Mortgage Rates and Fed Data August 18, 2021
Mortgage rates are not on a stratospheric climb – not even close – but they have been on a slight uptick trend over the past 2 weeks. Today was more of the same despite a fairly positive reaction to the Fed Minutes.
What are Fed Minutes? The Fed Minutes offer a comprehensive overview of the talks that occur during the Fed policy meetings. These tend to be important events for financial markets – particularly the bond side of the market. If you were not already aware, bonds dictate interest rates, including those for mortgages.
The last Fed meeting was just 3 weeks ago, but traders have been antsy for any inclination about future Fed decisions. Trader anxiety reflected in the bond market, showing weakness ahead of the Minutes. Weaker bonds typically imply higher rates. The bond market corrected shortly following a mostly uneventful Fed reporting.
What was in the Fed Minutes? Not much new. Most information had already come to light in several Fed speeches over the last 3 weeks. The variable: Delta. A lot has changed in the past 3 weeks as the Delta variant of the COVID-19 has cause a resurgence of cases and a strained healthcare system. If the minutes had been less positibe, many mortgage lenders might have been in a position to give rates another bump higher this afternoon. As of right now we are not seeing any increase beyond the slight uptick at the start of trading today.
What does this actually mean for mortgage rates? The average mortgage lender in the United States is now essentially right in line with last week. Conventional 30yr fixed rates are near the 3% mark, depending on the borrower scenario. Rates continue to vary significantly between lenders.