It was a wild week on the mortgage front. According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage survey, the 30 year fixed rate dropped seven basis points to 3.59% while the 15 year note fell six to 2.92%. These are levels not seen since mid-2013 when rates hovered in the mid-3’s for the first few months of that year.
Then the unemployment report for January was released Friday. During the course of the trading day, mortgage lenders changed their rates two and even three times. Rates finally settled down to remain relatively unchanged.
The big news was the number of new non-farm payroll jobs created for the month. According to the Department of Labor, there were 257,000 new jobs created, adding to the string of months posting 200,000+ jobs.
Economists were expecting something closer to 230,000 jobs. The unemployment rate actually moved up a tad from 5.6% to 5.7% primarily due to the number of workers reentering the workforce.
The Dow initially loved the unemployment figures and neared the 18,000 mark for the first time since last December but apparently profit takers started selling and ruined the party.
This week will present a smaller number of economic reports, none that should have too much impact on mortgage rates, with perhaps Retail Sales making some sort of news but that’s not really expected. Inflation is certainly not a problem although import and export prices released this Friday will either confirm or conflict that account.
Wall Street, U.S. Treasuries and mortgage bonds are still the favored child for investors worldwide and funds continue to pour into securities, keeping interest rates low. Oil seems to have hit a plateau just over the $50 dollar per barrel mark and if it continues in this range, the volatility in mortgage rates should subside, at least for now.