In recent weeks, Stocks have seen a sell-off while Mortgage Bonds have pushed considerably higher. Why has this happened? Concerns about slowing global economic growth have pushed investors into the safe haven of the Bond market, and investors have also secured profits with Stock prices near all-time highs.

But there's another reason that's important to mention. After the first and second rounds of the Fed's Bond-buying program (known as Quantitative Easing) ended, Stocks performed terribly—and that behavior seems to be repeating itself as the Fed's latest version of its Bond-buying program is nearing its end later this month. But that's not all that could impact the markets in coming weeks. If corporate earnings are worse than expected, Stocks could continue to drift lower, meaning Bonds and home loan rates could continue to benefit. This will be a key story to monitor in the weeks ahead.

In housing news, research firm CoreLogic reported that home prices rose by 6.45 percent from August 2013 to August 2014, which is down from the annual figure reported in July. CoreLogic went on to say that home prices are 12.1 percent below the peak seen in April 2006. Looking forward, prices are expected to increase 5.2 percent from August 2014 to August 2015. The takeaway from this is that home price gains have slowed to more normal and sustainable levels, after the large appreciation seen last year.

The bottom line is that home loan rates remain near some of their best levels of the year, and now is a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.
 
     

  Forecast for the Week  

  After Monday's market closure in celebration of Columbus Day, the second half of the week features a busy economic calendar.
  • Wednesday brings a full slate of reports, including the Producer Price Index (which measures inflation at the wholesale level) and Retail Sales.
  • Also on Wednesday, look for news from the manufacturing sector with the Empire State Index. The Philadelphia Fed Index will be released on Thursday.
  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be reported, as usual, on Thursday. Claims continue to hover near the 300,000 mark.
  • Several key housing reports will be released at the end the week, including the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index on Thursday, followed by Housing Starts and Building Permits on Friday.
  • And last but not least, the Consumer Sentiment Index will also be released on Friday.
Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving—and when they are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further—a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes were on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds have improved recently, helping home loan rates remain near their best levels in the last year.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Ocotber 10, 2014)
Japanese Candlestick Chart
 
     

  The Mortgage Market Guide View...  

  7 Steps to Creating a Great Customer Experience

Providing a memorable customer experience doesn't require bells and whistles. The bottom line is people want to feel appreciated and valued. Paying attention to the basics below will yield big results.

Make it easy. Map out your customers' experience and analyze it from their perspective. When do they first engage with you? When do they stop? What happens each step of the way? Identify ways to make it easier for them to do business with you.

Smile and greet people. Whether in person or on the phone, smile and be welcoming. Your voice and demeanor will make customers feel valued.

Offer options. It happens. When you're not able to meet a customer's need for a specific product or service, don't just say no. Offer options. These may be alternative products or services, or recommending a different organization. Offering options shows you're listening and you care.

Embrace criticism. Good suggestions aren't always wrapped in the prettiest of packages. Move beyond your customers' approach and listen to the issues they are expressing. Identify opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Preserve the relationship. Satisfied customers are a great source for repeat business and referrals. When you've concluded a transaction or consultation, say, "Please give me a call if I can be of further assistance." Ask for referrals, and make sure you provide contact information.

Always say thank you. You learned this lesson as a toddler. Your customers will feel valued when you say thanks, be it for stopping in, offering feedback, or choosing you to meet their needs.

Send a handwritten note. While emails and texting have made it easier to communicate quickly, nothing beats a handwritten note. These timeless treasures show you made the extra effort to reach out.

As always, please feel free to pass these tips along to your team, colleagues and clients!


Economic Calendar for the Week of October 13 – October 17
Date
ET
Economic Report
For
Estimate
Actual
Prior
Impact
Wed. October 15
02:00
Beige Book
Oct
NA
 
NA
Moderate
Wed. October 15
08:30
Retail Sales
Sep
NA
 
0.6%
HIGH
Wed. October 15
08:30
Empire State Index
Oct
NA
 
27.5
Moderate
Wed. October 15
08:30
Core Producer Price Index (PPI)
Sep
NA
 
0.1%
Moderate
Wed. October 15
08:30
Producer Price Index (PPI)
Sep
NA
 
0.0%
Moderate
Wed. October 15
08:30
Retail Sales ex-auto
Sep
NA
 
0.3%
HIGH
Thu. October 16
08:30
Jobless Claims (Initial)
10/11
NA
 
287K
Moderate
Thu. October 16
10:00
Housing Market Index
Oct
NA
 
59.0
Moderate
Thu. October 16
10:00
Philadelphia Fed Index
Oct
NA
 
22.5
HIGH
Fri. October 17
08:30
Housing Starts
Sep
NA
 
956K
Moderate
Fri. October 17
08:30
Building Permits
Sep
NA
 
998K
Moderate
Fri. October 17
10:00
Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)
Oct
NA
 
84.6
Moderate


 
 
 
 
The material contained in this newsletter has been prepared by an independent third-party provider. The content is provided for use by real estate, financial services and other professionals only and is not intended for consumer distribution. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee it is without errors.
 
As your mortgage professional, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.
 
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