What’s on the financial calendar for the week of 3/18 – 3/22?

Businessman having coffee with newspaper | mortgage rate news

What’s on the financial calendar for this week?

The following announcements, events, and reports are scheduled for the week of March 18th to March 22nd:

Monday, March 18th

Home builder confidence index – February 2024

Tuesday, March 19th

Housing starts – February 2024
Building permits – February 2024

Wednesday, March 20th

FOMC interest-rate decision
Fed Chair Powell press conference

Thursday, March 21st

Initial jobless claims – week of March 15th
Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey – march 2024
S&P flash U.S. services PMI – March 2024
S&P flash U.S. manufacturing PMI – March 2024
U.S. leading economic indicators – February 2024
Existing home sales – February 2024
Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr speaks

Friday, March 22nd

Fed Chair Powell takes part in Fed listens event
Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr speaks
Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic speaks

Will the Fed start cutting rates soon?

When it comes to interest rate cuts, market watchers and economist keep asking, “Are we there yet?” The current answer is a resounding, “No,” and it feels like the more the question is asked, the farther we get from rate cuts.

A recent article from Mortgage News Daily detailed the reason why we’re at where we’re at when it comes to mortgage rates. While the Consumer Price Index shows that we’ve made progress on inflationary trends, there’s still a lot more work to be done. The Fed has set a 2% target, and while we’ve inched closer to where they want to be, inflation still has some way to go.

We also continue to see jobs data that’s often hotter than the Fed would like to see. The Fed would like to see jobs metrics start to cool off and would see that as a sign that their policy is working. There’s been some cooling, but it hasn’t been as strong of a signal as expected.

All eyes are turning to this week’s Fed meeting, and it’s expected that the Fed will continue to pause any movement. The tone that Chairman Powell takes will matter more than anything else. If he sounds dove-ish about the market, he may inspire greater confidence in the market. If he’s hawkish, we could see traders take a tougher view of the markets.

Mortgage rates and home prices are lower. Is this a trend?

A recent article from the SFGate.com viewed recent mortgage rate and housing market data.

The national median list home price is down 0.6% this week, while the national average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was also lower for the second straight week. New listings were also up 15.8% week-over-week.

The question they asked was, “Is this a sustainable trend?” The answer, for now, appears to be “Not yet.”

Jiayi Xu, an economist from realtor.com, stated the following when asked about rates, “The uptick in February’s consumer price index suggests that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to implement rate cuts in the near future, indicating that mortgage rates may persist at elevated levels for an extended period.”

However, when it comes to home prices, Xu said, “Annual listing price growth has floated lower since early 2024, and it dropped below zero this week,” Xu adds. “It marks the first week of year-over-year price declines since July 2023.”

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