Massachusetts mortgage rates

by Brian Cavanaugh, Senior Mortgage Banker, RMS Mortgage and SmarterBorrowing.com

Overall, despite being a fairly light week in terms of economic releases and relate events, it is still relatively crucial for the mortgage market. We saw the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury Note spike higher Friday as a result of the stronger than expected employment data. Stocks rallied as a result of that data, extending the 2012 stock rally that has pushed the Dow up over 5% and the Nasdaq up 11% year-to-date. Both indexes are at their highest levels since May 2008 and December 2000 respectively. This has me believing we are due to see a pullback in stocks fairly soon. If/when this happens, we should see funds shift back into bonds for safety, leading to lower mortgage rates. Keep in mind that this is more or less just speculation, but I am expecting to move to a less conservative approach regarding short-term mortgage rates in the near future.

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would….

LOCK if my closing was taking place within 7 days…

LOCK if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days…

FLOAT if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days…

FLOAT if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…

This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed

There are only two pieces of monthly economic data scheduled for release this week. Neither of them is considered to be highly important, so we don’t have much to pin our hopes on or to be concerned with this week. There are two Treasury auctions on the calendar that may influence mortgage rates the middle part of the week and the second part of Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony to Congress, but no important economic data.

Nothing of concern is due tomorrow, so look for the stock markets and news from Europe- particularly Greece, to drive the markets tomorrow. Fed Chairman Bernanke will speak to the Senate Budget Committee at 10:00 AM Tuesday. I don’t expect him to say anything different than he said last week to the House Budget Committee, but the Q&A portion of his appearance could lead to something new. It is worth watching, but it will probably not lead to a noticeable change in the markets or mortgage rates.

Treasury Auctions Ahead

The two important Treasury auctions come Wednesday and Thursday when 10-year Notes and 30-year Bonds are sold. The 10-year sale is the more important one as it will give us a better indication of demand of mortgage-related securities. If the sales are met with a strong demand from investors, we should see the bond market move higher during afternoon trading the days of the auctions. But a lackluster interest from buyers, particularly international investors, would indicate a waning appetite for longer-term U.S. securities and lead to broader bond selling. The selling in bonds would likely result in upward afternoon revisions to mortgage rates.

Unemployment Numbers

With little monthly and no quarterly economic reports being posted, Thursday’s weekly release of unemployment figures may end up moving the markets and mortgage rates more than it traditionally does. The Labor Department is expected to announce that 370,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, rising slightly from the previous week’s total. The higher the number of new claims for benefits, the better the news for the bond market and mortgage pricing as it would indicate weakness in the employment sector.

The first monthly report comes early Friday morning when December’s Goods and Services Trade Balance data will be posted. This report measures the U.S. trade deficit and can affect the value of the U.S. dollar versus other currencies, but it usually does not cause enough movement in bond prices to affect mortgage rates. It is expected to show a $48.2 billion trade deficit.

Consumer Sentiment

February’s preliminary reading to the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment will be released late Friday morning. This index measures consumer willingness to spend and usually has a moderate impact on the financial markets. If it shows an increase in consumer confidence, the stock markets may move higher and bond prices could fall. It is currently expected to come in at 74.0, down from January’s final reading of 75.0. That would indicate consumers were less optimistic about their own financial situations than last month and are less likely to make large purchases in the near future. Since consumer spending makes up over two-thirds of the U.S. economy, this would be considered good news for bonds and mortgage pricing.

  • Are you a possible Massachusetts First Time Homebuyer?
  • Do you have a Real Estate client inquiring about current Mortgage Rates?
  • Do you have any Refinancing questions?
  • Should you be thinking about Refinancing out of your ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage)?
  • Have your Real Estate clients been Pre Approved?

bc@smarterborrowing.com  617.771.5021

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Massachusetts Weekly Mortgage Rate Report (Dec. 20, 2011)

by Rich Vetstein on December 20, 2011

A Guest Post by Brian Cavanaugh of SmarterBorrowing.com.

