From Stuart Crawford at V.I.P. Mortgage:
"Reduced concerns about the conflict in Ukraine caused investors to shift back to riskier assets last week, reversing much of the improvement in rates from the prior week. Stronger than expected housing data and slightly more hawkish comments from Fed officials also were negative for mortgage rates. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.
The housing data released reflected a nice improvement with July Existing Home Sales up 2% from June to the highest level since September 2013. The inventory of existing homes for sale rose to a 5.5-month supply and is 6% higher than one year ago. The Chief Economist of the NAR suggested that stronger job gains and "improving inventory conditions" have been boosting sales activity. July Housing Starts and Building Permits also exceeded expectations. The August NAHB Housing Index showed that home builder confidence increased to the highest level since January.
The Minutes from the July 30th Fed meeting contained no major surprises, but they were a bit more hawkish than expected. The big debate among Fed officials concerned the amount of slack in the labor markets. The Minutes noted that the labor market has improved more quickly than expected over the past year and that labor market conditions have moved significantly closer to "normal in the longer run". Still, most Fed officials believed that it was too soon to move forward the expected timeline for fed funds rate hikes. "
Stuart can be reached at 480.776.2954