This has been a big week in U.S. markets, and a painful one for mortgages. Next week will be bigger, and the odds favor additional discomfort. Mortgages are decisively out of the 6-6.125 percent range; now 6.25 percent, threatening 6.5 percent as early as next Friday. The headlines in the last 48 hours have been a maximum-volume garble, guaranteed to confuse clients. The bottom line beneath the noise: rates are rising because the economy is hotter than thought, the market is weary of Treasury borrowing, and the Fed is not as close to being done as hoped. The garble: Fourth quarter 2005 GDP grew by a meager 1.1 percent, less than half the forecast. In what way is that "hotter than thought?" Sales of existing homes plunged 5.7 percent in December, roughly four times the forecast decline. Hot...
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