Mortgage Rates: Another Brick in the Wall

Mortgage rates failed to improve last week and home loan borrowing costs moved mostly sideways. On Friday we said rates had hit a wall. Today that trend extends as mortgage rates were once again unchanged and borrowing costs barely budged.

CURRENT MARKET: The “Best Execution” conventional 30-year
fixed mortgage rate is 4.75%.  If you are looking to move down from there,
you’ll be assessing the trade-offs between higher closing costs and lower
monthly payments.  This could be worth it to applicants who plan to keep their new mortgage outstanding for long enough to breakeven on the
extra upfront costs.  On FHA/VA 30 year fixed “Best Execution”
is 4.50%.  15 year fixed conventional loans are best priced at 4.000%.
Five year ARMs are best priced at 3.375% but the ARM market is more stratified
and there is more variation in what will be “Best-Execution”
depending on your individual scenario. 

PREVIOUS GUIDANCE:  With the full week’s worth of lender rate
sheet information available on our chart, it’s plain to see why we continue to
express a bias toward locking. While there is a possibility that we’ve merely
stalled and gone sideways before rates and costs improve further, it is not the
highest probability result in the next week. It’s more likely that costs will
move higher.  Whether that occurs temporarily or permanently is less
certain, but as you can see in early March in today’s chart, costs still
worsened before ultimately improving on the last major occasion before we hit a
similar wall. From a risk/reward standpoint, the decision is clear for shorter
term outlooks.  Lock ’em up.  For those inclined to float or have no
other choice, the possibility for an intermediate to longer term rates rally
remains on the table. READ MORE: Margin Squeeze Hits Headlines. False Start Baked into Bonds

CURRENT GUIDANCE:     While we continue to see minor day to day
variations in the closing costs tied to current Best-Execution rate offerings, mortgage rates
themselves have hit a wall. In addition to that,
underlying bond markets have hit a similar wall as Best-Ex mortgage rates. We’d want to wait until that wall is broken
before departing from our defensive stance. Floating in the short-term carries an even higher risk in the week
ahead, especially on Wednesday when the Minutes of the latest FOMC
meeting are released (Fed’s Rate Decision
Meeting). ECON CALENDAR: The Week Ahead

 What MUST be considered BEFORE one thinks about capitalizing on a
rates rally?

   1. WHAT DO YOU NEED? Rates might not rally as much as you
   2. WHEN DO YOU NEED IT BY? Rates might not rally as fast as you
   3. HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS? Are you ready to make tough


*”Best Execution” is the most efficient combination of note
rate offered and points paid at closing. This note rate is determined based on
the time it takes to recover the points you paid at closing (discount) vs. the
monthly savings of permanently buying down your mortgage rate by 0.125%. 
When deciding on whether or not to pay points, the borrower must have an idea
of how long they intend to keep their mortgage. For more info, ask you
originator to explain the findings of their “breakeven analysis” on
your permanent rate buy down costs.

Important Mortgage Rate Disclaimer
: The “Best Execution” loan
pricing quotes shared above are generally seen as the more aggressive side of
the primary mortgage market. Loan originators will only be able to offer these
rates on conforming loan amounts to very well-qualified borrowers who have a
middle FICO score over 740 and enough equity in their home to qualify for a
refinance or a large enough savings to cover their down payment and closing
costs. If the terms of your loan trigger any risk-based loan level pricing
adjustments (LLPAs), your rate quote will be higher. If you do not fall into the
“perfect borrower” category, make sure you ask your loan originator
for an explanation of the characteristics that make your loan more expensive.
“No point” loan doesn’t mean “no cost” loan. The best 30
year fixed conventional/FHA/VA mortgage rates still include closing costs such
as: third party fees + title charges + transfer and recording. Don’t forget the
fiscal frisking that comes along with the underwriting process.

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