Has the Tide Turned for Mortgage Rates?

Waiting to refinance can be as risky as sailing without a compass. Here's how to chart your refinance course.

Jul 6, 2014 at 3:00PM

From late April through the end of May, 30-year mortgage rates fell for five consecutive weeks. These lower rates created new opportunities to refinance -- and a natural tendency to wait to see just how low rates could go. By mid-June, however, it was clear that waiting to refinance can be a risky strategy.

Mortgage rates still down in 2014
Mortgage rates followed that string of falling for five consecutive weeks by rising in each of the first two weeks of June. However, this bump up in rates is still minor compared to how much they had fallen.

In all, by mid-June, 30-year fixed mortgage rates had fallen by 28 basis points so far in 2014, and by 38 basis points since the recent high reached last August. Those drops are big enough to make the difference in whether or not to refinance for some homeowners.

Of course, a further drop in rates would create an even bigger money-saving opportunity. However, recent news suggests it might not be wise to wait for another drop in rates.

The employment trend is good -- but it is bad for refinancing
In early June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 217,000 new jobs had been created during the month of May. This is 20,000 better than the monthly average for the past year -- and perhaps more significantly, it represented the fourth consecutive month in which job growth topped 200,000.

Employment growth has been up and down since the end of the Great Recession, so this recent stretch represents an unusually consistent period of strong job growth. That is welcome news for the US economy, but a stronger economy could also bring higher mortgage rates. This may be the wrong time to hold out for lower refinance rates.

Refinancing is a potential money-saving opportunity that cannot be guaranteed to last, or to come back again. Economic trends can change, but you can insulate yourself from changing trends if you lock in your opportunity to refinance.

This article Has the Tide Turned for Mortgage Rates? originally appeared on RefinancingRight.com

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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