Job Reports May Lead To Higher Rates and Prices

The Mountain Life Team Blogger February 4, 2010

Unemployment Rate 2007-2009On the first Friday of every month, the U.S. government releases its Non-Farm Payrolls data from the month prior. The data is more commonly known as “the jobs report” and it swings a big stick on Wall Street.

Especially now — many analysts believe job growth is tightly linked to the future of the U.S. economy.

Therefore, when January’s jobs report hits the wires at 8:45 AM ET tomorrow, Blue Ridge home buyers would do well to pay attention. A net job reading that is much higher (or lower) than Wall Street’s expectations can make a serious change in home affordability.

Wall Street expects that the economy added 13,000 jobs last month.  It would mark the second time in 3 months that the jobs report showed a net monthly gain.

In November 2008, the economy added 4,000.

Jobs matter to the economy for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is that when Americans are working, Americans are buying and consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

Job growth spurs the economy and draws money to the stock market. Unfortunately for rate shoppers, that kind of stock market growth happens at the expense of the bond market which is where mortgage rates are made.

Good jobs data usually means higher mortgage rates.

Also, job growth can lead to higher home prices. This is because working homeowners are less likely to default on a mortgage versus non-working homeowners.  In this way, job growth helps hold foreclosures to a minimum which, in turn, suppresses the housing supply.

Less supply means higher prices for home buyers.

Mortgage rates are idling this morning in advance of tomorrow’s data.  If you’re shopping for a mortgage rate, the prudent play may be to lock your rate before the jobs data is released.  A jobs figure that’s higher than the 13,000 expected could cause rate to rise sharply.

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