April 23, 2018
Mortgage rates moved markedly higher today, officially leaving them at new 4-year highs. The only other time they've earned that distinction this year was in February--NOT last week as all the major surveys claimed. To be clear, they were certainly close last week, but the surveys didn't account for some of the worst individual days in February. Does any of this really matter? No, not so much. Here's what matters:
The average lender is quoting very well-qualified borrowers with huge downpayments something north of 4.5% on conventional 30yr fixed mortgages today. Let's call it 4.625%. Up until Friday, that number hadn't been over 4.5% except for on a few of those ill-fated February days.
Also important is the message that such a move sends. Simply put, the bond market (which underlies rates) could be telling us that it's getting back into the same gear seen last Fall and in early 2018. In general, that's characterized by pervasive, relentless movement toward higher rates. The saving grace is that the underlying causes for that movement had already hit markets to some extent in late 2016. So it remains to be seen how much more pain will be priced into rates before more investors feel bonds make sense to own (when more investors buy bonds, rates move lower, all other things being equal).
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.625%
- FHA/VA - 4.25%-4.5%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 4.0%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 3.625%-3.875% 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.