Mortgage Rates Rally On Cooling Inflation Readings, Market Commentary 7/14/2023

Market Commentary 7/14/2023

Mortgage Rates Rally On Cooling Inflation Readings

The latest CPI data indicates that inflation appears to be moving in a favorable direction. The Producer Price Index (PPI) also experienced a decline, which was well received by both the bond and equity markets (PPI measures production costs). Although another 25 basis point rate hike in July is widely anticipated, further increases in the near term seem unlikely. Nonetheless, given the persistent nature of current inflationary pressures, there is concern that a thriving equity market could spur increased spending… Which would potentially lead to a resurgence in inflation. It is worth noting that speculative areas of the equity market, such as Crypto and AI, have performed exceptionally well. Such positive performance suggests the Fed may believe more action is necessary to curb inflation. While higher rates may not be imminent, it is our belief that the Fed will maintain higher interest rates for an extended period, considering that equities have nearly recovered most of the losses incurred in 2022. Additionally, we expect the Fed to continue with quantitative tightening until a significant crisis emerges.

JP Morgan’s better-than-expected outlook for the second quarter has set the tone for earnings season. Wells Fargo, among other banks, also reported earnings and increased loan loss reserves for its commercial portfolio. In the coming weeks, we predict more write-downs of office loans from regional banks, given their significant exposure to commercial office loans. A 2008 redo appears unlikely even as some parts of the commercial real estate market experience growing stresses.

There is a noticeable uptick in purchase money loan activity, potentially driven by added inventory within certain areas. This observation is based on local market assessment, including discussions with realtors, monitoring real estate websites such as Zillow and the MLS, and the presence of more “for sale” signs in the neighborhood. Pre-approval activity is escalating, with a majority of pre-approvals falling within the $1 million to $3 million price range. In terms of refinances, we are seeing a growing number of requests. The majority of these refinance requests are coming from self-employed borrowers who aim to consolidate higher-interest business debt, credit card debt, or commercial debt through a home loan refinance.

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These are the opinions of the author. For financial advice, please talk to your CPA or financial professional.