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Posted 03/06/2017

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Mortgage Rates Today, March 6, 2017, Plus Lock Recommendations

What's Driving Mortgage Interest Rates Today?

The Commerce Department reported that in January, orders for American-manufactured products increased more than analysts anticipated -- by 1.3 percent over December's numbers. Experts had expected a rise of 1.0 percent. This indicates that manufacturing activity is picking up and the economy is on the move -- increasing mortgage rates today.

However, this report deals with activity from January. It's now March. And today's indicators don't point to increased economic activity. In fact, all three major stock indexes are down. Oil prices are down. Yields on ten-year Treasuries are unchanged, and gold is up. CNNMoney's Fear&Greed Index is at a Greedy 68, but that's down from the previous reading of 74.

Every one of these indicators points to falling rates, not rising rates.

CURRENT MORTGAGE RATES
** FHA APRs include government-mandated mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). 

Tomorrow

There are no important economic reports scheduled for tomorrow. Mortgage rates are likely to take their cues from stock market activity, global events, and perhaps late-night Tweets emanating from the White House.

Rate Lock Recommendation

Mortgage rates today are up sharply. If closing soon, I'd lock. If I were not in a position to ride out today's increase, I'd lock. If risk-averse, I'd lock. Otherwise, I'd give them a chance to come down, because they probably will. Remember that markets are largely fear-driven; rates tend to increase much faster than they drop when the economy cools off.

LOCK RECOMMENDATION

Note that this is what I would do if I had a mortgage in process today. Your own goals and tolerance for risk may differ. 

What Causes Rates To Rise And Fall?

Mortgage interest rates depend on a great deal on the expectations of investors. Good economic news tends to be bad for interest rates, because an active economy raises concerns about inflation. Inflation causes fixed-income investments like bonds to lose value, and that causes their yields (another way of saying interest rates) to increase.

For example, suppose that two years ago, you bought a $1,000 bond paying five percent interest ($50) each year. (This is called its “coupon rate.") That’s a pretty good rate today, so lots of investors want to buy it from you. You sell your $1,000 bond for $1,200.

When Rates Fall

The buyer gets the same $50 a year in interest that you were getting. However, because he paid more for the bond, his interest rate is not five percent.

  • Your interest rate: $50 annual interest / $1,000 = 5.0%
  • Your buyer’s interest rate: $50 annual interest / $1,200 = 4.2%

Your buyer gets an interest rate, or yield, of only 4.2 percent. And that’s why, when demand for bonds increases and bond prices go up, interest rates go down.

When Rates Rise

However, when the economy heats up, the potential for inflation makes bonds less appealing. With fewer people wanting to buy bonds, their prices decrease, and then interest rates go up.

Imagine that you have your $1,000 bond, but you can't sell it for $1,000, because unemployment has dropped and stock prices are soaring. You end up getting $700. The buyer gets the same $50 a year in interest, but the yield looks like this:

  • $50 annual interest / $700 = 7.1% The buyer’s interest rate is now slightly more than seven percent.
Click to see today's rates (Jul 21st, 2017)

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.

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