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Mortgage Rates Fighting to Stay Near 2017 Lows

by Trevor Sines
Mortgage rates moved lower today, following a policy announcement from the European Central Bank (ECB).  Some investors were concerned the ECB might begin sprinkling in clues about rate hikes or an early end to bond buying programs, but there was no such drama in the announcement or the press conference that followed.   If you're not familiar with the ECB, it's essentially Europe's version of the Federal Reserve.  Both wield tremendously large balance sheets (used to control supply and demand in rates markets, and thus, rates themselves). While central banks can only truly control the shortest term rates, investors who trade the [...]

Mortgage Rates Hold Ground After Tax Plan Release

by Trevor Sines
Mortgage rates were relatively unchanged today, but only after averaging the disparate changes from various lenders.  That means some lenders are in much better shape versus yesterday while others are noticeably worse.   This sort of disparate movement isn't typical of mortgage rates across lenders, but it can happen when underlying bond markets experience volatility on back-to-back afternoons.  That was indeed the case over the past 48 hours.  Bond markets weakened (which pushes rates higher) yesterday afternoon, but only a handful of lenders issued reprices (new, higher rates, in response to intraday market movement).  Today's volatility was in our favor resulting in [...]

Mortgage Rates Highest in 2 Weeks

by Trevor Sines
Mortgage rates moved moderately higher again higher today, as global financial markets continued reacting to recent geopolitical flashpoints (like the French election, discussed yesterday).  Markets are also moving in anticipation of future flashpoints (like tomorrow's tax reform announcement).  In general, investors have piled back into riskier assets like stocks because the French election reduces long-term risks to the European Union.  Investors previously were more willing to buy bonds--a safe haven asset frequently used to insulate investors from increased risk.   The prospects for tax reform have a similar effect in that they encourage investors to favor riskier assets at the expense of bonds. [...]

Mortgage Rates Slightly Higher After French Election

by Trevor Sines
Mortgage rates moved moderately higher today, and most of the blame goes to the presidential election in France.  If you're wondering what European politics have to do with mortgage rates in the US, you're not alone.  While it certainly isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about what's motivating rates, its impact was unmistakable today. To understand the connection, first consider that the EU economy is slightly bigger than that of the US.  Then consider France is the third biggest economy in the EU.  Germany is the biggest and the UK is the second biggest.  On that note, don't [...]

Mortgage Rates End Week Roughly Unchanged

by Trevor Sines
Mortgage rates were sideways to slightly higher this week as global financial markets braced for volatility surrounding this weekend's French election.  While it may seem like a world away from the domestic mortgage market, events that potentially impact the stability of the European Union have a strong track record of filtering through to movement in domestic bond markets.  And bond markets are the primary driver of day-to-day movement in mortgage rates.   In addition to preparations for the weekend's events, traders also reacted to today's headlines concerning tax reform.  Just before 2pm, the Associated Press reported that Trump would announce his tax [...]

Mortgage Rates Up Modestly From 5-Month Lows

by Trevor Sines
Mortgage rates moved higher today as global financial markets shifted ahead of this weekend's election in France.  One of the candidates--Le Pen--is a populist whose victory is seen as potentially destabilizing the entire EU.  Whether or not that's actually the case remains to be seen, but for now, stocks and rates have generally moved higher as polls show Le Pen falling behind (instability and uncertainty push rates and stocks lower).   French politics are far from the only thing guiding the movement in interest rates.  If anything, there are too many potential sources of inspiration competing for attention.  These include geopolitical risks, [...]

Mortgage Rates Hold Near Lows Despite Market Weakness

by Trevor Sines
Mortgage rates were steady to slightly higher today, depending on the lender, despite bond market weakness.  Typically, bond market weakness results in rates moving higher, but the timing of market movements can be important.  Specifically, yesterday saw bond markets move to their best levels of the day in the afternoon--too late in the day for many lenders to react with lower rate offerings.  Today's bond market weakness was intact right from the start of the trading session.  As such, lenders simply kept rates close to unchanged as opposed to offering moderate improvements (something they likely would have done if bond markets [...]

Rates Pushing Deep Into Post-Election Range

by Trevor Sines
After stumbling just slightly yesterday, mortgage rates returned to their recent habit of setting new 2017 lows today.  At this point, we're getting closer and closer to post-election lows.  You'd have to go all the way back to November, 14th 2016 to see anything lower. In specific terms, even more lenders have joined the majority in quoting conventional 30yr fixed rates of 4.0% on top tier scenarios.  The more aggressive lenders are now back into the high 3% territory (3.875% mainly, with a very small minority at 3.75%).  Many lenders are quoting the same NOTE rates as yesterday, but today's upfront [...]

Mortgage Rates Fairly Steady Near 2017 Lows

by Trevor Sines
For the third day in a row, mortgage rates set new 2017 lows this morning.  But as bond markets weakened into the afternoon, several lenders recalled rate sheets for "negative reprices."  This brought the afternoon's rate sheet offerings back in line with those seen on Thursday afternoon.  Although that's slightly worse than this morning, rates are still effectively at 2017 lows.   The average lender continues to quote 4.0% on top tier conventional 30yr fixed scenarios.  Any changes from Thursday would be seen in the form of slightly higher upfront costs.  Many borrowers will see no difference.   ...(read more) Forward this [...]

Rates Push 2017 Lows For 3rd Straight Day

by Trevor Sines
Mortgage rates set new 2017 lows for the third straight day today, although only in terms of "effective rates" (which take upfront costs into account).  "Note rates" (which simply refer to the rate applied to one's loan balance) are unchanged from yesterday, with most lenders continuing to quote 4.0% for top tier conventional 30yr fixed scenarios.  There are still quite a few lenders quoting 4.125% and a very small minority already down to 3.875%.   There were no new motivations for bond market movement (which dictates rates) today, but in general, rates have benefited this week from geopolitical risks and Trump's [...]