Mortgage Trends This Week: Nov. 30


All eyes turned to the holiday shopping numbers over the past weekend, where economists are looking for signs of an economic recovery amidst the bargains, discounts and deals that have come to define "Black Friday."

How does that tie in to mortgage markets? The thinking goes that if consumers are out buying Christmas presents, confidence in the economy is growing and the chance for mortgage rates to rise grows stronger with it.

For the holiday weekend, sales rose 0.5%, to $10.66 billion, compared to last year. (Those numbers come from ShopperTrak, which analyzes shopping data from 50,000 U.S. stores.) Online commerce continues to draw more interest from consumers, too. ComScore, a Web commerce research firm, says that online sales over last Thursday and Friday rose by 11%.

Those numbers are better than what analysts had expected, thus fueling conviction that consumers will come through for the economy this holiday season. That would ultimately help frame a mortgage environment where rates would be on the move upward, although it’s too early to see any proof of that.

Way too early.

According to the Weekly Mortgage Rate Tracker, mortgage rates continue marching to that steady drumbeat downward, to rates so low that Santa may have to check them twice.

But naughty or nice, there are some incredible mortgage rate deals out there. For the short Thanksgiving week, rates fell back sharply. Fifteen- and 30-year fixed rates slid to 4.35% and 4.88% from 4.48% and 4.99%, respectively.

Three-year adjustable-rate mortgages kept the trend going, falling to 4.22% from 4.58%, while five-year ARMs dropped to 4.1% from 4.26%.

One-year ARMs ran the opposite direction, rising to 5.14% from 4.33%.

Fueling the decline in rates last week was the Dubai debt situation, where the government announced that it could not meet its debt repayment obligations. Essentially, Dubai, the most populous state of the United Arab Emirates, is asking lenders for six months to catch up on its payments, an alarming development that triggered a significant global run out of stocks and into U.S. Treasury bonds on Wednesday. It’s another blow to worldwide economic recovery efforts — and a rather eerie “canary in the coal mine” scenario that chills U.S. investors, considering the huge debt load that Uncle Sam is carrying these days.

While U.S. consumers edge back into the holiday shopping season, and global rate-watchers keep an eye on Dubai, look for rates to stay low through the end of the year — at least.

In the meantime, get the best mortgage deals you can on If you have a good credit rating and some cash on hand, you can get a sub-5% rate right now — if you know where to look.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at

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