Why Do Mortgage Rates Change

Dated: 04/25/2018

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Mortgage rates fluctuate based on the market’s perception of the economy.

Stocks are considered riskier investments, and therefore have an expected higher rate of return to compensate for that risk.

When the economy is thriving, it is presumed that companies will perform better, and therefore their stock prices will move higher.

When stock prices move higher – MBS prices generally move lower.  Mortgage Backed Securities, however, thrive when the economy is perceived as not doing well.

When investors forecast a faltering economy, they worry that the return on stocks will be lower, so they frequently engage in a ‘flight to safety’ and buy more secure investments such as Mortgage Backed Securities.  Mortgage rates are actually based on the yield of those Mortgage Backed Securities.

Bonds are sold at a particular price based on their value in relation to other available investments.  When a bond is sold it yields a certain return based on that original purchase price.  As the prices of the MBS increases because investors seek their safety, the yield decreases.

Conversely, when investors seek the higher returns of stocks and the MBS are purchased in lesser quantities the price goes down.  The lower price results in a higher yield, and this yield is what determines mortgage rates.

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