Mortgage rates walked back a decent chunk of their recent improvements today.  This claim runs counter to almost any other coverage you'll see, but I'm right and they're wrong.  Actually to be fair, I'm right in a timely way and they're right in a not-so-timely way.

At issue is the weekly release of Freddie Mac's mortgage rate survey, which only captures responses from the first half of any given week.  Big market movement from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning is never represented in the Thursday release.  Despite that, media outlets rely heavily on Freddie's data to craft their customary once-a-week mortgage rate pieces.  Today's examples include multiple iterations of "the lowest rates in 3 years," etc.

It's true that rates were at their lowest levels in 3 years, but it was only true yesterday.  Today's rates are sharply higher after a slew of stronger economic reports and an update on US/China trade talks.  You'd have to go back to last Wednesday to see the average lender offering anything higher.

While rates may be the highest in just over a week, "high" is a relative term.  Taking the last 4 trading days out of the equation, today would be the best day for rates in 3 years with most lenders still able to offer 30yr fixed rates in the mid-3% range.  Tomorrow brings significant risk in the form of the big jobs report--one of the most important pieces of economic data month in and month out.

Loan Originator Perspective

Bond markets had a tough day, as China announced potential trade talks with US and ADP employment data surpassed expectations.  Our rate to record low rates may be on hold until further tariff turmoil surfaces.  I'm locking applications closing within 45 days, particularly with Friday's NFP jobs report looming.   - Ted Rood, Senior Originator

Today's Most Prevalent Rates

  • 30YR FIXED - 3.5-3.625%
  • FHA/VA - 3.25%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.125 - 3.25% 
  • 5 YEAR ARMS -  3.25-3.75% depending on the lender

Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations 

  • 2019 has been the best year for mortgage rates since 2011.  Big, long-lasting improvements such as this one are increasingly susceptible to bounces/corrections.

  • Fed policy and the US/China trade war have been key players

  • The Fed and the bond market (which dictates rates) will be watching economic data closely, both at home and abroad, as well as trade war updates. The stronger the data and trade relations, the more rates could rise, while weaker data and trade wars will lead to new long-term lows.  
  • 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.