Mortgage rates may have been feeling the love yesterday, but that now seems to have been a coincidental blip in the longer-term trend. Rates actually started the day in OK shape. Most lenders were the same or slightly better than yesterday, but the bond markets that underlie rate movements weakened steadily throughout the day. Markets are anxious about next week’s potential agreement between Greece and the EU. Such an agreement would allay some of the concerns about growth and stability in the Eurozone. That’s a good thing in and of itself, but those concerns have also fueled demand for safe-haven debt, which includes US Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed-Securities (MBS). Ebbing demand for MBS translates directly to higher rates.
While we can hope that next weeks meetings in Europe produce news that helps rates recover from their recent weakness, we also have to be prepared for the possibility that the pain continues. If it does, we’d almost immediately be in the unfortunate position of assessing the damage to the long term trend toward lower rates that began in early 2014. While that trend won’t be completely defeated any time soon, it’s been looking less and less healthy in February. The magnitude of February’s weakness has created a situation where there is more risk than reward for floating.
It seems the bond market selloff has run out of steam, that’s the hope at least. Hope isn’t a good rate lock strategy however. Rates remain near long term lows so I would feel pretty good about locking at these levels. Greek debt negotiations and the Ukraine Russia cease fire continue to have the potential to move markets, I’d keep that in mind as a potential wild card especially with US markets closed Monday.