Thursday, April 26, 2012

Misc: Kansas City Fed index weakens, Mortgage Rates near record low, Radar Logic house prices

by Bill McBride on 4/26/2012 11:20:00 AM

From the Kansas City Fed: Growth in Tenth District Manufacturing Eased Further but Activity Remained Expansionary

“Factories in our region report continued growth, especially in employment, but at somewhat slower rates than in previous months, when unseasonably warm weather may have helped boost activity” said Wilkerson. “Expectations for the rest of the year notched down a bit as well, but remained positive.”

Growth in Tenth District manufacturing eased further in April, but activity remained expansionary and well above year-ago levels. The majority of producers reported some negative effects from elevated gasoline prices, and nearly half of all respondents noted difficulties finding workers. Price indexes were mixed, with slight easing in some materials price indexes and fewer producers planning to raise selling prices.

The month-over-month composite index was 3 in April, down from 9 in March and 13 in February ... However, the employment index jumped from 23 to 31 – its highest level since early 2007.
Most of the regional surveys were weaker in April, but they also showed an increase in employment.

From Freddie Mac: Fixed Mortgage Rates Hold Near Record Lows
Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates down slightly and hovering just above their record lows as markets waited for the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.88 percent and has been below 4 percent all but one week in 2012. The 15-year fixed, a popular refinancing choice, averaged 3.12 percent.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.88 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 26, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.90 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.78 percent.
From Radar Logic: Home Prices Strengthened Considerably in February, But the Strength May Not Last
According to the February 2012 RPX Monthly Housing Market Report released today by Radar Logic Incorporated, the RPX Composite price, which tracks home prices in 25 major US metropolitan areas, increased 1.9 percent over the month ending February 16, 2012.

Notwithstanding the strength exhibited by home prices in February, the RPX Composite price was 3.18 percent lower than it was in February 2011. Transaction activity in the 25 MSAs increased 16 percent on a year-over-year basis. ... Investment buying and mild weather likely contributed to the strength in the housing market during February. Unfortunately, the positive impact of both these factors will probably be temporary.
The Radar Logic report includes a graph of future prices that suggests investors think prices will bottom in early 2013.

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