Mortgage rates hang out near record lows
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate averages 2.73% for the week ending Jan. 28, down from 2.77% in the previous week and 3.51% a year ago, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
- That's near the record low of 2.65% reached in the week ended Jan. 7.
- "As the market reacts to a new administration in Washington and COVID-19 driven economic malaise, mortgage rates continued to decrease this week, just slightly," comments Freddie Chief Economist Sam Khater.
- While low mortgage rates generally make homes more affordable, home prices are continuing to increase as there are more prospective buyers than there are homes for sale. "The fact that there are not enough homes to meet demand is going to be an ongoing issue for the foreseeable future," he added.
- The low inventory, strong demand, and low mortgage rates aren't helping homebuilder stocks in Thursday trading. All three have been consistent factors for months, if not years, and homebuilder shares have outpaced the broader S&P 500 in the past month. The iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (BATS:ITB) increased 3.2% in the past month, while the S&P 500 rose 1.4% (see chart below).
- Earlier, Wedbush downgraded Toll Brothers to Neutral as analyst Jay McCanless doesn't see new emerging catalysts to warrant raising its price target above
- Companies affected by mortgage rates include homebuilders, such as D.R. Horton (DHI +2.7%), KB Home (KBH -1.5%), PulteGroup (PHM -6.5%) and Toll Brothers (TOL -2.6%); also mortgage REITs Annaly Capital (NLY +1.0%), AGNC Investment (AGNC +0.4%), Chimera Investment (CIM -0.0%) and Two Harbors (TWO +0.7%)
- ETFs to watch in the homebuilder space include ITB, XHB, NAIL, HOMZ and in the mortgage space —REM, MORT, DMO, PGZ, TSI.