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This Week’s Mortgage Commentary

July 18th, 2016

Stock market on touchscreen smartphoneThis week brings us only three pieces of economic data that have the potential to influence mortgage rates, but none of them are considered to be highly important. We are also still in corporate earnings season, so any surprises in those releases could affect stock and bond trading, leading to changes in mortgage rates. It will also be interesting to see if the weekend events in Turkey actually come into play in our markets. And we can't forget the Republican convention as a possible influence. Monday has nothing scheduled, leaving geopolitical news and stocks to be the biggest force behind mortgage rate movement.

June’s New Home Sales report will start this week's activities at 10:00 AM ET Tuesday. This Commerce Department report gives us a measurement of housing sector strength. Analysts are expecting it to show little change from May's sales of newly constructed homes, indicating that the new home portion of the housing sector was flat last month. Ideally, a large decline in sales would be considered good news for bonds, but since this data tracks only a small percentage of all home sales it usually has little impact on the bond market and mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts. The Existing Home Sales report covers most of the home sales in the U.S.

There is nothing of importance set for Wednesday, but Thursday has the final two pieces of economic data. The more important of the two will be June's Existing Home Sales from the National Association of Realtors. This report also gives us a measurement of housing sector strength and mortgage credit demand. Current forecasts are calling for a small decline in sales from May’s totals. A drop in sales would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage rates because a weakening housing sector makes broader economic growth more difficult. However, unless this data varies greatly from forecasts it probably will lead to only a minor change in mortgage rates.

Also late Thursday morning will be the release of June’s Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). This Conference Board index attempts to measure economic activity over the next three to six months. While it is not a factual report, it still is considered to be of moderate importance to the bond market. It is expected to show a 0.3% increase, meaning it is predicting minor gains in economic growth over the next few months. A large decline in the index would be good news for the bond and mortgage markets.

Overall, I suspect we will see a calmer week than the past couple but still have a couple days with changes to mortgage pricing. No single day stands out as the most important day of the week and the least active day will probably be Friday. Despite the lack of key economic data or any events that clearly will cause volatility, it still would be prudent to maintain contact with you mortgage professional as momentum can pick up at any time.

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