February 23rd, 2009

Steady Rates Amid Big Government Plans



Despite the anticipation that surrounded the government’s unveiling of their latest housing-rescue initiative, mortgage rates were only marginally inspired. According to the latest issue of HSH’s Market Trends Newsletter, Steady Rates Amid Big Government Plans, “The government’s plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to goose the economy, plus hundreds of billions more for housing and mortgage markets, failed to produce much enthusiasm.”

“Mortgage rates held firm throughout considerable market turbulence. The holiday-shortened week saw HSH’s overall average for the cost of mortgage money — our Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator (includes conforming, jumbo and ‘expanded conforming’ interest rates) — rise by three basis points to land at 5.79%. The FRMI’s 5/1 Hybrid counterpart rose by a lone basis point to 5.55%. Conforming FRM rates eased to an average 5.22%, while 30-year FRM jumbos rose by eight basis points.”

“Good news is still hard to come by with regards to housing. However, low (if erratic) mortgage rates do seem to be having at least some effect. The National Association of Homebuilders index of member sentiment moved one tick higher in February to land at 9, up from a record low in January. Not much improvement, but some, and three out of the four regions in the survey noted improvement (the Northeast being the exception, but we suspect weather issues played a role there). The survey noted that “traffic of potential buyers” climbed to 11, it’s highest number since October.”

“As mortgage rates eased off last week, applications for mortgages increased, and the “application for purchase” index reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America saw its first lift in a month. Refi activity, of course, flared much higher, but we are more encouraged at signs of some homebuying activity.”

Click here to continue reading “Steady Rates Amid Big Government Plans.” HSH’s free weekly Market Trends Newsletter, an in-depth analysis of various financial markets of the week prior, is published every Monday. Email subscribers receive it in your inbox by Friday night, so sign up today! Also, be sure to check in with our Market Trends blog for all news relating to any weekly shift in mortgage rates.

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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