What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 8, 2011

Aug 8, 2011

FOMC meeting on TuesdayMortgage markets were especially volatile last week, taking rate shoppers in California on a roller-coaster ride. The week’s news schedule was full. It included debt ceiling debates, jobs figures, and ongoing maneuverings within the Eurozone.

Each story a material impact on mortgage rates and, as a result, rates varied wildly from day-to-day.

Throughout the early part of the week, mortgage rates fell.

Monday, bond markets improved as leaks of the congressional debt ceiling agreement surfaced. Investors approved of the accord’s general terms and bought U.S.-backed debt to prove it. Tuesday, when the final agreement was reached and the terms were made public, mortgage rates dropped again.

This is because the debt ceiling agreement is based on spending cuts and tax increases. In response, analysts revised lower their respective growth estimates for the United States, benefitting bonds.

By Thursday, markets were in full rally mode.

On the eve of the July jobs report, traders flocked to the ultra-safe bond market; “whispers” put the net jobs created figure at a negative. Wall Street feared the worst. By Thursday’s close, mortgage pricing was at its best levels since November 2010.

Friday morning, though, markets recoiled. When the Non-Farm Payrolls report showed much-better-than-expected growth, it triggered a bond market sell-off and rates reversed higher. Rates rose more Friday than on any single day since November 30, 2010.

If you were quoted a mortgage rate on Thursday, on Friday, the same mortgage rate cost 1 discount point more.

This week, rates may rise or fall — it’s too soon to tell. 

Friday afternoon, after markets closed, S&P downgraded the long-term debt of the U.S. government a notch. Typically, lower credit ratings means higher borrowing costs which leads to higher mortgage rates, among other things. However, it’s unclear how markets will react to the S&P decision.

Plus, the Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and that, too, can affect markets.

As always, the prudent move is to lock your mortgage rate if its payment and terms are sensible. There’s too much volatility to know what markets might do tomorrow.

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