Thursday, December 18, 2014

Freddie Mac: "Mortgage Rates Find New Lows for 2014"

by Bill McBride on 12/18/2014 07:46:00 PM

Friday:
• At 10:00 AM ET, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) for November 2014

• At 11:00 AM, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing survey for December.

From Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Find New Lows for 2014

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates falling to new lows for this year as 10-year Treasury yields closed at their lowest level since May 2013.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.80 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending December 18, 2014, down from last week when it averaged 3.93 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.47 percent.
Mortgage rates and Refinance index
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the 30 year fixed rate mortgage interest rate from the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey® compared to the MBA refinance index. 

Historically refinance activity picks up significantly when mortgage rates fall about 50 bps from a recent level.

Many borrowers who took out mortgages over the last 18 months can refinance now - but that is a small number of total borrowers.  However, for a significant increase in refinance activity, rates would have to fall below the late 2012 lows (on a monthly basis, 30 year mortgage rates were at 3.35% in the PMMS in November and December 2012.

Based on the relationship between the 30 year mortgage rate and 10-year Treasury yields, the 10-year Treasury yield would probably have to decline to 1.5% or lower for a significant refinance boom (in the near future). With the 10-year yield currently at 2.20%, I don't expect a significant increase in refinance activity any time soon.