What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 1, 2021

Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, the Federal Housing Finance Agency also reported on home prices and the Commerce Department released data on sales of new homes and pending home sales. The University of Michigan released its Consumer Sentiment Index, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were released.

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices Report Fastest Price Growth in 7 Years

The S&P Case Shiller National Home Price Index reported December home prices rose at the fastest pace since 2014. The National Home Price Index posted a year-over-year home price growth rate of 10.40 percent in December as compared to November’s home price growth rate of 9.50 percent.

Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index posted December home price growth at a year-over-year pace of 10.10 percent as compared to November’s home price growth rate of 9.20 percent according to Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index. Phoenix, Arizona home prices rose at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 14.40 percent; Seattle, Washington home prices held second place with 13.60 percent growth, and San  Diego, California held third place in the 20-City Home Price Index with 13.00 percent home price growth. 18 of 19 cities reported higher home prices;  Detroit Michigan did not report data for December.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported year-over-year home price growth of 11.40 percent in December for homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. High demand for homes and short inventories of available and affordable homes created challenges for first-time and moderate-income home buyers. Builders said that rising materials costs and labor shortages continued to impact new home construction.

New Home Sales Increase as Shortages of Pre-Owned Homes Persist

The Census Bureau reported 823,000 sales of new homes in January on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected 850,000 sales based on December’s reading of 885,000 new homes sold. Homebuyers are turning to new homes as supplies of previously-owned homes are in short supply. Shortages of previously-owned homes continued as homeowners stayed in their homes due to economic uncertainty, unemployment, and ongoing concerns over the pandemic.

 Pending home sales fell by – 2.80 percent in January as compared to December’s reading of – 0.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 16 basis points to 2.97 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 15 basis points to 2.34 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 22 basis points higher at 2.99 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for fixed-rate home loans and 0.10 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 730,000 new claims filed from the prior week’s reading of  841,000 initial jobless claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims were also lower; 4.42 million continuing claims were filed last week as compared to 4.52 million ongoing claims filed in the prior week.

The University of Michigan reported an index reading of 76.80 for its Consumer Sentiment Index in February, as compared to January’s index reading of  76.20.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending, job growth, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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