December 13, 2017
Mortgage rates fell fairly quickly this afternoon following the Federal Reserves updated economic projections. While it is indeed true that the Fed "raised rates" this afternoon, there are two reasons that doesn't matter.
First of all, the rate the Fed adjusts (aptly named, the Fed Funds Rate), governs only the shortest-time frames (overnight loans among big banks). Although its effects radiate to longer-term debt like mortgages, the two are far from joined at the hip. Short term rates often move one direction while long term rates move another.
More importantly, EVERYONE responsible for trading the bonds that govern interest rates (and I do mean every last person without a single exception) was well aware that the Fed would be hiking rates today. No Fed rate hike has been better telegraphed during this cycle.
When bond traders know what's going to happen in the future, they'll trade accordingly as soon as possible. That means rates had long since adjusted to today's rate hike--so much so that the hike itself was a non-event. Again, it was the update economic projections that helped rates move lower this afternoon. Fed Chair Yellen's press conference played a major role as well.
Even before the Fed news came out, a weaker reading on an important inflation report helped bond markets get into positive territory on the day. The net effect of the Fed and the economic data was a moderately quick move back to last week's low rates.
Loan Originator Perspective
Bonds are rallying following the Fed announcement today and weaker inflation data. As of 4pm eastern, only a few lenders have passed along any of the gains. So, i favor floating overnight and evaluate pricing tomorrow. Hopefully this rally can continue, -Victor Burek, Churchill Mortgage
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.0%
- FHA/VA - 3.75%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.375%
- 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've 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.