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Mortgage Rates for March 2017 & Beyond

Trump's Address - March 1st, 2017

Mortgage applications dropped 3.2 percent last month, causing the total number of mortgage applications to dwindle 18 percent lower than last month of last year. What’s worse is FHA mortgage applications dropped 13 percent following Trump’s inauguration in which he reversed a more affordable policy on mortgage insurance premiums put forth by the Obama administration two months ago – a policy that proved promising for low-income families. 25 percent of refinancing applications and 6 percent of purchase applications have now been withdrawn since Trump’s inauguration, leaving secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson wondering if they should find a middle ground between FHA loan applicants and the rest of America’s taxpayers.

Last month saw the first leap in 30-year fixed mortgage rates of this year, with 4.39% placed on all conforming loans (loans which don’t exceed $424,000). This raised the origination fee on loans with 80 percent loan-to-value ratios, impeding new home buyers.

Refinancing loans fell below this time of last year by 32 percent, sending half of all loan applications as low as July of 2015. The seeming instability is characterized by a rise in rates after Trump’s inauguration, a slight decline at the start of the new year, and a steady increase as of late. With a 6 percent dip in home purchase applications, homeowners’ demand for property ownership shows no sign of slowing down. All it takes is another decline in rates and the number of applications will recover.

According to the transcript from the Federal Reserve’s meeting of February 22nd, mortgage rates are expected to rise in March but an across-the-board consensus has not yet been reached by all Fed officials. The same transcript talks of raising rates “fairly soon” by 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent, which could be hinting at March, May, or June. But 80% of all experts are all pointing towards March as the trigger period. This is in spite of market uncertainties brought forth by the new administration’s implementing of new policies and regulations. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, however, said: “I don’t think that uncertainty is enough to put us on hold.”

Regardless, last night Fed officials expressed indifference to near-future policy changes or Republican tax reforms and that they will raise mortgage rates in March should they see it necessary.

Beyond March, however, the USD could be a go-to asset for investors if a far-right win is achieved by the potential president of France, Marine Le Pen, on May 7th when all the votes are in. A Le Pen win might trigger a Frexit not too long after the Brexit, drastically destabilizing the Euro, making the USD more of a sure thing for anxious investors. If this happens, it would be in conjunction with the Fed’s current stance on a pro-USD shift.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Below are projected averages for the months ahead. Take them with a grain of salt and add 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent on top to get a feel of what to expect should the Feds stick to their word.

2017’s 30-Year FRM Projections

Year Month 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages
2017 March 4.25%
2017 April 4.13%
2017 May 4.38%
2017 June 4.65%
2017 July 4.81%
2017 August 4.86%
2017 September 4.85%
2017 October 4.81%
2017 November 4.97%
2017 December 5.03%


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