January 19, 2018
Mortgage rates remained at 9-month highs today, with most lenders in worse shape than yesterday. In the morning, the sky hadn't yet fallen, the average lender was right in line with yesterday's 9-month highs, but at least we weren't any worse off than yesterday. Things changed in the afternoon as bond markets weakened abruptly. Many lenders issued negative reprices, thus leaving the average lender noticeably higher than yesterday.
Today's weakness makes this the worst week for rates since late June and one of only 3 weeks with as much of a rate spike since 2016. For the third day in a row, I'm repeating the same mantra: any time we're pushing long-term highs, it's a good idea to remain defensive in terms of locking vs floating. The saving grace is that long-term highs typically precede extended periods of positivity for rates. It's just a matter of figuring out if these long term highs are high enough to rebalance the scales in the bond market.
Loan Originator Perspectives
Not a great January for rates so far, but remember, we are still seeing very low rates overall. It is still a great time to purchase, or refinance for some cash-out at these numbers. In terms of day-to-day lock/float decisions, locking isn't the wrong decision here, and as always, discuss the risks of floating with your Loan Officer so you have a clear understanding of what you can lose versus what you can gain. -Ira Selwin - VP of Capital Markets at US Mortgage Corporation
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.125%-4.25%
- FHA/VA - 3.75%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.375%-3.5%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 2.75 - 3.25% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations
- 2017 had proven to be a relatively good year for mortgage rates despite widespread expectations for a stronger push higher after the presidential election in late 2016.
- While rates remain low in absolute terms, they moved higher in a more threatening way heading into the 4th quarter, relative to the stability and improvement seen earlier in 2017
- The default stance for now is that this trend toward higher rates has the potential to continue. It will take more than a few great days here and there for that outlook to change.
- For weeks, this bullet point had warned about recent stability inviting a bigger dose of volatility. That volatility is now here. As such, locking is generally the better choice until the volatility is clearly dying down.
- 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.