Mortgage rates improved just slightly today, but that's a welcome result considering the way things had been shaping up.  If not for the weaker-than-expected report on Retail Sales, mortgage rates likely would have begun the day noticeably higher.  Fortunately, the data is released at 8:30am, giving markets time to react before most lenders put out their first rate sheets of the day.

It was relatively smooth sailing from there on out.  Ongoing economic concerns in Europe also helped US bond markets (which include the securities that govern mortgage rates) hold their ground.  The most prevalently-quoted conforming 30yr fixed rate for top tier scenarios remains 4.125%.  4.25% is a bit less common than it was last week as effective rates have edged down to hug recent lows.


Loan Originator Perspective

"Here we are, still sitting at the long term lows, but not showing the necessary strength to break lower for real improvement. Until there is a momentous event that breaks us to new lows, the greatest risk is that rates will rise from here. I still think locking day to day is the best option, for now. " -Brent Borcherding,

"Lender pricing improved this morning thanks to weaker economic data here and over seas. Any time pricing improves, you should consider locking in the gains especially if closing in the near term. We do get more data tonight overseas that could impact pricing here tomorrow. In addition, our final auction of the week concludes at 1pm eastern tomorrow and it is quite common for rates to rally once supply is done. Unless you just want to take risk off the table and lock in the gains, I would favor floating into tomorrow. But if locking today, hold off until later in the day as a reprice for the better is possible." -Victor Burek, Open Mortgage

"Rate sheets improved this morning, and we've carried the gains through mid afternoon. No lender reprices as of 2:30 EDT, but both treasuries and MBS logged further gains after a decent 10 year treasury auction. Geopolitical drama still looms on several fronts, and European bond yields are near all time lows. May be time to consider floating, IF you have some risk tolerance, a responsive loan officer, and some margin for change in your lender credit. As always, if your DTI or lender credit is tight, don't gamble your loan approval on lower rates!" -Ted Rood, Senior Mortgage Planner,

"I like the move today in mortgage bonds. The retail sales number helped to boost prices higher and left many traders wondering what is the true state of the consumer. If future data suggests consumers are not a cheerful about out economy as traders believe they are we can see rates drift lower. Floating cautiously is my current stance. " -Manny Gomes, Branch Manager, Norcom Mortgage

Today's Best-Execution Rates

  • 30YR FIXED - 4.125-4.25
  • FHA/VA - 3.75%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED -  3.375%
  • 5 YEAR ARMS -  3.0-3.50% depending on the lender

Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

  • The hallmark of 2014 so far has been a disconcertingly narrow range in rates.  Too many market participants bet on rates going higher in 2014, and markets have punished that imbalance with a paradoxical move lower.

  • As of June, rates were officially lower year-over-year, but that's due to rates' path higher in 2013.  The current path in 2014 remains sideways. 

  • European markets continue to play a nagging role in the background, generally helping rates in the US remain lower than they otherwise might be. 

  • From a wider point of view, we're in limbo, waiting for the first significant move away from the narrow range.  A rally into late May stood a chance to act as this break, but rates have since returned to what were previously the lower limits of the 2014 range.

  • As always, please keep in mind that the rates discussed generally refer to what we've termed 'best-execution' (that is, the most frequently quoted, conforming, 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers, based not only on the outright price, but also 'bang-for-the-buck.'  Generally speaking, our best-execution rate tends to connote no origination or discount points--though this can vary--and tends to predict Freddie Mac's weekly survey with high accuracy.  It's safe to assume that our best-ex rate is the more timely and accurate of the two due to Freddie's once-a-week polling method).