Inflation was practically nonexistent in April, according to the Consumer Price Index. That should spell good news for mortgage rates, which already are benefiting from turmoil in Europe. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was unchanged in April. The overall CPI showed prices falling 0.1 percent because of substantial declines in the prices» Read more
Wholesale prices rose faster than expected in April. This might not be enough to force an increase in mortgage rates, but it’s something to be concerned about. The core Producer Price Index rose by 0.2 percent in April, according to the Department of Labor. The consensus prediction had been a rise of 0.1 percent. With» Read more
Housing starts were way up in April, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 672,000, according to the Census. That’s a 41 percent increase over the pace of housing starts in April 2009. Building permits were issued at an annual rate of 606,000 units, an increase of about 16 percent over April 2009. The increase» Read more
Who do you call when you have trouble paying the mortgage? NeighborWorks America has produced some funny ads urging people to call the HOPE hot line. You can find the ads here: http://www.nw.org/network/newsroom/pressReleases/2010/netNews051310.asp. I prefer the one called “Villain.”» Read more
For mortgages, the biggest items on this week’s economic calendar happen Tuesday and Wednesday. Both days bring measurements of inflation. Unexpectedly high inflation could cause mortgage rates to rise. Tuesday morning the Labor Department releases the April Producer Price Index, an indication of wholesale prices. Briefing.com’s economic panel guesses that the report will say core» Read more
Nomi Prins was an investment banker for Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs, then quit and became a muckraking reporter. (I like to imagine that she met the Devil at a crossroads to buy back her soul.) Prins’s banking career accounts for the strengths and the weaknesses of her book, “It Takes a Pillage,” an explanation» Read more
Job growth in April was better than expected, yet the unemployment rate went up. The April job report’s effect on mortgage rates will be hard to assess because yesterday’s market turmoil distorts everything.» Read more
Don’t apply for new credit between the time you apply for a home loan and the day the mortgage closes. The price of ignoring this advice: You could be turned down for the loan while you’re sitting at the closing table.» Read more
Three companies underwrite 3 in 5 mortgages. Such bank concentration won’t benefit consumers in the long run.
According to Mortgagestats.com, three institutions accounted for 58.5 percent of mortgage volume in the final quarter of 2009. The three are Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.
Whenever a cartel forms, you have an example of a market failure that eventually harms consumers. In my lifetime, I’ve seen companies form (or try to form) cartels in oil, silver, and lysine, to name a few. None of those ended well. Will we fight a mortgage cartel next?» Read more
The month’s most important economic report comes Friday morning, when the Labor Department releases employment data for April. That’s the top item on this week’s economic calendar.» Read more