interest rate decreases. The month began with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.93%. Rates edged downward until the week ending Aug. 24 saw the average 30-year rate at 3.86%, according to Freddie Mac.
Economic indicators released in August
Mortgage rates and their fluctuations are closely tied to investment activity. When investors feel confident about the economy, they're more willing to invest in stocks rather than bonds. As bond prices fall accordingly, the Treasury yield goes up, as do mortgage rates.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Employment Situation Survey on Friday, Aug. 4, which revealed an increase of 209,000 jobs in July. Though not as robust an increase as the one seen in June, this number was higher than many economists anticipated and successfully boosted confidence in the economy - and interest rates, according to NerdWallet.
One week later, the Consumer Price Index was announced to be slightly lower in July than it was in June. The reading of 1.7%, up 0.1% from June, wasn't what economists wanted or anticipated to hear. The Federal Reserve's systematic rate hikes over the past two years are intended to bring inflation to 2%, and as this measure continues to come in below target, investors may be discouraged.
Foreign policy concerns affect residential mortgage rates
Investors also look to headlines and current events to help them determine whether stocks or bonds will be most beneficial to them. This month, many people throughout the U.S. and globally have tuned into President Donald Trump's rhetoric regarding North Korea.
Global uncertainty typically encourages investors to seek safety in the historically more stable bonds rather than stocks. As tensions grow between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, investors turned to bonds in August, moving their prices higher and pushing Treasury yields down, NerdWallet explained.
Later in the month, Trump traveled to Arizona where he touched on the topic of a U.S.-Mexico border wall in a speech. Discussions regarding the border wall have espoused numerous opinions and have been a source of tension between those who support the idea and those who oppose it. Regardless of personal opinions, this kind of volatility generally encourages investors to focus on bond purchases, continuing to push residential mortgage rates downward.
The coming month brings a Federal Reserve meeting and press conference, which will likely have an impact on mortgage rates, though whether it'll push them up or pull them down remains to be seen.
Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2015 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.
Tips for simple loan approval
Here is a list of useful tips to facilitate an effortless loan process. These DO’s and DON’Ts will help you avoid any delays and costly challenges with your loan approval.
If you encounter a special situation like identify theft, it is best to mention it to us right away so we can help you determine the best way to achieve your goals.
DO call us if you have any questions.
DO provide requested documentation promptly and in its entirety.
DO continue living at your current residence.
DO continue making your mortgage or rent payments.
DO continue to use your credit as normal.
DO keep working at your current employer.
DO keep your same insurance company.
DO stay current on all existing accounts.
DO expect requests for additional documentation throughout the loan process.
DO let us know if you will be receiving gift money before it is deposited into your account.
DON’T change your employment status.
DON’T make any major purchases (car, furniture, jewelry, etc.).
DON’T change bank accounts.
DON’T make any large cash deposits into your bank accounts.
DON’T transfer any balances from one account to another.
DON’T close any credit card accounts.
DON’T consolidate your debt onto one or two credit cards.
DON’T apply for new credit or open a new credit card.
DON’T max out or overcharge on your credit card accounts.
DON’T take out a new loan or co-sign on a loan.
DON’T pay off any loans or credit cards, charge offs, or collections without discussing it with us first.
DON’T finance any elective medical procedure.
DON’T join a new fitness club.
DON’T open a new cellular phone account.
DON’T have your credit pulled or dispute any information on your credit report.
DON’T pack away or store any important documents, even if they aren’t initially requested.
Let us show you how simple securing a home loan can be.
Home sales and starts increased in October
The housing market showed some improvement in October, according to data collected by the National Association of Realtors. Existing-home sales increased 2% to 5.48 million, while pending home sales had their best month since June. The Pending Home Sales Index increased to 109.3, a 3.5% increase over September's rating.
While the month-over-month change looks promising, both figures came in below those of October 2016. The Pending Home Sales Index was 0.6% higher in October 2016 than it was this year, and existing-home sales were 0.9% higher last year as well.
A major factor that contributed to the year-over-year decline has been a continuous theme over the past year: A lack of inventory that prevents prospective homebuyers from finding a home in their ideal location and price range.
"Home shoppers had better luck finding a home to buy in October, but slim pickings and consistently fast price gains continue to frustrate and prevent too many would-be buyers from reaching the market," Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, explained in a press release.
Economic advances lend to greater homebuying activity
Though an inventory deficit prevented some home shoppers from making a purchase, other factors lent to the increase in activity compared to September 2017. Yun pointed out that job growth and wage increases have allowed some consumers to consider buying a home.
In October, 261,000 nonfarm payroll positions were added throughout the U.S., and unemployment ticked down to 4.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hourly earnings didn't change much from the month prior, but September boasted an impressive 12-cent increase in the average pay per hour. As such, the average hourly pay of $26.53 seen in October is a positive indicator for the jobs landscape.
Hurricane-related setbacks ease up
After the U.S. was impacted by a string of hurricanes, it was understandable that homebuying activities would slow down for some time. However, the most recent data released by NAR suggests that the negative effects of the natural disasters are reducing.
"The residual effects on sales from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still seen in parts of Texas and Florida," Yun explained. "However, sales should completely bounce back to their pre-storm levels by the end of the year, as demand for buying in these areas was very strong before the storms."
Homebuilding was strong in October
In addition to the positive gains in home sales, October also experienced an uptick in housing starts, according to information released by the U.S. Census Bureau. There were 1.3 million housing starts in October, a 13.9% increase over September's estimated numbers. Despite the increase, however, this remains 2.9% lower than the number of housing starts realized in October 2016.
About two-thirds of the housing starts were single-family homes, the most popular housing type among homebuyers. The remaining units were constructed in buildings with five units or more.
Housing completions were up 12.2%, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million. Slightly fewer than two-thirds of these were single-family homes.
The future for home construction looks bright as well, with 1.3 million building permits authorized in October. This is an increase of 0.9% over October 2016's numbers and 5.9% higher than September 2017.
Prospective homebuyers hoping to purchase a home yet this year may want to get preapproved for a residential mortgage to help the closing process go faster and more smoothly. To find out what loan programs would best suit you, reach out to Academy Mortgage.
Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2016 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.