Michael BeckerMortgage banker, Happy Mortgage, Lutherville, Md.
Mortgage rates moved higher late last week on a better-than-expected jobless claims report. I viewed that report with a bit of skepticism, since jobless claims for nine states had to be estimated because of the shortened week due to the Labor Day holiday. Mortgages rates have since come down a bit.
For the markets to be convinced that the employment picture is improving, we will need to see a few more weeks of improving jobless claim numbers. Until then, concerns about the strength of the economy and the possibility of a double-dip recession will keep mortgage rates from rising.
Kevin BreelandGeneral manager, Residential Mortgage of South Carolina, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Last week was a roller coaster ride in mortgage-backed securities. But when the dust settled, we found ourselves in a rally mode for this week. I believe the flight to quality is the driving force in the markets right now. There will be periods where profits are taken, so while we will have some of the downward trends we saw in MBS last week, we will also see similar upticks. What does all of this mean? No change in rates for the coming week.
Dick LepreSenior loan officer, RPM Mortgage, San Francisco
While the Treasury techs have been bearish (lower prices, higher yields and mortgage rates) there is still massive uncertainty about the state of the economy. Worse yet, as we approach Election Day, it is unlikely that either politicians or the media will suddenly be overtaken by objectivity. Obfuscation of what is happening will be the order of the day.
Mitch OhlbaumVice president of business development, Mortgage Capital Associates, Los Angeles
The 10-year Treasury is trading at 2.68 percent and is mostly unchanged. Rates bumped up last week with a slight bit of good news in jobs and came right back down this week.
While August retail sales were up slightly, it was only for the essentials that people must spend on, plus clothing was up (school season). The survey of small-business owners still shows inflation is far less a concern than falling prices (deflation) of their products and lack of credit. The improvement will be slow and bumpy. Rates should be fairly steady through the end of the year.
Jim SahngerMortgage consultant, Palm Beach Financial Network, Stuart, Fla.
Day-to-day and during-the-day movement in rates can be swift. Over the course of the past week, we have seen wide swings in rates up and down in reaction to mortgage-backed securities prices. I don't see anything on the horizon that should push rates higher over an extended time.
That said, one should not get complacent about deciding when to lock. The cost to get the same rates in effect last week at the time of writing this is about 0.25 percent, or $500 on a $200,000 loan.
The cost of waiting can be painful. Why give up any money when you don't have to? Lock soon and get busy saving money.
Chris SipeSenior loan officer, Embrace Home Loans, Frederick, Md.
Economic reports continue to be very contradictory and the market has grown a lot more volatile as a result. However, despite this volatility, rates continue to be at or near all-time lows. I don't expect market data to get any clearer in the short term, so I see rates remaining relatively unchanged.