August 31, 2018
Mortgage rates caught a break to end a week that was otherwise spent moving higher. Although we did see a bit of improvement in underlying bond markets yesterday, lenders were still getting rate sheets caught up with Wednesday afternoon's bond market weakness. As such, we were left with a decent trading day but no improvement in rates.
In order to see that improvement, we needed this morning to bring stronger trading levels and that's exactly what it did. Lenders were consequently able to offer token improvements in the upfront costs attached to the same old rate quotes that have prevailed for weeks.
In other words, bond markets aren't moving enough for actual mortgage rates to change. Instead, movement is limited to the upfront costs (or credits) associated with any given loan--something that allows for finer tuning than the typical .125% gap between mortgage rate offerings.
Monday is a bank holiday. Virtually every mortgage lender will be closed, and unable to process rate lock requests. Lenders will not be updating rate sheets until Tuesday.
Loan Originator Perspective
Bonds posted small gains today, as market participants headed for the exits early. September brings the potential for greater rate volatility, the trend (if any) is still not our friend. I'm locking new loans closing within 45 days. Happy Labor Day weekend, all. -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.625-4.75
- FHA/VA - 4.25-4.5%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 4.125%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 3.75-4.25% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations
- Rates moved higher in a serious way due to 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.
- Despite those headwinds, the upward momentum in rates has cooled off heading into the summer months. This could merely be the eye of the storm, or it could end up being the moment where markets began to doubt that prevailing trends would continue.
- It makes sense to remain defensive (i.e. generally more lock-biased) because the headwinds mentioned above won't die down quickly. Temporary corrections can be explained away, but it will take a big change in economic fundamentals or geopolitical risk for the big picture to change. While that doesn't necessarily mean rates have to skyrocket, there's a good chance it means rates will struggle to move much lower than early 2018 lows until more convincing motivation shows up.
- 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.