Market Update: Calm Seas for Rates Last Week Set the Stage for Big Wave Potential this Week

Blog posted On October 31, 2023

Last week, rates trended downward slightly, but as we know, this won’t be a lasting trend until economic data can show significant signs of cooling. This week, there are plenty of big reports on the horizon.

On Wednesday, we have the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) interest rate decision. As we know the Fed doesn’t directly set mortgage rates (long-term rates). Instead, it deals with short-term rates. Here are a couple of insights on what’s going on with rates and what this meeting could hold (from Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily):

  • “We know that the Fed hikes short term rates (which filter through to longer-term rates like mortgages) in order to crimp economic demand and bring prices lower.  In that sense, higher rates do indeed bring about lower rates.”
  • “In the past few weeks, the Fed has increasingly flagged the sharper rise in longer term rates as evidence that it doesn't need to hike short term rates anymore.”
  • “The Fed has also said it is hearing talk of economic softening that's not yet showing up in the data.”

So, it’s likely that the Fed will not raise the benchmark interest rate again at this meeting. However, that doesn’t mean that mortgage rates will automatically trend lower. Perhaps what’s more important for rate trends this week are the employment reports coming up. Also on Wednesday, we have the ADP nonfarm employment and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). Friday’s reports, however, will be the stars of the show. These reports, known as the employment situation, will give us information on the average hourly earnings, unemployment, and payroll changes.

Though inflation has been cooling (good for rates), the job market is still strong according to data (not good for rates). We will see if this week’s data offers us any hope.

In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions about what’s going on in the market and how it affects your mortgage rate.


Sources: Mortgage News Daily