After reaching the lowest levels in history, Texas mortgage rates have shot higher over the past two weeks. There is not a simple explanation for why this increase in Texas mortgage rates occurred, but looking at the many factors which are influencing Texas mortgage rates right now will help to understand what’s going on.
In short, when investors look ahead, they see few reasons for Texas mortgage rates to move lower and many possible causes for them to move higher. The major negatives for Austin mortgage rates include stronger than expected economic growth, domestic and foreign opposition to quantitative easing, and concerns about lower foreign demand for US securities.
Beginning in late August, the Fed hinted that they would initiate a new stimulus program to purchase Treasury securities, which is known as quantitative easing. In the short-term, Treasury buying by the Fed increases demand for bonds, including mortgage-backed securities (MBS). In anticipation of this added demand, investors purchased MBS, which pushed Texas mortgage rates lower.
After the Fed’s official announcement on November 3, Texas mortgage rates began to move higher for a variety of reasons. Stronger than expected economic data caused investors to raise their outlook for economic growth, which generally leads to higher inflation. In addition, there was substantial opposition to the quantitative easing program from other countries and from many US politicians and economists, meaning that the Fed will face strong resistance to an expansion of the program. Investors had viewed the $600 billion initial level as a first step which would likely be increased in the future. Stronger economic growth and opposition to quantitative easing has reduced the likelihood that the program will be increased.
The recent news has not been uniformly negative for mortgage rates. Current inflation levels remain extremely low. In fact, the Consumer Price Index data released this week showed that annual core inflation dropped to a record low in October. Bottom line, though, when mortgage rates reached such extremely low levels, it left them in a position to reverse direction very quickly.