What’s Ahead For California Mortgage Rates: September 20, 2010

FOMC meets this weekMortgage markets in California were highly volatile, yet relatively unchanged last week in back-and-forth trading on Wall Street. Global investors are grappling with the state of U.S. economy and unable to discern whether it’s growing, or slowing.

As a real-world illustration, the government’s August Retail Sales report showed strong growth nationwide. However, in looking at a subset of that same data that accounted for rising gas prices, and excluded automotive-related sales, the results were far more tame.

In other words, despite the winning headlines, there was no clear conclusion in August’s Retail Sales.

As another example, consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level since August 2009, it was reported last week. Now, on most days, this statistic would lead mortgage rates lower, but the figures happened to be offset by improving employment report that suggests a looming jobs recovery.

Again, markets got confused and without clear direction, mortgage rates have been dancing.

Last week, conforming rates carved out a range close to 0.375%, making it difficult for people looking to refinance to lock in the lowest rate. 30-year fixed rates worsened, 15-year fixed held steady, and ARMs improved overall.

This week, expect rates to be equally jumpy.  There’s a lot of housing data due for release and the Federal Open Market Committee is meeting.

  • Monday : Homebuilder Confidence Survey
  • Tuesday : Housing Starts, Building Permits, FOMC Meeting
  • Wednesday : FHFA Home Price Index
  • Thursday : Existing Home Sales
  • Friday : New Home Sales

That’s one housing-related release per day, and a Federal Reserve meeting to boot. Today’s improved lower rates could be vanished by Friday.

Therefore, if you haven’t already, it may be time to call your loan officer about locking in a rate or the benefit of refinancing. Rates could certainly fall further, but they’re looking more likely to rise.

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