Single Ladies a Driving Force in Home Ownership:

In the past year, single women made up 17 percent of all homebuyers, purchasing at twice the rate of single men, according to a new annual report from the National Association of Realtors. This, despite the fact that women have much lower average incomes than men. Like men, three-quarters of the properties the women buy are single-family, detached homes.

“Single women for years have indicated a strong desire to own a home of their own, as well as an inclination to live closer to friends and family,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. “With job growth holding steady and credit conditions becoming somewhat less stringent than in past years, the willingness and opportunity to buy is becoming more feasible for many single women.”

As women move ahead in the workplace, commanding larger salaries, it just makes sense they would start buying more homes. Much of the buying, however, is by older women. That could just be part of the trend of downsizing baby boomers.

In the past, single women often had harder times qualifying for mortgages than men. They might have to have a parent co-sign the loan. Those days are well past us and more often than not, they are in the driver’s seat.

What Happened to Rates Last Week?

Mortgage backed securities (FNMA 3.00 MBS) lost -43 basis points (BPS) from last Friday’s close which caused fixed mortgage rates to move to their highest level since June 23rd.

The biggest movement of the week came after Thursday’s Durable Goods Orders which drove MBS to their worse levels (highest rates) of the week.  The strength in the August revisions and September data caused bond traders to sell off ahead of Friday’s 3rd QTR GDP data which they were betting would be higher than forecasts, and they were right.  From a technical perspective, our 200 day moving average was tested but it held which kept rates from rising even more.

Durable Goods: The Headline September reading was lighter than expected (-0.1% vs est of +0.1%) However, August was revised upward from 0.0% all the way up to 0.3%. So, if August had not been revised upward, the net activity for September would have more than matched market forecasts.  When you strip out the huge Transportation sector, Core Durable Goods matched expectations with a reading of 0.2%.  August was revised upward from -0.4% to +0.1%.

GDP: The preliminary 3rd QTR GDP reading was much stronger than market expectations with a 2.9% reading (vs est of 2.5%).  The Product Price Index also beat expectations (1.4% vs est of 1.3%) for the Quarter.  Core PCE QoQ was up 1.7% which was stronger than expectations of 1.6% and just 0.3% away from the magical unicorn level of 2.0%.  ad a very light week for domestic economic data.  We did hear from the Federal Reserve’s number 2 (Stanley Fischer) and number 3 (William Dudley) and both seemly supported a rate hike in December.  Overall, our housing data looked healthy and inflation looked to be in check.

Housing: We got two different data sets on home appreciation this morning.  The Case Shiller Home Price Index rose 5.1% vs est of 5.0%.  This is a year-over-year YOY reading and is a very small sample size of just 20 metro areas.
The FHFA released their monthly MOM change in Home Prices which were higher than expected (0.7% vs est of 0.5%). This report has much more value as it is derived from all of FNMA, FHLMC, FHA, VA purchase loans during that month.
New Home Sales:  The September reading hit 593K vs est of 600K and August was revised downward from 609K to 575K which is a sizable revision downward.

Consumer Confidence: The October reading was lighter than expected (98.6 vs est of 100.8) and September was revised lower (from 104.1 down to 103.5) but anything above 100 is still a great reading.  This miss to the down side is a slight positive for pricing.

What to Watch Out For This Week:

The above are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week. They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages. I will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises.

It is virtually impossible for you to keep track of what is going on with the economy and other events that can impact the housing and mortgage markets.  Just leave it to me, I monitor the live trading of Mortgage Backed Securities which are the only thing government and conventional mortgage rates are based upon.