Inquire within for current Mortgage Rates or Guidelines   bc@SmarterBorrowing.com  617.771.5021

Overall, I am expecting to see some movement in the markets and mortgage rates, especially if we get some surprising results from the week’s data or news about Europe’s financial crisis. Despite the holiday season, we need to keep a cautious approach toward rates because we are likely to see very thin trading (light volume) as a result of many traders keeping short hours or home for the holiday altogether. This means that firms that trade bonds will likely be keeping only a skeleton staff the latter part of the week and raises the possibility of a stronger reaction to surprises in the economic data than we normally would see.

The least important day for mortgage rates will likely be tomorrow unless something drastic happens overnight. We will probably see the most movement in rates Friday, but Thursday’s economic data can also move mortgage pricing noticeably. With the Christmas holiday next weekend, it is being observed next Monday. The bond market will close early this Friday afternoon ahead of the holiday and will reopen next Tuesday morning. Accordingly, proceed cautiously this week if still floating an interest rate and closing by the end of the year.  proceed cautiously this week if still floating an interest rate and closing by the end of the year.

If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would….

LOCK if my closing was taking place within 7 days…

LOCK if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days…

LOCK if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days…

FLOAT if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now…

This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed.

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Are The Lowest Mortgage Rates In History Now History?

by Rich Vetstein on February 12, 2011

A guest post by David Gaffin, Senior Mortgage Lender, from Greenpark Mortgage.

David Gaffin, Greenpark Mortgage

Since Nov. 3rd when the Federal Reserve Bank released details of QEII (Quantitative Easing II), we have seen a very rapid rise in mortgage rates. On a national basis, the Freddie Mac 30 year fixed rate has moved from 4.20% to 5.05% this week. The 10 year Treasury has risen above 3.70% and Inflation seems to be the word of this month.

Last year at this time the 10 year was at 3.73% and it hit 4.00% on April 5th. It then started a fairly rapid descent all spring and summer to its low of 2.38% on October 8th. There were several economic events that brought this about, but the question in every mortgage company’s and consumer’s mind is “Will history repeat itself this year”?

Wishful thinkers will say YES. Many think the stock market is overbought. The Mid-East and Egypt situation is still very unstable. Inflation remains low according to the FED. Unemployment is stubbornly high and the housing market is continues to be very sluggish.  Until these issues are resolved, rates cannot rise too far or consumer demand will fall and economic growth will not be sustained.

HOWEVER, there are a few wrinkles that have nothing to do with Macroeconomics that will be in play in the coming months and years.

Changes In Loan Officer Compensation

As part of the Dodd-Frank Bill, loan officers’ compensation is about to undergo a dramatic change. Loan officers will no longer be paid based on certain loan characteristics such as interest rate. The intention is to have consumers with like profiles receive the same interest rate when quoted from one loan officer to another within the same company. One the surface this makes sense. In practice, the policy is very unfriendly to the consumer, limits consumer choice, and is uncompetitive for the marketplace. Loan officers already have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients to put them in the best loan for them, while compensation to the loan officer is not a major factor. This is a higher standard than the financial planning or brokerage environment which must merely come up with a suitable product, not the best product for their clients.

The anticipated effect of this change, coupled with the reduced volume of loan transactions due to rising rates, will further increase the profit pressures on lending institutions, thereby requiring them to make their loans more profitable. This may be done through reduction of expenses and overhead (read layoffs) or higher rates to the consumer, and will eventually lead to fewer choices to the consumer as companies go out of business. The large lending institutions will then be free to control the market even more so.

Fannie/Freddie (GSE) Reform

A bigger factor is the Fannie/Freddie GSE reform now being detailed by the Treasury. This plan, which may take affect over several years, will reduce/eliminate the government’s backing of the mortgage market, except perhaps through FHA, VA and USDA loans. When the government moves to a private secondary market, those investors are going to want a greater return on their investments and rates will almost certainly rise and may do so dramatically. Less than 10 years ago 7.25% was considered a great rate!

