Interest rates around the world have continued to decline this year. But perhaps a silver-lining for many U.S. homeowners, we’ve seen a wave of mortgage refinancing since the U.K. Brexit vote as interest rates have fallen further. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average 30-year mortgage rate fell to 3.34% on July 6th, down from over 4% at the start of the year, and in line with record lows. And an index put out by the Mortgage Bankers Association shows refinancing activity rose 21% in the week ended July 1st, to its highest level in 18 months.
On the other hand, lower mortgage rates are not good news for banks holding a lot of mortgage backed securities (such as Bank of America) because they’ll get paid back sooner, and the banks will have to reinvest at lower rates. And despite the decline in mortgage rates we’ve seen so far, they still haven’t fallen as fast as treasury yields, perhaps an ominous sign of more mortgage-related pain ahead for some big banks like Citizens Financial and Bank of America. You can read our recent write-up on Bank of America here. And you can view declining global bond yields below.