What’s driving mortgage rates the week of April 19-26

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Mortgage rates are notoriously difficult to predict, but they rise and fall based on a variety of economic indicators. Here’s a look at what could move markets this week.

On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors will release existing home sales data for March. And on Friday, the federal government will report new home sales for March.

Both of these stats are lagging indicators. They don’t drive mortgage rates, but they do reflect the state of the housing economy — which has been characterized by record-low inventories and soaring home prices.

Mortgage rates are complicated, but the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage closely tracks the 10-year Treasury yield. Ultimately, rates are set by the investors who ultimately buy your loan.

Most U.S. mortgages are packaged as securities and resold to investors. Your lender offers you an interest rate that investors on the secondary market are willing to pay.

On the horizon

While this week could be a slow one for rate-moving news, next week will see plenty of headlines.

The Federal Reserve’s Open Markets Committee has a two-day meeting scheduled for April 27-28, and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will make remarks to the media April 28.

The Fed doesn’t directly set mortgage rates, but rates are influenced by the overall interest rate climate.

And on April 29, the U.S. Bureau of Economic analysis will release its estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product.

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