- Inflationary Pressure - When inflation is likely to occur, the future value of the money that is lent now will be worth less. Inflation, on average since the creation of the FED, is somewhere between 3%-5% per year. The greater the rise in inflation, the higher the mortgage rates will be. Since April of 2013, we have continued to see the inflation rate increase. Inflation isn't bad though as it points to a healthier economy.
- Bond Prices - As Bond prices drop, the rates increase and alternatively, as bond prices rise, mortgage rates decrease. Since most loans are paid off via refinance or other method within 7-10 years, most lenders base their mortgage rates (even the 30 YR Fixed rates) on the 10 YR Treasury. The higher the Yield the higher the mortgage rates to make the investor money (who owns the note). We have seen yields increase from low's in April 2013 of 1.636% - since then it has raised to as high as 2.98%. This change has increased rates from the low - mid 3% range on a 30 YR fixed to a higher rate of the upper 4% range.
- Employment Data, Jobs Reports, Fed Monetary Policy - As the overall economy improves mortgage rates for home loans will continue to go up as well. Some of the key factors to watch are employment data. How many people file for unemployment - the more unemployed the slower the economy will grow. How many new jobs are being created - again, the more new jobs, the less unemployed and the healthier the economy. What is the FED doing with the FED funds rate, their quantitative easing policy, etc.? As the overnight FED funds rate stays low, rates will do the same. If they pull bank on their bond purchases, which keeps prices up, mortgage rates will increase as well.
While this is very rudimentary, it gives an idea of what types of economic factors to watch when determining interest rates.