Mortgage Rates and Factors That Move Them

Mortgage rates come in different varieties as you may know. Fixed rate loans are usually most popular due to the fact that you don’t have to worry about rates going up on you over time. Currently in July, 2014 rates are still down near historic lows, although they were even lower last year. The amortizations come in 30 year, 25 year, 20 year 15 year and 10 years with most lenders. The big price break is going to be with a 15 year loan. Currently the spread between the 30 year fixed and 15 year fixed rate is 3/4%.

For those who intend to hold onto their home for the long term, and not sell in the near future, the fixed rate mortgage may be the best option. However, for those who are fairly certain that they will be selling in the not too distant future, the hybrid ARMs such as the 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1 ARM could be a better option.

The spread between the 7/1 ARM and the 30 year fixed is also about 3/4 %. (4.375% VS 3.5%) So going with a 7/1 ARM will lock in your rate for the next 7 years and you don’t need to be concerned about rates rising. Here in the summer of 2014, rates are still down, but they will not be down forever.

Mortgage rates are normally quoted in 1/8% such as 4.125%. However, when you see a rate like 4.258% this is the annual percentage rate (APR) for the quoted rate. The APR is usually higher than the note rate when the loan contains closing costs which are being financed into the loan.

So what causes rates to go up and down? Although there are many factors affecting the movement of mortgage rates, probably the best indicator is the 10 year treasury bond yield. This is due to the fact that for most people, a 30 year fixed rate mortgage is paid off within 10 years either from the sale of the home or refinanced. Treasuries are also backed by the “full faith and credit of the US” which makes them a benchmark for other bonds as well.

Normally when the T-bond yields go up, mortgage rates also go up and vice versa. They may not go up exactly the same as yields though. There are also many reports that affect mortgage rates. The Consumer Price Index, Gross Domestic Product, Home Sales, Consumer Confidence, and other data on can have a significant effect.

Normally, if there is good economic news, rates will go up and with bad news rates will move down. If the stock market is rising mortgage rates will usually be rising also since both rise on positive economic news. Also when the Federal Reserve adjusts the Fed Funds rate, mortgage rates can go up or down. If it is a growing or inflationary economic pattern then rates will rise.

During the processing of your mortgage loan, normally your broker will lock in your rate for you to protect you in case rates rise while your loan is being processed. Locks go from 15 to 45 days with most lenders. This gives the broker enough time to process your loan and get it funded.

Keep in mind that the interest rate on your loan may be adjusted for various factors. Do not be taken in by a par rate. If you are doing a loan at a high loan to value (LTV) and you have a lower credit score (<700) there will be adjustments to your rate. The par rate is the rate at which the lender who is funding your loan neither charges or credits back any rebate to the broker. By picking a rate above par, you will receive this lender credit and it can be used to assist in paying your closing costs and prepaid expenses such as property taxes, hazard insurance, or interest.

How You Can Learn to Predict Mortgage Rates, Too

How you can learn to predict mortgage rates, too.

Many people, particularly, first-home buyers, tend to shop around for the cheapest mortgage rate that they see not knowing, or understanding, that these rates dip and fall. If you get an understanding of how mortgage rates work, you will be in a far better position to land one that really works for you and may even be cheaper than the one you’re ready to commit to, say, today.

Here’s how mortgage rates work.

The firs thing you should know about these rates is that they are unpredictable. They change. A high rate today may be low tomorrow. At one time, these rates were more stable. They were set by the bank. But since the 1950s, Wall Street took over and adjusted them according to supply and demand. Or more accurately, Wall Street linked them to bonds. So that when bonds – that are bought and sold on Wall Street – drop, mortgage rates do, too.

How can I know today’s bonds rates?

It sounds simple: let’s keep up with the prices of bonds and we’ll know when to shop for our mortgage. Unfortunately, only Wall Street has access to this knowledge (called “mortgage-backed securities” (MBS) data). And they pay tens of thousands of dollars for access to it in real-time.

Here’s how you can make an educated guess:

Calculate according to, what’s called, the Thirty-year mortgage rates.

These are the events that lower rates in any given 30 years:

  • Falling inflation rates, because low inflation increases demand for mortgage bonds
  • Weaker-than-expected economic data, because a weak economy increases demand for mortgage bonds
  • War, disaster and calamity, because “uncertainty” increases demand for mortgage bonds

Conversely, rising inflation rates; stronger-than-expected economic data; and the “calming down” of a geopolitical situation tend to elevate rates.

The most common mortgages and mortgage rates

You’ll also find that mortgages vary according to the level of your credit rating. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to win a lower mortgage rate.

Mortgage rates also vary by loan type.

There are four main loan types each of which has a different level of interest. In each case, this level of interest hinges on mortgage-secured bonds. The four loan types together make up 90 percent of mortgage loans doled out to US consumers.

Which mortgage loan do you want?

