Data was sparse through 2010’s first trading week last week, setting the stage for a week of momentum trading.
In up-and-down trading, mortgage pricing improved overall but the best rates of the week didn’t last long.
Rates improved Monday and Tuesday as an oversold market corrected itself to better price points. Then, in anticipation of the December jobs report, rates worsened Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, after the jobs report was released, pricing proceeded to carve out a huge range before settling unchanged.
On average, lenders issued new rate sheets every few hours last week. It was a difficult week to shop for mortgages.
Unfortunately, this week doesn’t figure to be much better.
For the second straight week, the economic calendar is bare. Traders — like last week — will be forced to rely on “gut feel” to make their trades. That rarely bodes well for shoppers. Especially because traders are facing a mortgage market in the midst of a terrible losing streak.
Since reaching an all-time low December 1, 2009, 30-year fixed rate mortgages have worsened by 300 basis points, or 3 percent.
To a homeowner or rate shopper , the math of 300 basis points looks like this:
- 5 weeks ago, a 4.625 percent mortgage rate required 0 points
- Today, the same 4.625 percent mortgage rate requires 3 points
1 point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.
Last month’s worsening is the worst 1-month deterioration in consumer mortgage rates from all of 2009.
If you’re hoping for rates to fall back to early-December levels, know that it is possible. For this week, here’s some things that could push rates in the right direction:
- 3 Fed members are speaking. Each mention of economic under-performance in 2010 will be good for rates.
- Retail Sales data is released Thursday. If the numbers are weak, mortgage rates should improve.
- Consumer confidence surveys are released Friday. Lower confidence levels should help rates fall.
Be ready to lock at a moment’s notice this week. Rates may rise or fall, but markets are positioned toward the former.That’s where momentum is pointing as of the Market Open today.
Keep an eye on rates and your loan officer on speed dial. Once the mortgage market starts breaking, it’s expected to break quickly.