Tuesday, January 06, 2015

30 Year Mortgage Rates fall to 3.68%, Down almost 100bps year-over-year

by Bill McBride on 1/06/2015 04:09:00 PM

With the rally in the Ten Year today - yields declined to 1.89% mid-day and closed at 1.96% - the 30 year mortgage rate also declined, and is now down almost 100bps from a year ago.

From Matthew Graham at Mortgage News Daily: Opportunity Knocks as Mortgage Rates Surge Lower

Mortgage rates are on an absolute tear. In the past 2 days, they've rocketed a full eighth of a point lower. They're a full quarter point lower than the average rates available in 2nd half of December and .375% lower than December's highest rates. For anyone feeling like they missed out in May 2013 as the taper tantrum began, here's your opportunity. Today is officially the first day we can say that rate sheets are at least as good as May 21st, 2013, the day before Bernanke's congressional testimony unofficially kicked off the taper tantrum and sent mortgage rates quickly higher.

At that time, the abrupt rise meant a move up to 3.75% from 3.625%. Today's gains restore 3.625% as the lowest widely-available rate for the best borrowers.
Note: rates are still above the level required for a significant increase in refinance activity. 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. 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 1.96%, I don't expect a significant increase in refinance activity.

Here is a table from Mortgage News Daily: