Mortgage Rates Inch to Month’s Lows


Mortgage rates fell today, reaching levels not seen since late October.  That may sound fairly positive–and of course, it’s better than being at recent highs–but the overall trend during that time has been essentially flat.  In fact, the past 2 months can be easily summed up by saying rates fell sharply from mid September, began gradually rising in the 2nd half of October, and have now leveled off in November.  The most prevalently-quoted conforming 30yr fixed rates remain 4.0-4.125% for top tier borrowers.

Until it happens, we’re simply waiting for market trends to commit to a direction.  When rates level-off after a move higher as they have here, it often precedes a move back in the other direction.  While we haven’t quite seen enough conviction in trading levels to conclude such a reversal is happening, neither have we seen anything that would lead us to rule it out.


Loan Originator Perspective

“We’re not getting any clear indications as to which direction rates are
headed over the next week. Heck, we’re not even getting unclear
indications. So, I’m left with my gut…my gut says float into next
week and reassess on Monday.” –Brent Borcherding,

“We finish the week on a positive note heading into the weekend with
rates still at very attractive levels. We are still in the recent range
and considering this weeks data contained few surprises it is refreshing
that we end the week with rates little changed. There is always a
possibility things can change quickly in this industry, loans closing in
15 days should be locked, heading into the weekend it’s a case by case
on floating. I am still a believer that we may see better rates, the
question is when. ” –Constantine Floropoulos, Quontic Bank

“It was a happy Friday for borrowers and originators as at least 15
lenders issued improved rate sheets during the afternoon. The gains
weren’t remarkable, but we’ll take whatever we can get. We gained about
.25% in pricing (not rate) on most loans. We’re near the bottom of our
recent ranges on treasury yields at 2.32%. I locked one loan this
afternoon that’s within 30 days of closing, still floating a few that
are further out.” –Ted Rood, Senior Originator, MB Bank

“The relief rally following the end of the auction cycle has continued
today. We opened with some weakness thanks to some better than
expected economic data which led to lenders being conservative with
opening rate sheets. By mid afternoon, some lenders have improved
pricing but are still holding back some of the gains. If your lender
has improved pricing and you are within 15 days of closing, locking here
might be a wise move. I would float all other loans.” –Victor Burek, Open Mortgage

“Mortgage bonds inched higher today after the release of positive
economic data which would normally push prices lower. Stocks once again
traded flat for the most part. Stocks have traded flat almost then
entire week and this could be an early signal of future volatility.
Given mortgage bonds resilience the last few trading sessions cautiously
floating and waiting to see how things play out next week makes the
most sense heading into the weekend.” –Manny Gomes, Branch Manager Norcom Mortgage


Today’s Best-Execution Rates

  • 30YR FIXED – 4.0-4.125
  • FHA/VA – 3.5-3.75
  • 15 YEAR FIXED –  3.25
  • 5 YEAR ARMS –  3.0 – 3.50% depending on the lender

Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

  • The hallmark of 2014 has been a narrow range in rates.  Too many market participants bet on rates going higher in 2014, and markets punished that imbalance with a paradoxical move lower.

  • European markets helped that process along and continue to play a prominent role in keeping US rates lower than they otherwise might be.  
  • For most of the Summer and early Fall months, rates held a narrow range of 4.125% -4.25% (essentially where the 2014 rate recovery has bottomed out) and finally broke to a 3.875%-4.0% range in mid-October.  It’s too soon to tell if this is a brief window of opportunity or the continuation of 2014’s very gradual improvements.

  • As always, please keep in mind that the rates discussed generally refer to what we’ve termedbest-execution(that is, the most frequently quoted, conforming, 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers, based not only on the outright price, but also ‘bang-for-the-buck.’  Generally speaking, our best-execution rate tends to connote no origination or discount points–though this can vary–and tends to predict Freddie Mac’s weekly survey with high accuracy.  It’s safe to assume that our best-ex rate is the more timely and accurate of the two due to Freddie’s once-a-week polling method). 

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