Current programs such as a 30 year fixed rate may vanish in favor of the adjustable rate mortgages which move with the interest rate market and would be more profitable for investors. Additionally, for those programs that are somewhat or fully guaranteed by the government, I would expect the fees associated with these programs to rise substantially.

The GSE reform options include reducing the Agency Jumbo Limit to $625,000, down from $729,000 in the highest cost areas. In Massachusetts those high cost areas are Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Islands off Cape Cod. The highest max loan amount in other counties is $523,750. Will this reduction of loan size have a big impact? I don’t think so. Current rates may be .250% to .500% higher with portfolio lenders that offer loans over these limits, but these jumbos have come way down in rate compared to the depths of the financial crisis. Most of the risk is relieved through very strict underwriting guidelines.

I have Portfolio lenders offering under 4% on ARM rates on loans to $1MM at 5 year interest only for the right borrower! While ARMs may not be the right product for everyone, they are for certain individuals and these folks are saving tremendous sums compared to where rates were just a couple of years ago.

A big concern for for future homeowners with GSE reform will be the minimum down payment requirements. There is talk that borrower’s may be required to put down 10 or 20% to qualify. Some major lenders have suggested 30%. Yeah, that’ll work…not. If that becomes the requirement you can kiss home ownership goodbye for the next generation or so, and rents will rise very rapidly.

I certainly recognize the need for GSE reform. Taxpayers have been getting killed by the losses from the mortgage giants, and the bleeding will not stop anytime soon. The plan as outlined by the Obama administration will gradually make changes to the GSEs over 5-7 years. But hopefully the market will understand what will be happening well in advance of the changes occuring.

Interest Rate Predictions For 2011 and Beyond

So what do I think? I think (unfortunately) rates will:

  • increase to 5.875%-6.125% for a 30 year fixed rate by the end of 2011;
  • increase to 6.50% by end of 2012; and
  • level out at closer to 7% by 2013.

By that time hopefully there will be a more clear path to GSE reform.

I want low rates. It’s good for my business, helps pay for my mortgage, and keeps the house heated.

All of this rate speculation, however, could be meaningless if Congress decides to finally act on the deficit. If they do, then rates could stay low for a very long period. One thing is for sure, my 3 kids are going to see a very different economic and housing landscape when they are ready to buy a home.

To see the  the full report on Reforming America’s Housing Finance Market, click here .

I welcome comments and your point of view.  I also welcome subscribers to my blog, The Massachusetts Mortgage Blog. Also check out my new Facebook page, Mortgagemania. I can be reached via email by clicking here.

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It’s been awhile since we had one of our mortgage guest bloggers here, and there’s been a number of recent changes and news in the mortgage industry. Today we have David Gaffin from Greenpark Mortgage talking about rising borrower costs for those with less than stellar credit scores (i.e., the vast majority of folks). Tomorrow, we’ll have Brian Cav of Smarterborrowing.com talking about current interest rates.

Fannie To Increase Borrower Costs

David Gaffin, Greenpark Mortgage

Fannie Mae recently announced that it will be increasing the charges for Loans with Certain Credit Score/LTV Combinations and Loans with Subordinate Financing. Known as Loan Level Price Adjustment or LLPAs, the theory is  that loans with higher loan to value ratios and borrowers with less than perfect credit scores represent a higher risk of default to Fannie Mae. As such, Fannie is charging these borrower’s a premium, which will translate into a higher interest rate or points to be paid at closing.

This is the latest attempt for Fannie and Freddie to become more profitable after the mortgage meltdown. Taxpayers have spent billions trying to keep these institutions afloat, and with 2011 expected to be another huge year in foreclosures, the losses will keep coming.

