Mortgage markets worsened last week as the U.S. economy showed additional signs of strength; and global demand for mortgage bonds slipped.
Conforming mortgage rates rose around the country for the fifth straight week. It’s a streak that’s been marked by volatile pricing that’s rendered rate shopping difficult.
Last week, lenders published as many as 5 rate sheets per day where, by comparison, over the past 12 months, lenders have averaged closer to 2 rate sheets per day.
This week, with a bevy of data set for release and a Federal Open Market Committee meeting, expect volatility to remain high. Wall Street remains undecided on the future of the U.S. economy and there will be plenty on information on which to trade:
- Tuesday : Producer Price Index, Retail Sales
- Wednesday : Consumer Price Index, Housing Market Index
- Thursday : Housing Starts, Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims
Despite the high impact of this week’s economic releases, though, it will be Tuesday’s FOMC meeting that sets the tone for the mortgage bond market and, consequently, for mortgage rates.
The Fed’s last meeting in early-November provided the spark to the recent rise in mortgage rates. In the group’s post-meeting press release, it acknowledged growth while committing $600 billion to bond markets. The move triggered a massive bond sell-off that has since pushed conforming mortgage rates to a 5-month high.
The Fed adjourns at 2:15 PM ET Tuesday afternoon.
If you’re still floating a mortgage rate or have otherwise yet to lock, consider executing a rate lock agreement early in the week. Once the Federal Open Market Committee adjourns, mortgage rates could spike again. And, although rates are up since November, they remain historically low.