With very little by way of significant data or events as far as financial markets are concerned, today’s most interesting revelation will be FHFA’s announcement of new conforming loan limits.  We actually already know quite a bit, and it looks like the number should be \$548,220 or slightly higher, but that wouldn’t be confirmed until FHFA actually says so at 1pm.  How do we know?

FHFA states that the conforming loan limit is calculated based on the seasonally adjusted expanded quarterly HPI data for Q3 over Q3.  We can find that number buried in a downloadable xls file on their site.  Scrolling down to 2019 and looking for the “USA” numbers (as opposed to one of the census divisions that appear in juxtaposition) we saw the following at 9am ET this morning:

At that point, the new Q3 2020 data had not yet been added to the list.  When it showed up a few minutes later, the Q3 2019 data had been revised/changed accordingly:

Don’t ask me why/how it is that home price data is still in need of revision more than a full year after the fact, but in this case it would only push the new conforming loan limit higher (assuming the more recent 257.73 will indeed be used as the baseline).  The just-released Q3-2020 number is 276.84

So some quick math:

276.84 divided by  257.73 = 1.07414%

Current loan limit of \$510,400 x 1.07414% =  new loan limit of \$548,244.814340589

which would probably be rounded to \$548,245.

That last digit is up for debate in this scenario, however, because they may round the the % change to 7.41%.  In that case, it could be as low as \$548,220

We’ll know for sure at 1pm ET, but either way, it looks like \$548k+ is a safe bet.

Away from the exciting world of conforming loan limits, today’s bond market activity is a bit defensive.  We could say that markets are trading in a “risk-on” pattern with stocks and bond yields moving higher after Trump indicated a willingness to begin the transition process with Biden despite ongoing legal disputes over the election results.  Bonds could also be bracing for their final Treasury auction of the week with 7yr Notes at 1pm today.

If we instead focus on technical patterns as opposed to fundamentals, the simplest case to make would be that yields have exited their prevailing consolidation pattern and are edging higher so far this week.

By Matthew Graham , dated 2020-11-24 10:02:40