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March 23rd, 2009

The Fed, and Record Rates (again)

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According to the latest issue of HSH’s Market Trends Newsletter, “The Fed, and Record Rates (again),” the conclusion of the Fed’s two-day FOMC meeting sent conforming mortgage rates down once again to historically-low levels.

“Without usual policy tools at its disposal, the Fed again weighed heavily into mortgage and bond markets. At the close of its meeting Wednesday, The Fed announced an extension of its plan to buy up Fannie and Freddie-issued debt and mortgage-backed securities offered by the GSEs as well as Ginnie Mae (FHA-backed product) and detailed a long-rumored plan to start purchasing certain Treasury securities.”

“Conforming mortgage rates moved into record territory again this week. After falling to a new daily low average rate of 4.94% on Thursday, HSH’s weekly average for 30-year FRM conforming money also managed a 13-basis point dip to 5.07% + 0.28 points, while the overall average for fixed-rate mortgage money (expressed as HSH’s Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator) slipped back by seven basis points, landing at 5.62%. The FRMI’s 5/1 Hybrid counterpart moved backward by six basis points to 5.36%, while Federally-unsupported jumbo 30-year FRMs remained steady for the week.”

“The Fed originally announced a $600 billion mortgage support plan back in November 2008, with $100 billion available for GSE debt and $500 billion for MBS purchases. The plan kicked in in early January, and since then the Fed has been accumulating MBS at about $4 billion per day, with estimates that they have used up about $200 billion of the original $500 billion commitment. At such a pace, it’s easy to plot on a calendar just when that original commitment would come to a close — somewhere in May or June. At about $100 billion per month, and with an initial expiry in a month or two, we believe that the Fed’s new $750 billion represents an enduring commitment to this program at least until the end of the year and perhaps slightly beyond. The total of $1.25 trillion may very well mean that virtually all MBS originated this year will find a ready buyer, financial market stress or not.”

“While there was some anticipation that mortgage rates would fall sharply as a result of the program, we note that the Fed didn’t say that they were going to pick up the velocity of their purchases (although they well could). Rather, we think that they wished to signal to the bond market and consumers that rates would remain low and stable for the foreseeable future, and that there will be an entity that will support the good-credit quality mortgage markets.”

Click here to continue reading “The Fed, and Record Rates (again).” 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.

Our bloggers:

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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