September 7, 2018
Mortgage rates rose moderately today (depending on the lender). It was enough to bring them back to the highest levels since early August. Additionally, we can expect them to be slightly higher on Monday unless underlying bond markets improve in Asia and Europe. Reason being: there was additional weakness in bonds this afternoon and most lenders didn't go to the trouble of adjusting their rate sheet offerings to account for it (though several lenders did). Weakness in bonds equates to higher rates, in general.
As for underlying causes, today was all about the big jobs report this morning. Typically, bond markets will weaken if the report shows stronger job creation. That wasn't exactly the case today. While the tally of new jobs was higher than expected, it wasn't an impressive result by the time revisions were factored in. Rather, bonds reacted to a jump in average hourly earnings, which is generally seen as a precursor to inflation. Inflation is bad for bonds because bond buyers are agreeing to a fixed schedule of payments upfront. If inflation makes those dollars less potent in the future, investors might not want to pay as much for those bonds today. And lower prices/demand on bonds equates to higher rates for consumers.
If all that was a bit hard to follow, the bottom line is this: higher wages = higher inflation implications = higher interest rates.
Loan Originator Perspective
I've been in a locking bias for months, and today's a great example why. August's NFP jobs report showed higher than expected wage growth, which raises inflation expectations. Bonds sold off sharply on the data, and the trend is definitely now towards higher rates. Lock as early as you can! -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Rates broke through the glass ceiling with better than anticipated Jobs Report. Lock at origination until further notice. -Al Hensling
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.