Monday, August 24, 2015

Mortgage Interest Rates

What a week! Investors had to take cover as several market indexes swooned to depths not seen in quite some time. Stocks responded negatively to China's continued economic woes, the not-entirely-unexpected resignation of Greece's prime minister (although he may be reelected in September), and crude oil hovering around $40. Compared to the August 14 close, the Dow lost nearly 1,000 points--closing down about 6%, Nasdaq dropped close to 7%, and each of the major market indexes are now in negative territory year-to-date.

The price of gold (COMEX) continued trending upward, selling at about $1,159.90 by late Friday afternoon. Crude oil (WTI) prices dropped further, selling at $40.29/barrel by week's end.

The minutes of the July meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) confirmed what had been alluded to by some individual members, including Chairwoman Janet Yellen--the economy in general is moderately gaining and the appropriate time is fast approaching for an interest rate increase. With recent strong economic indicators, the Fed is almost 100% certain to raise rates at any of the remaining meetings in 2015, September, October or December.

Overall, the housing market continued its positive trend. Home builder confidence hit its highest level since November 2005, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Reaching the highest rate since February 2007, total existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, increased 2.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million in July from a downwardly revised 5.48 million in June, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The NAHB and NAR are reporting higher levels of confidence, that may be driven by fears of increased home mortgage interest rates, the rising rental incomes, or perhaps anticipation that millennials will be jumping in to the market. Whatever the reasons, keep an eye on this blog for the latest breaking economic trends and impact on housing prices.

Happy Investing!

Contributions to today's blog courtesy of Rebecca J. Faught with Waddell & Reed.

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