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Weekly Mortgage Update

By Judi Desiderio, Monday, March 22, 2010
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Eve Robin Jarrett
Senior Mortgage Consultant
Manhattan Mortgage
Office: 631-324-1555 x 25
Blackberry: 631-697-3366
e-Fax: 631-514-3654
Email: EJarrett(at)manhattanmortgage(dotted)com

For the week of Mar 22, 2010 // Vol. 8, Issue 12
Last Week in Review

“I WILL ACT NOW. I WILL ACT NOW. I WILL ACT NOW. ” Og Mandino. And wondering what kind of action will happen on Healthcare reform was certainly on everyone’s mind last week. But what does this mean for the markets and home loan rates?

Traders have been watching the debate closely, and it’s possible that passage of the Healthcare Bill could have a negative impact on the Stock market. If this is the case, there could in turn be a positive outcome for Bonds and home loan rates.

But that’s not the only action traders were keeping an eye on last week. Tuesday’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee offered little surprise, with no change to the Fed Funds Rate, which is the rate banks charge each other for lending overnight, or the language describing that the Fed Funds Rate would remain “exceptionally low for an extended period of time.”

While there is growing and well-warranted concern that continuing to keep rates low will lead to inflation down the road…and remember, inflation is the arch enemy of bonds and home loan rates…it does appear that inflation is subdued at present. Last week’s reports showed that the Producer Price Index (PPI), which gauges inflation at the wholesale level, was reported well below expectations and at the largest monthly decline since July 2009. Meanwhile, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation at the consumer level, came in just below expectations for February.

And there were additional headlines last week on other possible action that could impact Bonds and home loan rates negatively. Both Fitch Ratings and Moody’s have stated that the US has moved substantially closer to losing its AAA credit rating. This would be a very bad turn of events, as it would cost the US a lot more money in interest payments, by way of higher rates, to attract new investors to buy our Bonds. And higher rates on Treasuries would influence home loan rates higher as well.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about how you can take advantage of today’s low-rate environment, or the Homebuyer’s Tax Credit which is due to expire on April 30, give me a call.

Bonds were able to improve above important technical levels in the middle of the week, but were unable to hang on to these improvements. As a result, Bonds and home loan rates ended the week about the same as where they began.


Forecast for the Week

The action during Sunday’s healthcare vote will almost certainly impact the markets in the coming week, and there is also a full slate of economic reports to watch for. First up, there will be a double-dose of housing news with Tuesday’s Existing Home Sales Report and Wednesday’s New Home Sales Report.

Also, on Wednesday we’ll get a read on the health of the economy with the Durable Goods Report, which gives us an update on consumer and business buying behavior on big ticket items that last for an extended period of time. Friday will bring another read on the economy with the Gross Domestic Product Report, which is the broadest measure of economic activity.

Not to be missed will be Thursday’s weekly Initial Jobless Claims Report. While last week’s initial claims were essentially inline with expectations, the ugly component of the report was the 5,888,048 people collecting EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits. This is a whopping 360,000 person increase from the prior week. Unfortunately, the labor market continues to be very weak.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see in the chart below, despite midweek volatility, Bonds and home loan rates ended the week very near where they began. With all the action in store, I’ll be watching closely to see in what direction the markets and rates move this week. As always, please feel free to call or email to get more information on what the current rate climate means to you.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.5%% Mortgage Bond (Friday Mar 19, 2010)

The Mortgage Market View…

Safe Spring Cleaning for Your Home and Family

Many parts of the country are already warming up to spring…and that means spring cleaning. But have you ever considered what you’re using to clean your home…and if it’s really safe for your family? The problem with cleaning products is that there is very little regulation and virtually no labeling requirements.

“A lot of cleaning products contain toxic ingredients that aren’t properly regulated, disclosed, or in some cases even tested,” said Sara Mohs, co-founder of simplyneutral™, a company that promotes sustainable living through non-toxic cleaners.

In fact, most household cleaners are produced using a petroleum-based formula. That’s right, petroleum! In addition, they typically include chemicals, fragrances, and dyes that can be irritating to your eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.

In light of last week’s Poison Prevention Week, here’s a list of natural alternatives that work great and are probably already in your pantry:

Baking soda – We all know that baking soda absorbs odors, especially in refrigerators, but did you know it’s also a simple and effective cleaner? Just mix baking soda with warm water for an inexpensive cleaner comparable to commercial “abrasive” cleaners.

Vinegar – White vinegar is actually a deodorizer and a disinfectant…making it a great all-purpose cleaner. Avoid using vinegar solutions on marble or grout, but it’s perfect for all of the other surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.

Lemon juice – Use lemon juice on hard-water stains, soap scum, even rust stains in the shower, tub, and toilet. Mix lemon juice with salt to remove stubborn stains from coffee pots. Or you can mix lemon juice with baking soda for a softer, paste-like cleaning solution. Add a little to olive oil for an effective wood polish. Blend it with water to make a potent air freshener.

Cornstarch – Cornstarch makes an effective glass and surface cleaner. Plus, you can combine 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 3/4 cup of baking soda for an inexpensive carpet freshener.

Borax – Also known as sodium borate, borax is best known as a hard-water laundry soap, but it also cleans wallpaper, painted walls, and other painted surfaces.

In addition to these natural ingredients, there are also a number of non-toxic cleaners that can be bought in stores. But make sure you consider a couple of points before making your purchase.

First, read the label carefully. “Although a cleaner may contain natural ingredients, it may also include dyes, fragrances, or synthetic preservatives,” Mohs said. “For example, if the label says fragrances are added, it may contain up to 150 synthetic chemicals.”

Second, you may want to take a quick look at the company itself to see if it is serious about producing natural cleaners that are safe for your family, your home, and the environment.

For more information and tips about non-toxic cleaning, visit

The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

Economic Calendar for the Week of March 22 – March 26
Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Tue. March 23 10:00 Existing Home Sales Feb 5.00M 5.05M Moderate
Wed. March 24 08:30 Durable Goods Orders Feb 0.5% 2.6% Moderate
Wed. March 24 10:00 New Home Sales Feb 315K 309K Moderate
Wed. March 24 10:30 Crude Inventories 3/20 NA 1.01M Moderate
Thu. March 25 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 3/20 450K 457K Moderate
Fri. March 26 08:30 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Q4 5.9% 5.9% Moderate
Fri. March 26 08:30 GDP Chain Deflator Q4 0.4% 0.4% Moderate
Fri. March 26 10:00 Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM) Mar 73.0 72.5 Moderate

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is not without errors.

As your trusted advisor, I am sending you the Manhattan Mortgage Company Mortgage Weekly Update because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.

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Eve Robin Jarrett
Manhattan Mortgage
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East Hampton, NY 11937

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