Mortgage Rates Friday, Feb. 3: Lower; Jobs Report Brings Mixed News for Rates

Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
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Thirty-year fixed and 15-year fixed rates were lower today, while 5/1 ARM rates held firm, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage interest rates published by national lenders Friday morning.

Mortgage Rates Today,
Friday, Feb. 3

(Change from 2/2)
30-year fixed: 4.38% APR (-0.05)
15-year fixed: 3.76% APR (-0.02)
5/1 ARM: 3.81% APR (NC)

Latest employment report a mixed bag for mortgage rates

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its non-farm payroll report today, with total employment soundly beating expectations. Jobs increased by 227,000 in January, exceeding economists’ forecasts of 175,000. The unemployment rate was mostly unchanged at 4.8%.

The U.S. stock market cheered the favorable jobs news, blasting out of the gate with solid gains at Friday’s open.

>> MORE: Calculate your refinance savings

However, wage growth fell short of expectations, and the bond market keyed off of that news more than employment growth. Yields on the 10-year Treasury, a common proxy for mortgage rates, were slightly lower in early trading.

“Job growth is critical in a rising interest rate environment. Every 10 basis point (0.10%) rise in mortgage rates can shave off approximately 35,000 in home sales annually. That is why today’s solid job addition of 227,000 is very comforting,” Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, said in a statement.

Yun took particular note of the increase of 36,000 jobs in construction.

“With 170,000 construction jobs added over the last 12 months, builders are increasing capacity, which should translate into continued home building. This is necessary to help increase the low housing inventory in much of the country,” he said.

Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae, found a mix of good and not-so-good news in the report.

“Today’s jobs report was largely positive, showing a pickup in hiring and in the labor force participation rate,” Duncan said in a statement. “There are a few blemishes, however, including downward revisions in the prior months’ payrolls and weakening wage gains.”

Mortgage rates may gain little direction with the mixed bag of news from the employment report.

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published annual percentage rate with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. APR quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: hal@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @halmbundrick.