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Mortgage Rates: Strong Demand for US Bonds

Larry Cohen of Guaranteed Rate provided an overview of this week’s economic data with mortgage rates.

The economic data released this week contained mixed results and had little impact on mortgage rates. Strong demand for US fixed income securities was the main influence this week, helping mortgage rates end the week a little lower.

There were strong indications this week that foreign investors, most likely in Japan and China, increased their purchases of US bonds, including mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The currencies of Japan and China have weakened recently versus the dollar, and the economic policies currently in place in both countries have caused investors to expect their currencies to weaken further. This makes US bonds more attractive to investors in those countries as the investor not only receives interest on the investment, but also expects appreciation in the value of the investment.

After a couple of months of weaker readings, the New Home Sales report released this week was a pleasant surprise. January New Home Sales jumped 10% from December to an annual rate of 468K units, far above the consensus of 400K. This was the highest level since July 2008. Also released this week, January Pending Home Sales posted a slight increase.

Larry Cohen
210 Church Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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