November 16, 2017
Mortgage rates moved higher today, but the changes were minimal for most lenders. Bond markets (which underlie interest rates) have been searching for inspiration recently and largely coming up short. This morning contained several economic reports and the House passed its tax bill in the afternoon, but none of those events caused much of a stir for bonds. In fact, all of the bond market movement responsible for today's higher rates occurred during Asian and European trading hours. When US traders got in for the day, bonds were almost perfectly sideways through 3pm.
With next week bringing the Thanksgiving holiday and with the Senate not even taking up the tax bill debate until the following week (they're out all of next week), it's fair to wonder how much worse the lack of inspiration will get. The risky thing about these periods of lighter participation and lower conviction in financial markets is that they can result in unexpected and seemingly unjustified volatility. Lenders also tend to be less aggressive when it comes to offering better rates following bond market improvements. That generally decreases the benefits of floating in the near term.
Loan Originator Perspective
Bond markets regressed slightly today, as pundits pondered whether tax reform would pass the Senate. My pricing was minimally worse than Wednesday's. A Senate train wreck on tax reform could boost bonds, but I'm not willing to predict that just yet. Within 30 days of closing? Locking is the safe bet, unless you really enjoy "action". -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.