This past week the stock market continued to move higher with the NASDAQ Composite Index, the small-cap Russell 2000 Index, and the S&P 500 index recording new highs. Investors shifted their focus to the Trump administration’s announcement of a new tax plan that sounded beneficial to the economy and middle class, but will require many details to be negotiated. Then again with Congress’s recent track record of legislative failure, especially in the Senate, passage of a tax system overhaul remains far from certain.
Furthermore, the proposed new tax plan fueled expectations the plan would significantly add to the federal budget deficit and result in a significant increase in the issuance of Treasury bonds to help pay for tax cuts. This sentiment helped push bond prices lower raising long-term yields with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note reaching its highest level since July. After all, most people realize the federal government never meaningfully cuts it’s out of control spending to balance its budget.
In housing, the Commerce Department reported last Tuesday that New Home Sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 or 3.4% month-over-month in August, the lowest level since December 2016. The consensus forecast had projected sales of 577,000, a 3.3% increase.
However, New Home Sales for July were revised higher to 580,000 from an initially reported 571,000. The median sales price increased 0.4% year-over-year to $300,200 while the available inventory of new homes for sale represented a supply of 6.1 months at the current sales rate, an increase from 5.7 months in July.
Mortgage Rate Forecast with Chart – FNMA 30-Year 3.5% Coupon Bond
This past week, the national average 30-year mortgage rate remained at 3.97%; the 15-year mortgage rate decreased to 3.24% from 3.27%; the 5/1 ARM mortgage rate rose to 3.21% from 3.20% and the FHA 30-year rate was unchanged at 3.60%. Jumbo 30-year rates decreased to 4.17% from 4.20%.
he FNMA 30-year 3.5% coupon bond ($103.016, -21.8 bp) traded within a 43.7 basis point range between a weekly intraday low of $102.969 on Thursday and a weekly intraday high of $103.406 on Tuesday before closing the week at $103.016 on Friday.
Mortgage bond prices moved higher last Monday and Tuesday only to be turned away by overhead resistance at the 25-day moving average ($103.40) on Wednesday. Weakness the remainder of the week drove prices below the 50-day ($103.26) and 100-day ($103.08) moving averages. Closest support is found at $103.00 with the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level at $102.806 providing secondary technical support. Technical signals are currently bearish suggesting a further test of support levels. A failure of support at $103 could lead to a slight worsening of mortgage rates this coming week with the September Employment Situation Summary (Jobs Report) on Friday serving as a further catalyst for possibly significant price movement.