Market Update for the Week of March 18, 2019


Starting 2019 slowly, New Home Sales receded 6.9% in January, to a 607,000 annual rate. This followed their strong December read, revised up to 652,000, giving 2018 the highest annual average sales pace since 2007.

Good news for buyers, prices are also receding. Both the median and average prices of new homes sold in January are down from a year ago. The strong labor market, with rising wages, should also support demand.

New home sales are well below where they should be relative to population, which would be around 820,000, annually. Add today’s lower mortgage rates to this picture, and the housing market should continue expanding.


GOOD CHINA, BETTER FED… China’s No. 2 leader was optimistic about both a U.S. trade deal and stimulating his slowing economy, and Fed Chair Powell promised rate hike patience, so investors sent stocks to four-month highs.

All was not perfect, as disappointing New Home Sales were joined by Industrial Production and the Empire State Index showing slower manufacturing growth, nationally and in the New York region.

Yet job openings rose to 7.58 million, third highest on record, Retail Sales gained in January, Durable Goods Orders show rising business investment, and U. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment shot up to 97.8 in March.

The week ended with the Dow UP 1.6%, to 25849; the S&P 500 UP 2.9%, to 2822; and the Nasdaq UP 3.8%, to 7689.

That lower than expected manufacturing data boosted bonds. The 30YR FNMA 4.0% bond ended UP .11, to $102.36. In Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to its lowest level since February last year. Remember, mortgage rates can be extremely volatile, so check with your mortgage professional for up-to-the-minute information.


CoreLogic reports that even with slower home price appreciation, the average U.S. homeowner saw a $9,700 gain in equity from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018.


EXISTING HOME SALES, FACTORY ACTIVITY UP, BUT NOT RATES… February Existing Home Sales should rebound to a more than 5 million unit annual rate. The  Philadelphia Fed Index is expected to show factory activity heading up in that region. Fortunately, not going up will be the FOMC Rate Decision.

NOTE: Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and higher loan rates.


Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… Virtually no one on Wall Street sees the Fed touching rates at this week’s FOMC meet. Same goes for  the two confabs after that. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% probability the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 2.25%-2.50%

Mar  20 2.25%-2.50%
May   1 2.25%-2.50%
Jun  19 2.25%-2.50%


Probability of change from current policy:

Mar  20     1%
May   1     3%
Jun  19    10%
The Jim Passi Team at Citywide Home Loans proudly serves Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia and Flordia. If you are looking to buy a home or refinance, we have you covered. Apply Now to get started.
Jim Passi - Citiwide Home Loans

Jim Passi
Regional Manager
NMLS# 158000

1284 West Northwest Hwy.
Palatine, IL 60067
Mobile: 847-899-1813

Had a number of home

Had a number of home loan originators pass on servicing a rental property cash out refinance, probably due complex and extenuating circumstances. Jim took on the challenge and despite obstacles and a few deviations from original plan we were able to secure financing. In my experience the loan process is always dynamic but Jim persevered and was very communicative during the process. It took a bit longer than originally expected but again it was a bit more complex situation. Would recommend and would use Jim again on any future mortgage needs.

David W.