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Mortgage rates are notoriously difficult to predict. They rise and fall based on market sentiment, headlines and a variety of economic indicators. Here’s a look at what could move markets this week.
On Friday, the National Association of Realtors will release existing home sales data for April. The report itself doesn’t drive mortgage rates, but the sales stats reflect the state of the housing economy — which has been characterized by record-low inventories and soaring home prices.
Also on the horizon are a housing starts report for April, to be released Tuesday, and weekly jobless claims data on Thursday.
The calculus behind mortgage rates is complicated, but here’s one easy rule of thumb: The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage closely tracks the 10-year Treasury yield. When that rate goes up, the popular 30-year fixed rate mortgage tends to do the same.
Rates for fixed mortgages are influenced by other factors, such as supply and demand. When mortgage lenders have too much business, they raise rates to decrease demand. When business is light, they tend to cut rates to attract more customers.
Ultimately, rates are set by the investors who buy your loan. Most U.S. mortgages are packaged as securities and resold to investors. Your lender offers you an interest rate that investors on the secondary market are willing to pay.