What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 8, 2009

Unemployment Rate August 2009Mortgage markets improved slightly last week overall, but closed out the week much worse from the best levels of the week.

On Wednesday, briefly, mortgage rates touched an 8-week low.  Following that, mortgage rates began to climb and stayed on an upward trajectory clear through Friday’s closing.

Rate shoppers suffered, realizing a 0.250 percent rise in rates — roughly $32 per month per $200,000 borrowed.

The biggest story of last week was the U.S. jobs report.  It showed the Unemployment Rate climbing to 9.7 percent and a loss of 216,000 jobs nationwide. 

Neither figure was a surprise, per se, but Wall Street had visions of a stronger showing.  Investors want to see strength in housing and employment and, for now, they’re only getting the former.  And so long as the U.S. economic future is unclear, mortgage rates will remain unpredictable.

This week, there isn’t much news, but there are some stories to keep an eye on:

  • The Fed’s regional economic summary releases Wednesday. Strength should drive rates up. Weakness should lower them.
  • Gas prices are easing, a positive for the economy (and negative for rates) as the Holiday Shopping Season nears
  • Two consumer confidence polls are released this week.  Confidence can lead to spending, a spur for the economy.

When there’s a lack of economic data, mortgage rates tend to trade on trends. If you’re shopping for a mortgage, watch for developing patterns and be ready to lock at a moment’s notice if mortgage rates are rising — rates tend to worsen with more speed than at they improve.