Home loan borrowing costs are hovering near the best levels we've seen all year. Volatility has however picked up in the bond market.  Just last Tuesday rate watchers experienced a scare where it looked like Best Execution quotes were doomed to move higher. Those anxieties were however quickly alleviated as a flight to safety rallied benchmark bonds back to their lowest yields in nearly 7-months.

A "flight to safety" happens when investors are nervous about owning risky assets like stocks, but do not want to miss out on earning a return on their funds, so they allocate their money into risk-free government guaranteed U.S Treasury debt to provide a safe-haven and an investment return. As benchmark Treasury yields fall on "flight to safety" buyer demand, prices of mortgage-backed securities move higher in unison. This allows lenders to reprice their rate sheets for the better and gives originators an opportunity to offer fence-sitting borrowers lower mortgage rates or more competitive closing costs.

The chance that Greece may default on their government debt obligations has global investors running for safety...

CURRENT MARKET: The "Best Execution" conventional 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 4.50%. Some lenders may be quoting 4.50% with increased closing costs in the form of origination fees. Some lenders may also be quoting 4.375%, but those offers will definitely carry additional closing costs.  These costs could be worth it to applicants who plan to keep their new mortgage outstanding for long enough to breakeven on the extra upfront costs.  On FHA/VA 30 year fixed "Best Execution"  is 4.25%.  15 year fixed conventional loans are best priced at 3.75%. Five year ARMs are best priced at 3.125% but the ARM market is more stratified and there is more variation in what will be "Best-Execution" depending on your individual scenario. 

THE WEEK AHEAD:   Indecisive investor attitudes carry over into the week ahead where two major events are seen shaping outlooks. The U.S. Federal Reserve will conclude a two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday afternoon with the release of the FOMC Statement. We expect the Fed to confirm an end to its second Quantitative Easing program (QEII) and indicate that further quantitative easing measures are totally dependent on new economic data developments. The Fed's current stance calls for economic growth to pick-up in the 2nd half of the year. The other market moving event on the horizon is the ongoing Greek debt crisis.  Greek officials have said the country will face default by mid-July if the European Union and the International Monetary Fund do not release the next phase of bailout funds by then.  Over the weekend Euro-zone finance ministers delayed a final decision on extending those emergency loan funds to Greece until they agree on an aggressive plan to pay back debts. Since restructuring government leadership positions largely failed to improve national sentiment surrounding new spending cuts, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is now seeking government approval to enact his own austerity plan through a "vote of confidence", which will be taken on Tuesday night. Failing to agree on tough spending cuts would lead market participants to believe the Greeks are not serious about making long-term concessions to pay back their debt. This would be seen as a negative influence on stocks and a positive influence on mortgage rates. Other than those two stories, the economic calendar is pretty thin with no events on Monday and only Existing Home Sales on Tuesday. The FOMC Statement will be issued on Wednesday. Then on Thursday we get a regional business activity index (we got two bad updates last week) plus Jobless Claims and New Home Sales. The week wraps up on Friday with Final Q1 GDP and Durable Goods Orders.

CURRENT GUIDANCE:  There's a weird feeling in the air. Stocks are teetering on a major technical breakdown and bonds smell fear but are waiting for new guidance to be offered. If stocks fail to mount a recovery rally in the near future, we could be looking at another leg lower in Best Execution mortgage rates. While this "feeling" ties together well with our long-term outlook, it's still speculative in nature and largely driven by headline news. We say that because the timing of such news headlines,  positive or negative,   is "at any moment". And until it the market is given new information, stocks are gonna put up a fight. This "scratching and clawing" in equities implies the potential for loan pricing volatility remains high. Remember, it was only last week when Best Execution Mortgage Rates were teetering on a shift higher because stocks had put together a decent intraday rally effort. We may have dodged a bullet, but we're not out of the woods yet. The past few days provide a perfect example of how quickly unfriendly fluctuations can occur in the mortgage market.

What MUST be considered BEFORE one thinks about capitalizing on a rates rally?

   1. WHAT DO YOU NEED? Rates might not rally as much as you want/need.
   2. WHEN DO YOU NEED IT BY? Rates might not rally as fast as you want/need.
   3. HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS? Are you ready to make tough decisions?


"Best Execution" is the most cost efficient combination of note rate offered and points paid at closing. This note rate is determined based on the time it takes to recover the points you paid at closing (discount) vs. the monthly savings of permanently buying down your mortgage rate by 0.125%.  When deciding on whether or not to pay points, the borrower must have an idea of how long they intend to keep their mortgage. For more info, ask you originator to explain the findings of their "breakeven analysis" on your permanent rate buy down costs.

Important Mortgage Rate Disclaimer
: The "Best Execution" loan pricing quotes shared above are generally seen as the more aggressive side of the primary mortgage market. Loan originators will only be able to offer these rates on conforming loan amounts to very well-qualified borrowers who have a middle FICO score over 740 and enough equity in their home to qualify for a refinance or a large enough savings to cover their down payment and closing costs. If the terms of your loan trigger any risk-based loan level pricing adjustments (LLPAs), your rate quote will be higher. If you do not fall into the "perfect borrower" category, make sure you ask your loan originator for an explanation of the characteristics that make your loan more expensive. "No point" loan doesn't mean "no cost" loan. The best 30 year fixed conventional/FHA/VA mortgage rates still include closing costs such as: third party fees + title charges + transfer and recording. Don't forget the fiscal frisking that comes along with the underwriting process