Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage survey reported last Thursday that the average interest rate on a 30 year and 15 year conventional mortgage dropped for the first time in 11 weeks. The 30 year mortgage rate fell from 4.46 percent to 4.42 and the 15 year rate dropped from 3.47 to 3.43 percent. As mortgage rates this weekmentioned last week, while changes, the rates changes really aren’t that significant.

If investor rates however begin to approach 5.50 percent, that will keep some investors on the sidelines. Today a 30 year mortgage rate for a rental property can be found around 4.75 to 5.00 percent.

So what can change this week to alter the mortgage market mood? Three things are really at play here. The first being the holiday season that distracts many from their day to day activities. Other than retail and restaurants, companies at large tend to slow their pace and won’t get back in earnest again until after the New Year. The phrase, “I’ll get back to you after the first of the year” can be heard in most any industry.

Next, there really are no major economic reports scheduled for release this week. The is the consumer price index number slotted for Tuesday and unless there is some major surprise, the number should be tame, especially with the cost of gasoline having fallen over recent weeks. There are also Housing Starts and Building Permits but again these two reports rarely have any major influence on rates.

The big ticket item is the Fed announcement this Thursday after the round of two day Federal Open Market Committee meetings. The Fed has plainly stated that the target unemployment rate of 6.5 percent will be what triggers the beginning of the end of the current $85 billion per month stimulus. And with the unemployment rate having dropped from 7.3 to 7.0 percent last month, it’s looking like Fed easing will come sooner rather than later.