U.S Mortgage Rates Fall to a 12th Low for the Year

Mortgage rates fell to yet another all-time low in the week ending 5th November. Following a 1 basis point rise in the week prior, the 30-year fixed rate declined by 3 basis point to 2.78%. It was the 12th record low of the year.

Compared to this time last year, 30-year fixed rates were down by 91 basis points.

30-year fixed rates were also down by 216 basis points since November 2018’s most recent peak of 4.94%.

Economic Data from the Week

Economic data was on the heavier side in the 1st half of the week.

Key stats included the market’s preferred ISM private sector PMIs and ADP Nonfarm Employment figures for October.

It was another mixed bag on the data front.

Manufacturing sector activity saw a further pickup in October, with the ISM Manufacturing PMI rising from 53.3 to 53.4.

The all-important ISM Services PMI fell from 57.8 to 56.6, however, which was somewhat disappointing.

ADP nonfarm employment change figures also disappointed. A 365k increase in October fell well short of September’s 749k rise and a forecasted 650k increase.

While there were plenty of stats to consider, the U.S Presidential Election was the main event of the week.

A projected Joe Biden victory and a Republican hold of the Senate drove expectations of further monetary policy easing.

Policy gridlock on Capitol Hills is expected to place the onus on the FED to deliver support for the economic recovery.

There were also concerns over how Biden will influence, particularly with Biden unlikely to deliver planned infrastructure spending to support the economy.

Freddie Mac Rates

The weekly average rates for new mortgages as of 5th November were quoted by Freddie Mac to be:

  • 30-year fixed rates decreased by 3 basis points to 2.78% in the week. Rates were down from 3.69% from a year ago. The average fee remained steady at 0.7 points.
  • 15-year fixed rates remained flat at 2.32% in the week. Rates were down from 3.13% compared with a year ago. The average fee held steady at 0.6 points.
  • 5-year fixed rates increased by 1 basis points to 2.89% in the week. Rates were down by 50 points from last year’s 3.39%. The average fee remained unchanged at 0.3 points.

According to Freddie Mac,

  • Mortgage rates fell to a 12th record low due to economic and political ambiguity.
  • Despite the uncertainty experienced this year, the housing market, buoyed by low rates, continues to be a bright spot.

Mortgage Bankers’ Association Rates

For the week ending 30th October, rates were quoted to be:

  • Average interest rates for 30-year fixed, backed by the FHA, decreased from 3.14% to 3.08%. Points fell from 0.35 to 0.26 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
  • Average interest rates for 30-year fixed with conforming loan balances increased from 3.00% to 3.01%. Points rose from 0.35 to 0.38 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
  • Average 30-year rates for jumbo loan balances decreased from 3.28% to 3.18%. Points decreased from 0.31 to 0.30 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.

Weekly figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that the Market Composite Index, which is a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased by 3.8% in the week ending 30th October. In the week prior, the index had risen by 1.7%.

The Refinance Index increased by 6% and was 88% higher than the same week a year ago. In the previous week, the index had risen by 3%.

The refinance share of mortgage activity rose from 66.7% to 68.7%. In the week prior, the share had increased from 66.1% to 66.7%.

According to the MBA,

  • Mortgage rates continue to hover at record lows this fall.
  • The 30-year fixed remained unchanged but rates for 15-year fixed-rate loans, FHA loans, and Jumbo lows all fell to new MBA survey lows.
  • The drop spurred an uptick in demand for refinances.
  • Purchase activity fell for the 5th time in 6-weeks, however, but was still over 25% higher than a year ago.
  • 2020 continues to overall be a strong year for the housing market.

For the week ahead

It’s a quieter 1st half of the week on the U.S economic calendar.

Key stats include JOLTs job openings for September, which will garner some interest as the markets monitor the labor market recovery.

Nonfarm payroll and unemployment numbers for October were relatively upbeat last Friday. The weekly jobless claims figures continued to disappoint, however.

Away from the economic calendar, the markets will also continue to monitor chatter from Capitol Hill and COVID-19 news.

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