So what is the damage this time? Fannie and Freddie already had a hit of .75 points if you were buying a condominium with less than a 25% down payment. They  have added a new hit for single family homes of at least .25 points regardless of credit score, if you are not putting down 25%. If your credit score is below 740, expect this adjustment to be higher.

These new adjustments will add at least .125% and possible more than.25% to the typical borrowers rate. If we are trying to improve the economy by allowing borrower’s to refinance to put more money in their pockets, this is not going to help.

Lending guidelines are already tight. By adding these new adjusters, the interest rates to borrower will rise and therefore they can afford less house or their refinancing opportunity is reduced.

Eventually it will smooth out, but borrower’s are already seeing the hits when they call for rate quotes. The common response is “I thought interest rates went down  this week”, to which I reply, “They did but Fannie just added new risk hits to the pricing and therefore rates are higher.” Some people are skepital so I refer them to the Fannie link.

As the saying goes, “It is what it is,” and what it is just got more expensive.

File under Fannie and Freddie need more money.

For more information, contact David Gaffin at davidgaffin@massmortgageblog.com.

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Our Mortgage Guy, Brian Cav, is back with his Massachusetts weekly mortgage rate report.MA mortgage rates

Mortgage Rates are at all-time lows right now; 30 year fixed, 20 year fixed, 15 year fixed and even Jumbo Rates, and they are showing no signs of rising! I don’t see them going any lower but staying down at these levels for a while.  What’s moving Mortgage Rates? No one really knows right now but this is usually what happens, bonds go up, stocks go down.  Stocks go up, bonds go down. It’s really pretty easy to understand. However this mortgage market that we are in  is no where near normal.  In fact, it’s the total opposite, it’s like nothing we’ve ever experienced.

The housing market is stagnating at record low levels, refinance loans account for the majority of all present loan production.  Credit guidelines are as strict as they’ve ever been, it’s really brutal. Home values are off  by incredible amounts of  inventory. Mortgage Rates are showing no signs at all of rising anytime soon!

30 year fixed mortgage rates remain in the 4.375% to 4.625% range.  The 30 year fixed rate mortgage is 4.375% for a qualified borrower. 4.125% is presently being offered for two points.

Inquire within for current Mortgage Rates or guidelines bc@SmarterBorrowing.com 617.771.5021

Economic Data

Wednesday’s bond market has opened in negative territory following modest stock gains. The Dow is currently up while the Nasdaq has gained. The bond market is currently down, which should push this morning’s mortgage rates higher by approximately .125 of a discount point.

There is no relevant economic data scheduled for release today. This leaves the stock markets to influence bond trading and mortgage rates. If the stock markets move higher from current levels, we should see bond prices fall and mortgage rates rise if the move is sizable. However, if the major stock indexes fall from where they are now, the bond market would likely improve, leading to slightly lower mortgage rates this afternoon.

The only relevant data scheduled for release tomorrow are weekly unemployment figures from the Labor Department. They will post the number of new claims for unemployment benefits filed last week, giving us a small measurement of employment sector growth. This data usually does not lead to noticeable changes in mortgage rates because the data tracks only a single week’s worth of new claims. Analysts are expecting 455,000 new claims, but it will likely take a fairly large variance for the markets to have much of a reaction to this data. This week’s release may carry a little more significance than usual because there is no other data scheduled for release that day.

Friday brings us the release of July’s Employment report that compiles several key employment readings and is based on an entire month’s worth of data. This is a very important report for the financial and mortgage markets and could lead to sizable changes to mortgage rates. I would not be surprised to see the traders prepare for the report by adjusting portfolios late tomorrow and Thursday. This could lead to some pressure in bonds or possibly improvements if market participants are betting on bad economic news coming. The results on mortgage rates should be fairly minimal and could easily be erased after the report is released Friday morning, but it is worth mentioning.

FLOAT or  LOCK

If I was closing on a Home Mortgage in the next 0 to 15 Days – LOCK

If I was closing on a Home Mortgage in the next 15 to 30 Days – FLOAT

If I was closing on a Home Mortgage in the next 30 to 60 Days – FLOAT

If I was closing on a Home Mortgage in the next 60+ FLOAT

This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.