Here is the list:

1. Conventional Mortgages – These loans are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac who have set regulations and requirements for their procedures. The Fannie Mae mortgage-backed bond is linked to mortgage interest rates via Fannie Mae. The Freddie Mac mortgage-backed bond is linked to mortgage-backed bonds via Freddie Mac.

Mortgage programs that use conventional mortgage interest rates include the “standard” 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate for borrowers who make a 20% downpayment or more; the HARP loan for underwater borrowers; the Fannie Mae HomePath mortgage for buyers of foreclosed properties; and, the equity-replacing Delayed Financing loan for buyers who pay cash for a home.

2. FHA mortgage – These are mortgage rates given by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The upside of these loans is that you have the possibility of a very low downpayment – just 3.5%. They are, therefore, popular and used in all 50 states. The downside is that the premium is split in two parts.

FHA mortgage interest rates are based on mortgage bonds issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA). Investors, by the way, tend to call GNMA, “Ginnie Mae”. As Ginnie Mae bond prices rise, the interest rates for FHA mortgage plans drop. These plans include the standard FHA loan, as well as FHA specialty products which include the 203k construction bond; the $100-down Good Neighbor Next Door program; and the FHA Back to Work loan for homeowners who recently lost their home in a short sale or foreclosure.

3. VA mortgage interest rates – VA mortgage interest rates are also controlled by GMA bonds which is why FHA and VA mortgage bonds often move in tandem with both controlled by fluctuations from the same source. It is also why both move differently than conventional rates. So, some days will see high rates for conventional plans and low rates for VA/ FHA; as well as the reverse.

VA mortgage interest rates are used for loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs such as the standard VA loan for military borrowers; the VA Energy Efficiency Loan; and the VA Streamline Refinance. VA mortgages also offer 100% financing to U.S. veterans and active service members, with no requirement for mortgage insurance.

USDA mortgage interest rates – USDA mortgage interest rates are also linked to Ginnie Mae secured-bonds (just as FHA and VA mortgage rates are). Of the three, however, USDA rates are often lowest because they are guaranteed by the government and backed by a small mortgage insurance requirement. USDA loans are available in rural and suburban neighborhoods nationwide. The program provides no-money-down financing to U.S. buyers at very low mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates predictions for 2016

Wondering what your chances are for getting a mortgage for a good rate the coming year? Wonder no further.

Here are the predictions for the 30-year trajectory:

  • Fannie Mae mortgage rate forecast: 4.4% in 2016)
  • Freddie Mac forecast: 4.7% Q1 2016, 4.9% Q2 in 2016
  • Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) forecast: 5.2% in 2016
  • National Association of Realtors (NAR) forecast: 6% in 2016.

In other words, mortgage rates are projected to rise slightly in 2016.

Finding the Best Mortgage Rate for Your Needs

If you have found your dream home and are ready to make a purchase offer, congratulations! Shopping for a home is never easy. It is hard to find a home to suit your needs and wants, and you want to purchase a place that you absolutely love, not just a place that you have lukewarm feelings about. Whether you are purchasing your first home or your fifth home, the next step can be one of the hardest. It is time to find a mortgage! Dealing with finances is never fun, and picking a mortgage is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever have to make. There are a variety of different mortgage rates available for every individual, and taking the time to find the right one for you will ensure you will be satisfied over time.

A mortgage is one of the biggest commitments you will have to make. Mortgage rates and terms vary between lenders so it is important to take the time to research what suits your needs best. Lenders, mortgage brokers and online tools can be great resources to help you with your mortgage. Every type of mortgage has both disadvantages and advantages, and experts can help you understand how each mortgage can affect your future. The wrong mortgage can have a huge negative impact on your financial future and can hinder your lifestyle. It can seem like a good idea to visit one lender to see their mortgage rates, but shopping around will give you the best mortgage rates and terms possible for your needs. Some people find that a well-qualified mortgage broker can be helpful in navigating through the process. At each stop, you will understand what you are looking for more and more, and this information will give you the ability to pick the best mortgage for your future!

One of the biggest mortgage decisions that needs to be made is deciding between a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable-rate mortgage. Both of these mortgages are different beasts and suit different financial needs. A fixed-rate mortgage has standard mortgage rates that do not change each month. From month to month, a fixed-rate mortgage payment stays the same. These mortgages allow for better budgeting, but tend to have slightly higher rates. The other type of available mortgage is an adjustable-rate mortgage. The benefit of an adjustable-rate mortgage is that the rates are typically lower than those of a fixed-mortgage, but since the rates change each month, it can be hard to budget and some monthly payments can be significantly higher than others. Both of these mortgages have advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to understand them in order to be sure to get the best mortgage for your lifestyle and needs.

Mortgage rates fluctuate between lenders so it is important to do research and speak with a number of different financial institutions before signing anything. An offer may be tempting to accept, but a much better offer may be available at the bank down the road. It is important to understand that there are many options available and choosing a mortgage will not be as easy as eenie, meenie, minie, mo. The good news is that with the available resources to help you find the best mortgage, you will find mortgage rates and terms to fit your needs and wants if you take the time to find them!