Mortgage Rate Watch
Mortgage Rates Unchanged to Slightly Higher

Mortgage rates moved modestly higher for the 3rd straight business day, making for a moderate correction from the last Wednesday's 1-month lows.  In the recent context, talking about "1-month lows" and 3-day losing streaks is actually far too dramatic when it comes to the actual movement in rates. Most prospective borrowers would be seeing the same rates as last week with the only differences being a slight adjustment in the upfront costs.  Even then, many lenders are perfectly unchanged over the past 2 days.  Point being: rate volatility has been calm with few exceptions.

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Rates Stay Higher After Jobs Report and Shutdown Bill

Mortgage rates moved modestly higher today, although some lenders were right in line with yesterday's levels (especially those who raised rates in response to market weakness yesterday afternoon).  Either way, today's rates are pretty darn close to yesterday's and very much inside the recent range.

The Labor Department announced that 228k new jobs were created in November, stronger than the median forecast of 200k.  These so-called "nonfarm payrolls" add up to the most widely followed metric on the health of the labor market in the US.  On most other occasions, the report would create a more meaningful response in rates (which tend to rise when jobs growth is strong).  In the current case, market participants are more interested to see how various legislative efforts develop--especially the tax bill.  

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Rates Only Slightly Higher Despite Bond Market Weakness

Mortgage rates were best described as "unchanged" today, although that may not be the case tomorrow.  The afternoon hours saw bond markets (which dictate rate movement) come under some pressure.  In the grand scheme of things, that pressure reinforces the narrow range we've been watching over the past few months.  In the context of today's rate sheets, it was enough weakness for a few lenders to issue "reprices" (mid day rate changes--in this case, higher).

Most lenders didn't raise rates today because bond markets didn't weaken enough to justify it.  That said, the weakness still occurred, and unless things improve overnight, lenders will need to account for it in tomorrow morning's rates sheets.  In other words, we start tomorrow with a bit of handicap, all other things being equal.

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Mortgage Rates Very Close to 1-Month Lows

Mortgage rates moved noticeably lower today as bond market improved for the 2nd day in a row--the first time that's happened since early November (when it comes to the bonds that relate to mortgage rates) his was the first time since early November.  That was reassuring enough that lenders finally adjusted their rate sheets to more than match the market.  They haven't been able to do that recently due to the volatility and the general trend toward slightly higher rates over the past 2 months.  The average lender continues quoting conventional 30yr fixed rates at 4.0% for top tier scenarios.  While that rate hasn't changed for more than 2 months, we have seen the upfront costs move higher and lower.

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Mortgage Rates Steady to Lower

Mortgage rates were more intuitive today with most lenders keeping things unchanged at first.  This matched the movement in underlying bond markets, where today's trading levels in the morning (when most lenders put out the first rate sheet) were roughly in line with yesterday's.  

As the day progressed, however, bonds began to improve steadily.  This improvement was enough for many lenders to issue positive reprices in the afternoon (i.e. new, lower rates for the day).  While every little bit helps, we're only talking about a token change in most cases.  The average borrower will see the improvement in the form of slightly lower upfront costs, with no change in the actual note rate.

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