  • Are you a possible Massachusetts First Time Homebuyer?
  • Do you have a Real Estate client inquiring about current Mortgage Rates?
  • Do you have any Refinancing questions?
  • Should you be thinking about Refinancing out of your ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage)?
  • Have your Real Estate clients been Pre Approved?

bc@SmarterBorrowing.com 617.771.5021

Credit: Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Mortgage News, MBS Quoteline, WSJ, NY Times

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Weekly Mortgage Rate Lock Advisory: July 7, 2010

by Rich Vetstein on July 7, 2010

Our Mortgage Guy, Brian Cav, is back from vacation with his Massachusetts weekly mortgage rate report. Interest rates are still hovering around historic lows.

Mortgage Market

Mortgage Rates are still at all-time lows and there is no real economic news due out this week to make any changes in the markets.  The MBA Applications, Weekly Jobless Claims, and Fridays Wholesale Trade should all have minimal to no impact on Mortgage rates this shortened week.  I hope everyone had a fun and safe Holiday weekend.

The conventional 30 year fixed mortgage rates remain in the 4.375% and 4.625% range for well qualified borrowers. To get the lowest possible mortgage  interest rate on a conventional loan you must have a credit score of 740 or higher, a loan to value at 80% or less and pay all closing costs including one point loan discount fee.  If you are seeking a 15 year term, you should expect those rates to be in the 3.875% to 4.125% range with similar costs.

Mortgage Rates are slightly higher than the all time lows set last week, but rates continue to hold near the best levels ever. I see very little to gain by floating so I continue to favor locking all loans closing in the next 30 days.  In my personal pipeline, I have even locked a few clients on 45 day commitments to remove the risk of volatility.

Inquire within for current Mortgage Rates or guidelines bc@SmarterBorrowing.com 617.771.5021

Economic Data

Wednesday’s bond market has opened in negative ground with no relevant economic news scheduled for release and the stock markets showing early gains. The Dow is currently up while the Nasdaq has gained 25 points. The bond market is currently down 6/32, but I believe we will still see a slight improvement in this morning’s mortgage rates due to strength late yesterday.

The stock markets opened strong yesterday also, but actually fell into negative ground during the day before closing with respectable gains. If the major stock indexes repeat that cycle, particularly closing well below current levels, we may see improvements in bonds this afternoon. Since it is an especially light week with no relevant data being posted today, this could lead to a downward revision to mortgage rates this afternoon.

However, the flip side of that scenario is if stocks extend this morning’s gains rather than retreat from their current levels. If the major stock indexes move higher, bonds could move lower later today. This would likely lead to an upward revision to mortgage rates this afternoon, but would probably be a minor adjustment.

The Labor Department will post weekly unemployment figures early tomorrow morning. This release usually has little influence on bond trading or mortgage rates, but with a lack of important data scheduled for release this week it may draw more attention than usual. Analysts are expecting to see that approximately 460,000 new claims for benefits were filed last week. The higher the total of new claims, the better the news for bonds and mortgage rates.

FLOAT or  LOCK

If I was closing on a Home Mortgage in the next 0 to 15 Days – LOCK

If I was closing on a Home Mortgage in the next 15 to 30 Days – FLOAT

If I was closing on a Home Mortgage in the next 30 to 60 Days – FLOAT

If I was closing on a Home Mortgage in the next 60+ FLOAT

This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.

  • Are you a possible Massachusetts First Time Homebuyer?
  • Do you have a Real Estate client inquiring about current Mortgage Rates?
  • Do you have any Refinancing questions?
  • Should you be thinking about Refinancing out of your ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage)?
  • Have your Real Estate clients been Pre Approved?

bc@SmarterBorrowing.com 617.771.5021

Credit: Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Mortgage News, MBS Quoteline, WSJ, NY Times

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