Mortgage Trends This Week: Nov. 16

To get right to the point, mortgage rates are down again this week, scraping against historic lows as confidence in an economic rebound squares off against stock investors, who continue to bet on better times right around the corner.

That has led to not only volatility in the stock market, which Wall Street usually treats like a trip to the dentist, but to uncertainty among banks, lenders and creditors.

From Nov. 9 through Nov. 13, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 150 points, signaling more confidence from big investors. But the rest of the nation — especially consumers — remains wary. With new numbers coming out this week from big benchmark indicators like retail sales, inflation and manufacturing activity, maybe the economic view will crystallize a little bit more, though that still may not be enough to push rates higher.

For the week, mortgage rates were once again lower right down the line. Both 15- and 30-year mortgage rates, as measured by the Weekly Mortgage Rate Tracker, fell back, with the former down to 4.52% from 4.63% and the latter off to 5.04% from 5.22%. Adjustable-rate mortgages slipped as well. One-year ARMs were the exception, rising up to 4.64% from 4.25%. But three- and five-year ARMs were in sick bay, down five basis points to 4.49%, and down eight basis points to 4.24%, respectively.

It wasn’t only consumer anxiety keeping mortgage rates pinned to the mat. The bond market has shown scant interest in longer-term Treasuries, with weak demand for both 10-year and 30-year Treasuries during the past few weeks. As regular rate watchers know, if bonds are weak, then mortgage rates usually are, too. We did see a temporary rise in mortgage-backed securities later in the week, but it wasn’t enough to offset the damage that had already been done.

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