Mortgage California Blog

Why Mortgage Rates Change So Much

February 11th, 2015

Mortgage loan applicationWhy Mortgage Rates Change So Much

Did you ever wonder why mortgage rates fluctuate so much and you’re encouraged to lock in a rate?  Why can’t they just stay the same for a few weeks or a few months.

Interest rates are a little like stock prices in that they change based upon supply and demand, and the rates are affected by inflation rates.  Additionally, they are impacted by the secondary mortgage market.

Every Monday, we post the Weekly Market Commentary that reviews the economic reports being released that week.  They detail what the report is, when it’s being released, and how it might affect interest rates.

What Is the Secondary Mortgage Market?

The secondary mortgage market is where loans and servicing rights are sold by market leaders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and also purchased by investors such as mutual fund companies, banks, hedge funds, and teacher and municipal pension funds.  (see more information in this Yahoo! Homes blog post)

What are the other things that impact the rates?

From Homeguides in the San Francisco Chronicle:


The economy naturally grows and shrinks and is very sensitive to events within the economy as well as outside the economy.  When the economy is on a growth path the demand for money increases and interest rates are pushed upward. The opposite is true when economic growth slows or stops.


A key concern during periods of economic growth is inflation. Inflation increases prices and deteriorates spending power in the economy, which slows growth. The implication for future homeowners is that inflation pushes mortgage rates higher as lenders increase interest rates to hedge against the effects of inflation on profits, making home buying more expensive.

Federal Reserve Board

Economic activity is measured nationally to determine the appropriate interest rate.

Money Supply

Although the Federal Reserve is unable to directly set interest rates, the agency can influence rates indirectly by increasing or decreasing the supply of money in the economy. By increasing the money supply, the Federal Reserve puts downward pressure on interest rates. Decreasing the money supply puts upward pressure on interest rates. Consequently, if the Federal Reserve decreases interest rates, mortgage rates come down and borrowing for a home purchase is cheaper and encourages home buying.

We’ve written posts on how this is going to impact not only mortgage rates but fees that are charged.  With all of these factors, rates can change frequently.

So What’s This Mean For You?

Work with a reputable mortgage loan officer.   A good loan officer will diligently monitor interest rates for their clients, and advise them of opportunities to manage their mortgage debt at a better rate. They will also let you know up front about industry trends that may impact your rate, and offer recommendations as to the best time to lock in a rate during the process.

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