Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week.
According to Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 3.41 percent as compared to last week’s 3.43 percent and 3.90 percent year-over-year.
The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.64 percent as compared to last week’s 2.65 percent and 3.13 percent year-over-year.
Falling mortgage rates were attributed to reduced consumer spending.
Last week’s economic news includes the NAHB Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), with a reading of 42 for March.
This is four points below investor expectations and two points below February’s results.
A reading of 50 or above indicates that more of the builders surveyed have a positive outlook.
March results were impacted by builder concerns over tight builder credit, a lack of available lots and increasing construction costs.
Housing Starts Increased In March
More good news for housing arrived Tuesday when the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its monthly Housing Starts report.
Housing starts for March came in higher than anticipated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.04 million, against a consensus of 933,000 and also beat February’s reported 968,000 housing starts.
Housing starts rose by 7 percent over February, and rose 47 percent over March 2012, the highest year-to-year increase since 1992.
The Federal Reserve issued its Beige Book Report which is compiled from reports by the 12 districts of the Federal Reserve.
5 districts reported moderate economic growth, 5 districts reported modest growth, and 2 reported slight economic growth.
Based on the data contained in the Beige Book Report, economists are not expecting the Fed to make changes to its current quantitative easing (QE) program of purchasing $85 billion monthly in bonds and MBS; this may help mortgage rates remain steady; when MBS prices fall, mortgage rates typically rise.
What‘s Coming Up Next
The National Association of REALTORS® releases its Existing Home Sales report for March today.
The consensus is for 5.03 million homes sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, and against February’s 4.98 million existing homes sold.
Tuesday brings more housing news with the FHFA Home Price Index for February; FHFA is the federal agency overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The U.S. Department of Commerce releases its New Home Sales for March on Tuesday.
The consensus is 421,000 new homes sold against February’s reading of 411,000 new homes sold.
Thursday’s Weekly Jobless claims are expected to come in at 351,000 as compared to last week’s 352,000.
Employment is a key factor in terms of consumers buying homes and qualifying for mortgage loans.