Mortgage markets worsened slightly last week as positive U.S. economic news overshadowed growing concerns for the Eurozone’s future. Political and economic issues continue to weigh on Greece and Spain, and it’s still unknown how France’s new President will change that nation’s fiscal direction.
Conforming mortgage rates edged higher on the week overall.
Last week was light on economic data, but the figures released suggest an improving U.S. economy.
For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 3.7 million job openings nationwide this past March, marking the highest amount since July 2008. Voluntary separations (i.e. “quit jobs”) increased, too — also at levels not seen since 2008.
Voluntary separations may hint at labor market improvement because employees rarely leave a steady-paying job without the prospect of a new job ahead. Furthermore, the four-week moving average of first-time unemployment claims fell for the first time in a month.
The jobs market is one of two key sectors expected to lead the economy forward this year.
The other is housing and, this week, there will be two key housing reports for Wall Street to review. The first is Tuesday’s homebuilder confidence survey from the National Association of Homebuilders. The second is Wednesday’s Housing Starts data for April.
Mortgage rates may also be affected by the Tuesday release of the Retail Sales report and Consumer Price Index report; and, by the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday release of the FOMC Minutes from its last meeting.
For home buyers and mortgage rate shoppers, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate nationwide is 3.83% for borrowers willing to pay 0.7 discount points and a full set of closing costs — the lowest rate-and-fee combination in Freddie Mac’s recorded history.
However, low mortgage rates may not last much longer — especially if the Eurozone can reverse course on its ailing economies.
Mortgage rates remain volatile and sensitive to changes in market conditions. If today’s mortgage rates fit your budget, consider locking in.