Mortgage Rate Watch
Mortgage Rates Barely Budge Despite Market Gains

Mortgage rates didn't move much today, despite a somewhat decent improvement in bond markets.  Overnight, trade war brinksmanship between the US and China had investors seeking the safe haven of bond markets.  Excess demand for bonds pushes rates lower, all other things being equal.

As is often the case with safe haven trades, US Treasuries saw more of the benefit than the bonds that underlie mortgage rates.  The net effect is a move back in line with last Friday's levels for the average mortgage lender.

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Mortgage Rates Little-Changed to Begin Quiet Week

Mortgage rates were sideways to slightly higher today, depending on the lender.  The underlying bond market (which dictates rates) was exceptionally quiet.  On the heels of last week's important events and without much on the calendar this week, markets may take a couple days to relax. 

To put that in context, rates have been holding somewhat steady just below long-term highs.  Their next major decision will be between pushing into new long-term highs or attempting to move lower for more than just a week or two.  "Relaxation," in this context, means we're not likely to see evidence of either this week.

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Mortgage Rates Inch to Week's Best Levels

Mortgage rates fell again today, bringing the average rate just slightly lower on the week.  Unlike the past 2 days, there were no big ticket calendar events today.  Instead, motivation came from market jitters of new tariff announcements and the ensuing retaliation from China.  Markets ultimately decided it wasn't the end of the world (yet) and bounced back in the other direction (higher stocks, higher rates) during the 2nd half of the day. 

Fortunately, the bounce in rates (via the bond market) wasn't big enough to force mortgage lenders to adjust their rate sheets for the worse.  That knife cuts both ways though.  If bonds were to merely hold flat by the start of Monday's trading, the implication would be for slightly higher rates to begin the day.

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Mortgage Rates Are Actually Unchanged This Week!

Mortgage rates moved LOWER today, following a policy announcement from the European Central Bank (ECB).  That claim runs counter to almost any other mortgage rate headline in the mainstream news because big media is in the habit of quoting Freddie Mac's weekly rate survey.  That's not necessarily a bad thing as long as you understand the underlying timelines.  Unfortunately, most news outlets gloss over those important details or leave them out completely.

Specifically, Freddie's survey is heavily weighted toward responses that come in on Monday and Tuesday, even though Wednesday is also technically included.  Thursday and Friday are never counted.  That means that any rate volatility that hits during the second half of the week typically isn't captured in Freddie's numbers.  

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Mortgage Rates Higher Following Fed Forecasts

Mortgage rates moved higher today, following the Fed's much-anticipated policy announcement.  Although the Fed changed quite a few words from the announcement's previous iteration (far more than normal), it wasn't the announcement itself that did the damage.  Rather, it was the Fed members' economic projections, which include an assessment of where the Fed Funds Rate will likely be at the end of the next few years.

Specifically, a few of the Fed members who'd been holding out for slightly lower rates in 2018 moved their forecasts up enough to increase the odds of a 4th rate hike by December.  This was already a strong possibility, but before today, those in the "3 hike" camp had a stronger case.

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