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At the end of last week, the average top-tier 30yr fixed mortgage rate quote was 4.375%. As of today, the exact same scenario would be at 4.125%--a quarter of a percentage point lower. That's an uncommonly big move for a single week, but it's one we've been tracking eagerly in recent days. Why is it happening? The first phase of the move had to do with the Fed's surprisingly friendly policy announcement on Wednesday. Due to the time of day that the Fed news came out, markets didn't have a chance to fully react to it until yesterday. Even so, the drop in rates was already much bigger than average. But this morning took it to the next level. In the middle of the night (in the US, anyway), economic data for Europe was released that showed a serious slowdown in German and French manufacturing.
Granted, we're not back to the sub-4% mortgage rates that dominated much of the past 8 years, but breaking into the high 3% range is a valid consideration after the past few days. Yesterday's surprising Fed news hit the rates that were already holding near their lowest levels in well over a year. The net effect has been a decisive break lower with the average lender easily able to offer 4.375% on a typical 30yr fixed scenario. Many lenders are at 4.25%, and the interesting thing about 4.25% is that it currently doesn't cost much more to buy your way down to the next lower rate: 4.125%. All of the above has to do with the upfront prices associated with interest rates. For instance a lender is going to earn more money from a 4.375% rate than a 4.25% rate, so they're willing to pay a bit more
Mortgage rates broke a week-long streak of silence today following a policy announcement from the Federal Reserve. Even before today's Fed announcement, we knew we'd likely be seeing a move in rates. We just didn't know in which direction, or at what pace. As it happens, we were treated to the best case scenario on both accounts (i.e. rates moved lower at a fast pace). As we discussed yesterday, it was the Fed's balance sheet that got most of the attention from financial markets. This refers to the Fed's loan portfolio consisting of Treasuries and mortgage-backed-bonds (both forms of loans that entitle the Fed to collect interest and principal payments). As those payments came in, the Fed had previously been putting the money back into new loans (buying new bonds to replace the old ones). They
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