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Mortgage Rates Decline As the Fed and Investors Anticipate Friday's Employment Report

By Alex Dumortier, CFA – Updated Nov 3, 2016 at 4:02PM

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Mortgage rates fell on Thursday; meanwhile, Federal Reserve policymakers and financial markets are eager for Friday morning's release of the employment situation report for October.

Mortgage rates fell on Thursday: The average 30-year mortgage rate is 3.48%, which equates to a $447.93 monthly payment per $100,000 borrowed. A month ago, the equivalent payment would have been lower by $7.77.

If you were to opt for a shorter term, the average 15-year mortgage rate is 2.74%, which equates to a $678.15 monthly payment per $100,000 borrowed. A month ago, the equivalent payment would have been lower by $5.70.

Rate (National Average)


1 Month Ago

30-Year Fixed Jumbo




30-Year Fixed




15-Year Fixed




30-Year Fixed Refi




15-Year Fixed Refi




5/1 ARM




5/1 ARM Refi




Data source: Bloomberg.

Fed keeps rates unchanged; all eyes now on tomorrow's employment report

One of the key factors affecting mortgage rates is the rate at which the U.S. government borrows money. The yields on the 10-year Treasury note and the 30-year Treasury bond reflect investors' expectations for future short-term interest rates.

On that note, the Federal Reserve kept its policy federal funds rate target range unchanged yesterday, at 0.25% to 0.50%, at the outcome of this week's two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The outcome was largely discounted by financial markets; based on trading in the federal funds futures market, investors now expect the FOMC to raise rates at next month's meeting, which takes place on December 13-14, with odds of nearly 4-to-1 (the probability estimate is 78%, according to data from Bloomberg).

One of the two most important data releases Fed policymakers will be scrutinizing between now and the December meeting is tomorrow's employment situation report for October. If the labor market were to achieve 178,000 additions to nonfarm payrolls (Bloomberg's consensus estimate), it would strengthen the case for a December rate rise, particularly in the wake of last Friday's print of 2.9% economic growth in the third quarter. The consensus estimate also has the unemployment rate falling back to 4.9%, from 5%.

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