Mortgage rates could move higher beginning tomorrow morning. The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its February jobs report at 8:30 AM ET. Home buyers and rate shoppers in Washington, DC would be wise to take note. The jobs report is almost always a market-mover. Consider last month. Although net job creation fell well-short of expectations in January -- just 36,000 jobs were added -- the national Unemployment Rate dropped to 9.0%, its lowest level in 2 years. The marked improvement surprised economists and sparked inflationary concerns within the investor community. This, in turn, caused mortgage rates to rise. In the days immediately following the jobs report's release, conforming rates across DC jumped 0.375 percent. That's equivalent to a mortgage payment increase of $22 per month per $100,000 borrowed. A similar spike could occur tomorrow. Wall Street scrutinizes job growth because with more working Americans, there's more consumer spending, and consumer spending accounts for 70% of the U.S. economy. A blow-out number tomorrow would change expectations for the future, and lead rates higher again. The economy shed 7 million jobs between 2008 and 2009 and has barely made 1 million of them back. Tomorrow, analysts expect to see 183,000 jobs created. If the actual reading is lower-than-expected, mortgage rates should fall and home affordability will improve. Anything else and mortgage rates should rise. Likely by a lot. Therefore, if you're shopping for a mortgage right now, consider your risk tolerance. Once markets open tomorrow, you can't get today's rates.
Topics: Unemployment, Non-Farm Payrolls