Industry NewsMortgage

Housing recovery hinges on mortgage supply

Commentary: Outstanding mortgages now below $10 trillion for first time since 2005

Markets are very quiet despite the usual first-week-of-month flood of new data. In the last week the 10-year T-note has not traded above 1.63 percent nor below 1.58 percent, and mortgages are holding just below 3.5 percent depending on borrower and property. The November payroll survey estimate arrived with a 146,000-job gain. That's better than forecast but garbled by Sandy, and we cannot know whether up or down. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, but may have been more distorted by Sandy than payrolls: The percent of unemployed fell because the surveyed workforce shrank. "I'm calling from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are not at work, do you still have a job but just can't get to it? Have you quit looking for work because you're demoralized, or because a tree fell on your car? Hello? Hello? You're too cold to talk? You don't seem to understand how important this call is to the nation. Hello? Is your phone out? Yes, I know that if it were we would...