Jobs help to firm mortgage ratesby Tim Manni
The long, cold winter that persisted in much of the U.S. seems to get the majority of the blame for the economy’s slow start to 2014. “The freshest economic indicators suggest that we are starting to move away from any weather-related holdback in growth, but it looks as though it will be more of a ’slipping away from’ than a ’shaking off’ process,” wrote Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, in the latest Market Trends newsletter.
A gradual trend of economic improvement should bring higher mortgage rates along with it. While mortgage rates remained at January levels last week, they’re still below 2014 highs.
Current mortgage rates
Here are the latest mortgage rates according to HSH.com’s Monday-through-Friday survey:
- 30-year: The overall average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (conforming, non-conforming and jumbos) rose by just 0.01 percent to land at 4.49 percent, its highest level since late January.
- 15-year: The overall average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages (conforming, non-conforming and jumbos) also increased by 0.01 percent to 3.63 percent for the week ending April 4.
- FHA: FHA-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 0.02 percent, rising to 4.16 percent for the period.
- ARMs: The overall 5/1 Hybrid ARM increased by just 0.01 percent, finishing the week at 3.18 percent.
Employment gains are an integral part of the gradual economic improvement we discussed earlier. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 192,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent.
“A couple of substandard months of hiring at the end of 2013 and to start 2014 have given way to a resumption of job gains closer to last year’s average pace of hiring,” wrote Gumbinger. “While still very low, [March] was the highest value for the participation rate since last September, so more people are both joining the fray and finding jobs.”
The March report was more of the same, par for the course, solid but not spectacular. That seems to be the economic tenor for quite a while now.
With a light calendar of economic reports on tap for this week, we expect more of the same mild improvements.
“We may see a little settling of [mortgage] rates [this] week, possibly a slight decline of a couple of basis points,” said Gumbinger.