Markets are slightly higher as we await the FOMC decision. Bonds and MBS are flat.
Mortgage Applications fell 3.5% last week as purchases fell 3.1% and refis fell 3.8%.
The FOMC decision is set to be released around 2:00 pm EST. I don’t expect major volatility around that time, but you never know. Just be aware.
The FOMC meeting is expected to be a non-event, with no move in rates and perhaps some hawkish language. One thing to watch for will be how the Fed handles its QE portfolio. For the moment, they are re-investing maturing proceeds from their portfolio back into the market. Some Fed-watchers are thinking the Fed may announce plans to let at least some of their Treasury portfolio run off. For the moment, they don’t intend to let their MBS portfolios run off.
The homeownership rate rebounded off the 50 year low set in the second quarter. It rose from 63.4% to 63.7%. Household formations have been decelerating all year, however they increased by a 1.3 million pace in September. So far it looks like these people are renters and not homeowners, as rental vacancies remain low and rental inflation continues. We have yet to see a downturn in Millennials living at home with their parents.
Mortgage REIT American Capital Agency got roughed up last quarter with volatility in world markets. This is notable given that interest rates actually fell during the quarter. Mortgage Backed Securities spreads (the risk premium that investors demand to hold this asset over Treasuries) widened considerably during the quarter. That poor performance in MBS almost necessarily will translate into poor performance of TBAs, which help set mortgage rates. So, if you noticed mortgage rates didn’t fall as far as you would have expected during the quarter, that is why.
Filed under: Morning Report |