Mortgage rates haven't been skyrocketing, by any means, but they have been moving up in fits and starts over the past 2 weeks. Today was just another page in that story despite a relatively friendly reaction to the Fed Minutes.
What are the Fed Minutes? Well may you ask! If you're familiar with the notion of "meeting minutes," that's basically what we're dealing with. In the Fed's case, the minutes offer a robust recap of the discussion that takes place during the Fed policy meetings. These can be extraordinarily important events for financial markets--especially the bond side of the market (bonds dictate interest rates, including those for mortgages).
Even though the most recent Fed meeting was 3 weeks ago, traders are nonetheless anxious for any clues about future Fed decisions. In today's case, the anxiety played out in the form of bond market weakness ahead of the Minutes (weaker bonds imply higher rates) followed by a recovery after the Minutes proved to be fairly boring.
What did the Fed say? In not so many words: "nothing new." Any insights available in the Minutes have long since come to the surface during the multitude of Fed speeches that have taken place in the last 3 weeks. Moreover, much has changed during that time with respect to the delta-driven covid resurgence (a key concern for the Fed). Had the Minutes been unfriendly, many mortgage lenders might have been in a position to give rates another bump higher this afternoon. As it stands, we escaped with only the moderate increase seen at the start of the day (which, itself, was more a factor of bond market weakness late yesterday).
How does it translate to mortgage rates? The average lender is now priced right in line with last Monday morning. Top tier conventional 30yr fixed rates are near the 3% mark, depending on the scenario. Rates continue to vary significantly between lenders.