Expert Poll: Mortgage Rate Trend Predictions For Sept. 17-23, 2020

Rate trend index

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In the week ahead (Sept. 17-23), 14 percent of the experts on Bankrate's panel predict rates will rise, while 71 percent expect rates to hold steady and 14 percent think rates will fall. Calculate your monthly payment using Bankrate's mortgage calculator.

Although we are seeing some movement in rates, they are not extreme moves and likely will still be lower than pre-COVID levels.

— Jennifer Kouchis, VyStar Credit Union

14% say rates will go up

Les  Parker photo

Les Parker

CMB, managing director, Transformational Mortgage Solutions, Jacksonville, Florida

Here's a parody based on “Those Were the Days,” the 1968 Mary Hopkin hit produced by Paul McCartney of the Beatles: "We'd sell the bonds we choose; We'd hedge and never lose; Those were the days, no fees, those were the days." Three scenarios are competing today, namely a global depression, a massive recovery with high inflation, and the largest central banks monetizing all debt so that all currencies fall. So, how do consumers prepare? Layoff risk.

Jennifer Kouchis photo

Jennifer Kouchis

Senior vice president, real estate lending, VyStar Credit Union, Jacksonville, Florida

There is definitely some uncertainty in the air in preparation for the Fed's meeting. With this you can already see some negative movement in the rates as a counter tactic, as well as some early reaction ahead of the loan-level pricing adjustment coming in December. As predicted with extended turn times and preparing loans sales for delivery to the GSEs by the December deadline, we are already seeing some change in the market impacting rates. I think it’s important to note that although we are seeing some movement in rates, they are not extreme moves and likely will still be lower than pre-COVID levels.

14% say rates will go down

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Ken H. Johnson

Real estate economist, Florida Atlantic University

Down slightly. If the Fed settles on an aggressive inflation allowance strategy, their open market activities will keep 10-year Treasurys near record lows and long-term mortgage rates will follow suit, remaining at or near record lows.

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Jeff Lazerson

President, MortgageGrader

Mortgage rates will decline slightly this week as Congress cannot seem to agree on the size of the next aid package. Less aid means less consumer spending and an increased economic slowdown. Hence, lower mortgage rates.

71% say unchanged

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Greg McBride

CFA, chief financial analyst,

Status quo on the interest rate front and no groundbreaking economic releases on the calendar in coming days.

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Dick Lepre

Senior loan officer, RPM Mortgage, Inc., Alamo, CA

The techs are slightly bullish (higher prices, lower rates) and thus not indicative of movement. The Fed Open Market Committee will release its statement, which will note that while quarter-over-quarter GDP growth is strong, this is only relative to the previous miserable quarter but down year over year. They will point out recent weakness in the jobs market and reiterate their preference for lowering the unemployment rate over keeping inflation under 2 percent. In the longer run (next several months) the techs point to higher yields and that would appear to be supported by Fed policy of tolerating inflation. But everything is waiting for the economy to recover from the pandemic. I do not see inflation reaching a level of concern in the next 12 months.

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Ralph McLaughlin

Chief economist and senior vice president of analytics, Haus

Ten-year Treasury paper has come down over the past week, but not enough to move the needle. So we're calling for flat over the week.

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Logan Mohtashami

Housing analyst, HousingWire, Irvine, California

Yields are so stubborn right now and stuck in a tight range. Unless we get a $1.5 trillion disaster relief package passed in the next few days, don't expect much to happen. Retail sales, while it did miss estimates, still was a positive year over year.

Nancy Vanden Houton, CFA photo

Nancy Vanden Houton, CFA

CFA, Senior Research Analyst, Stone & McCarthy Research Associates, New York, NY

Rates will be unchanged.

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James Sahnger

Mortgage planner, C2 Financial Corporation, Jupiter, Florida

Rates have been pretty consistent since early July, as economic activity just hasn’t pushed the needle much in the way of movement either up or down. The Fed met this week and offered a pretty weak expectation of inflation for years to come. As inflation is the enemy of bonds and mortgage-backed securities, the Fed pretty much said, don’t expect rates to change much from here and for a while. Look for refinance transactions to get a little more expensive as lenders are pricing back in a fee being levied by the FHFA for most conventional mortgage transactions.

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Joel Naroff

President and chief economist, Naroff Economic Advisors, Holland, Pennsylvania

Lots of uncertainty about the virus and the election remain.

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Michael Becker

Branch manager, Sierra Pacific Mortgage, White Marsh, Maryland

There were no major changes to the Fed statement or their forecasts at the end of their meeting this week. Bond markets were hoping perhaps for some expansion in the Fed’s bond buying program. As a result bonds have been selling off slightly this week resulting in slightly higher mortgage rates. From here I expect bond markets to settle down for the next week and for rates to be generally flat. One caveat to that is conventional refinances. The FHFA will start charging lenders 50bps for all refinances over $125,000 sold to them after Dec. 1. Lenders are starting to price that fee into their rate sheets and many refinances will have higher rates next week because of this. So purchase mortgage rates will be flat, but some refinances will see higher rates in the coming week.

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Mitch Ohlbaum

Mortgage banker, Macoy Capital Partners, Los Angeles, CA

The 10-year is trading at .670 and has been trading in a tight range. I believe it will continue this way through the end of the month. In fact, I think rates will remain steady until the election unless something drastically changes in the U.S. or abroad.

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Gordon Miller

Owner, Miller Lending Group, LLC, Cary, North Carolina

With little expected out of the Fed this week, the outlook for rates should be steady as she goes. As always, be careful with the closing costs associated with some of the microscopic rate quotes you may notice.