Mortgage markets deteriorated last week as optimism for a Greek rescue package increased, and as U.S. consumers showed that, despite falling income levels, spending will not be slowed.
As reported by the government, household income dropped in August, falling 0.1 percent and marking the first monthly dip since 2009. Yet, consumer spending still rose, tacking on 0.1 percent. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy.
In addition, last week Eurozone leaders approved a funding increase for the European “bailout fund”. The additional funding raises the probability that Greece will avoid default on its sovereign debt, and that other nations including Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal will avoid similar default scenarios.
The moves drew money away from mortgage markets, causing rates to rise.
Conforming mortgage rates in Pennsylvania climbed last week, stymying would-be refinancers in search of the lowest mortgage rates in 60 years. Nationally, fixed rate mortgages were higher by as much as 0.25%.
This week, rates may continue climbing.
First, European leaders are expected to finalize the details of a Greek aid package, a move that would reverse the “safe haven” bid which has played a large role in keeping U.S. mortgage rates lows.
Second, the jobs report is due.
Economists are expecting 65,000 net new jobs in September and a slight increase in the Unemployment Rate. A deviation from either consensus expectation should cause mortgage rates to move.
If it’s shown that more than 65,000 jobs were created last month, mortgage rates should rise on the prospect of a recovering economy. To the contrary, though, if it’s shown that fewer than 65,000 jobs were created, mortgage rates should fall.
The jobs report will be released Friday morning, 8:30 AM ET.
If you’re shopping for a mortgage right now, be aware that rates could move in either direction, but there’s a lot more room for rates to rise than to fall. The “safe” course of action is to lock a rate today.