Mortgage markets worsened last week as hope for a European economic rebound and stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data moved investors out of mortgage-backed bonds.
Mortgage rates all of types -- conventional, FHA and VA -- lost ground last week, harming home affordability in Metro Atlanta and reducing purchasing power nationwide.
Rising rates also thwarted would-be refinancing households hoping to time a market bottom.
The increase runs counter to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey which showed the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate dropping 2 basis points to 3.37% nationwide.
This contradiction occurred because Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage rate survey is conducted Monday through Wednesday, and because the majority of the surveyed banks reply to Freddie Mac on Tuesday. As a consequence, Freddie Mac failed to capture this week's mid-week movement that took mortgage bonds to a one-month worst.
Access to Freddie Mac mortgage rates is for "prime" borrowers and requires payment of discount points plus closing costs.
This week, mortgage rates may rise again. There is a lot of news on which for Wall Street to trade, beginning with the week's biggest story -- the Federal Open Market Committee's 2-day meeting scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
At the FOMC's last meeting, the Federal Reserve introduced a third round of qualitative easing (QE3), a program through which the Fed will work to keep mortgage rates low until the economy's recovery is more complete.
The Fed is expected to announce no new stimulus in this, its seventh of eight scheduled meetings for 2012, however, mortgage rates are typically volatile in the hours after the FOMC adjourns.
New housing data is set for release this week, too.
Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau will release September's tally of New Home Sales. Given the recent strength in Housing Starts and rising confidence among the nation's home builders, New Home Sales may best analyst calls for 385,000 new home sold last month on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis.
Strength in housing has recently correlated with rising mortgage rates.
The housing market's forward-looking Pending Home Sales Index is released Thursday.
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