September 24, 2018
Mortgage rates are having a bleak September, having risen at least an eighth of a percentage point in all cases and by a quarter of a point in many cases. Depending on the lender and scenario, conventional 30yr fixed rates of 5.0% aren't out of the question although 4.875% remains far more prevalent for borrowers with lots of equity/down-payment and top-tier credit. Either way, that's as high as mortgage rates have been since 2011 for most lenders.
Most of the recent damage had been done by Wednesday afternoon of last week. Since then, underlying bond markets haven't been moving as much, relatively. This could have everything to do with Wednesday's Fed Announcement where the Federal Reserve will undoubtedly hike its policy rate and release updated economic forecasts. Incidentally, today's rates already fully account for the Fed hiking rates on Wednesday. Instead, it's the forecasts that stand the biggest chance to cause more volatility. By Thursday morning, we can expect to have a much clearer sense of whether the recent rate drama will continue.
Loan Originator Perspective
Bond markets idled again today, as Wednesday's Fed Rate Decision and Chairman Powell's press conference loomed. A .25% Fed rate increase is all but given, the big question is Fed Members' outlook for future hikes. I'm still locking new clients at application, if closing within 60 days. It's going to take a significant shock, not just some disappointing data, for this upward rate trend to reverse. -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.75-4.875%
- FHA/VA - 4.5%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 4.25%-4.375
- 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.
- Rates cooled off heading in the summer months, but that proved to be the eye of an ongoing storm. As long as economic data remains strong, rates can continue to move higher in general, even though there may be brief periods of correction.
- It makes sense to remain defensive (i.e. generally more lock-biased) because the headwinds mentioned above won't die down quickly. It will take a big change in economic fundamentals or geopolitical risk for the big picture to change.
- 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.