February 20, 2019
Mortgage rates finally broke from their recent "back-and-forth" pattern of the past 7 business days and moved lower for the 2nd day in a row. Although today's big-ticket event for financial markets was the 2pm release of the Fed's most recent meeting minutes (or was it Samsung's foldable phone announcement?), rates were already lower well in advance of the Fed. This feat was accomplished simply because the bond market didn't change much from yesterday, and the fact that mortgage lenders didn't fully adjust rates to reflect bond market levels yesterday.
To put that more simply: rates were good yesterday. Bond markets improved yesterday, but not enough for mortgage lenders to lower rates in the afternoon. Lenders need to see a certain amount of ground covered during the day in order to go to the trouble of changing rate sheets. Otherwise, they'll just wait and make the changes the following morning when they will be putting out new rate sheets anyway. Because bonds didn't lose ground overnight, lenders were able to do just that.
The improvement brings the average lender very close to their best levels in more than a year with only one or two days being any better in the past 2 months.
Loan Originator Perspective
January's Fed Minutes, released today, slowed markets slightly today, as bond traders digested the details. My pricing was slightly better than Tuesday's. I'm still locking loans closing within 30 days. -Ted Rood, Senior Originator
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.375 - 4.5%
- FHA/VA - 4.125 - 4.25%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 4.0 - 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.