January 29, 2018
Mortgage rates are in trouble. This will come as no surprise to regular readers. For the past few weeks, rates made several successive runs up to the highest levels in more than 9 months. It was really only the spring of 2017 that stood in the way of rates being the highest since early 2014. After Friday marked another "highest in 9 months" day, it would only have taken a moderate movement to break into the "3+ year" territory. The move ended up being even bigger.
From a week and a half ago, most borrowers are now looking at another eighth of a percentage point higher in rate. In total, rates are up the better part of half a point since December 15th. This marks the only time rates have risen this much without having been at long term lows in the past year. For example, late 2010, mid-2013, mid-2015, and late 2016 all saw sharper increases in rates overall, but each of those moves happened only 1-3 months after a long term rate low.
The current trend continues to offer false hope with potential ceilings that are quickly broken. Rates have then had a challenging time getting back below those levels. This is classic behavior for these sorts of big, serious market movements and part of the reason we've continued to advocate a defensive stance despite periodic victories. Such victories are bound to occur in any interest rate environment. We need to see bigger victories and more of them if it's going to make any sort of sense to be anything other than defensive when approaching the current interest rate landscape. Lock early and plan on rates moving higher until we see a broad shift in momentum. Rest assured, I'll be writing all about it whenever it finally happens.
Loan Originator Perspective
Bond markets logged sizable sell-offs today, as January mercifully nears its end. So far this month, MBS have stunningly dropped over 200 bps, which easily translates into a .5% or more increase in rates. I've been shouting "lock early" for quite a while, and this is precisely why, This isn't a drill, or a momentary rate upturn. It's likely the end of a decade+ long bull bond market. LOCK EARLY. -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.375-4.5%
- FHA/VA - 4.0-4.25%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.625-3.75%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 3.0-3.5% 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 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.