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Mortgage Rate Watch
  • Rates Edge Back Toward Long-Term Highs

    Mortgage rates failed to extend yesterday's modest improvement, moving modestly higher by the end of the day.  This takes the average lender very close to the long-term highs seen on October 5th.  Indeed, prospective borrowers shouldn't be surprised to see the highest rates since early 2011. 

    In and of itself, today wasn't too dramatic.  We were already fairly close to these highs yesterday and, in general, have been holding in a fairly sideways pattern nearby for most of the month.  As has been the case for more than 2 years, we are in a rising rate environment, and there's no compelling reason for an immediate change.  That said, the higher rates go, the harder it will be for them to continue moving higher. 

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  • Mortgage Rates Recover With Help From an Old Friend

    Mortgage rates recovered most of yesterday's losses today, following turmoil in European financial markets.  What does Europe have to do with rates in the US?  A lot, actually.  In fact, Europe deserves credit for most of the glacial move toward lower rates seen from early 2014 through mid-2016, and was a key ingredient of the low rate environment in 2011-2012. 

    More recently, Europe has been heading in a more American direction when it comes to monetary policy, and that's resulted in upward pressure on rates.  Most recently, investors are having some doubts about Italy's willingness to play nice with EU rules.  When that happens, investors seek safety in the core of the European bond market.  In other words, they buy bonds from Germany and other safe-haven countries.  While US bonds aren't high on that list, they still experience some of the benefits, and higher demand for bonds equates to lower rates.

     

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  • Mortgage Rates Back up to Recent Highs

    Mortgage rates moved higher at a quicker pace today, following the release of the Minutes from the most recent Fed meeting.  But correlation isn't necessarily causality in this case.

    The Minutes provide a more detailed account of the Fed meeting that resulted in September's rate hike.  That rate hike was foregone conclusion and the Fed has been a relative open book in the intervening 3 weeks.  In other words, there wasn't bound to be much by way of surprises.  Even so, investors are always looking for clues in this more robust snapshot of the Fed's decision-making process.  As such, it has the potential to cause some market volatility.

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  • Mortgage Rates Modestly Higher Ahead of Fed Minutes

    Mortgage rates didn't move much today.  Some lenders were perfectly unchanged, but the average lender was just slightly higher.  That's at odds with underlying bond market movement (which directly impacts rates)--at least at first glance.  Specifically, the bonds underlying mortgages were slightly stronger today.  That would imply slightly lower mortgage rates.  So why did rates rise?

    As is often the case, today's seemingly paradoxical movement is due to timing.  Bonds were weakening ever-so-slightly yesterday--something that's consistent with lenders raising rates.  But the bond market didn't weaken enough for lenders to make those changes in the middle of the business day. 

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  • Mortgage Rates Stay Steady, Waiting For a Sign

    Mortgage rates were sideways to slightly higher today, prolonging a 3-day trend of exceptionally light volatility.  The 5 days before that (beginning on Wednesday, October 3rd) were completely different, with a huge move higher at first followed by a moderate recovery at the beginning of last week. That recovery largely followed the stock market weakness.

    Stocks and rates don't always move in the same direction, but when stocks fall as quickly as they did last week, rates usually benefit.  After such moves level-off, rates tend to wait for stocks to see if there will be an aftershock or a big bounce.  For now, it doesn't look like stocks have made up their mind yet, as they too have continued in a largely sideways pattern during the last 3 trading sessions.

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Housing Wire

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  • Judge: Wells Fargo $142 million fake account settlement may not be enough
    Wells Fargo's proposed $142 million settlement in the class action lawsuit brought on behalf of the bank's customers who had a fake account opened in their name is moving closer to being finalized, but the judge overseeing the settlement cautioned the bank that $142 million may not be enough money to compensate all the affected customers.
  • Pro Teck: These 7 housing markets close mortgages faster than anywhere else
    Out of all 200 metros Pro Teck analyzed, only seven metros are selling in 50 days or less. “These numbers represent the average for the entire metro,” said Tom O’Grady, CEO of Pro Teck Valuation Services. “This doesn’t take into account the hot micro-markets inside of these metros, some of which have sold days on market as low as 30.”
  • Second estimate revises 1Q GDP higher
    The second estimate revised the real gross domestic product higher, increasing the annual rate from the original 0.7% estimate. This estimate is based on a more complete source data than what was available for the advance estimate issued last month. But even though there was a sluggish start to the year, it doesn’t reflect how the rest of the year will perform.
  • CBC offers new LexisNexis FCRA report for lien and judgment data
    Starting July 1, the three national credit reporting agencies will stop collecting and reporting information on lien and judgement data obtained from public records, leaving lenders with a significant hole in their assessment of a borrower’s creditworthiness. To fill that information gap, two subsidiaries of CBC Companies — CBCInnovis and Factual Data — are offering the LexisNexis RiskView Liens & Judgments Report.
  • Grassroots military organizations ask Congress to save the CFPB
    As the Financial CHOICE Act winds its way through the House of Representatives, two grassroots organizations that represent current and former members of the military are asking the members of Congress to leave the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alone and allow the bureau to continue functioning as it does now.