May 16, 2016
Mortgage rates held surprisingly steady today, even though underlying bond markets were in noticeably weaker territory. As bonds weaken, rates normally move higher, but there's been a bit of a disconnect recently. In light of our discussion last week, perhaps it isn't so surprising. We had anticipated that mortgage rates would start out with an advantage this week because they didn't move much lower at the end of last week even though bond markets were stronger. In other words, bond markets are suggesting rates should be right about where they were on Thursday afternoon, and that's exactly where they are.
Naturally, this means that we no longer have the same sort of implicit advantage we enjoyed on Friday afternoon heading into the weekend. As such, it's definitely safer to lean back toward locking. The most prevalently-quoted conventional 30yr fixed rate remains 3.625% on top tier scenarios, with a smattering of lenders still down at 3.5%.
Loan Originator Perspective
"Bond markets backed off last week's gains today, dropping about 20 bps from loan pricing. The losses came despite some bond friendly data, which is somewhat disconcerting. We're still closer to the recent range's top than bottom, and I still have recommend locking early in the process for clients within 30 days of closing. Tomorrow has meaningful data, including CPI and Fed minutes are released Wednesday. It should be an eventful week, if you're floating, better keep an eye on markets." -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Best-Execution Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 3.5 - 3.625%
- FHA/VA - 3.25%-3.5%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.00%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 2.75 - 3.25% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations
- The Fed finally hiked on December 16th, causing fears of rising rates in 2016, but markets began the new year with rates moving surprisingly lower. Major losses in stocks and oil prices were part of the same trend of investors moving away from risk.
- After bottoming out fairly close to all-time lows in February, rates have seen only brief episodes of volatility in a low, narrow range.
- The Fed's most recent announcement at the end of April reinforced their cautious approach to rate hikes. The last time that happened, stocks cheered, but this time they've been moving lower. Bond markets like that, and they'll continue to like it until stocks prove they can break back above 2015 highs.
- Even though the broader backdrop has taken a positive turn for rates, there are still tactical opportunities to lock. In general, we look for any prolonged moves lower (i.e. 10 days in a row without moving higher) or any major low-rate milestones (i.e. 3-year lows).
- 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, conventional 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).