Daily Market Update 12/20/11

Mortgage rates remained near historic lows on Tuesday.  A rally in stocks caused mortgage-backed securities to give back Monday’s late gains.  In economic news, November Housing Starts increased by 9.3% to an annual rate of 685,000 units, easily beating the consensus forecast of 630,000.  Results from today’s 5-year Treasury auction will be released at 1:00 PM.  The two-month payroll tax cut extension passed by the Senate remains stuck in the House.  The Senate bill provides funding for the measure with a permanent increase on fees charged to borrowers by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The bill is opposed by the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Home Builders.

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