Mortgage rates stayed in line with recent 4-month lows today.  In some cases, there was a slight movement in the closing costs associated with prevailing rates, but the rates themselves didn't change.  The most prevalent Conforming 30yr fixed quote (best-execution) remained at 4.125%.

Every day since last week's jobs report has been relatively calm for mortgage rates.  Even then, there was reason to believe that we could be lacking some direction until the next major round of economic data came in.  That culminates in next week's jobs report (which is occurring so close to the previous report due to shutdown-related rescheduling), but the current week can certainly play a role. 

Economic data is an important factor in mortgage rate movement for 2 primary reasons.  First, there's the basic deductive logic that a stronger economy can support higher interest rates, thus stronger economic data tends to push rates higher, all other things being equal. 

The second reason has to do with the Federal Reserve's current role in bond markets.  While market participants no longer expect the Fed to reduce asset purchases soon, the longer-term assessment of Fed policy still affects rates.  If markets think the Fed will continue to push back the eventual end of their buying program, it gives rates more room to stay or move lower.

These two factors both suggest the same movement in the same circumstance, i.e. weaker data suggests lower rates and stronger data suggests higher rates.  But as far as the Fed policy component is concerned, some of the economic data is significantly more important than others--namely the big jobs report next week. 

That's not to say that the other data can't have an impact, but it has to be fairly unified in its suggestion or the report has to be one of the more important ones.  Tomorrow's Retail Sales data is a good example of a non-employment-related report that has the power to move markets.  It's joined by several other reports that together, stand a much better chance to ensure we don't end tomorrow in relatively unchanged territory for a 5th straight day.

Loan Originator Perspectives

"Good start to the week, auction today was well received, overall lack of any action is a net positive. Keep a close eye on the data Tuesday and Wednesday, auctions, and earnings for some of the big boys this week. FOMC on Wednesday is probably the most important piece of the week.  Safe to stay floating as long as you are closely monitoring the data.  Rates at multi month lows warrant strong consideration to lock." -Constantine Floropoulos, Quontic Bank

"Plethora of data unfolding this week, from Fed Statement on Wed to weekly unemployment, housing starts, and ADP's October unemployment report (Labor Dept's report released next week). Will be interesting to see Fed's take on the DC drama's impact on the economy and housing. By week's end, we should have a decent indication on whether our two month bull bond market will continue." -Ted Rood, Senior Originator, Wintrust Mortgage

"Nothing has changed with my current outlook. I like floating loans and only locking when within 15 days of funding. Today's rates opened pretty similar to Friday and MBS have gained since the weak housing data at 9am. I recommend to float all loans over night, unless your lender has repriced better today, then I would lock if within 15 days." -Victor Burek, Open Mortgage

Today's Best-Execution Rates

  • 30YR FIXED - 4.125%
  • FHA/VA - 3.75-4.0%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED -  3.25-3.375%
  • 5 YEAR ARMS -  3.0-3.50% depending on the lender

Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

  • Uncertainty over the Fed's bond-buying plans and more recently over Fiscal Policy has been making for a tough interest rate environment.
  • A lack of data due to the government shutdown caused rates to experience moments of paralysis while headlines suggesting the shutdown might/might-not end, as well as a seizing-up of short term funding markets caused unexpectedly high volatility--enough to be felt in longer term rates like mortgages.
  • After a deal was reached to avoid going over the debt ceiling, funding markets thawed and rates returned to the same 'wait and see' range that existed before the Fiscal drama. 
  • Markets continue to be most interested in economic data and its suggestions about the longer term trajectory of the economy.  This will shape expectations for Fed policy in the coming months, and thus inform the direction of interest rates.
  • The stronger the data the more likely the Fed is seen as reducing asset purchases.  Rates would rise under this scenario, but the most recent FOMC Meeting (and more importantly, the Fed's decision to hold off on tapering) suggests that they'll attempt to keep the pace of rising rates moderate as long as inflation isn't adversely affected.  The delayed release of the September jobs numbers on October 22nd helps confirm that.
  • (As always, please keep in mind that our Best-Execution rate always pertains to a completely ideal scenario.  There are many reasons a quoted rate may differ from our average rates, and in those cases, assuming you're following along on a day to day basis, simply use the Best-Ex levels we quote as a baseline to track potential movement in your quoted rate).