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Mortgage Rate Outlook Little-Changed on Holiday-Shortened Friday

BY MATTHEW GRAHAM

Today’s update is more of a reminder than an amazing source of new information and analysis.  While Mortgage Rates are possibly slightly weaker than Wednesday, that isn’t universally the case.  Furthermore, Best-Execution rates arent’ affected.  The weakness, if any, should be seen in microscopically higher closing costs.  Even then, not all lenders are open today, meaning some are unable to process new lock requests, and some of the ones who are taking locks haven’t updated pricing.

Bond markets and Mortgage-Backed-Securities stop trading early today (2pm Eastern), but many market participants are simply absent today, and those that worked today are either already gone or soon will be.  Guidance below is unchanged from Wednesday.

Today’s BEST-EXECUTION Rates

  • 30YR FIXED –   4.0%, Some 4.125%, Very few 3.875%’s
  • FHA/VA – 3.75%, more balanced with 3.875% today
  • 15 YEAR FIXED –  3.375%-3.5%
  • 5 YEAR ARMS –  low 3% range, huge variations from lender to lender.

Guidance: 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.

Ongoing 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:

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