After six straight weeks of declines, mortgage rates held steady this week and remain at lows seen in September 2017. Easing trade tensions with Mexico helped to stabilize the markets. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.82% today with an average 0.6 in points and fees. Freddie Mac says these historically low rates should provide continued opportunities for current homeowners to refinance their mortgages which, combined with new homebuyer activity, will help sustain the momentum in the housing market in 2019.
The US capital markets will be zeroing in on next week's two-day Fed meeting which kicks off on Tuesday and ends Wednesday with the 2:00 p.m. ET release of the monetary policy statement. There is a very small probability (20%) of a cut to the benchmark Fed Funds Rate but that surges to an 85% chance in July. The Fed will also release a summary of economic projections with the monetary policy statement.
Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits remained near 50-year lows in the latest week as the labor market continues to tighten. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose by 3,000 in the latest week to 222,000. The four-week moving average of claims, which irons out seasonal abnormalities, increased 2,500 to 217,750 last week.