On the wave of a two-day rally, mortgage rates improved last week overall. This despite a Friday reversal that had caused rates to tick higher just before weekend house-hunting began.
And, like so many other weeks this year, last week’s mortgage market activity was defined by its quick-moving interest rates.
At least one major mortgage lender issued 11 separate rates sheets between — an average of more than 2 per day.
Now, as an active mortgage rate shopper, you can’t predict mortgage rate volatility but you can be prepared for it.
Start by knowing which mortgage product is the best fit for your long- and short-term financial goals and then be ready to pounce on a “good rate” because the rates expire as soon as that next rate sheet gets issued.
Another effective way to prepare for shopping is to watch for data that can influence the market’s opinion of the U.S. economy. This week, there’s a lot of it — starting with Tuesday’s Consumer Confidence report. When confidence levels are high, economists expect Americans to spend more, propelling the economy forward towards inflation.
Inflation makes mortgage rates rise.
Then, on Thursday, the Employment Cost Index data is released. This will be a closely-watched figure this month because it should show if American workers are pressuring employers for raises in light of higher gas and food prices. If wages are up, it will be considered inflationary because businesses eventually pass that cost back to consumers.
Again, bad for mortgage rates.
And lastly, on Friday, the jobs report will be released. American businesses have shed jobs in each of the last 6 months, and June is expected to show the same. The jobs report’s influence on mortgage rates is enormous so expect big rate swings Friday, either up or down.
Overall this week, considering the weight of the data, it may be prudent to finish-up rate shopping as soon as possible and get locked in with your lender. As the week progresses and the data’s import grows, the markets should get less and less stable.