Monday Market Commentary: Rates at Lowest Level Since December 2010

by Alex Stenback on May 16, 2011

Last Week:
Mortgage rates mostly crabbed along sideways, and with 30 year fixed paper sailing along solidly under 5% for most borrowers, these represent the lowest rates since early December 2010.

Keeping rates anchored here is the sputtering of the economic recovery that continues making more smoke than steam. 

Rate watchers should remain vigilant – inflation, which always punishes mortgage rates, remains just over the horizon, but it may soon appear in force.  Last week, producer (wholesale) prices posted an 6.8% year-over-year increase, and there are signs of inflation in China, which eventually may wash over the fantail of the good ship USA and drive rates higher.

This Week:
A formation of mostly second tier reports awaits.  Expect the mortgage market to react to stock market movements and general economic reports - good economic news may hurt rates, bad news may help:

- Housing news in the form of starts and building permits may make some waves on Tuesday, with existing home sales reporting on Thursday.
- Thursday’s Philly Fed index provides insight on the manufactruing sector.
- Weekly Jobless claims – an increasingly important number as all hands wait for a rebound in the employment sector

An ugly week, even though these are not typically headline-worthy reports, may give the mortgage market the push it needs to move rates down a peg or two.
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Watching rates?  Follow me on Twitter for regular updates on the mortgage market and related topics as the week unfolds.

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