March 16, 2018
Mortgage rates rose modestly today, but many lenders were essentially unchanged compared to yesterday's latest offerings. Moreover, rates ended the week slightly lower compared to last Friday's latest levels. That's no small victory in 2018, despite the fact that it is a small victory in general.
Part of the motivation toward slightly higher rates over the past 2 days could be the looming Fed announcement next week. Oftentimes, bond markets (which underlie rates) don't want to move too far outside recent ranges when there's a risk the Fed may say or do something to redefine that range.
In the current case, Wednesday's improvement brought average rates to their best levels in roughly 3 weeks. Traders aren't eager to explore anything lower without the Fed's blessing. But at the same time, they also must consider that the Fed could say something HELPFUL for rates. For that reason, we didn't see any major challenge to the recent rate highs, thus keeping everything in a very narrow range. Look for that to change by the end of next week, for better or worse.
Loan Originator Perspective
Yesterday's gains vanished as quickly as Arizona's March Madness hopes, and treasury yields failed to breech resistance at 2.80%. It's going to take something dramatic for rates to drop below recent levels, and there's no guarantee when that will happen. I'm still locking early, until said drama develops! -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.5-4.625%
- FHA/VA - 4.375%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.875%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 3.5-3.75% 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 beginning of 2018
- The scariest part of the move higher looks like it ended as of early February, and rates have been generally sideways since then
- Even so, the potential remains for more weakness (i.e. higher rates). It makes more sense to remain defensive (i.e. more inclined to lock) until we've seen a more convincing shift lower.
- 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.