January 18, 2019
Mortgage rates rose gently today. Most mortgage borrowers (and many mortgage professionals, for that matter) wouldn't be aware of slightly more alarming risks lurking underneath the surface. Those risks involve the broader bond market from which mortgage-related bonds take their directional cues.
More simply put, if US Treasuries are improving, mortgage-backed bonds tend to improve as well. The level of correlation varies though. For nearly all of 2018, mortgages weren't improving as quickly as the most widely-used rate benchmark: 10yr Treasury yields. That began to change recently--especially when 10yr yields began moving higher 3 weeks ago. During that time, we've seen moderate moves higher in 10yr yields met with modest moves higher in mortgage rates. Today was another one of those days.
The underlying risk is that the moderate moves in Treasuries are adding up and potentially crossing dangerous lines. Mortgage rates aren't any worse than they were at last week's highs, but Treasuries are as high as they've been in more than 3 weeks. If they go much higher, they'll be breaking some important ceilings that investors might treat as harbingers of additional momentum. The net effect would be additional increases in mortgage rates. Even if those wouldn't be keeping pace with the weakness in Treasuries, they still wouldn't be pleasant.
Loan Originator Perspective
Rates continued their slow rise today, as treasury yields will end the week up .125%, a significant hike. I'm locking loans closing within 45 days, will continue doing so until we get sufficient data/drama to boost bond demand. Happy weekend! -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.5%
- FHA/VA - 4.25%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 4.125%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 4.25%-4.625% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations
- Headwinds that had plagued rates for most of the past 2 years began to die down in late 2018. A rapid decline in the stock market certainly helped drive investors into bonds (which helps rates) Highest rates in more than 7 years in Oct/Nov. 8-month lows by the end of the year
- This is a bit of a crossroads. The rising rate environment could flare up again. We may look back at Oct/Nov and see a long-term ceiling, or we may look back at early December and see a temporary correction before more pain.
- Either way, late 2018 was a sign that rates are willing to take opportunities presented to them. From here, it will be up to economic data, fiscal policies, and the stock market to decide on the next set of opportunities. The rougher the overall outlook, the better interest rates tend to do.
- 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.