Not much change in mortgage rates this week unless you were quoted a rate on Monday or Tuesday and went to lock it in yesterday or today. Remember – markets can change quickly, so act promptly when dealing with a mortgage interest rate lock.
Mortgage bond prices finished the week near unchanged which kept rates in check despite some wild volatility. Rates were sharply lower Monday and Tuesday. Existing home sales printed at 5.49M units versus the expected 5.55M units. Stronger than expected housing data Wednesday reversed the improvements. The FHFA Housing Price Index rose 0.5% versus the expected 0.3% increase. The DOW broke 20,000 which dominated trading the latter portion of the week. Stronger stocks often come at the expense of lower bond prices and higher rates. Weekly jobless claims were 259K. Analysts expected a reading of 246K. Rates improved Friday morning after the data. The economy grew at a 1.9% rate in Q4/2017 which was weaker than the expected 2.2%. Mortgage interest rates finished the week lower by about 1/8 of a discount point.
The European Central Bank jumped back into the trading discussion as Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy expressed concerns about tightening monetary policy too soon. German officials indicated tightening discussions should start now while other leaders weighed in as growth and inflation escalated more than expected. The challenge the ECB faces is the fact that stronger countries like Germany want to end the stimulus now and other struggling countries do not. Uncertainty in the Eurozone generally bodes well for U.S. mortgage backed securities.