Lowest Rates Since May, But There’s a Catch

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Mortgage rates fell by an observable amount today–one of the few times they’ve done so in recent weeks.  Technically, today’s average lender is offering the best we’ve seen since May 31st.  That sounds pretty great, right?!  Unfortunately, there’s a fairly big catch.

While today’s rates are indeed the best in a month and a half, the range during that time has been so excruciatingly narrow that most prospective mortgage borrowers will find the distinction fairly meaningless.  In almost all cases, the actual NOTE rate at the top of your loan quote will be the same as it has been for weeks.  The only change in lenders’ rate sheets is in the upfront cost associated with that rate. 

In other words, if you’d seen a quote of 4.75% with 0 points yesterday, today’s quote would be more like 4.75% with a lender credit of 0.15 points.  More simply put, if your mortgage amount is $300,000, that’d save you 450 bucks in closing costs.  Granted, $450 is $450, but it doesn’t pack quite the same punch as “lowest rates since May!”

Loan Originator Perspective

Another sedate summer day for bond markets.   They posted minimal gains, but not enough to matter.  I’m still locking early for most clients, there’s not much to be gained by floating these days. –Ted Rood, Senior Originator

Today’s Most Prevalent Rates

  • 30YR FIXED – 4.625-4.75
  • FHA/VA – 4.25-4.5%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED – 4.125%
  • 5 YEAR ARMS –  3.75-4.25% depending on the lender


Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations
 

  • Rates moved higher in a serious way due to several big-picture headwinds, including: the Fed’s rate hike outlook (and general policy tightening), the increased amount of Treasury issuance to pay for the tax bill (higher bond issuance = higher rates), and the possibility that fiscal stimulus results in higher growth/inflation.
  • Despite those headwinds, the upward momentum in rates has cooled off heading into the summer months.  This could merely be the eye of the storm, or it could end up being the moment where markets began to doubt that prevailing trends would continue.
  • It makes sense to remain defensive (i.e. generally more lock-biased) because the headwinds mentioned above won’t die down quickly.  Temporary corrections can be explained away, but it will take a big change in economic fundamentals or geopolitical risk for the big picture to change.  While that doesn’t necessarily mean rates have to skyrocket, there’s a good chance it means rates will struggle to move much lower than early 2018 lows until more convincing motivation shows up.

  • Rates discussed refer to the most frequently-quoted, conforming, conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers among average to well-priced lenders.  The rates generally assume little-to-no origination or discount except as noted when applicable.  Rates appearing on this page are “effective rates” that take day-to-day changes in upfront costs into consideration.



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