Surprises From Central Bankers

Dated: 01/30/2017

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Over the past week, unexpected comments from central bank officials were negative for bonds. A rally in stocks also hurt bonds, as the Dow rose above the 20,000 level for the first time. Information about potential policy changes from the Trump administration continued to cause volatility. The net result of these factors was that mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.On Tuesday, a top European Central Bank (ECB) official signaled that the ECB should soon begin reducing its massive monthly bond-purchase program. The official cited an improvement in the economic performance of the region and an increase in inflation. These comments followed a recent speech in which Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested a need to soon reduce the Fed’s massive holdings of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. Bond purchases from global central banks have helped push yields lower, so the potential for reduced demand from the ECB and the Fed was bad for mortgage rates.Recent data indicates that the housing market performed better in 2016 than in any year before the recession. Despite very low levels of inventory, sales of previously owned homes in December remained near the best levels of the year. For all of 2016, sales exceeded every year since 2006. In December, housing starts rose well above the expected levels. Builders started more homes in 2016 than in any of the previous nine years. The recent rise in housing starts may help alleviate some of the shortage in homes available for sale.

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David Sarnowski

David is a seasoned real estate professional, specializing in residential sales, rentals and investment properties. David is a 15 year resident of the New Jersey Gold Coast, with the local knowledge n....

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