Mortgage rates continue to be at very low levels. Although they’re not at the lows from May, Freddie Mac’s Mortgage Market Survey reports that mortgage rates have been trending lower for the last four months. If you missed the refi-boat a few months ago, this may be your second chance. You may want to contact a local licensed mortgage professional for an updated mortgage rate quote (if your home is located anywhere in Washington state, I’m happy to help you).
This week is packed with data that may drive mortgage rates higher or lower, including the Fed meeting which wraps up on Wednesday. It’s highly unlikely the Fed will make any changes to the Fed Funds Rate. Traders will be waiting for clues on when tapering may begin (it’s estimated will be pushed out to March 2014). Remember, mortgage interest rates are based on bonds (mortgage backed securities – MBS) and change throughout the day, just like stocks do. It’s not unusual to have bonds react opposite of the stock market as investors will often trade the safety of bonds for the potential return found with stocks (and the reverse is true).
The debt ceiling is influencing the markets today with the potential threat of the government shutting down at midnight tonight. Did you know that Congress is exempt from furloughs and will still be paid if the government shuts down?
Mortgage backed securities are improving this morning on the news that Larry Summers has withdrawn as a candidate for the next Fed Chairman. This leaves current Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellan as a strong candidate to replace Ben Bernanke. Bond markets are reacting positively to the news that Janet is once again a front runner as the next Fed head. Speaking of the Fed – watch for the results of the FOMC meeting on this Wednesday.
With conforming mortgage rates trending higher largely due to the end of Fed’s support of keeping mortgage rates at QE artificially sweet low levels, we’re seeing less difference between conforming mortgage rates and non-conforming mortgage rates (aka Jumbo mortgages). In most Washington state counties, a jumbo mortgage is any loan over $417,000 (for a single family dwelling). In the greater Seattle area (King, Pierce and Snohomish counties) we have “conforming high balance” mortgages which will allow loan amounts from $417,001 to $506,000 before it’s considered a non-conforming (or jumbo) mortgage. Here’s a link to 2013 Washington State conforming loan limits.
Mortgage rates are not just influenced by scheduled economic indicators. Sometimes uncertainty in the world, such as what’s going on in Syria, will cause a flight to safety with investors seeking bonds, like mortgage backed securities. This is causing mortgage rates, which are based on mortgage backed securities, to be improved this morning.
Here are a few of the economic indicators scheduled to be released this week:
We don’t have any economic indicators scheduled to be released today…however, the rest of this week is loaded with data that could impact mortgage rates. If the reports reveal inflation heating up, mortgage rates may trend higher. Here’s a list of what’s scheduled for this week:
This week, mortgage rates continue to be bumpy and with Ben Bernanke speaking tomorrow on Capital Hill, we may additional volatility. Here are some of the scheduled economic indicators to be released this week: