December 17, 2018
Mortgage rates were fairly flat yet again today. Unlike Friday, today's market movement made a case for a bit of a drop. "Market gains" mean different things when talking about bonds/rates (as opposed to stocks). In today's case, bond markets improved while stocks lost ground. In fact, the pace at which stocks lost ground largely explains bond market gains (investors often seek safe-havens when stocks are panicking, and bond markets can be one of those havens).
As money flows into bond markets, bond prices rise and rates fall. Mortgage rates are ultimately determined by mortgage lenders, but they'll usually change rate sheets in the middle of the day if bonds are improving quickly enough. Today's bond market gains were big enough to justify so-called "reprices" among mortgage lenders, but that didn't become clear until late in the afternoon--after the time of day that the average lender considers changing rates.
With all of the above in mind, we head into tomorrow at a slight advantage in terms of mortgage rates. In other words, if underlying bond markets were to hold completely flat overnight, the average lender would be able to offer slightly improved terms in the morning. Lenders who already repriced today (there were a few of them) would be the exception.
Loan Originator Perspective
Bonds posted small gains today, as stocks' swoon continued and traders eyed Wednesday's Fed Statement and press conference. An economically dovish Fed stance would help rates, but may already be baked into current pricing. I'm locking conservative clients closing within 30 days. -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.75%
- FHA/VA - 4.25%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 4.25%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 4.375%-4.875% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations
- Headwinds that had plagued rates for most of the past 2 years are slowly dying down. The rising rate environment could flare up again, and some headwinds remain in effect, but the broader tone has taken a more optimistic shift.
- Highest rates in more than 7 years in Oct/Nov. Lowest rates in more than 2 months as of early December
- This is a bit of a crossroads. We may look back at Oct/Nov and see a long-term ceiling, or we may look back at early December and see a temporary correction before more pain. Either way, it's one of the more hopeful positions we've been in for several years.
- 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.