High Risk Event For Mortgage Rates Tomorrow

Interest Rates

Much like yesterday (and the day before), Mortgage-Backed-Securities (MBS), began the day
in weaker territory and rallied in the latter part of the day.  Unlike yesterday, we started off in weak enough territory this morning that the improvements in MBS were not enough to see a positive change in Mortgage Rates.  In fact, rates are a bit higher today, still centered on a 4.0% Best-Execution level, but with less 3.875%’s and a reintroduction to 4.125% rates at many lenders. 

Also similar to yesterday (and the day before) is the phenomenon where Treasury yields
rose while mortgage rates held steady (or more appropriately in today’s case, “rose less”).  This is more of an “FYI” than
anything, or perhaps a reminder that it can happen, and just did. 

Tomorrow brings one of the highest-risk events of the month: The Employment Situation Report.  Despite the dominance of European headlines over domestic economic data, this report is a major exception and can have a noticeable impact on mortgage rates in either direction.  We tend to feel that a negative domestic economic outlook is already “baked-in” to interest rates to a much greater extent that recently more positive economic data has perhaps put a strain on yields.  That’s simply another way of saying less diminishing returns for well-timed floating.  Even if rates do improve after tomorrow’s jobs data, it probably won’t be to the same extent that rates could rise if the data is extremely strong (strong economic data tends to result in upward pressures on interest rates).  Ongoing guidance below is still in effect and will be as long as Best-Execution CONTINUES hovering around 4.0%.


  • 30YR FIXED –  4.0%, increasing amount of 3.875’s.
  • FHA/VA 
    3.75%, fewer 3.875’s
  • 15 YEAR FIXED – 
  • 5 YEAR ARMS –  low
    3% range, huge variations from lender to lender.


In a fundamental sense, we’re well aware of the fact
that European drama continues to help domestic bond markets. 
Technically, we’re impressed that mortgage rates have been this flat for
this long.  The “batting cage” metaphor or the chart below it if you
prefer, continue to be the best guidance we can offer in this uncertain
environment.  With the ongoing sideways movement of Best-Execution
around 4%, the chances increase that the next move will carry a bit of
momentum with it (as if the current calm is akin to “storing energy”). 
If it goes in a mortgage rate-friendly direction, there’s limited
benefit (an eighth to a quarter of a point of improvement) versus the
damage that could result from it going the other way.  Fortunately,
neither of those eventualities appear to be happening at the moment, so
it’s hard to go wrong.  We’ll let you know the day that changes.

Batting Cage Metaphor:

(this can be applied to any endeavor where you’re trying to “go out on a high note”).   Rate
offerings from lenders over the past month have been like a temperamental
pitching machine in a batting cage-generally getting the ball across the plate,
but with no really juicy pitches.  But recently, we’ve seen some more
consistently good pitches (best-ex around 4.0% instead of 4.25%).  Sure…
you’ve seen better, but not by much (3.875% and RARELY 3.75%).  How
many more will you count on before calling it a day? 
Personally, I’d
like to end my batting cage session with a nice hit.  The more
“pitches” you wait for with rates already at a 4.0%, the greater the
risk that the next pitch will be a curve-ball.  To drop the metaphor,
although rates this low CAN go slightly lower, the improvements are fairly
minimal compared to how much higher they could go.  Still, if you’re not
in any particular need to refinance and are operating on a longer-term
perspective, we continue to feel good about that “wall” at a 4.25%
best-execution level as a good stop-loss point for inclined floaters.  Ask
us to explain more about that if it doesn’t make sense. 

Another way of looking at the lock/float spectrum based on the lowest
MBS coupon actively trading and being produced in the secondary
mortgage market:

Leave a Reply