October 12, 2018
Mortgage rates held relatively steady today, finally leveling off after two solid days of improvement driven by the week's big stock market sell-off. Stocks and rates don't always move in the same direction at the same time, but when stocks make a big move lower, rates tend to benefit. This week's move lower in stocks was the 3rd largest since the financial crisis. In that light, we only saw a mere token of improvement for mortgage rates, but we'll take what we can get considering it was the only meaningful drop in rates since August 10th.
For most of the day, it looked like stocks might head back down, but they recovered in the afternoon. That put an end to the hopes of any more improvement in mortgage rates for this week. Underlying bond markets were quick to follow stocks back in the other direction as well. This suggests that things will remain challenging for rates in the coming week, unless another source of inspiration suddenly appears.
Loan Originator Perspective
Bond markets were flat today, amid a morning stock rally and PM sell-off. We're near the best levels since early October, but there's no apparent momentum to continue this rally. I'm still in lock early mode, we haven't seen 2018's highest rates yet. -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 5.0%
- FHA/VA - 4.5-4.75%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 4.5%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 4.25%-4.75% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations
- Rates continue coping with several big-picture headwinds, including: the Fed's rate hike outlook (and general policy tightening), the increased amount of Treasury issuance to pay for the tax bill (higher bond issuance = higher rates), and the possibility that fiscal stimulus results in higher growth/inflation (which certainly seems to be the case so far in 2018).
- While rates were able to recover and stay sideways in the summer months, September and October have seen a surge up to the highest levels in more than 7 years.
- Upward pressure can continue as long as economic growth and inflation continue running near long-term highs. Stay defensive (i.e. generally more lock-biased). It will take a big change in economic fundamentals or geopolitical risk for the big picture to change. Such things tend to not happen as quickly as we'd like.
- 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.