Mortgage rates were roughly unchanged today for the average lender as underlying bond markets finally calmed down.  Over the past few days, bond yields have been rising quickly, effectively correcting from the lowest levels in more than 3 years.  The same is true for mortgage rates with the average conventional 30yr fixed quote hitting 1-month highs yesterday and holding in the same territory today.

One school of thought behind the recent rate drama is that the bond market is apprehensive about upcoming central bank policy announcements, both from Europe (ECB) and the US (the Fed).  The ECB announcement is tomorrow morning, so it could make some sense to see bonds level-off in advance of the first central bank flashpoint.  This means there's high potential for volatility tomorrow, but the Fed announcement won't happen until next Wednesday afternoon.

While the central banks don't ultimately control the broader trends in rates, it can definitely seem like it and they can definitely create a lot of momentum and volatility over shorter time horizons.  Until we get through these central bank events, we have to be prepared for additional weakness in the mortgage market.  If the Fed and ECB don't end up being as threatening as some fears would suggest, there will be room for rates to recover by the end of next week.

Loan Originator Perspective

Bond markets licked their wounds today, posting small gains after Monday/Tuesday's severe sell-offs.  The $20 question is where we go from here.  I'm 50/50 on rates recouping a portion of the losses versus nudging higher.  Locking depends on clients' risk tolerance, more now than usual.  If potentially losing a rate costs you sleep, lock and don't look back.  - Ted Rood, Senior Originator

Bonds sure have taken a beaten over the last few days.   As usual, I am seeing worse rate sheets than the price change justifies.  This is common when bonds are selling off so much so quickly.   At this point, if you have been floating or are a new application, I would float over night and lets see if this sell off is over. -Victor Burek, Churchill Mortgage

Today's Most Prevalent Rates

  • 30YR FIXED - 3.625 or 3.875% (not 3.75%)
  • FHA/VA - 3.25-3.5%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.25-3.375% 
  • 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.