Mortgage rates change little ahead of big inflation report

Mortgage rates have stabilized as mortgage rate spreads have improved, according to Logan Mohtashami

Mortgage rates remained unchanged last week despite the release of the stronger-than-expected jobs report

HousingWire’s Mortgage Rates Center showed the average 30-year fixed rate for conventional loans at 7.16% on Tuesday, unchanged from one week earlier. At the same time one year ago, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 6.46%. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 6.42% on Tuesday, down from 6.51% one week earlier.

“Tomorrow, CPI data will be big for the bond market and mortgage rates, but the real story for 2024 is that mortgage rate spreads have improved this year,” HousingWire lead analyst Logan Mohtashami said. ”Last year, this wasn’t the case, as the banking crisis sent spreads to cycle highs. In fact, mortgage rates would be half a percent higher today if we had the evil spreads of last year. Still, the CPI data will be big tomorrow.”

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note was about 4.37%, as of Tuesday, 

As of April 5, there were 513,000 single-family homes on the market, up 25% from a year ago but down 1% from a week ago. Additionally, last week added only 55,000 new listings for single-family homes, down 8.5% from the week prior and down 1.5% from a year ago, according to Altos data. Some markets like Southwest Florida posted big inventory gains, while others, like Boston, are still climbing off pandemic lows. Nevertheless, all markets posted gains compared to a year ago.

“With the Easter holiday last week, data for housing inventory, new listings and the pace of new contracts started all took a breather from their growth pace,” Mike Simonsen, founder and president of Altos Research, wrote on Monday. “Each of those notched down from a week ago and compared to a year ago. This is a holiday effect and it should all be reversed back onto the year’s growth trend by next Monday’s report.”

Meanwhile, uncertainty looms over the Federal Reserve’s timeline for initiating cuts to its benchmark federal-funds rate. Many traders predicted up to seven rate cuts at the beginning of 2024, now many are betting on one or two—or none, especially after the release of the latest jobs report last Friday. During their last  Federal Open Markets Committee meeting in March, Fed officials still penciled out three quarter-point rate cuts this year. 

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