Rates Only Slightly Higher Despite Bond Market Weakness


Mortgage rates were best described as “unchanged” today, although that may not be the case tomorrow.  The afternoon hours saw bond markets (which dictate rate movement) come under some pressure.  In the grand scheme of things, that pressure reinforces the narrow range we’ve been watching over the past few months.  In the context of today’s rate sheets, it was enough weakness for a few lenders to issue “reprices” (mid day rate changes–in this case, higher).

Most lenders didn’t raise rates today because bond markets didn’t weaken enough to justify it.  That said, the weakness still occurred, and unless things improve overnight, lenders will need to account for it in tomorrow morning’s rates sheets.  In other words, we start tomorrow with a bit of handicap, all other things being equal.

In the morning, we’ll get nonfarm payrolls data (the principal component of the big “jobs report”).  Historically, this data is very important for bond markets.  At the moment, more focus is devoted to fiscal policy developments, but we can’t ever rule out the jobs report as a potential market mover.  In any event, it increases volatility risk tomorrow morning. 

Loan Originator Perspective

Bonds retained their recent gains today, and my pricing improved slightly.  Tomorrow’s NFP jobs report feels almost inconsequential, given the wild cards of tax reform, administrative investigations, and international drama.  Those within 30 days of closing should probably grab these gains; if further out (and can afford to be wrong), floating COULD merit the risk. -Ted Rood, Senior Originator

Today’s Most Prevalent Rates

  • 30YR FIXED – 4.0%
  • FHA/VA – 3.75% 
  • 15 YEAR FIXED – 3.375%
  • 5 YEAR ARMS –  2.75 – 3.25% depending on the lender

Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

  • 2017 had proven to be a relatively good year for mortgage rates despite widespread expectations for a stronger push higher after the presidential election in late 2016. 
  • While rates remain low in absolute terms, they’ve moved higher in a more threatening way heading into the 4th quarter, relative to the stability and improvement seen earlier in 2017
  • The default stance for now is that this trend toward higher rates has the potential to continue.  It will take more than a few great days here and there for that outlook to change.
  • For weeks, this bullet point had warned about recent stability inviting a bigger dose of volatility.  That volatility is now here.  As such, locking is generally the better choice until the volatility is clearly dying down.
  • 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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