Mortgage rates are driven by the bond market, and bond traders have a lot on their minds these days. After trading rates up to the highest levels in years roughly 4 months ago, rates have bounced around in a volatile, but still mostly sideways range. Mid June was the worst of it while late July was the best. There was more than a full percentage point of difference between those two time frames in terms of 30yr fixed mortgage rates.
As of late last week, the average lender was much closer to the recent peak after spending the entire month of August moving higher. Traders continue to digest economic data and inflation reports that suggest July's surge toward lower rates was premature.
In today's case, overseas inflation data had a trickle-down effect that impacted bonds in the US. The impacts were limited, but they accounted for some early volatility. Then in the 10am hour, a strong Consumer Confidence report pushed bond yields higher. Cautious comments from a high ranking Federal Reserve official added a bit of fuel to the fire.
All of the above resulted in a few lenders making mid day changes to rate sheet offerings or simply coming out of the gate more conservatively than they otherwise might. The average lender was very close to yesterday's levels which, in turn, were the highest we've seen since June.
Volatility remains a big risk as the rest of the week brings additional economic data capable of catching traders' attention. Those risks peak for this week on Friday morning with the next monthly installment of the big jobs report.
This page contains a chart of mortgage rate volatility: https://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/mortgage-rates/volatility. It may not be as high as early 2020 in outright terms, but the elevated readings have been in place far longer now--the longest stretch of volatility this high since we began daily record keeping in 2009.