And the Real Kentucky Derby Winner Is.....

By Taff Weinstein at

And the Real Kentucky Derby Winner Is.....

Louisville!  While the fabled Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY had an unusual outcome this weekend, the City of Louisville was the big winner. 

And that is because homeowner's in Louisville, KY pay the lowest real estate taxes among the 50 biggest Metro-City areas!

LendingTree just released its study on how owning real estate impacts people in different areas around the country. 

LendingTree looked at the average amount of real estate taxes, mortgage interest and mortgage insurance premiums that were paid by homeowners in a given metro, as reflected on their tax returns. The study then ranked the nation’s 50 largest metros to show where people paid the lowest taxes on their homes.

Key findings

  • People from metros in more rural states tend to pay less in real estate taxes. Homeowners in Birmingham, Ala., Louisville, Ky., and Salt Lake City pay an average of $2,600 on real estate taxes, which is the lowest out of the nation’s 50 largest metros.
  • Louisville, Ky.
    % of returns with real estate taxes: 27.7%
    Average real estate tax amount: $2,733
    % of returns with mortgage interest paid: 24.2%
    Average mortgage interest paid: $6,297
    % of returns with mortgage insurance premiums paid: 4.3%
    Average mortgage insurance premium amount: $1,227

Source: LendingTree Real Estate Tax Survey

What Happened to Rates Last Week?

Mortgage backed securities (FNMA 4.00 MBS) were unchanged (+0) basis points (BPS) from last Friday's close which caused fixed mortgage rates to move sideways compared to the previous week.

Overview:  With a net change of zero basis points, it appears as if we had a pretty boring week. But actually we had a lot of volatility as the long bond market reacted to the Federal Reserve and Friday's jobs data.  Overall, the message from the Fed was that our economy and labor market are very solid but they are going to wait and see how things develop before they take any action one way or another.


The Talking Fed: The Federal Open Market Committee released its Interest Rate and Policy Statement on Wednesday.  You can read the official release here.
Here are some key points:

    • They kept their key interest rate (the Fed Funds Target Rate) unchanged at the 2.25%-2.50% range.
    • They lowered the Interest On Excess Reserves rate (IOER) by 5bps to 2.35% hoping to push banks to lend rather than parking cash at the central bank.
    • The decision is unanimous at 10-0; there have been no FOMC dissents since Powell became chairman in February 2018.
    • Not "hawkish" nor "dovish" as the statement shows that the central bank is still reluctant to signal a policy bias in either direction.
    • The FOMC adjusted its language on the economy, characterizing economic growth and job gains as "solid'' while saying consumer spending and business investment slowed in the first quarter; the Fed acknowledges both overall and core inflation have declined and are running below 2 percent.
  • Markets are focusing on Fed Chair Powell's repeated statement that the low inflation is "transitory" and will move higher to norms.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Big Jobs Friday!  You can read the official BLS report here. 
Here is the tale of the tape:
April Non Farm Payrolls 253K vs est of 185K
March NFP revised from 196K down to 185K
Feb NFP revised from 33K up to 56K
**The rolling three month average is now 169K
Average Hourly Earnings rose 6 cents and is now $27.77
Average Hourly Earnings YOY rose by 3.2% which matches March's pace, April Estimates were for 3.3%
Average Hourly Earnings MOM rose by 0.2%, March was revised upward from 0.1% to 0.2%
The Unemployment Rate fell to 3.6% vs expectations of 3.8% and is now the lowest since 1969
The Participation Rate moved lower from 63.0% down to 62.8%

Services:  The April ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI which represents more than 2/3 of our economic engine was lighter than expected (55.5 vs est of 57.0)  Still a very good reading as it is above 50 but it was not as red hot as the market was projecting. 

Manufacturing:  The national ISM PMI had an expansionary reading of 52.8 vs est of 55.0. Prices Paid hit vs 55.0 est of 55.1


What to Watch Out For This Week:

The above are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week. They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages. I will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises.

It is virtually impossible for you to keep track of what is going on with the economy and other events that can impact the housing and mortgage markets.  Just leave it to me, I monitor the live trading of Mortgage Backed Securities which are the only thing government and conventional mortgage rates are based upon.


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