What drives mortgage rates for the week of May 17

Mortgage rates are notoriously difficult to predict. They rise and fall based on market sentiment, securities and various economic indicators. Here’s a look at what could move the markets this week.

Friday the National Association of Real Estate Agents will release existing home sales data for April. The report itself does not determine mortgage rates, but the sales statistics reflect the state of the housing economy – which has been characterized by record inventories and soaring house prices.

Also on the horizon are a housing starts report for April, which will be released on Tuesday, and weekly jobless claims data on Thursday.

Calculating mortgage rates is complicated, but here’s a simple rule of thumb: The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage closely tracks the yield of the 10-year Treasury. When that rate rises, so does the popular 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Fixed mortgage rates are influenced by other factors, such as supply and demand. When mortgage lenders have too much business, they raise rates to reduce demand. When business is light, it tends to lower rates to attract more customers.

Ultimately, the rates are set by the investors who buy your loan. Most US mortgages are packaged in the form of securities and resold to investors. Your lender offers you an interest rate that secondary market investors are willing to pay.

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About Teresa G. Wilson

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