Happy New Year! Let’s catch up on holiday season economic data releases…
Manufacturing activity dipped slightly month-over-month to end 2014, although it was the 19th consecutive month that the sector logged an expansion. Orders dipped as companies anticipated the effects of lower energy prices, according to a Bloomberg News overview on the subject. Click here for more.
New jobless claims ticked up by 17,000 to 298,000 for the week ending December 27. The final 2014 four-week average of 290,750 is a healthy number, especially because 2014 opened with an average of 346,000.
And speaking of positive numbers from 2014, last year, payrolls added the most jobs since 1999… through 11 months. We will see just how many jobs 2014 added this Friday (January 9th) when the December employment report is released.
The S&P 500 opened 2015 with four-straight “losing” days, thus breaking a streak of 264 trading days without a four-day losing streak – the longest such streak in 87 years. We wrote that sentence as a mouthful on purpose: news networks can make a statistic out of anything to grab attention.
(In other words, don’t be alarmed by the news. This decline doesn’t mean we are in for bad times. Actually, analysts predict gains for stock indexes in 2015).
In general, stock indexes had a strong 2014. The S&P 500, for example, rose 11% in 2014, and reached several all-time record highs in December.
Loan Program News
Nothing major to report on the loan program front. As we discuss in the mortgage rate section below, interest rates dipped nicely to end 2014. Check out our website’s FAQ section to learn more about the rate lock, the floating rate lock, and “why mortgage rates move.”
If the issue keeping you for homeownership is downpayment, check out our “low down payment” guide and our “first-time home buyers” guide for qualification tricks (your down payment can be as low as 0%). Don’t disqualify yourself from the couch!
Mortgage Rate News
The 30-year fixed enters 2015 in the 3.75% to 4.00% range. All in all, 2014 was a great year for mortgage rates.
We speak about “mortgage rates” generally, but the actual rate that each borrower will obtain varies based on credit profile, down payment, desired out-of-pocket closing cost (buyers can pay more for a lower rate), loan program, lender used, and more.
Two quick methods used to track broad rate movement is the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield, and Freddy Mac’s 30-year fixed mortgage rate tracker.
When the 10-year yield drops, expect mortgage rates to improve. The 10-year Treasury bond yield began 2014 at 3.00%, dropped to 2.58% by July 1, and finished 2014 at 2.17%.
Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, meanwhile, tracks general on-the-ground rate movement across a portfolio of lenders. The 30-year fixed movement in 2014 can be seen below:
Another way to track rates, of course, is just to sign up for the CCL Rate Tracker. We will do the work for you! Email rylan@CentralCoastLending.com the test “mortgage rate tracker” to receive an update every two weeks.
For a more specific rate quote, give us a call at 805.543.LOAN (the quote is free and honest!).