Mortgage Rates,
Points & Locks Explained
One point is one percent of the loan amount.

Most lenders offer a range rates and points for each of their loan products.  Rates are usually provided in 0.125% increments each with a corresponding point charge or Yeald
Spred  Premium (YSP).  Higher rates provide credit points (YSP) and
lower rates require increasing points (discount)

Example:  In this example, at right, a lender offers 2.875% rate and 0.06
point they also offer 2.50% with a 0.43-point cost and 3.875% with a
1.830 point credit for a 30 day locks.

  • Origination Point: The origination fee is typically one to
  two percent of the loan amount, which is the lender’s loan fee. 
  The origination fee is paid at closing.  FHA and VA limit the
         Origination to one point.
  • Discount Points:  Discount point are paid to lower the interest rate
         (Buy the Rate Down).  In this example a, so called. Zero Closing
         Cost $400,000 loan would require about a two point rebate.  The
         closest 30 day lock price on this example would be a 3.875% rate.
  • Rebate Points or Yield Spred Premium (YSP):paid by lenders for an increased rate.  Rebate points are most often used to pay closing costs.  A $400,000, so called, Zero Cost loan requires about two rebate points which raises the rate approximately one percent.  The exact number of rebate points needed for a depends on the loan amount.

Rate Locks
Mortgage Rates can be “Locked” for specific periods of time, usually in 15, 30, 45 or 60 day increments.  It is important to choose a lock period that covers the time required to close the loan.  Once the rate is locked it will not change during the lock term.  The price of the lock (points) increases with the lock term.
  • Lock Confirmation: Rates can change without notice.  It is possible for a lock to be authorized and by the time the authorization reaches the lender’s lock desk rates could have changed.  Rates are not locked until the lock is confirmed by the lender.
  • Lock Expiration:  It is the policy of almost every lender to hold the rate of an expired lock to the original locked rate in down markets and raise the rate to market in up markets.
  • Float Downs: Some lenders allow a one-time float down for their locked rates.  This allows the borrower to decrease the locked rate when rates drop lower than the locked rate.  There is usually a rate premium for the float down option.

Factors That Change Rates
Rates can change several times a day based on current market conditions. 

The most watched indicators are the 10-Year Treasury bond and Fannie Mae Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS).  MBS has the closest relationship.  Both of these are directional indicators and moves of either indicator may not show an exact corresponding mortgage rate change.

In general; bad economic news is good news for mortgage rates

Effect of Changes to Prime Rate and Federal Reserve Rates.
In most cases, the market anticipates these rate changes and rates are already effected in advance of the actual change. 
Example: in 2001 Fed Funds were cut eleven times and in every case on the day of the cut mortgage rates increased because the market already anticipated the change.

William J. Ladewig
California Home Loans Since 1970
Mortgages Since 1970
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NML 291249
BRE 00968137
National Association of
Mortgage Brokers