The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) released its February 2019 U.S. Economic Outlook showing a decline in economic growth in 2019 while home price gains ease a bit. The NAR forecasts that Gross Domestic Product will rise 1.7% in 2019 from 3.1% in 2018 with a 1.6% increase in 2020. The median price for Existing Homes is expected to rise 2.2% to $264,700 in 2019 from 2018 while sales are estimated to decline 1.7% this year with a 4% gain seen in 2020.
The minutes from the January Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be released this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. ET. The minutes could reveal the path of the winding down of the Fed's massive balance sheet which is worth a little over $4T. The minutes signal that the Fed may not hike interest rates in the near future and any movement in monetary policy would be data dependent. The last meeting and Fed Statement were rather dovish and it will be interesting to see if the minutes confirm that dovish feeling. A dovish stance is an economic policy which promotes monetary policies that involve low interest rates, hawkish the opposite.
Mortgage rates were unchanged in the latest week having edged lower in the past three months after the highs seen in November 2018. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was near unchanged at 4.66% in the week ended February 13 with an average 0.42 in points. The 30-year jumbo rate rose eight basis points to 4.56 with an average 0.23 in points. The report also showed that the refinance index rose 6% while the purchase index increased 2%.