Rate Update February 11, 2010

Mortgage rates are higher this morning.

Interest rates were actually pressured higher yesterday afternoon following weaker than expected demand for the US Treasury’s $25 billion auction of 10-year notes.  I’ve been reporting on treasury auctions for weeks and this is the first time where auction results have substantially impacted mortgage rates.  As the deficit continues to widen there may be more of this to come (click HERE to understand how government borrowing impacts mortgage rates).  Oh yea, and today the treasury will auction another $16 billion in 30-year bonds.

The EU announced today that they would support Greece.  However, a lack of detail on their plans is causing some skepticism in the markets.  Should the EU announce a credible plan it would unwind the “flight-to-quality” trade and put upward pressure on mortgage rates.

Mortgage-backed bonds (MBS’s) are now trading right up against technical support.  Should MBS prices break through this support we would likely see rates move another .125%-.25% higher.  Hopefully this level holds and we see MBS prices reverse which would help rates retreat lower.

Current outlook: neutral

Rate Update February 10, 2010

Mortgage rates are unchanged from yesterday.  30-year fixed rates have now remained in the 4.875%-5.00% range for almost an entire month.

Yesterday the US Treasury auctioned off it’s first round of $81 billion in securities for the week.  The $40 billion in 3-year notes was met with weaker than expected demand which does not bode well for mortgage rates.  Today they will auction $25 billion in 10-year notes.

This morning the news out of the EU is that Germany is in talks with other nations to lead a bailout of Greece.  If these talks produce a credible plan then we may see mortgage rates move slightly higher as the “flight-to-quality” trade unwinds.

Lastly, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke outlined in written testimony the Fed’s plan for unwinding the monetary stimulus that they have implemented since late 2008.  The equity markets are not receiving the news well.  Stocks are trading lower as are mortgage-backed bonds.

We will shift our outlook to a neutral position.

Current outlook: neutral