What May Impact Mortgage Rates this Week: December 9, 2013

mortgageporter-economyThis week’s calendar of economic indicators is very light compared to last week. Here’s what is scheduled to be released this week:

[Read more…]

Fed to Keep Mortgage Rates Sweet and Low

iStock-000020911287XSmallThe Fed made no changes to the Fed Funds rate… no surprise there. However, the Fed did surprise the markets today announcing they are not tapering their purchasing of mortgage backed securities. From today’s press release:

…Taking into account the extent of federal fiscal retrenchment, the Committee sees the improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions since it began its asset purchase program a year ago as consistent with growing underlying strength in the broader economy. However, the Committee decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases.  [Read more…]

What May Impact Mortgage Rates this Week: September 16, 2013

2012-08-20-0845Mortgage backed securities are improving this morning on the news that Larry Summers has withdrawn as a candidate for the next Fed Chairman. This leaves current Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellan as a strong candidate to replace Ben Bernanke. Bond markets are reacting positively to the news that Janet is once again a front runner as the next Fed head. Speaking of the Fed – watch for the results of the FOMC meeting on this Wednesday.

[Read more…]

What the Fed Said

This morning, mortgage rates continue to take a hit from yesterday’s comments by Mr. Ben Bernanke before and after the Fed minutes were released.

Prior to the minutes being released, it seemed as though Ben was letting the cat out of the bag by eeking information regarding the economy, QE3 and the continuation of keeping mortgage rates at their artificial lows. Bernanke had stated that bond buying would continue until labor markets improved, which the bond market favored.

The minutes were released revealing mixed views on when the Fed should pull back on buying bonds, like mortgage backed securities:

“Participants also touched on the conditions under which it might be appropriate to change the pace of asset purchases. Most observed that the outlook for the labor market had shown progress since the program was started in September, but many of these participants indicated that continued progress, more confidence in the outlook, or diminished downside risks would be required before slowing the pace of purchases would become appropriate. A number of participants expressed willingness to adjust the flow of purchases downward as early as the June meeting if the economic information received by that time showed evidence of sufficiently strong and sustained growth; however, views differed about what evidence would be necessary and the likelihood of that outcome. One participant preferred to begin decreasing the rate of purchases immediately, while another participant preferred to add more monetary accommodation at the current meeting and mentioned that the Committee had several other tools it could potentially use to do so. Most participants emphasized that it was important for the Committee to be prepared to adjust the pace of its purchases up or down as needed to align the degree of policy accommodation with changes in the outlook for the labor market and inflation as well as the extent of progress toward the Committee’s economic objectives. Regarding the composition of purchases, one participant expressed the view that, in light of the substantial improvement in the housing market and to avoid further credit allocation across sectors of the economy, the Committee should start to shift any asset purchases away from MBS and toward Treasury securities….

….In their discussion of monetary policy for the period ahead, all but one member judged that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy was warranted in order to foster a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability. The Committee agreed to continue purchases of MBS at a pace of $40 billion per month and purchases of longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month, as well as to maintain the Committee’s reinvestment policies….”

In the Q&A following the release of the FOMC minutes, Ben Bernanke commented that if economic conditions continue to improve, that bond purchases could be tapered by the next Fed meeting in June or July. This caused mortgage rates to trend higher… and today, that trend is continuing.

If you’ve been considering refinancing at a historic low rate, you may want to take action soon! Once the Fed stops manipulating mortgage rates, they’ll be closer to current jumbo/non-conforming rates.

I’m happy to help you with your refinance or purchase on your home located anywhere in Washington state.

The Fed to continue keeping mortgage rates low

The Fed just wrapped up their two day meeting and have issued their press release. Here are the tid-bits relating to keeping mortgage rates at artificially sweet and low levels.

To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee decided to continue purchasing additional agenc mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. The Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability. The Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will continue to take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases as well as the extent of progress toward its economic objectives.

As expected, there was no change to the Fed Funds rate.

If you would like to lock in a sweet and low mortgage rate for your home purchase or refinance for homes located in Washington state, please contact me.

Mortgage rate update for the week of February 25, 2013

This week is packed with economic indicators that may impact the direction of mortgage interest rates. Mortgage rates have been slowly inching higher since the end of last year. Rates are still very low and you can still get a 30 year in the 3’s – the rate just cost more than it did a month ago.

Here are a few of the economic indicators scheduled to be released this week:

Tuesday, February 26: S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales and Consumer Confidence

Wednesday, February 27: Durable Goods Orders and Pending Home Sales

Thursday, February 28: Initial Jobless Claims, GDP – Gross Domestic Product and Chicago PMI

Friday, March 1: Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE, ISM Index and Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)

Tomorrow, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will be in front of Congress to begin his two day testimony on monetary policy. In addition, $85 billion in automatic budget cuts are set to go into effect on Friday unless Congress takes action.

Remember, mortgage rates are based on mortgage backed securities (bonds) and when stocks are performing, mortgage rates tend to rise. This is because investors will trade the safety of bonds for the possible higher return available from stocks.

The only way to secure today’s mortgage rate is by locking it! You can see examples of “live” mortgage rates I’m quoting by following me on Twitter @mortgageporter or Facebook/WashingtonMortgagePro.

If I can help you with your refinance or home purchase on property located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me.

The Fed Says…Let’s Twist

No surprise that the FOMC is not making any changes to the Fed Funds rate. What may have surprised some is the Fed’s focus on trying to keep mortgage rates low with it’s purchase of mortgage backed securities.  From today’s press release:

To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee agreed today to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. The Committee also will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. These actions, which together will increase the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities by about $85 billion each month through the end of the year, should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

….If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities….

The efforts to keep mortgage rates low will be in contrast to the increase in the “g-fees” by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact the Feds efforts will make.

Stay tuned for Ben Bernanke’s press conference happening in a few hours. Meanwhile… let’s twist!

Mortgage rate update for the week of August 20, 2012

Mortgage rates have been trending higher over the past few weeks (they are still very low).  Here are some of the scheduled economic indicators that may impact mortgage rates this week:

  • Wednesday, August 22: Existing Home Sales and FOMC Minutes
  • Thursday, August 23: Initial Jobless Claims and New Home Sales
  • Friday, August 24: Durable Good Orders

As I write this post (9:00 am PST) the DOW is at a 4.5 year high (13,260). Remember that as the stock markets improve, you will see investors trade the safety of bonds (like mortgage backed securities) for the possibility of higher returns of stocks. This will cause mortgage rates to trend higher as will signs of inflation or that the economy is improving.

Clients often ask me if the government controls mortgage rates and are surprised to learn they do not. The government has been involved with buying mortgage backed securities which is manipulating mortgage rates to lower levels however, they do not directly set mortgage rates. The Fed does set the Fed Funds Rate, which impacts the rates for HELOCs but not mortgage rates. 

Mortgage rates often change throughout the day. Last week, there were days where one of the lenders I work with issued three to five changes in just one day.