March 1, 2018
Mortgage rates moved lower today--somewhat significantly relative to recent examples--ultimately hitting the best levels in more than a week for most lenders. Trump's tariff announcement served as a catalyst for market movement in both stocks and bonds (which underlie mortgage rates). Investors currently view the proposed tariffs as something that would do more harm than good for the overall economy. Economic growth generally corresponds with rising rates, so anything that calls it into question can have the opposite effect.
It's too early, at the point, to know if the tariff-related news will be a big deal for rates apart from today's headline shock value. What we do know is that rates are officially putting up their best fight so far this year when it comes to pushing back against the dominant trend (the one that's carried average mortgage rates more than half a point higher). While many lenders aren't in much better territory than Monday morning, lenders who released updated rate sheets this afternoon are in the best shape in more than 2 weeks. We haven't been able to say "2 week lows" since early December.
Loan Originator Perspective
Bond markets posted modest gains today, but still remained below Monday's levels. We may be establishing a new range here, which would certainly beat rates continuing higher. I'm not ready to contemplate floating deals yet, since there's no apparent motivation for yields to fall, but at least we're not posting daily sell-offs either. Ted Rood, Senior Originator
We might actually have 2 green days in a row in the bond market. It has been a while. Bonds have still not broken any important levels, so i continue to favor locking. I would wait until as late as possible as reprices for the better are a possibility. -Victor Burek, Churchill Mortgage
Today's Most Prevalent Rates
- 30YR FIXED - 4.5-4.625%
- FHA/VA - 4.375%
- 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.875%
- 5 YEAR ARMS - 3.5-3.75% 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.