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Market Weakness Threatens All-Time Low Mortgage Rates

BY MATTHEW GRAHAM

Mortgage Rates worsened at a reasonably brisk pace today when compared with recent relative stability. Still, the movement remains confined to costs associated with as yet, unchanged Best-Execution Rates. That means that 3.875% is still the average “best-case-scenario and best bang-for-the-buck” rate among most lenders rounded to the nearest eighth. 3.75% had been increasingly attractive last week, but has all but faded from view after lenders released rates weaker this morning. Several lenders recalled those rates, raising costs as bond markets suffered.

Over the past few days, we’ve included the following in our analysis:

Rates are as low as they’ve ever been. How long will this continue? There’s no way to know for sure, but we generally advocate a conservative approach with rates at all time lows. “Conservative” in this sense simply means that history has shown us how quickly record-low rates can disappear. While we certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that rates can improve, we’ve already been experiencing the fact that further gains are hard-fought and take more time than gains seen in the middle of the range.

If you happened to read that, taken in conjunction with several days of weakness, you may be wondering if these are the days that mark the turning point away from all time low rates. The great thing about such a concern is this: rates are still at all time lows! If you’re worried that current weakness could mark the turning point, the sacrifice of slightly higher closing costs vs yesterday seems minimal compared to the loss of the opportunity altogether.

If losing the opportunity doesn’t bother you much, just be sure to clearly define an acceptable level of loss from current rates. Set yourself a “stop,” of sorts, by deciding on a rate slightly higher than what you’re currently being quoted, at which you’d lock at a loss if the market moves against you. Locking in such a scenario can prove exceedingly frustrating more often than not as the higher probability eventuality has been for rates to return lower, but this pales in comparison to the potential frustration of rates NOT returning lower.

Today’s BEST-EXECUTION Rates

30YR FIXED – 3.875%, 3.75% as close as it’s been
FHA/VA -3.75%
15 YEAR FIXED – 3.375% / 3.25%
5 YEAR ARMS – 2.625-3.25% depending on the lender
Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

Rates and costs continue to operate near all time best levels
Current levels have experienced increasing resistance in improving much from here
There are technical reasons for that as well as fundamental reasons
Lenders tend to get busier when rates are in this “high 3’s” level and can throttle their inbound volume by raising rates or costs.
While we don’t necessarily think rates are destined to go higher, given the above facts, there seems to be more risk than reward regarding floating
But that will always be the case when rates operate near all-time levels, and as 2011 showed us, it doesn’t always mean they’re done improving.

Market Weakness Threatens All-Time Low Mortgage Rates

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