Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, news on changing FHA home loan requirements for borrowers with student loans, and reporting on job openings. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
FOMC Minutes Show Fed’s Reluctance to Raise Target Rate
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve released minutes of its meeting held via teleconferencing on June 15 and 16. The Committee resumed its consideration of creating “domestic and foreign repurchase agencies that would have a backdrop role in fostering implementation and support of monetary policy and smooth functioning of markets,” but no decisions were made.
FOMC members did not change the current federal funds rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent and did not anticipate changing the Fed’s key interest rate range until the end of 2023. Lower jobs growth and higher inflation than expected in the near term influenced the current decision to hold on raising the Fed’s key rate, but the Committee predicted that near-term inflation will subside in the medium term.
FHA Changes Home Loan Policy on Borrowers with Student Loans
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced changes to its home loan lending requirements for borrowers with student loans; the changes become effective by August 16 or sooner if lenders prefer. The changes in calculations used for determining debt-to-income ratios for borrowers with student loans will help more borrowers fall within the maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent currently permitted by FHA regulations.
Mortgage Rates Fall; Jobless Claims Mixed
Freddie Mac reported record low mortgage rates last week as demand for homes continued to outstrip supplies of available homes. Steep increases in home prices continued to create affordability issues for first-time and moderate-income homebuyers.
The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by eight basis points to 2.90 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.20 percent and were six basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.52 percent and were two basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate loans and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate loans. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.20 percent.
Initial jobless claims rose to 373,000 first-time claims filed as compared to 371,000 initial claims filed in the previous week. Continuing jobless claims fell to 3.34 million ongoing claims filed from the previous week’s reading of 3.48 million ongoing jobless claims filed.
Job openings held steady at 9.20 million job openings; employers continued searching for workers for open positions.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.