Current & Future Interest Rates Trends October 18′

Now that the traditional spring/summer buying and selling season is over, let’s take a look at how interest rates have been trending—and what may be in store in the coming months.

Generally, the interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage have been stable throughout the spring and summer real estate season. In the chart below from Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the interest rates have fluctuated only 0.12 percentage points on the 30-year fixed-rate and only 0.14 percentage points on the 15-year fixed-rate from April through August.

This stability in the rates is something we’ve seen the last two years during the same April-August timeframe, with a variance of 0.17 percentage points in the 30-year fixed and 0.14 percentage points in the 15-year fixed in 2017 and 0.17 in the 30-year fixed and 0.12 in the 15-year fixed in 2016.

 

Month 30-Year Fixed 15-Year Fixed
April 4.47% 3.93%
May 4.59% 4.07%
June 4.57% 4.04%
July 4.53% 4.01%
August 4.55% 4.02%

 

The weekly figures for the last six weeks also show fairly steady rates. Since August 16, the 30-year fixed has varied only 0.14 percentage points and the 15-year fixed has varied only 0.14 percentage points.

 

Weekly 30-Year Fixed 15-Year Fixed
August 16 4.53% 4.01%
August 23 4.51% 3.98%
August 30 4.52% 3.97%
September 6 4.54% 3.99%
September 13 4.60% 4.06%
September 20 4.65% 4.11%

 

 

The steady interest rates are a result of a variety of factors that have been applying pressure—both upwards and downwards—on the rates. The balanced economy, strong corporate earnings and worries over rising inflation have applied upward pressure while slowing home sales, concerns about the global economy, and other international “drama”—such as the recent currency problem in Turkey—have applied downward pressure on the rates.

Going forward, two opposing factors that may influence interest rates in the near future are the Federal Reserve’s pronouncement that we’ll see one or two more hikes to the key short-term interest rate this year and the possible economic ramifications of the current tension surrounding tariffs and trade.

As always, to get the best information on interest rate trends, talk to your mortgage professional. ∆

 

© Left Field Media


Are Mortgage Rates Influenced by the Presidential Election?

Thinking of buying a home?

If you’re thinking of buying a home, it’s prudent to know if current events have any impact on the direction of mortgage rates. After all, the direction of mortgage rates means you can buy more house for the same money if they go down, or less if they go up.

Does the outcome of the presidential election have any influence on mortgage rates? Up? Down? Remaining the same?

Mortgage Rates Are Determined by the Federal Reserve

Mortgage rates are determined by the Federal Reserve, which meets about eight times a year and looks at economic data. If the economy looks strong, they may decide to raise rates. If it looks weak, rates are sometimes lowered to stimulate the economy.

The governance of the Federal Reserve, which determines the direction of interest rates, was designed in part to remove it from partisan politics. Although the president of the United States nominates the chair of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), they serve for four-year terms and cannot be replaced. In other words, the inauguration of a new president does not coincide with the ability to name a new Fed chair, although that will happen down the road, when the term is up.

The governors of the Fed serve 14-year terms, and also cannot be removed. That means, for example, that the overall governance of the Fed cannot be removed because an incoming president doesn’t like their monetary policies.

Federal Reserve

It’s the Economy, Not the President

The ultimate determinant of interest rate direction and thus mortgage rate direction is the economy, not who sits as president.

Rates currently are at historically low levels, making this a good time to buy a house.

A recent survey of economists showed a consensus that the economic picture would be strong in November 2016, with low unemployment and good consumer confidence.

However, the consensus on the direction of interest rates has changed several times this year, with an unexpectedly weak job report and the British vote to leave the European Union affecting plans to hike.

The best bet is to stay tuned to the economic news.