Bits and Pieces from the FOMC Minutes

Here are a few bits and pieces from the minutes of the FOMC meeting from December 11, 2007 that was released today.

"In the housing market, new home sales were below their third-quarter pace, and sales of existing homes were flat in October following sharp declines in August and September. These declines likely were exacerbated by the deterioration in nonprime mortgage markets and by the higher interest rates and tighter lending conditions for jumbo loans….

Participants discussed in detail the resurgence of stresses in financial markets in November. The renewed stresses reflected evidence that the performance of mortgage-related assets was deteriorating further, potentially increasing the losses that were being borne in part by a number of major financial firms….

Moreover, participants recognized that some lenders might be exposed to additional losses:  Delinquency rates on credit card loans, auto loans, and other forms of consumer credit, while still moderate, had increased somewhat, particularly in areas hard hit by house price declines and mortgage defaults. Past and prospective losses appeared to be spurring lenders to tighten further the terms on new extensions of credit, not just in the troubled markets for nonconforming mortgages but, in some cases, for other forms of credit as well….

In light of elevated inventories of unsold homes and the higher cost and reduced availability of nonconforming mortgage loans, participants agreed that the housing correction was likely to be both deeper and more prolonged than they had anticipated in October.  Moreover, rising foreclosures and the resulting increase in the supply of homes for sale could put additional downward pressure on prices, leading to a greater decline in household wealth and potentially to further disruptions in the financial markets."

Remember, this is not a forecast into the future but a press release of minutes from the meeting a couple of weeks ago.   With that said, 2008 will have many homes facing their ARMs adjusting unless they take action soon.  If you have an adjustable rate mortgage with a fixed period ending in 24 months or sooner, please contact your Mortgage Professional.   

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