Bay Area mortgage rates rose last week and rose sharply as investors gained confidence in the global economy. China and Europe posted better-than-expected manufacturing rates, U.S. Jobless Claims fell for the second straight week, and the worst of the European debt crisis appears to have passed.
U.S. Economy Drives Rates Higher
Last week’s economic news provided further evidence of a strengthening U.S. economy.
The National Association of REALTORS® released its Existing Home Sales report, which indicates that existing home sales improved by 13 percent on a year-over-year basis and are now at their highest point since 2007. The group expects sales of existing homes to increase by 9 percent in 2013.
The Commerce Department released its monthly New Home Sales report; while new home sales for December fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, sales of new homes are almost 20 percent higher than they were one year ago.
Growing demand for homes coupled with lower inventories of available homes suggests that the days of rock-bottom home prices and low mortgage rates are dwindling.
Freddie Mac Rate Survey
According to Freddie Mac, the average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate loan was 3.42 percent with borrowers paying 0.7 percent in discount points plus closing costs. The average rate for a 15- year fixed rate mortgage was 2.71 percent with borrowers paying 0.7 percent in discount points plus closing costs.
While slight, the week-over-week increase in mortgage rates in Livermore could become a trend.
Weekly Jobless Claims fell below Wall Street forecasts for the second week in a row. 330,000 new jobless claims were filed; far fewer new claims were filed than the 360,000 new jobless claims expected by investors. New jobless claims also fell below the prior week’s 335,000 new jobless claims. Fewer jobless claims are a sign of a stabilizing economy.
Mortgage rates typically rise as investors gain confidence in the economy and financial markets.
This week’s economic news calendar is jam-packed.
Investors await the outcome of the Federal Open Market Committee’s first scheduled meeting of 2013, treasury auctions are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the Pending Home Sales Index will be released.
Plus, the Department of Labor’s Non-farm Payrolls Report and Unemployment Report will be released Friday morning.
I’m Here to Help You Take Advantage of STILL Low Purchase and Refinance Interest Rates in 2013
I love to work with my Bay Area readers that find my information on the Mortgage and Housing Market helpful in your decision making process. As a Mortgage Planner at Vintage Mortgage Group in Pleasanton, I am in a unique position to help you capitalize on historically low interest rates in 2012. Contact me below today to help you with your purchase or refinance.