Mortgage Rate Forecast: Navigating the Week of August 21, 2023


In the recent round of economic updates, significant data emerged regarding inflation, consumer sentiment, and key indicators such as mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Steady Inflation Rate Maintained Through July

During the month of July, the inflation rate displayed a consistent trajectory, registering a modest increase of 0.20 percent on a month-to-month basis, in line with analysts’ projections. This rate mirrored the growth observed in June, sustaining the status quo. Notably, the Consumer Price Index indicated a year-on-year inflation rate of 9.10 percent, marking the highest point since the notable peak observed in mid-2022.

Core inflation, an index that excludes the volatility of food and fuel prices, remained unchanged from the previous month’s 0.20 percent growth. This aligns with experts’ predictions for July. Year-on-year core inflation showed a marginal decline, touching 4.70 percent, a slight decrease from June’s 4.80 percent.

Federal Reserve’s Watchful Stance Amid Shifting Economic Landscape

Leaders at the Federal Reserve signaled their commitment to monitoring both domestic and global economic developments, along with financial and economic data, as they deliberate on the possibility of adjusting the key interest rate range.

Mortgage Rates Climb, Jobless Claims Follow Suit

In a third consecutive week of upward movement, Freddie Mac reported a noticeable increase in mortgage rates. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage surged to nearly seven percent, marking a six-basis-point rise to 6.96 percent. Additionally, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages experienced an uptick of nine basis points, reaching 6.34 percent.

Jobless claims similarly surged, surpassing expectations. Last week saw 248,000 initial claims, exceeding the forecasted 231,000 and outpacing the previous week’s count of 227,000.

University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey

The University of Michigan unveiled its preliminary consumer sentiment reading for August. This index witnessed a moderate improvement, with a reading of 72.0 as compared to July’s figure of 71.6. The majority of surveyed consumers noted a positive shift in the economy over the preceding three months. The survey evaluated current economic conditions and those projected for the next six months. The outlook for the latter timeframe showed a slight dip, registering at 67.3 compared to July’s 68.3. Notably, readings above 50 signify consumer confidence in existing economic conditions.

Joanne Hsu, Director of Consumer Surveys at the University of Michigan, shared, “…Consumers generally perceived minimal distinctions in the economic landscape compared to the prior month, but they noted substantial advancement from just three months ago.”

What Lies Ahead

In the upcoming week, the economic calendar features pivotal updates, including housing starts and building permits issued, insights from the Federal Reserve’s latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting, and regular updates on mortgage rates and jobless claims. Stay tuned for these crucial indicators shaping the economic outlook.

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